Section 7: Advancing the next generation (NextGen) of risk assessment

NexGen is an EPA-led effort to integrate data derived from new testing approaches, including CompTox, into risk assessment. The NexGen program is housed within the National Center for Environmental Assessment which itself is part of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Presented in a 2012 publication in Environmental Health Perspectives, the NexGen program is seeking to address the following broad set of questions:

  • “How can these new data and methods substantively improve our understanding of risk?”
  • “Can scientifically sound assessments be made faster, cheaper, and/or more accurate using these new methods, and better address a variety of environmental management challenges (risk context)?”
  • “How can these new types of information best be incorporated into risk assessments and utilized to inform risk managers and the public?”
  • “What new policies and procedures are needed to produce consistent, reasonable, and robust assessments?”

To develop a framework for incorporating new types of data into risk assessment, NexGen is conducting a series of case studies, or “prototypes” that each pair specific chemicals with an associated disease. The first three disease-chemical prototypes are:

  1. cancer and benzene, benzo(a)pyrene and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons;
  2. endocrine disruption and BPA, phthalates, and perchlorate; and
  3. lung injury and ozone and chlorine

Like Tox21, NexGen is an inter-institutional program and includes the Environmental Protection Agency’s Computational Toxicology Program, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, National Toxicology Program, Centers for Disease Control Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, National Human Genome Research Institute, and the State of California’s Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on NexGen visit:

To learn about the need for greater public engagement in this area, proceed to Section 8: The Need for a Public Interest Perspective