Researchers at RTI International will participate in federal efforts to better understand the health risks of exposure to commonly used consumer and industrial projects under terms of a five-year contract worth as much as $44.7 million.

RTI will provide high-throughput chemical screening technology services to the National Toxicology Program under the contract with the National Institute of Environmental Health. RTI has provided services to the toxicology program since 1984.

“With new chemical substances being developed and introduced to our environment all the time, it is vitally important that we evaluate their potential to affect human health,” said Reshan Fernando, who is RTI’s principal investigator for the project. “Our analyses assure NTP scientists that the chemicals they test are well characterized and provide dose and internal exposure data that aid in the evaluation of the results of NTP studies, which provide federal public health officials with the information they need to make informed decisions about the health risks of many consumer and industrial products and to use this scientific information to protect public health.”

Some 2,000 new products containing chemicals in everything from food to household cleaners are introduced a year, according to the National Toxicology Program. More than 80,000 chemicals are in use.

“Relatively few chemicals are thought to pose a significant risk to human health,” the National Toxicology Program reports on its web site. “However, safeguarding public health depends on identifying both what the effects of these chemicals are and at what levels of exposure they may become hazardous to humans…that is, understanding their toxicology.”