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Your Environment. Your Health.

Peer Review Set for NTP Studies May 18; Discussion May 24 on Recommendations for Animal Studies on DNA-Based Therapies, Herbs, Emissions from Cellular Phones

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

News Release

Archive - New Contact Information

For more information about this archival news release, please contact Christine Flowers, Director, Office of Communications & Public Liaison at (919) 541-3665.
Tuesday, May 16, 2000, 12:00 p.m. EDT
Contact: Bill Grigg, NIEHS
(301) 402-3378

Recent safety studies by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) will be peer-reviewed at an open, public meeting May 18 by a subcommittee of the NTP Board of Scientific Counselors ( The studies are of the sedative chloral hydrate (; the moth ball ingredient napthalene (; the meat and fish preservative sodium nitrite (; an ingredient in hard or high temperature resistant plastics p,p'-Dichlorodiphenyl Sulfone, and indium phosphide, which is used in making solar cells, semi-conductors, lasers and photodiodes.

The studies to be peer reviewed may be read at

Then, on May 24, the board will meet to discuss and review NTP activities. Among the agenda items is a discussion of testing recommendations for future studies- with opportunity for comment from the public. Both public events will be at the NTP's headquarters, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (, in the Rodbell auditorium of the Rall building, the NIEHS' main administrative and laboratory facility 111 T. W. Alexander drive, Research Triangle Park, N.C. Both meetings begin at 8:30 a.m.

At the May 24 meeting, the board will review the current activities and status of the NTP Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction ( and will discuss and hear public comment on recommendations for future NTP study in several areas including DNA-based therapies, dietary supplements, cellular phone radiation emissions and occupational chemicals. The Food and Drug Administration ( has nominated for safety testing a class of DNA-derived vaccines and gene therapies not yet generally available, as well as the radio frequency radiation emissions from cellular phones.

Early studies of DNA-based products involved critically ill patients in whom long-term safety was a secondary issue. However, more recently, DNA vaccines and synthetic oligos have been developed for use in relatively healthy children and adults, making long-term safety a dominant concern.

Cellular phones are regulated by the FDA as radiologic devices. There are now 80 million American users of cell phones, with 25,000 being added each day. However, FDA is concerned about the adequacy of the data for making regulatory decisions about these evolving devices. [For further information on the cellular phone request contact Russell Owen at FDA, 301-443-7118.]

Also to be discussed at the May 24 meeting:

The National Cancer Institute ( has requested the testing of two substances sometimes used in dietary supplements and of a chemical, potassium ferricyanide, used in photo processing. The dietary ingredients proposed for testing are chitosan, a natural product derived from marine organisms and sometimes used to promote weight loss, and the chemical juglone, which is found in walnuts and used in natural dyes and stains as well as some dietary supplements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health ( have asked study of 1-bromopropane, and a potential contaminant of the product, 2-bromopropane. 1-Bromopropane is an industrial solvent that has gone into wide use as a replacement for ozone-depleting substances.

The draft agenda is at .

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