Skip to main content
  • Press Release

UL Collaborates with World-Renowned Scientists to Develop Predictive Toxicity Tool for Chemicals

September 2, 2016

MARIETTA, Ga., September 2, 2016 – UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science company, announced today it is entering into a relationship with world-renown toxicologists and researchers to develop a cutting-edge tool to predict the toxicity of chemicals.

The tool will be based on pioneering work by Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD, the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Professor and Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology at the John’s Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Thomas Luechtefeld, a PhD student, and UL’s team of scientists and toxicologists. It strives to predict the chemical toxicity of substances, reducing reliance on animal testing and helping companies comply with global chemical regulations. Once completed, UL will provide companies a revolutionary way to assess the safety of products and chemicals.

Dr. Hartung, Mr. Luechtefeld, and the UL team are developing what is commonly known as a read-across approach, a technique used to predict endpoint information for one chemical by using data from the same endpoint of another chemical that is considered to be similar in some way (on the basis of structural similarity and similar properties and/or activities).¹ This initiative also seeks to develop the largest, most comprehensive map of the world’s chemical landscape by cataloging several thousand chemicals for which there is available safety data. Based on data from those chemicals they can predict the toxicity of more than 90,000 substances in consumer products that are not catalogued. The tool will launch early next year.

“UL is pleased to be part of this first-of-its-kind tool, which will transform the way companies approach chemical testing and compliance,” said Alberto Uggetti, vice president and general manager, UL Environment. “The tool will serve three key functions; help companies comply with increasing global legislation of chemicals, help companies save money during product development by providing early predictive data, and reduce the amount of animal testing required to meet regulations.”

The need for this tool is driven by increasing chemical regulations across the globe.  REACH, introduced by the European Union in 2007, mandated that companies register chemicals such as solvents, detergents and colorants additives. In 2018, companies must register substances that they manufacture or import with a volume of 1 to 100 tons per year, substantially increasing the amount of testing that companies must do. The U.S. recently enacted the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Reform that gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate similar chemicals based on their health effects. As the first major reform to the act in 30 years, it’s expected to have major implications on the chemicals industry. Korea and China also have similar rules in development.

“This predictive toxicity tool is possible because of the volume of data available from REACH registration, but its potential for global impact is enormous,” said Thomas Hartung at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “We look forward to advising UL to bring this tool to the market and make an impact on the safety of chemicals world-wide. This disruptive technology will also strongly reduce the necessity of animal testing.”


About UL Environment

UL Environment works to advance global sustainability, environmental health, and safety by supporting the growth and development of environmentally preferable products, services, and organizations. We help companies achieve their sustainability goals — and help purchasers, specifiers, retailers, governments, and consumers find products they can trust. UL Environment offers environmental claim validations, multi-attribute product certifications, environmental product declarations, indoor air quality certification, product emissions testing, organizational sustainability certification, and consulting. For more information, visit, and connect with us via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

About UL

UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 11,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit