1.8. TOXNET: a collection of toxicological information

        TOXNET (http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/)23-26, maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at NIH, is a group of databases covering toxicology, hazardous chemicals, toxic releases, environmental and occupational health, risk assessment.  Currently, 16 databases are integrated into the TOXNET system, and users can search all these databases either at once or individually.  While all the 16 databases provide valuable information, three of them may be worth mentioning in the context of this course.

  • ChemIDPlus27,28 is a dictionary of over 400,000 chemical records (names, synonyms, and structures) and provides access to the structure and nomenclature files used for the identification of chemical substances in the TOXNET system and other NLM databases. 
  • The Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB)29,30 focuses on the toxicology of potentially hazardous chemicals, providing information on human exposure, industrial hygiene, emergency handling procedures, environmental fate, regulatory requirements, nanomaterials, and related areas. All HSDB data are referenced and derived from a core set of books, government documents, technical reports and selected primary journal literature. Importantly, HSDB is peer-reviewed by the Scientific Review Panel (SRP), a committee of experts in the major subject areas within the data bank's scope.
  • The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD)31,32  contains manually curated data describing interactions of chemicals with genes/proteins and diseases.  This database provides insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying variable susceptibility for environmentally influenced diseases.

A brief overview of TOXNET and its databases can be found in the TOXNET Fact Sheet24 and a recent paper by Fowler and Schnall26.

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