Category Archives: Risk Assessment

Brewed tea a significant source of trihalomethane exposure

Fakour H, Lo SL. Formation and risk assessment of trihalomethanes through different tea brewing habits. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2018 Sep 1. pii: S1438-4639(18)30193-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.08.013.

Trihalomethanes (THMs) are suspected carcinogens and reproductive toxicants commonly found in chlorinated drinking water. This study investigates the formation of THMs and their associated risks during different tea brewing habits. Three main categories of tea (black, oolong, and green) under various brewing conditions and drinking water sources were tested. Tea samples prepared in ordinary thermos flask formed significant levels of total THM (TTHM). The highest TTHM formation came from black tea made with tap water, plausibly due to higher concentrations of reactive THM precursors. Compared with tap water, when the background solution is bottled water or distilled water, less TTHM was observed in prepared tea infusions. The results also revealed that unlike the traditional teapot-based tea serving habit, the removal of THMs is significantly reduced when tea infusion is stored in enclosed containers. Risk assessment analysis based on the survey among tea shop costumers also revealed that cancer risks induced by ingestion of THMs through drinking tea infusions prepared in thermos flask exceeded the tolerable level. Data obtained in this research demonstrated that drinking tea infusions directly from enclosed containers can be a significant source of exposure to THMs.

Nationwide drinking water sampling for exposure assessment, Denmark

Voutchkova DD, Hansen B, Ernstsen V, Kristiansen SM.Nationwide Drinking Water Sampling Campaign for Exposure Assessments in Denmark. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2018 Mar 7;15(3). pii: E467. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15030467.

Nationwide sampling campaign of treated drinking water of groundwater origin was designed and implemented in Denmark in 2013. The main purpose of the sampling was to obtain data on the spatial variation of iodine concentration and speciation in treated drinking water, which was supplied to the majority of the Danish population. This data was to be used in future exposure and epidemiologic studies. The water supply sector (83 companies, owning 144 waterworks throughout Denmark) was involved actively in the planning and implementation process, which reduced significantly the cost and duration of data collection. The dataset resulting from this collaboration covers not only iodine species (I, IO₃, TI), but also major elements and parameters (pH, electrical conductivity, DOC, TC, TN, F, Cl, NO₃, SO₄2-, Ca²⁺, Mg²⁺, K⁺, Na⁺) and a long list of trace elements (n = 66). The water samples represent 144 waterworks abstracting about 45% of the annual Danish groundwater abstraction for drinking water purposes, which supply about 2.5 million Danes (45% of all Danish residents). This technical note presents the design, implementation, and limitations of such a sampling design in detail in order (1) to facilitate the future use of this dataset, (2) to inform future replication studies, or (3) to provide an example for other researchers.

Evidence lacking for low-exposure adverse effects of arsenic

Hong YS, Ye BJ, Kim YM, Kim BG, Kang GH, Kim JJ, Song KH, Kim YH, Seo JW. Investigation of Health Effects According to the Exposure of Low Concentration Arsenic Contaminated Ground Water. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2017 Nov 27;14(12). pii: E1461. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14121461.

Recent epidemiological studies have reported adverse health effects, including skin cancer, due to low concentrations of arsenic via drinking water. We conducted a study to assess whether low arsenic contaminated ground water affected health of the residents who consumed it. For precise biomonitoring results, the inorganic (trivalent arsenite (As III) and pentavalent arsenate (As V)) and organic forms (monomethylarsonate (MMA) and dimethylarsinate (DMA)) of arsenic were separately quantified by combining high-performance liquid chromatography and inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy from urine samples. In conclusion, urinary As III, As V, MMA, and hair arsenic concentrations were significantly higher in residents who consumed arsenic contaminated ground water than control participants who consumed tap water. But, most health screening results did not show a statistically significant difference between exposed and control subjects. We presume that the elevated arsenic concentrations may not be sufficient to cause detectable health effects. Consumption of arsenic contaminated ground water could result in elevated urinary organic and inorganic arsenic concentrations. We recommend immediate discontinuation of ground water supply in this area for the safety of the residents.

IARC Corruption Should be Rooted Out as Condition of Further US Support

Regardless of what one thinks about glyphosate, IARC corruption of science and regulatory policy decision-making must be rooted out.

“Not surprisingly, the agency branded glyphosate carcinogenic. But this time evidence is surfacing of collusion with anti-chemical activist groups and class action lawyers, serious conflicts of interest involving a key IARC glyphosate reviewer, and IARC manipulation of scientific reports along with deliberate withholding of studies that concluded the chemical is safe, so that the agency could get a guilty verdict.” click here

Another Ecologic Study on Arsenic and Bladder Cancer of Limited Utility

Ecologic studies such as this are not very informative because of limited exposure assessments. But they can certainly generate alarm. Even so, small associations such as this are questionable regardless of precise mathematical computations. Note the absence of confidence intervals on the estimates which sends a strong message to ignore the study altogether.

Saint-Jacques N, Brown P, Nauta L, Boxall J, Parker L, Dummer TJB. Estimating the risk of bladder and kidney cancer from exposure to low-levels of arsenic in drinking water, Nova Scotia, Canada. Environment international. 2017 Oct 28. pii: S0160-4120(17)31385-5. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.10.014.

