Special Issue "Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants"

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A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marta Schuhmacher

Environmental Engineering Laboratory, Departament d'Enginyeria Quimica, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Av. Països Catalans 26, 43007 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: human health risk assessment; chemical mixtures; decision support systems; ecotoxicology; modelling of environmental pollution
Guest Editor
Dr. Martí Nadal

Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, IISPV, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Sant Llorenç 21, 43201 Reus, Catalonia, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: human health risk assessment; chemical mixtures; emerging pollutants; ecotoxicology; biomonitoring

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since a broad range of chemicals is released by urban communities and industries, anthropogenic activities may have an important impact for the environment and the human health. Once they reach the environment, these substances are spread and, ultimately, they enter the human body through several direct (e.g., air inhalation) or indirect (e.g., food consumption) exposure pathways. Understanding the extent to which ecosystems and human populations are exposed to environmental contaminants is essential to identify those pollutants of most concern. Environmental contaminants are ubiquitous, being present not only in
environmental matrices or foodstuffs, but also in personal care products, electronic devices, as well as many other home products. Classical approaches for assessing health risks have focused on the individual evaluation of a single source, pathway or adverse effect. Moreover, pollutants are considered independently, and their chemical interactions have not been taken into account. However, people are really exposed to multiple contaminants from a variety of sources and through different pathways. Therefore, tools to help the assessment of the co-exposure to environmental contaminants, and the associated human health risks are needed. New science-based risk assessment methods are essential as supporting tools for stakeholders of decision-making processes.

Articles selected in this Special Issue of Toxics will cover a number of timely research questions in the area of “Risk assessment of environmental contaminants”, with special emphasis on the combined exposure to chemical pollutants. This Special Issue will cover studies related with:

  • Environmental and human monitoring
  • Exposure and co-exposure models
  • Biomarkers for health risk assessment
  • Emerging pollutants in the environment
  • Mixtures of environmental contaminants
  • Risk management and communication
  • Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling for risk assessment
  • Nanotoxicology: Risk assessment of nanomaterials

Professor Dr. Marta Schuhmacher
Dr. Martí Nadal
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • human health risk assessment
  • ecotoxicology
  • exposure assessment
  • risk management
  • chemical mixtures
  • PBPK modeling
  • combined exposure
  • nanomaterials

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Modelling Short-Term Maximum Individual Exposure from Airborne Hazardous Releases in Urban Environments. Part ΙI: Validation of a Deterministic Model with Wind Tunnel Experimental Data
Toxics 2015, 3(3), 259-267; doi:10.3390/toxics3030259
Received: 15 January 2014 / Revised: 9 June 2015 / Accepted: 11 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (323 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The capability to predict short-term maximum individual exposure is very important for several applications including, for example, deliberate/accidental release of hazardous substances, odour fluctuations or material flammability level exceedance. Recently, authors have proposed a simple approach relating maximum individual exposure to parameters such
[...] Read more.
The capability to predict short-term maximum individual exposure is very important for several applications including, for example, deliberate/accidental release of hazardous substances, odour fluctuations or material flammability level exceedance. Recently, authors have proposed a simple approach relating maximum individual exposure to parameters such as the fluctuation intensity and the concentration integral time scale. In the first part of this study (Part I), the methodology was validated against field measurements, which are governed by the natural variability of atmospheric boundary conditions. In Part II of this study, an in-depth validation of the approach is performed using reference data recorded under truly stationary and well documented flow conditions. For this reason, a boundary-layer wind-tunnel experiment was used. The experimental dataset includes 196 time-resolved concentration measurements which detect the dispersion from a continuous point source within an urban model of semi-idealized complexity. The data analysis allowed the improvement of an important model parameter. The model performed very well in predicting the maximum individual exposure, presenting a factor of two of observations equal to 95%. For large time intervals, an exponential correction term has been introduced in the model based on the experimental observations. The new model is capable of predicting all time intervals giving an overall factor of two of observations equal to 100%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Modeling Short-Term Maximum Individual Exposure from Airborne Hazardous Releases in Urban Environments. Part I: Validation of a Deterministic Model with Field Experimental Data
Toxics 2015, 3(3), 249-258; doi:10.3390/toxics3030249
Received: 15 January 2014 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 16 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
PDF Full-text (367 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The release of airborne hazardous substances in the atmosphere has a direct effect on human health as, during the inhalation, an amount of concentration is inserted through the respiratory system into the human body, which can cause serious or even irreparable damage in
[...] Read more.
