Shedding Light on Chemicals

We are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis. Sometimes the exposure is obvious: a cleaning solution, garden fertilizer or even the coating of a non-stick pan in your kitchen. 

But many times those interactions are not so clear: the chemical makeup of the water bottle you drink from, the dye on a shirt or the deodorizer in the bathroom at work. 

Sometimes you can read the label on a product to learn what it is made of. But many times that information is difficult, if not impossible to access, not to mention to understand.

So the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a way to help answer those questions, by providing a new information resource about chemical structure and toxicity that is free and open to the public.

It’s called ACToR, the Aggregated Computational Toxicology Resource. It provides information on more than 500,000 man-made chemicals from more than 200 public sources, including the EPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as well as the European Union and the World Health Organization. 

Visit the site here: http://actor.epa.gov/actor.

Again, access to the information on the website is free and it provides access to hundreds of data sources in one place, offering easy access for environmental researchers, scientific journalists, chemical engineers and the public. 

There may be chemicals all around us, but they don’t have to be a mystery anymore!

— Frank Graff

Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on North Carolina Science Now, a weekly science series that airs Wednesdays, beginning in August 2013, as part of North Carolina Now on UNC-TV. In addition to producing these special segments, Frank will provide additional information related to his stories through this North Carolina Science Now Reporter's Blog! 



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