National Toxicology Program

Last updated: April 4, 2019

What Does National Toxicology Program Mean?

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is a U.S. inter-agency program that provides a scientific basis for U.S. government policies that promote the prevention of diseases that occur due to exposure to toxic substances.

The NTP is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and it is involved in both toxicology research and in promoting awareness of new insights into toxicology as they emerge.

Safeopedia Explains National Toxicology Program

The NTP’s executive committee is comprised of representatives from nine government departments, including OSHA and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The role of the NTP is to inform the development of public policy through a combination of research and advisory services. For instance, the NTP has produced large amounts of research on occupational cancer caused by exposure to toxins such as chemotherapy, which many healthcare workers are exposed to. Much of the NTP’s work concerns research into cancer-causing substances (carcinogens).

The work done through the NTP is driven by the priorities of the program’s executive committee members, who are responsible for the program’s policy oversight. The program’s priorities for occupational toxicology research are chiefly driven by NIOSH, which also conducts much of the NTP's research into that subject.

The NTP's research decisions may also be influenced by individuals who nominate a specific subject of interest for research. For instance, the NTP has previously conducted research on carcinogenic substances used within the semiconductor industry due to the nomination of a private individual whose request received support from the National Cancer Institute (a member of the NTP's executive committee).

The NTP measures its public health impact through a database that records each time its research is used by another government agency to form part of the basis for a new policy. For example, OSHA used NTP research to inform policy-making 11 times between 2000 and 2019.


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