The release of airborne hazardous substances in the atmosphere has a direct effect on human health as, during the inhalation, an amount of concentration is inserted through the respiratory system into the human body, which can cause serious or even irreparable damage in health. One of the key problems in such cases is the prediction of the maximum individual exposure. Current state of the art methods, which are based on the concentration cumulative distribution function and require the knowledge of the concentration variance and the intermittency factor, have limitations. Recently, authors proposed a deterministic approach relating maximum individual exposure to parameters such as the fluctuation intensity and the concentration integral time scale. The purpose of the first part of this study is to validate the deterministic approach with the extensive dataset of the MUST (Mock Urban Setting Test) field experiment. This dataset includes 81 trials, which practically cover various atmospheric conditions and stability classes and contains in total 4004 non-zero concentration sensor data with time resolutions of 0.01–0.02 s. The results strengthen the usefulness of the deterministic model in predicting short-term maximum individual exposure. Another important output is the estimation of the methodology uncertainty involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Environmental Risk Communication through Qualitative Risk Assessment
Toxics 2014, 2(2), 346-363; doi:10.3390/toxics2020346
Received: 21 February 2014 / Revised: 13 May 2014 / Accepted: 29 May 2014 / Published: 19 June 2014
PDF Full-text (717 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental analysts are often hampered in communicating the risks of environmental contaminants due to the myriad of regulatory requirements that are applicable. The use of a qualitative, risk-based control banding strategy for assessment and control of potential environmental contaminants provides a standardized approach
[...] Read more.
Environmental analysts are often hampered in communicating the risks of environmental contaminants due to the myriad of regulatory requirements that are applicable. The use of a qualitative, risk-based control banding strategy for assessment and control of potential environmental contaminants provides a standardized approach to improve risk communication. Presented is a model that provides an effective means for determining standardized responses and controls for common environmental issues based on the level of risk. The model is designed for integration within an occupational health and safety management system to provide a multidisciplinary environmental and occupational risk management approach. This environmental model, which utilizes multidisciplinary control banding strategies for delineating risk, complements the existing Risk Level Based Management System, a proven method in a highly regulated facility for occupational health and safety. A simplified environmental risk matrix is presented that is stratified over four risk levels. Examples of qualitative environmental control banding strategies are presented as they apply to United States regulations for construction, research activities, facility maintenance, and spill remediation that affect air, water, soil, and waste disposal. This approach offers a standardized risk communication language for multidisciplinary issues that will improve communications within and between environmental health and safety professionals, workers, and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Water-Air Volatilization Factors to Determine Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Reference Levels in Water
Toxics 2014, 2(2), 276-290; doi:10.3390/toxics2020276
Received: 3 April 2014 / Revised: 30 May 2014 / Accepted: 3 June 2014 / Published: 11 June 2014
PDF Full-text (894 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The goal of this work is the modeling and calculation of volatilization factors (VFs) from water to air for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in order to perform human health risk-based reference levels (RLs) for the safe use of water. The VF models have
[...] Read more.
The goal of this work is the modeling and calculation of volatilization factors (VFs) from water to air for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in order to perform human health risk-based reference levels (RLs) for the safe use of water. The VF models have been developed starting from the overall mass-transfer coefficients (Koverall) concept from air to water for two interaction geometries (flat surface and spherical droplets) in indoor and outdoor scenarios. For a case study with five groups of risk scenarios and thirty VOCs, theoretical VFs have been calculated by using the developed models. Results showed that Koverall values for flat and spherical surface geometries were close to the mass transfer coefficient for water (KL) when Henry’s law constant (KH) was high. In the case of spherical drop geometry, the fraction of volatilization (fV) was asymptotical when increasing KH with fV values also limited due to Koverall. VFs for flat surfaces were calculated from the emission flux of VOCs, and results showed values close to 1000KH for the most conservative indoor scenarios and almost constant values for outdoor scenarios. VFs for spherical geometry in indoor scenarios followed also constant VFs and were far from 1000KH. The highest calculated VF values corresponded to the E2A, E2B, E3A and E5A scenarios and were compared with experimental and real results in order to check the goodness of flat and sphere geometry models. Results showed an overestimation of calculated values for the E2A and E2B scenarios and an underestimation for the E3A and E5A scenarios. In both cases, most of the calculated VFs were from 0.1- to 10-times higher than experimental/real values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
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Open AccessArticle Using Statistical and Probabilistic Methods to Evaluate Health Risk Assessment: A Case Study
Toxics 2014, 2(2), 291-306; doi:10.3390/toxics2020291
Received: 4 March 2014 / Revised: 22 April 2014 / Accepted: 8 May 2014 / Published: 11 June 2014
PDF Full-text (1960 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The toxic chemical and heavy metals within wastewater can cause serious adverse impacts on human health. Health risk assessment (HRA) is an effective tool for supporting decision-making and corrective actions in water quality management. HRA can also help people understand the water quality
[...] Read more.
