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 March 31, 2015 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 March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Dutch architects are constructing a 3D-printed canal-side home, which they hope will spark an environmental revolution in the house-building industry. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Plane Stops in China

Solar Plane Stops in China

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Solar Impulse 2 stops over in China&apos;s Chonqing, completing the fifth leg in its bid to become the first solar powered plane to travel around the globe. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Impulse Lands in China After 20-Hour Flight from Myanmar

Solar Impulse Lands in China After 20-Hour Flight from Myanmar

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Solar Impulse 2 lands in China, the world&apos;s biggest carbon emitter, completing the fifth leg of its landmark global circumnavigation powered solely by the sun. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock 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