Featured News

How Safe Are the Products You Use?

Human Health

Science-Based Evaluation Advances Human Health

How safe are the products you use? Every year, an estimated 2,000 new chemicals are introduced into the consumer products we use daily, and there is little to no toxicological data regarding their safety for use. Our work with the Division of Translational Toxicology (DTT) supports a greater understanding of toxicological effects from constant exposure to substances and can inform the public of exposure safety, while informing government agencies in making decisions regarding public health.

For more than four decades, MRIGlobal has provided analytical chemistry support for the DTT, an intramural division at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). MRIGlobal’s work with the DTT largely supports the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an interagency program in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Through this work, we help evaluate the health effects of substances the public is exposed to daily of which there is little to no toxicological data. As part of our mission, we help ensure the health and safety of people around the world.

As part of this work, we procure and maintain a large repository of more than 5,000 diverse compounds, including industrial, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, flame retardants, ionic liquids, natural products, and food additives. We also provide comprehensive chemical characterization of the repository and ship chemicals to research collaborators in industry, government, and academia for alternative animal model assays. Further, we support the DTT’s in vivo toxicology studies through development and validation of methods for dose formulation and biological sample quantitation in complex biological matrices and also perform acute toxicokinetic studies.

The Goal of MRIGlobal’s Toxicology Work

Daily human exposure to low levels of substances in which toxicological effects to human health are unknown, mostly due to past limitations in detection of substances in complex matrices, can be averse to human health. With increasing improvements in scientific instrumentation, sample preparation, and data evaluation over the years, detection of substances in biological tissues and advancements in in vitro assays have made it possible to scientifically evaluate the toxicological effects of these substances.  We utilize state of the art instrumentation and a diverse team with expertise in method development and validation and repository management to advance the DTT’s mission.

The MRIGlobal Team’s Role

MRIGlobal’s toxicology experts provide analytical chemistry services to advance the mission of promoting human health through science-based evaluation of toxicological information. For this critical public health function, MRIGlobal examines chemicals such as industrial chemicals, prescription drugs, consumer product additives, personal care products, nutritional supplements, and natural products for characteristics that could cause cancer, genetic defects, or immune system responses.

Our team of 20 toxicology researchers is dedicated to working on more than 50 active projects to advance the DTT’s mission. We analyze human and animal plasma and tissue to determine the chemical(s) in those samples. We approach bioanalytical method validation and sample analysis with strict adherence to quality control assessment, such as routine use of system blanks and matrix evaluation precision and accuracy samples. Preliminary studies may be conducted as non-GLP followed by definitive GLP studies with all requisite parameters.

Due to the volume of selected substances under study and their numerous scientific collaborations, the DTT consistently refines their experimental protocols, ensuring that scientific goals are achieved. These high standards make it important for our team to be in constant communication with the DTT. This strong relationship enables us to provide scientific technical expertise in method development and instrumentation to ensure our scientific data is of the highest quality and accuracy to meet the DTT’s expectations. 

Because there are so many chemicals produced today, it is no longer time- nor cost-effective to employ traditional methods of toxicology. In 2004, the DTT developed the High Throughput Screening (HTS) Initiative to support a cost-effective model of toxicological study. As part of this initiative, MRIGlobal manages a chemical inventory for the DTT to source, procure, store, aliquot, and ship compounds of potential toxicological concern to researchers to the DTT partners. 

Our Work with Flame Retardants

One example of our work with the DTT is our research on flame retardants. Organophosphate flame retardants such as IPP (isopropylated phenyl phosphates) and TPHP (triphenyl phosphate) are increasingly used in consumer products. IPP is a complex mixture used primarily as a flame retardant and is a component of various commercial flame retardant mixtures, and is found in products like foam, fabric, carpet, and automobile components. TPHP is used as a flame retardant and a plasticizer in many consumer products, including nail polish, carpet, and upholstery. 

There is limited toxicological data available showing some evidence that IPP may specifically target reproductive or neurological endpoints. The data available for TPHP is similarly scarce, but a few studies have demonstrated endocrine disrupting effects and receptor-associated expression of mRNA in zebrafish embryos. Due to the potential for wide human exposure and the relative lack of toxicity data available for both chemicals, the DTT has begun a series of studies to learn more about IPP and TPHP.

Working with rats exposed to these chemicals through feed in a dose-range finding study, our objective was to quantitate and assess transfer of these chemicals to offspring and their potential to cross the blood brain barrier. The MRIGlobal Team developed an analytical method to detect multiple low-level components of the complex IPP mixture in multiple complex biological matrices. Following exposure via feed at 0, 1,000, and 10,000 ppm, plasma samples were extracted from each animal and their pups. In all animals exposed to IPP, the chemical was found, demonstrating maternal transfer. As the rate of exposure increased, so did the concentration found. Maternal transfer was also observed in animals exposed to TPHP via feed, with the chemical found in the brains of pups. Our data also showed the IPP and TPHP were transferred to the pups during gestation and lactation and across the blood brain barrier. 


Contact MRIGlobal to further understand our experience and in-depth knowledge of toxicology services. Our team of toxicology experts provide analytical chemistry services to advance the mission of promoting human health through science-based evaluation of toxicological information.

To learn more about the work we’ve done or how we can help you, contact us today. If you are part of an agency, business, or academic institution seeking assistance with a project, use our Project Quote Tool to get started.       


Sign up for the MRIGlobal newsletter! It’s the best way to get the latest updates in the world of applied scientific engineering research delivered directly to your inbox.