toxicity testing

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A procedure for assessing the safety of chemicals, especially newly developed chemical compounds, that should be mandatory for all, but because there are so many new chemical compounds, those that are chemically closely related to existing compounds known to be safe are often allowed into commercial production and use without formal toxicity tests. The aim is to ensure there are no significant toxic hazards, and ideally that there are no risks of carcinogenesis, teratogenesis, or mutagenesis. In real terms, however, evidence of these possible hazards may come only after the fact, as has happened, e.g., with thalidomide.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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