Arsenic in drinking water impacts health. Highest levels of arsenic have been historically observed in Taiwan and Bangladesh but the contaminant has been affecting the health of people globally. Strong associations have been confirmed between exposure to high-levels of arsenic in drinking water and a wide range of diseases, including cancer. However, at lower levels of exposure, especially near the current World Health Organization regulatory limit (10μg/L), this association is inconsistent as the effects are mostly extrapolated from high exposure studies. This ecological study used Bayesian inference to model the relative risk of bladder and kidney cancer at these lower concentrations-0-2μg/L; 2-5μg/L and; ≥5μg/L of arsenic-in 864 bladder and 525 kidney cancers diagnosed in the study area, Nova Scotia, Canada between 1998 and 2010. The model included proxy measures of lifestyle (e.g. smoking) and accounted for spatial dependencies. Overall, bladder cancer risk was 16% (2-5μg/L) and 18% (≥5μg/L) greater than that of the referent group (<2μg/L), with posterior probabilities of 88% and 93% for these risks being above 1. Effect sizes for kidney cancer were 5% (2-5μg/L) and 14% (≥5μg/L) above that of the referent group (<2μg/L), with probabilities of 61% and 84%. High-risk areas were common in southwestern areas, where higher arsenic-levels are associated with the local geology. The study suggests an increased bladder cancer, and potentially kidney cancer, risk from exposure to drinking water arsenic-levels within the current the World Health Organization maximum acceptable concentration.

Fuzzy Health Risk Assessment as a Screening Tool

Li F, Qiu Z, Zhang J, Liu C, Cai Y, Xiao M. Spatial Distribution and Fuzzy Health Risk Assessment of Trace Elements in Surface Water from Honghu Lake. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2017 Sep 4;14(9). pii: E1011. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14091011.

Previous studies revealed that Honghu Lake was polluted by trace elements due to anthropogenic activities. This study investigated the spatial distribution of trace elements in Honghu Lake, and identified the major pollutants and control areas based on the fuzzy health risk assessment at screening level. The mean total content of trace elements in surface water decreased in the order of Zn (18.04 μg/L) > Pb (3.42 μg/L) > Cu (3.09 μg/L) > Cr (1.63 μg/L) > As (0.99 μg/L) > Cd (0.14 μg/L), within limits of Drinking Water Guidelines. The results of fuzzy health risk assessment indicated that there was no obvious non-carcinogenic risk to human health, while carcinogenic risk was observed in descending order of As > Cr > Cd > Pb. As was regarded to have the highest carcinogenic risk among selected trace elements because it generally accounted for 64% of integrated carcinogenic risk. Potential carcinogenic risk of trace elements in each sampling site was approximately at medium risk level (10-5 to 10-4). The areas in the south (S4, S13, and S16) and northeast (S8, S18, and S19) of Honghu Lake were regarded as the risk priority control areas. However, the corresponding maximum memberships of integrated carcinogenic risk in S1, S3, S10-S13, S15, and S18 were of relatively low credibility (50-60%), and may mislead the decision-makers in identifying the risk priority areas. Results of fuzzy assessment presented the subordinate grade and corresponding reliability of risk, and provided more full-scale results for decision-makers, which made up for the deficiency of certainty assessment to a certain extent.

Review of Pesticide Standards Worldwide

Li Z, Jennings A. Worldwide Regulations of Standard Values of Pesticides for Human Health Risk Control: A Review. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2017 Jul 22;14(7). pii: E826. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14070826.

The impact of pesticide residues on human health is a worldwide problem, as human exposure to pesticides can occur through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Regulatory jurisdictions have promulgated the standard values for pesticides in residential soil, air, drinking water, and agricultural commodity for years. Until now, more than 19,400 pesticide soil regulatory guidance values (RGVs) and 5400 pesticide drinking water maximum concentration levels (MCLs) have been regulated by 54 and 102 nations, respectively. Over 90 nations have provided pesticide agricultural commodity maximum residue limits (MRLs) for at least one of the 12 most commonly consumed agricultural foods. A total of 22 pesticides have been regulated with more than 100 soil RGVs, and 25 pesticides have more than 100 drinking water MCLs. This research indicates that those RGVs and MCLs for an individual pesticide could vary over seven (DDT drinking water MCLs), eight (Lindane soil RGVs), or even nine (Dieldrin soil RGVs) orders of magnitude. Human health risk uncertainty bounds and the implied total exposure mass burden model were applied to analyze the most commonly regulated and used pesticides for human health risk control. For the top 27 commonly regulated pesticides in soil, there are at least 300 RGVs (8% of the total) that are above all of the computed upper bounds for human health risk uncertainty. For the top 29 most-commonly regulated pesticides in drinking water, at least 172 drinking water MCLs (5% of the total) exceed the computed upper bounds for human health risk uncertainty; while for the 14 most widely used pesticides, there are at least 310 computed implied dose limits (28.0% of the total) that are above the acceptable daily intake values. The results show that some worldwide standard values were not derived conservatively enough to avoid human health risk by the pesticides, and that some values were not computed comprehensively by considering all major human exposure pathways.