The toxic chemical and heavy metals within wastewater can cause serious adverse impacts on human health. Health risk assessment (HRA) is an effective tool for supporting decision-making and corrective actions in water quality management. HRA can also help people understand the water quality and quantify the adverse effects of pollutants on human health. Due to the imprecision of data, measurement error and limited available information, uncertainty is inevitable in the HRA process. The purpose of this study is to integrate statistical and probabilistic methods to deal with censored and limited numbers of input data to improve the reliability of the non-cancer HRA of dermal contact exposure to contaminated river water by considering uncertainty. A case study in the Kelligrews River in St. John’s, Canada, was conducted to demonstrate the feasibility and capacity of the proposed approach. Five heavy metals were selected to evaluate the risk level, including arsenic, molybdenum, zinc, uranium and manganese. The results showed that the probability of the total hazard index of dermal exposure exceeding 1 is very low, and there is no obvious evidence of risk in the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Human and Veterinary Antibiotics Used in Portugal—A Ranking for Ecosurveillance
Toxics 2014, 2(2), 188-225; doi:10.3390/toxics2020188
Received: 5 March 2014 / Revised: 23 April 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 23 May 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (779 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Antibiotics represent a pharmacotherapeutic group widely used in both human and veterinary medicine for which ecosurveillance has been continually recommended. It is urgent to rank the antibiotics and highlight those that may pose potential risk to the environment, a key step for the
[...] Read more.
Antibiotics represent a pharmacotherapeutic group widely used in both human and veterinary medicine for which ecosurveillance has been continually recommended. It is urgent to rank the antibiotics and highlight those that may pose potential risk to the environment, a key step for the risk management. The absence of this type of contributions applied to the Portuguese reality supported the idea of compiling the data presented herein. With such purpose the most recent and representative data is used to draw a comparative contribution of each antimicrobial classes according to their intended use, i.e., in human versus veterinary medicine. The aim was to assess: (1) the amount and patterns of antimicrobials usage between human and animals; (2) the qualitative comparison between the antimicrobial classes used in each practice (human and veterinary) or specific use; (3) the potential to enter the environment, metabolism, mode of action and environmental occurrences. This manuscript will, thus, identify priorities for the environmental risk assessment, considering the ranking of the antimicrobials by their usage and potential environmental exposure. Ultimately, this study will serve as a basis for future monitoring programs, guiding the policy of regulatory agencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
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Open AccessArticle Association of Human Mortality with Air Pollution of Hong Kong
Toxics 2014, 2(2), 158-164; doi:10.3390/toxics2020158
Received: 11 February 2014 / Revised: 30 April 2014 / Accepted: 4 May 2014 / Published: 9 May 2014
PDF Full-text (499 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, we attempted to investigate the general statistical association of air pollution with the cardiovascular and respiratory mortality of the elderly in Hong Kong. Based on six years of measurements including the major air pollutant concentrations (PM10, SO2
[...] Read more.
