Jump to main content.

Protocol for Performing a Literature Search for the TEACH Database

Revised November, 2005


The TEACH Database currently includes studies pertaining to 18 chemicals or groups of chemicals of concern to children. This document outlines the method by which literature searches are performed, and the criteria used to determine inclusion of an article in the TEACH Database.

The TEACH Database is a growing database and updated regularly on two fronts: 1) every year to include any new studies that have been published on the existing chemicals in the database; and 2) to add all relevant studies pertaining to any new chemical added to the TEACH list of chemicals by the TEACH Workgroup.

This document is divided into three parts:

  1. Defining which studies are included in the database;
  2. Procedure for performing a literature search for a new TEACH chemical;
  3. Procedure for performing a literature search to update entries for existing TEACH chemicals.

Part 1: Criteria for Inclusion of Articles in the TEACH Database

The database includes research studies pertaining to exposure of humans, and exposure of laboratory mammals (rats, mice, rabbits, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, and dogs).

The studies of concern deal with exposure and/or effects that are seen in: germ cells, pregnant women, fetuses, neonates (0-12 months for humans), and children (1-18 yrs old for humans).

Included Studies:

  1. Studies that measured exposure of germ cells, fetuses, or children
  2. Studies that measured potential exposure in media or places where fetuses or children are likely to be exposed
  3. Studies of exposure and health effects that measured health effects of exposure on germ cells, fetuses, or children
  4. Studies published in 1972 or later in the English language

Excluded Studies:

  1. Studies of exposure in places in which children are unlikely to be exposed, such as studies in factory environments
  2. Studies of exposure in locations where children may be exposed, but only adult biomarkers were measured
  3. Studies of exposure in media or locations where children may be exposed, but only adult health effects or endpoints were measured
  4. Studies performed only in vitro

return to top

Part 2: Literature Search Procedure for a New TEACH Chemical

When it is decided to add a new chemical, there are two steps to performing the literature search. First, bibliographies of several existing resources from U.S. government agencies are checked. Second, a literature search is undertaken using online medical publication search engines.


There are several U.S. government agencies that provide literature reviews and scientific evaluations for numerous chemicals. Each resource, when available, lists a bibliography at the end of the document which contains a comprehensive list of published scientific articles that were available at the time the document was written.

As a first step in the TEACH literature search for a new chemical, lists of articles that meet the TEACH criteria for inclusion in the database are generated by a Search Team from these bibliographies. These sources include:

Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)

Toxicological Review (TR)

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Exit Disclaimer

National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) Exit Disclaimer

National Human Exposure Assessment Survey (NHEXAS)

The Search Team follows the steps below:

  1. Go to each of the listed Web sites
  2. Determine if the chemical is included in that particular resource
  3. Search titles in the bibliography for relevant terms (see list below) so that the article can be retrieved and examined further
  4. Create a list of papers that appear to be related to children's health (bias towards the side of inclusion)
List of Relevant Terms:

After the search of available U.S. government agency documents is accomplished, the Search Team proceeds to Medline to begin a search for published articles that studied the chemical of interest and were not included in the bibliography lists.

The Medline search engine is used for performing TEACH literature searches: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi Exit Disclaimer.

The Search Team follows the search criteria below:

Chemical name And "infant"
And "child"
And "adolescent"
And "pregnancy"
And "fetal death"
And "prenatal exposure delayed effect"
And "embryonic and fetal development"
And "growth and development"
And "abortion, spontaneous"
And "maternal-fetal exchange"
And "maternal exposure"

In addition, the Search Team compares the results with the current TEACH Database to ensure that all relevant and appropriate titles were captured.
The Search Team places the results of the search protocol into a database in Reference Manager. Then, relevant titles are identified, and full articles are retrieved.
After completing the searches, titles and abstracts are read to further determine if the article fits criteria for inclusion in the TEACH Database. If unsure, the bias is towards inclusion.

This list was cross-referenced with the list that was created by searching the above databases (IRIS, ATSDR, TR, etc.).

return to top

Part 3: Literature Search Procedure for Updating the TEACH Database for Existing TEACH Chemicals.

The method for doing this is similar to steps 1-4 in Part 2, with the inclusion of the year(s) since the last update in the search criterion. Step 3 can be excluded from these updates.

Document prepared by Environmental Health Consulting, Inc. November, 2005

Top of page

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.