Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New way to assess risk from chemicals

Date:
December 26, 2011
Source:
University of Miami
Summary:
Approximately 80,000 industrial chemicals are in use and about 700 new chemicals are introduced to commerce each year in the United States, according to the US Government Accountability Office. To assess human health risks from exposure to harmful substances, an expert is proposing a new technique that is more efficient than current methods.

Approximately 80,000 industrial chemicals are in use and about 700 new chemicals are introduced to commerce each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. To assess human health risks from exposure to harmful substances, James Englehardt, professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Miami, is proposing a new technique that is more efficient than current methods.

Related Articles


The new model reduces the data requirements 21-fold from previous models, and can predict the likelihood of illness not just from exposure to individual substances, but also from chemical mixtures. The findings are published online in advance of print, by the journal of Risk Analysis.

"The method we are proposing could be applied, for example, to drinking water containing chemical byproducts of chlorine disinfection; well water contaminated with chemicals spilled or released to the subsurface; polluted indoor or outdoor air; or food contaminated with pesticides or other chemicals," says Englehardt, principal investigator of this project.

In general, chemical contaminants do not occur individually, but rather in mixtures, and components of the mixtures can act to increase, or reduce the health effects of other mixture components, explained Englehardt.

"Previously, no generally-accepted dose-response function was known for mixtures," Englehardt says. "I therefore derived a dose-response model that theoretically can be extrapolated from high dose data to low doses of interest, for mixtures of carcinogens and non-carcinogens."

The researchers then developed a Bayesian mathematical technique to allow their model to accept various types of input information and produce a risk estimate that is rigorously more conservative the less information is available for the assessment.

"More generally, I hope to motivate others to study and apply the predictive Bayesian approach to dose-response assessment, which I strongly believe in as a basis for management of ever-progressing chemical technology and for microbial dose-response assessment as well."

The paper is titled "A Gradient Markov Chain Monte Carlo Algorithm for Computing Multivariate Maximum Likelihood Estimates and Posterior Distributions: Mixture Dose-Response Assessment." Co-authors are Ruochen Li, financial systems analyst, at the Hang Seng Bank, Shanghai, China and Xiaoguang Li, postdoctoral associate, at Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Englehardt is now overseeing work on a method to detect risk in drinking water in real time, directly from sensor data. That work is part of a current project, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, to build an autonomous net-zero water residence hall on the University of Miami campus. All wastewater from the residence hall will be converted to drinking water, for return to the residence hall in a closed loop process. During the research, student residents will not drink or cook with the water, but will use it for all other purposes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ruochen Li, James D. Englehardt, Xiaoguang Li. A Gradient Markov Chain Monte Carlo Algorithm for Computing Multivariate Maximum Likelihood Estimates and Posterior Distributions: Mixture Dose-Response Assessment. Risk Analysis, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01672.x

Cite This Page:

University of Miami. "New way to assess risk from chemicals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221140503.htm>.
University of Miami. (2011, December 26). New way to assess risk from chemicals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221140503.htm
University of Miami. "New way to assess risk from chemicals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221140503.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins