Latest blog entries All blog entries from Thu, 22 Feb 2018 16:09:07 +0000 en-gb EPA Reports that Controversial Herbicide Ingredient, Glyphosate, is Not Likely Carcinogenic

Posted on behalf of Sarah Brown


On December 18, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft human health and ecological risk assessment for glyphosate, the main ingredient in the widely-used herbicide Roundup produced by Monsanto. The EPA report concluded that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans” (EPA, 2017). In the process of evaluating glyphosate, the EPA performed a human health risk assessment that evaluated exposures via dietary, residential/non-occupational, and occupational sources. The agency additionally performed a weight-of-evidence evaluation of animal toxicity, genotoxicity, and epidemiological studies, in addition to an ecological risk assessment. The EPA noted that although there may be potential for effects of glyphosate on mammals, birds, and terrestrial and aquatic flora, there is no potential risk to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.

These results are consistent with previous determinations made by the EPA in 1991 and 2016, and with results reported by international agencies, including the German Federal Institute of Risk Assessment, which indicated that glyphosate is not carcinogenic in humans. However, other agencies, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the state of California, classify glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. IARC specifically bases its conclusions on limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence in experimental animals. The EPA will hold a 60-day open period for public comment on the draft health assessments, in part to consider any potential risk management option for glyphosate. The assessment documents are currently available on the EPA website.

]]> (Lindsey Garnick) Centers of Excellence Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:40:38 +0000
IARC Reclassification of Welding Fume In early 2017, a group of scientists met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France to evaluate the carcinogenicity of welding fume. This evaluation included a review of relevant exposure data, studies of cancer in humans, studies of cancer in experimental animals, toxicokinetic data, and information on disease in susceptible populations. