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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. 

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.
Tagged in: ABIH EHS toxicology webinar
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

Posted of behalf of Elise de Gandiaga and Melinda Hoang.

On November 16, 2017, California’s three state cannabis licensing authorities released California’s long-awaited regulations for commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis, which will be legal on January 1, 2018. The Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, the Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Cannabis Control collaborated to develop the regulations outlined in California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

Once the new regulations take effect on January 1, 2018, cannabis businesses will be allowed to apply for licenses. To help with the transition to a regulated commercial cannabis market, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the lead agency developing regulations for medical and adult-use cannabis in California, has allowed a grace period beginning January 1, 2018 and ending July 1, 2018, which will allow licensees who have cannabis and cannabis goods held in inventory to transport and sell those products provided that they meet conditions outlined by each regulating agency.

In addition to daily retail sales limits for adult-use and medical customers and labeling requirements, some of the more notable additions or changes to the cannabis regulation include:

· Edible cannabis products cannot exceed 10 milligrams of THC in a single serving, and no product can exceed 100 milligrams of THC in a single package;
· Cannabis-containing lotions and tinctures can only contain up to 2,000 milligrams of THC for medicinal use, and up to 1,000 milligrams for adult-use;
· Cannabis products may not contain nicotine, added caffeine, seafood, dairy (except butter), or alcohol (with the exception of tincture products);
  o Exceptions include products with naturally occurring caffeine such coffee, tea, and chocolate
· Manufacturers must conduct and prepare a written hazard analysis to identify and/or evaluate known or reasonably foreseeable hazards for each type of cannabis product produced at their facility

Additionally, product testing for various contaminants must be conducted prior to releasing cannabis products for sale (BCC). Specifically, all cannabis harvested or cannabis products shall be tested for the following analytes set to a specified schedule: cannabinoids, moisture content, Category I & II Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals, Category I & II Residual Pesticides, microbial impurities, and homogeneity, “foreign material,” terpenoids, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and water activity. Depending on the chemical, the BCC has defined specific “action levels” or pass/fail standards that the cannabis industries must meet (BCC).

Cardno ChemRisk has experience assisting companies with assessing consumer products contaminated with metals and other analytes, cross contamination of different food products, and with performing human health risk assessments and hazard evaluations. If you would like to learn more about our capabilities, or have any questions about this topic, please contact Elise de Gandiaga at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Posted on behalf of Elleen Hsu

Ms. Elleen Hsu recently presented a poster entitled “Insulation Usage and Asbestos Exposures: Historical Trends and Exposure Assessment” at the 2017 International Society of Exposure Science Meeting held in Durham, North Carolina. The purpose of this research was to identify factors that impacted the trends of historical airborne asbestos concentrations from insulation products and to model how these factors would affect human exposures. The authors found that airborne fiber concentrations measured during insulation work in shipyards were 3.5 to 15.5 times higher than concentrations measured for similar tasks in non-shipyard settings. The authors also modeled asbestos exposure estimates for full-shift insulators using task-specific frequencies and concentrations reported in the literature. Using our model, a cumulative occupational exposure for an insulator could be estimated by summing the cumulative exposure for the years of interest. Additionally, our research also found that asbestos concentrations declined over time, likely driven by the passage of the OSH Act and subsequent PEL rulings, as well as advancements in asbestos research and industrial hygiene practices.
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Posted on behalf of Melinda Hoang

Acrylamide is a chemical primarily used in industrial processes for its water-soluble and thickening properties, such as in the manufacturing of paper and plastic and in treating drinking water and wastewater (Lineback et al. 2012).  In 1994, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified acrylamide as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (IARC 1994).  Acrylamide is characterized as being neurotoxic, and its main metabolite, glycidamide, has been associated with genotoxicity.  In 2002, the Swedish National Food Administration reported the presence of high acrylamide levels in certain types of food (Tareke et al. 2002).  Acrylamide is mainly formed as part of the Maillard reaction, in which reducing sugars such as glucose and fructose react with amino acids at temperatures above 120°C in thermal food treatments such as frying, baking, and roasting (Lineback et al. 2012).  Previous studies have reported cancer as well as reproductive and developmental effects in laboratory animals exposed to acrylamide, which led California to add acrylamide to its Prop 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. 

Acrylamide is currently receiving widespread attention in media reports due to its formation in coffee.  Many studies have analyzed acrylamide levels in different brands and types of coffee as well as potential factors that may affect acrylamide levels in coffee, such as the coffee variety, ripeness of the coffee bean, roasting process, and storage conditions (Alves et al. 2010; Lantz et al. 2006).  However, very few studies have estimated the potential acrylamide exposure from daily intake of coffee, and even fewer studies have conducted a human health risk assessment to determine the potential cancer risk from lifetime exposure to coffee.

