Armando Barreto asked about toxicological databases operated by the
National Library of Medicine and about Internet access to them. These
databases are described in the MEDLARS information booklet (NIH Publ. #
91-1286) that can be obtained from the MEDLARS Management Section, National
Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD 20894 (Phone: 800-638-8480).
Some of these, e.g. Toxline and Toxlit, are included in the set of MEDLARS
databases which reside on the NLM ELHILL computer; others are grouped
together in the Toxicology Data Network called TOXNET which resides on a
different computer. The search and retrieval features of the TOXNET
software permit efficient access to data on hazardous chemicals.
The MEDLARS toxicological databases include:
1. Toxline: this is a database of bibliographic citations on toxicological
effects of drugs and chemicals, derived from 16 secondary sources that
don't ask for royalties, 1981-present
2. Toxline65: the same for 1965-80
3. Toxlit: citations from secondary sources that charge outrageous
royalties, e.g. Chemical Abstracts, 1981-present.
4. Toxlit65: the same for 1965-80.
The TOXNET databases include:
1. CCRIS (Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System): >2500
chemical records on carcinogens
2. DBIR (Directory of Biotechnology Information Recources): info on
databases, networks, publications, agencies, cell collections etc. Also
part of MEDLARS DIRLINE.
3. EMICBACK (Environmental Mutagen Information Backfile): >72,000 citations
about mutagens, 1950-91.
4. EMIC: current version of EMICBACK
5. ETICBACK (Environmental Teratology Information Backfile): 46,000
citations about teratogens, 1950-89.
6. DART (Development and Reproductive Toxicology): current version of
7. GENE-TOX (Genetic Toxicology): 4,500 records on chemical mutagens
8. HSDB (Hazardous Substances Data Bank): 4,300 records on hazardous
9. IRIS (Integrated Risk Information System): 500 records on potentially
10. RTECS (Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances): online file
containing toxic effects data on some 107,000 chemicals.
11. TRI (Toxic Chemical Release Inventory): 100,000's of records on
industrial submissions to EPA for 1987-present.
Note that #3-6 are also part of MEDLARS Toxline, i.e. a Toxline search will
get you their entries.
All of these MEDLARS and TOXNET databases can be accessed through Grateful
Med, by modem or over the Internet. Grateful Med is a piece of software
for MS-DOS machines and for Macs that is the easiest way of connecting to
and searching the NLM databases. For Toxline and Toxlit, and for the
TOXNET databases HSDB, CCRIS, RTECS, TRIC, TRIALL, Grateful Med provides
its own idiotproof, easy user interface; for the other databases it will
only provide direct access to the NLM TOXNET computer, then you have to use
menu-driven TOXNET search software which may be unique to each of these
The Toxline and TOXNET searches cost approximately the same as Medline
searches, i.e. 5-20 cents per citation, depending on how complete the
citation is (e.g. including headings and abstracts). However, the Toxlit
searches (of Chem. Abstracts) are horrendously expensive ($23 per connect
charge; $0.85 per search statement, $0.61 per online citation).
In any case, your first step should be to obtain a MEDLARS account and to
get Grateful Med. On 7-10-92, in three posts to Usenet's bionet.software,
I described how to go about this.
One drawback of the NLM set of toxicological databases is that you have to
search them one by one. BRS/Saunders Colleague, a commercial service that
provides modem access via Telenet etc. (not Internet access) to scientific
(e.g. Medline), financial and business databases, also offers searches of a
toxicological database called TOXLINE. They write their own user interface
and search software which for Medline has some advantages over Grateful
Med. Whether their TOXLINE is the same as the MEDLARS Toxline, I don't
know. It is possible that they have integrated into one several separate
toxicological databases licensed from the NLM. They describe their TOXLINE
as comprising 850,000 records from 1965-present. If you want to find out
about this, call their customer service at 800-289-4277. In general, BRS
Colleague seems to be somewhat more expensive to use then MEDLARS.
NYU Medical Center