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Lindsey Garnick

Lindsey Garnick

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

Posted on behalf of Sarah Brown

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Alcohol metabolism, impairment, and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) has been an active scientific research area for well over a century (Nicloux 1899, Hamil 1910, Widmark, 1932). Research by The American Medical Association (AMA) and the National Safety Council (NSC) prompted the establishment of the first commonly used legal limit of 0.15% BAC for driving in 1983. Since then, BAC determination has been a staple in forensic toxicology; however, its application is often limited to solely determining an individual’s state of inebriation. A 2016 study by Cardno ChemRisk scientists evaluated the best practices for determining a person’s BAC at specific time-points following alcohol ingestion, and proposed a novel model to determine post-mortem alcohol generation (Cowan et al. 2016).

Although alcohol metabolism is well studied, information regarding its interaction with opioids is relatively limited. The “Opioid Crisis” has garnered much attention recently; increased prescription of opioid pain relievers in the late 1990s based on non-addictive claims by the pharmaceutical industry led to widespread misuse and abuse of these medications (NIDA 2017). The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) described this trend as a “national crisis”: the misuse and addiction to opioids has caused more than 90 deaths per day, causing a serious public health concern (NIDA 2017). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others have described the increased prevalence of opioid-related deaths involving alcohol (Gomes et al. 2017; Jones et al. 2014). Both Gomes et al. (2017) and Jones et al. (2014) report that approximately one in five opioid fatalities involve alcohol.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warns of serious risks and death when opioids and alcohol are consumed concurrently (FDA 2016). Symptoms of opioid and alcohol interaction are often described as central nervous system (CNS) depression, including dizziness or lightheadedness, extreme sleepiness, slowed or difficult breathing, or unresponsiveness (FDA 2016; Mozayani and Raymon 2004). Although some researchers have expressed interest in defining this interaction quantitatively, few have reported definitive results (Cushman et al. 1987; Gudin et al. 2013). Additional research to better define this interaction has become both a priority and a necessity in light of the recent crisis.

Cardno ChemRisk’s team of toxicologists and health risk assessment professionals have conducted research into the toxicology and kinetics of alcohol in the body following ingestion, and are currently conducting research on opioid and alcohol interactions, as well as opioid impact on BAC. If you would like to learn more about our areas of expertise in drug and alcohol pharmacokinetics and forensic toxicology, please contact Dr. Ernest Fung.
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

Cardno ChemRisk professionals will be offering a seminar series that will explore common and emerging issues encountered by EHS professionals in various industries. This seminar series will explore common and emerging issues encountered by EHS professionals in various industries. The purpose of these talks is to share our experience navigating a variety of challenges including: human health risk assessments of multi-constituent products, occupational exposure level derivation, product safety, regulatory compliance (e.g., TSCA, Prop. 65, OSHA, RoHS), baseline exposure assessments, occupational health considerations during emergencies, and emergency response.


First Webinar:

The first webinar for this series will be held on December 13, 2017 from 11:00-12:00 PM PST by Marisa Kreider, PhD, DABT:

  • Title: "Risk Assessment Under the “New TSCA”: How Manufacturers Can Help the EPA Accurately Characterize Their Industry" 
  • Summary: With the new legislation amending the Toxic Substances Control Act, chemicals in the United States are undergoing increased scrutiny with respect to potential impacts on human health and the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now required to make a definitive determination of risk for every chemical, including new chemicals and those already in commerce. This presentation will outline the methods that the U.S. EPA will use to evaluate chemical risk for both new and existing chemicals, and address how companies can assist the EPA in accurately representing their processes when determining risk associated with chemicals they use. 
  • ABIH® Diplomates can earn up to 1 technical contact hour for this event. 
  • CLICK HERE TO REGISTER


Future Webinars:

The next webinar for this series will be held on Wednesday January 24, 2018 at 11:00 AM PST/2:00 PM EST by Jim Keenan, PhD, MS, DABT

  • Title: "Developing Safety Procedures for Thermal Runaway Incidents”
  • Summary: Dr. Jim Keenan will discuss the inherent risks associated with lithium ion thermal runaway. His webinar will cover the danger of burns to workers as well as potential smoke inhalation.
  • ABIH® Diplomates can earn up to 1 technical contact hour for this event.
  • CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Tagged in: ABIH EHS toxicology webinar
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

Posted on behalf of Angie Perez

As of August 15, 2017, 29 states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws that legalize medical marijuana, and recreational marijuana is legal in eight states and Washington, D.C. These policy changes present new challenges for state regulators with respect to potentially increased impaired driving associated with marijuana use. A major hurdle in enforcing driving impairment laws is the lack of a standardized, non-invasive test that can determine a driver’s level of intoxication and impairment. Several calls for research have been put forth by various states (e.g., California and Colorado), as well as federal agencies (including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in order to assist in determining impairment levels from marijuana use. Two companies, Hound Labs and Cannabix Technologies, are racing to develop and market instruments for detecting THC in breath (breathalyzer). While both companies have demonstrated that their devices are capable of detecting THC in breath, many challenges still exist in terms of correlating the concentration measured in breath with a driver’s impairment level.

A recent article by Lovestead and Bruno (2017) presented a three-pronged research approach for developing the “best” breathalyzer. According to the authors, these three prongs include: 1) providing fundamental data and models for the developing a breathalyzer; 2) studying the material properties in order to identify the best materials to “catch” and “release” THC; and 3) researching the chemical signature of breath that corresponds with intoxication (Lovestead and Bruno 2017). The authors found that THC and CB vapor pressures were two orders of magnitude lower than n-eicosane, a similar molecular weight compound with low vapor pressure, indicating that using surrogate data in models would have led to erroneous results. Ultimately, this finding illustrates the importance of having accurate fundamental data for developing and validating models. In light of this paper’s findings, then, although marijuana breathalyzers are near completion, ultimately identifying and establishing an impairment level will still require much work.

Cardno ChemRisk is evaluating methods based on existing published studies to model and correlate marijuana biomarker concentrations in blood with known metrics for behavioral and physiomotor impairment. Such pharmacodynamics-pharmacokinetic modeling and a better understanding of thresholds for physiomotor impairment will provide state regulators and law enforcement the necessary tools for adequately establishing and enforcing threshold impairment laws. If you would like to learn more about either these research areas, or our expertise in drug and alcohol pharmacokinetics and forensic toxicology, please contact Dr. Angie Perez or Dr. Ernest Fung.

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

Posted on behalf of Josh Maskrey.

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The Cardno ChemRisk View

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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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