In this study, we attempted to investigate the general statistical association of air pollution with the cardiovascular and respiratory mortality of the elderly in Hong Kong. Based on six years of measurements including the major air pollutant concentrations (PM10, SO2, NO, NO2, O3, CO), ambient temperature, and mortality (respiratory, cardiovascular) between 2005 and 2010, correlation analysis was carried out in annual, monthly and weekly time scales. From an annual perspective, it was found that the air pollution species may pose a constant effect on the respiratory and the cardiovascular mortality during the studied period since the elderly mortality rates and the air pollution annual concentrations show obvious constant trends. From a monthly time scale, it was found that NO2 and CO have high positive cross correlation with the respiratory mortality of the following 1 to 2 months. In addition, PM10 and CO also have similar delayed influence on the cardiovascular mortality. Among these four pollutants, only CO was found to exhibit high statistical association in the weekly time scale and it is most related to the cardiovascular mortality of the week after next. Therefore, it was concluded that the effect of air pollution on the elderly mortality of Hong Kong should be cumulative. This study implies that the establishment of weekly or monthly air quality indices is necessary for health implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Risk Mitigation Measures: An Important Aspect of the Environmental Risk Assessment of Pharmaceuticals
Toxics 2014, 2(1), 35-49; doi:10.3390/toxics2010035
Received: 13 December 2013 / Revised: 13 January 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2014 / Published: 28 January 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within EU marketing authorization procedures of human and veterinary medicinal products (HMP and VMP), an environmental risk assessment (ERA) has to be performed. In the event that an unacceptable environmental risk is identified, risk mitigation measures (RMM) shall be applied in order to
[...] Read more.
Within EU marketing authorization procedures of human and veterinary medicinal products (HMP and VMP), an environmental risk assessment (ERA) has to be performed. In the event that an unacceptable environmental risk is identified, risk mitigation measures (RMM) shall be applied in order to reduce environmental exposure to the pharmaceutical. Within the authorization procedures of HMP, no RMM have been applied so far, except for specific precautions for the disposal of the unused medicinal product or waste materials. For VMP, a limited number of RMM do exist. The aim of this study was to develop consistent and efficient RMM. Therefore, existing RMM were compiled from a summary of product characteristics of authorized pharmaceuticals, and new RMM were developed and evaluated. Based on the results, appropriate RMM were applied within the authorization procedures of medicinal products. For HMP, except for the existing precautions for disposal, no further reasonable measures could be developed. For VMP, two specific precautions for disposal and 17 specific precautions for use in animals were proposed as RMM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Levels of Metals in Hair in Childhood: Preliminary Associations with Neuropsychological Behaviors
Toxics 2014, 2(1), 1-16; doi:10.3390/toxics2010001
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 20 December 2013 / Accepted: 20 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (463 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For more than 100 years, an electrochemical plant has been operating in Flix (Catalonia, Spain) by the Ebro River. Its activities have originated a severe accumulation of environmental contaminants (metals, organochlorinated pesticides and radionuclides) in sediments of the Flix reservoir, while mercury (Hg)
[...] Read more.
For more than 100 years, an electrochemical plant has been operating in Flix (Catalonia, Spain) by the Ebro River. Its activities have originated a severe accumulation of environmental contaminants (metals, organochlorinated pesticides and radionuclides) in sediments of the Flix reservoir, while mercury (Hg) has been also frequently released to the air. Environmental exposure to industrial pollutants has been associated with decreased intelligence and behavioral problems. In the present study, we assessed, in 53 children living in the village of Flix and the surroundings, the relationships between the concentrations of a number of trace elements (As, Be, Cd, Cs, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sn, Tl, U and V) in hair and the levels of testosterone in blood, with respect to potential neuropsychological alterations. Lead (Pb) and Hg showed the highest mean concentrations in hair samples. However, the current Hg levels were lower than those previously found in children living in the same zone, while the concentration of the remaining elements was similar to those reported in the scientific literature. The outcomes of certain neuropsychological indicators showed a significant correlation with metals, such as Pb and uranium (U). More specifically, these elements were negatively correlated with working memory and hit reaction time, suggesting impulsivity. In summary, although Pb and U concentrations in hair were within standard levels, both metals could be correlated with certain, but minor, neuropsychological alterations in the childhood population of Flix. These findings should be confirmed by future birth cohort studies, with bigger study populations and using more complex statistical analyses, focused on human exposure to these specific elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Personal Exposure to Air Pollution in Office Workers in Ireland: Measurement, Analysis and Implications
Toxics 2013, 1(1), 60-76; doi:10.3390/toxics1010060
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 13 November 2013 / Accepted: 14 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (990 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An experimental assessment of personal exposure to PM10 in 59 office workers was carried out in Dublin; Ireland. Two hundred and fifty five samples of 24 hour personal exposure were collected in real time over a 28 month period. The investigation included
[...] Read more.
