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Melanie Nembhard

Melanie Nembhard

Ms. Melanie Nembhard is an Associate Health Scientist with Cardno ChemRisk in the San Francisco, CA office. She earned her MSPH in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also holds two certificates from Johns Hopkins, the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Certificate and the Population and Health Certificate. Ms. Nembhard’s principal areas of training and expertise include industrial hygiene and risk assessment. Since joining Cardno ChemRisk, she has provided litigation support for cases related to asbestos, benzene, butadiene, diacetyl, worker safety, welding, sunscreen, dermal exposures to various chemicals, and inhalation irritants. Additionally, she has participated in baseline exposure assessments at multiple oil refineries regarding occupational and environmental exposures to various chemical and physical agents, including particulates, volatile organic compounds, and noise.

Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
We are pleased to share with you an article our colleagues recently published in Inhalation Toxicology, titled “Cosmetic talc as a risk factor for pleural mesothelioma: a weight of evidence evaluation of the epidemiology.

In this paper, the authors pooled all of the mesothelioma studies of cosmetic talc miners and determined that, if in fact mesothelioma incidence had been significantly increased in these cohorts, it would have been detected using standard statistical techniques.  No increase at all was observed, and in fact there wasn’t a single reported case of mesothelioma in any cohort. 

The impetus for this study was a statement by EPA (in the early 1990’s) that the existing data were not sufficiently powerful to assess whether the miners were at risk.  Our analysis, which relies primarily on findings published since that time shows that there is now sufficient power to make such a determination.  As described in the paper, our findings are consistent with the fact that no pleural mesotheliomas have been observed in patients treated with very high doses of cosmetic talc placed directly in the pleura (“pluerodesis”).

Because miners were exposed to cosmetic talc at levels much higher than those associated with the use of cosmetic talc products, we conclude this is evidence that product use is highly unlikely to be a risk factor for mesothelioma.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Dr. Stacey Benson.
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

June 3rd and 4th, three employees of Cardno ChemRisk participated in the Avon walk to end breast cancer.  The Avon walk to end breast cancer occurs in seven US cities every year and asks each participant to raise at least $1800 and to walk 39.3 miles over the course of two days.  It started in 2003 and to date has raised over $600 million.  This is Laura Beth’s second year walking in memory of her Grandma Schwab, who lost her battle to breast cancer 20 years ago, and in honor of her sister-in-law, Hannah, who was diagnosed two years ago (and who is doing great!).   This year #TeamHanna (Laura Beth Miller, Laurie Armijo and Stacey Benson) raised over $11,000 and completed all miles of the walk in Chicago.  The Chicago event collectively raised over $3.1 million.  The money raised for this event will be used to “accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer”.  

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Posted on behalf of the author Paul Scott

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt on May 10, 2017 issued a memorandum revising the existing delegations of authority related to the approval of proposed remedies at Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), or “Superfund” sites. In the memorandum, EPA Administrator Pruitt reserved his authority to make the remedy selection at CERCLA cleanup sites whose Record of Decision (ROD) had a proposed cleanup cost exceeding $50 million.   In the past, remedy selection decisions at these sites were performed by the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management and the Regional Administrators.  The stated purpose of Administrator Pruitt's delegation of this authority to his office for these sites was to improve the remedy selection process and to involve the Administrator and his office in the remedy selection process more directly.

This change in remedy selection authority will have a direct impact on contaminated sediment sites where the proposed remedy is often in the hundreds of millions of dollars let alone greater than 50 million dollars.  For most of the major contaminated sediment Superfund sites, the selected remedy will have to be approved by the Administrator instead of by a Regional Administrator or Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management.  For perspective, the proposed costs for the remedies for the following sediment sites from their respective RODs:

  • Hudson River: $460 million 
  • Passaic River: $1.38 billion 
  • Fox River: $390 million
  • Lower Duwamish River: $342 million
  • Portland Harbor: $1.05 billion

The announcement and a link to the memo are located on the EPA website here.
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

Posted on behalf of the authors, Lindsey Garnick and Kevin Towle

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Posted on behalf of the author, Christina Trusty

Cardno ChemRisk presented an abstract at the 2017 Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland titled, “Risk Assessment for the Consumption of Ochratoxin A (OTA) in Breakfast Cereals in the US”.

Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a naturally occurring mycotoxin and is a stable contaminant found in the production and storage of cereals and grains. OTA is of interest, as it has been shown to cause kidney tumors in mice and rats, and is classified as a Group 2B carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Additionally, Health Canada has derived a negligible cancer risk intake (NCRI) of 4 ng/kg bw/day, corresponding to a 1 in 100,000 risk level, based on a TD05 of 19.6 μg/kg bw/day and a safety factor of 5000. In the U.S., there is currently no health based guidance value for OTA.

In our analysis, we assessed the potential cancer risks associated with consumption of OTA in different grain-based cereals in the U.S. OTA intake was estimated using the mean and maximum estimates of U.S. cereal consumption (various age groups, as reported in the EPA 2011 Exposure Factor Handbook) and mean OTA levels in grain-based U.S. cereals (as calculated from published literature).

Our results illustrated that OTA doses associated with mean cereal consumption rates are below the NCRI “negligible cancer risk” dose. The OTA doses associated with maximum consumption rates approach the NCRI value for several cereal types and exceed the NCRI for conventional oat cereal. Therefore, we concluded that the risk of cancer in the U.S. from OTA exposure is not likely to be of concern based on mean estimates of U.S. cereal consumption and mean OTA levels in grain-based cereals. However, under conditions of high consumption of oat cereal the OTA intake exceeds the NCRI.
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Cardno ChemRisk is a respected scientific consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco with locations and consultants across the U.S. While our website provides a formal look at our capabilities, the Cardno ChemRisk View provides an informal voice too. Various Cardno ChemRisk consultants will be sharing news and views about current trends, happenings and methodologies in the industry. We’ll also highlight activities of interest at Cardno ChemRisk, within confidentiality restrictions of course.

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