Most widely used chemicals "less toxic"

Stability, low reactivity, could be key to HPV substances' relative safety, say scientists

The most widely used chemicals are likely to be less toxic than others, American scientists have reported. The finding comes as international efforts continue to perform hazard assessments on 4,000 high production volume (HPV), with fewer than 50 so far been completed (EED 28/09/01).

The study uses a computer modelling technique called quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR) to predict from chemicals' molecular structure whether they are toxic. Using the same approach, Danish researchers recently predicted that some 20,000 of the 100,000 "existing" chemicals listed by the EU should be classified as dangerous whereas only 5,000 are currently so classified (EED 13/10/01).

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