An experimental assessment of personal exposure to PM10 in 59 office workers was carried out in Dublin; Ireland. Two hundred and fifty five samples of 24 hour personal exposure were collected in real time over a 28 month period. The investigation included an assessment of the uptake of pollutants in the lungs during various daily activities using a Human Respiratory Tract Model. The results of the investigation showed that indoor air quality was the overriding determinant of average daily personal exposure as participants in the study spent over 92% of their time indoors. Exposure in the workplace and exposure at home were the most important microenvironments in total uptake of particulate matter. Exposure while commuting or shopping were found to play a minor role in comparison. The investigation highlighted the importance of considering pollutant uptake as well as personal exposure among receptors where variations in levels of physical activity and duration of exposure are present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)

Review

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Open AccessReview Overview of the Current State-of-the-Art for Bioaccumulation Models in Marine Mammals
Toxics 2014, 2(2), 226-246; doi:10.3390/toxics2020226
Received: 16 April 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (486 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Information regarding the (toxico)kinetics of a chemical in organisms can be integrated in mathematical equations thereby creating bioaccumulation models. Such models can reconstruct previous exposure scenarios, provide a framework for current exposures and predict future situations. As such, they are gaining in popularity
[...] Read more.
Information regarding the (toxico)kinetics of a chemical in organisms can be integrated in mathematical equations thereby creating bioaccumulation models. Such models can reconstruct previous exposure scenarios, provide a framework for current exposures and predict future situations. As such, they are gaining in popularity for risk assessment purposes. Since marine mammals are protected, the modeling process is different and more difficult to complete than for typical model organisms, such as rodents. This review will therefore discuss the currently available models for marine mammals, address statistical issues and knowledge gaps, highlight future perspectives and provide general do’s and don’ts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessReview Assessment of Health Risk in Human Populations Due to Chlorpyrifos
Toxics 2014, 2(2), 92-114; doi:10.3390/toxics2020092
Received: 20 November 2013 / Revised: 28 January 2014 / Accepted: 18 March 2014 / Published: 3 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1177 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A wide ranging survey was carried out of the available data from ten different countries on human exposure to chlorpyrifos, in many different occupational and nonoccupational settings. Low levels of chlorpyrifos residues were found to be widely distributed in the global human population,
[...] Read more.
A wide ranging survey was carried out of the available data from ten different countries on human exposure to chlorpyrifos, in many different occupational and nonoccupational settings. Low levels of chlorpyrifos residues were found to be widely distributed in the global human population, but most of these do not constitute a public health risk, as evaluated using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Guidelines. For example, the general populations in USA, Germany and Italy had detectable residue levels well below the guidelines. However, high levels of health risk were apparent in a specific group of pregnant mothers in the USA, at median exposure with a HQ0.50 of 26.6, suggesting that most of this population group was affected. Also the high exposure group (5% most exposed) with occupationally exposed manufacturing workers in the USA had a HQ0.95 of 2.6 to 42.0, and pest control applicators in Australia and the USA both had a HQ0.95 of 5.2. Some farmers in Sri Lanka and Vietnam had a high level of risk after spraying applications, having a HQ0.95 of 2.2 and 19.5 respectively at the high exposure level. These results suggest that there is a possibility of adverse health effects in specific population groups in many different settings throughout the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessReview Evaluation of Glycol Ether as an Alternative to Perchloroethylene in Dry Cleaning
Toxics 2014, 2(2), 115-133; doi:10.3390/toxics2020115
Received: 3 January 2014 / Revised: 25 February 2014 / Accepted: 18 March 2014 / Published: 3 April 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (542 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Perchloroethylene (PCE) is a highly utilized solvent in the dry cleaning industry because of its cleaning effectiveness and relatively low cost to consumers. According to the 2006 U.S. Census, approximately 28,000 dry cleaning operations used PCE as their principal cleaning agent. Widespread use
[...] Read more.