In 2004, the U.S. FDA published an article reporting acrylamide levels in brewed coffee; however, the agency did not estimate U.S. consumers’ total daily intake of acrylamide or calculate their potential risk from lifetime exposure based on these numbers (Andrzejewski et al. 2004).  Since then, many new coffee products and non-traditional brewing methods have entered the market and gained popularity in the U.S.  While quantitative risk assessments of traditional coffee products have been conducted for populations outside the U.S., there remain data gaps for quantifying acrylamide in key coffee products distributed within the U.S., and for understanding the risk of cancer associated with exposure to these products. 

Cardno ChemRisk has assessed human exposure to many different chemicals in consumer products.  Our exposure assessment specialists are able to estimate the exposure and characterize the potential health risks associated with acrylamide exposure via coffee consumption.  If you would like to learn more about our capabilities or have any questions about this topic, please contact Rachel Novick at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Posted on behalf of Suren Bandara.

Who is affected?

In the last couple of weeks, California has seen the most lethal outbreak of wildfires in the state’s history (CNBC 2017). The huge wildfires swept across Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, sending smoke and ash over San Francisco (about 50 miles away) and to some towns and cities even further away. While the wildfires are being controlled, concerns over the wildfire smoke, which can persist for days or even months, depending on the extent of the fire, have arisen. Although the air may look clear, it may have particulate matter than can cause respiratory distress. Anyone who spends time outdoors during and after a wildfire can be affected by poor air quality, and outdoor workers are especially vulnerable.

Health basis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wildfire smoke is a mix of gases and fine particles from burning vegetation, building materials, and other materials (CDC 2017). This complex mixture resulting from combustion may contain carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and other organic chemicals, nitrogen oxides, trace minerals, and particulate matter (USEPA 2016). Outdoor workers exposed to these compounds via wildfire smoke inhalation might be at risk of developing mild to severe health symptoms, including difficulty breathing, scratchy throat, runny nose, irritated sinuses, reduced lung function, asthma attacks, chest pain, heart failure, or even death (CDC 2017, USEPA 2016). Persons with preexisting pulmonary and cardiovascular conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke (USEPA 2016).

Precautions employers can take

According to the US EPA, particulate matter is the principal pollutant of concern for persons exposed to wildfire smoke. Particulate matter larger than 10 mm do not usually reach the lungs, but may irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. However, wildfire smoke may contain particulates that are <10 mm, which can be inhaled into the deepest recesses of the lungs and can affect both the lungs and heart (USEPA 2016). Fortunately, steps can be taken to avoid particulate inhalation from wildfire smoke exposure.

NIOSH recommends that persons working outdoors should don two-strap N95 particulate filtering facepiece respirators (which capture 95% of very small particles) or respiratory protection devices with a higher level of protection, such as a P100 respirator (which capture 99.97% of very small particles). A full list of NIOSH approved N95 masks listed by manufacturer can be found here.

NIOSH warns that respirators and surgical masks are designed for different functions, and do not provide the same types or level of protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust (NIOSH 2017). Therefore, these masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

According to NIOSH, you should limit the amount of vigorous activity outdoors when wildfire smoke is suspected. Individuals traveling in vehicles in the vicinity of wildfire smoke should close all windows and make sure air conditioning is set to ‘re-circulate’ mode (USEPA 2016).

Persons working in office and commercial buildings can also be exposed to the hazards of windborne wildfire smoke. Unlike in the home environment, where setting air conditioners to recirculation mode is advised, workers in office spaces or commercial buildings with HVAC systems are advised against eliminating or substantially reducing the outdoor air supply to the building (Cal/OSHA 2008). HVAC systems in office buildings typically filter and condition outdoor air, and often have exhaust systems that require makeup air from outdoors. HVAC systems should thus be operated continuously to provide the minimum quantity of outdoor air for ventilation in accordance with standards and building codes. According to California OSHA, to protect building occupants from outdoor air pollution, building managers and employers should ensure that the HVAC systems’ filters are not dirty, damaged, dislodged, or leaking around the edges, and make necessary repairs as required (Cal/OSHA 2008).  

Additionally, California OSHA encourages employers to take steps to reduce employee exposure to smoke, including, alternate work assignments and telecommuting. In buildings that lack a functioning filtration system that removes particulates from the air, employers are encouraged to provide relocation options for employees (Cal/OSHA 2008).

To get real-time data on current air quality in your area, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) website. In addition, information is available from the CDC on protecting fire cleanup workers (here) and on well-being after a wildfire (here).

Cardno ChemRisk scientists have evaluated regulatory benchmarks and the underlying scientific literature regarding potential human health effects from particulate matter or other components of smoke, either from air pollution or wildfires. Cardno ChemRisk has a number of industrial hygienists and environmental health professionals who can assess exposure and risk of adverse health effects in specific settings. If you have any questions, or would like more information about our environment, health, and safety capabilities, please contact William Cyrs, CIH, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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