Perchloroethylene (PCE) is a highly utilized solvent in the dry cleaning industry because of its cleaning effectiveness and relatively low cost to consumers. According to the 2006 U.S. Census, approximately 28,000 dry cleaning operations used PCE as their principal cleaning agent. Widespread use of PCE is problematic because of its adverse impacts on human health and environmental quality. As PCE use is curtailed, effective alternatives must be analyzed for their toxicity and impacts to human health and the environment. Potential alternatives to PCE in dry cleaning include dipropylene glycol n-butyl ether (DPnB) and dipropylene glycol tert-butyl ether (DPtB), both promising to pose a relatively smaller risk. To evaluate these two alternatives to PCE, we established and scored performance criteria, including chemical toxicity, employee and customer exposure levels, impacts on the general population, costs of each system, and cleaning efficacy. The scores received for PCE were 5, 5, 3, 5, 3, and 3, respectively, and DPnB and DPtB scored 3, 1, 2, 2, 4, and 4, respectively. An aggregate sum of the performance criteria yielded a favorably low score of “16” for both DPnB and DPtB compared to “24” for PCE. We conclude that DPnB and DPtB are preferable dry cleaning agents, exhibiting reduced human toxicity and a lesser adverse impact on human health and the environment compared to PCE, with comparable capital investments, and moderately higher annual operating costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
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Open AccessReview Methods for Assessing Basic Particle Properties and Cytotoxicity of Engineered Nanoparticles
Toxics 2014, 2(1), 79-91; doi:10.3390/toxics2010079
Received: 3 January 2014 / Revised: 5 March 2014 / Accepted: 11 March 2014 / Published: 19 March 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (435 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increasing penetration of materials and products containing engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) to the market is posing many concerns regarding their environmental impacts. To assess these impacts, there is an urgent need of techniques for determining the health-related properties of ENPs and standards for
[...] Read more.
The increasing penetration of materials and products containing engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) to the market is posing many concerns regarding their environmental impacts. To assess these impacts, there is an urgent need of techniques for determining the health-related properties of ENPs and standards for assessing their toxicity. Although a wide number of systems for characterizing nanoparticles in different media (i.e., gases and liquids) is already commercially available, the development of protocols for determining the cytotoxicity of ENPs is still at an infant stage, drawing upon existing knowledge from general toxicology. In this regard, differences in the preparation of ENP-containing solutions for cytotoxicity testing, as well as in the steps involved in the tests can result in significant deviations and inconsistencies between studies. In an attempt to highlight the urgent need for assessing the environmental impacts of nanotechnology, this article provides a brief overview of the existing methods for determining health-related properties of ENPs and their cytotoxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessConcept Paper A Pathway to Linking Risk and Sustainability Assessments
Toxics 2014, 2(4), 533-550; doi:10.3390/toxics2040533
Received: 22 November 2013 / Revised: 20 August 2014 / Accepted: 14 October 2014 / Published: 28 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (586 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The US National Research Council recently released a report promoting sustainability assessment as the future of environmental regulation. Thirty years earlier, this organization (under the same senior author) had issued a similar report promoting risk assessment as a new method for improving the
[...] Read more.
The US National Research Council recently released a report promoting sustainability assessment as the future of environmental regulation. Thirty years earlier, this organization (under the same senior author) had issued a similar report promoting risk assessment as a new method for improving the science behind regulatory decisions. Tools for risk assessment were subsequently developed and adopted in state and federal agencies throughout the US. Since then, limitations of the traditional forms of risk assessment have prompted some dramatic modifications toward cumulative assessments that combine multiple chemical and non-chemical stressors in community settings. At present, however, there is little momentum within the risk assessment community for abandoning this evolved system in favor of a new sustainability-based one. The key question is, how best to proceed? Should sustainability principles be incorporated into current risk assessment procedures, or vice versa? Widespread recognition of the importance of sustainability offers no clear guidance for the risk assessment community, especially in light of institutional commitments to sustainability tools and definitions that appear to have little in common with cumulative risk notions. The purpose of this paper is to reframe the sustainability challenge for risk assessors by offering analytical guidance to chart a way out. We adopt a decision analysis framework to overcome some conceptual barriers separating these two forms of assessment, and thereby, both escape the either/or choice and accept the inevitability of sustainability as a central regulatory concern in the U.S. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment of Environmental Contaminants)
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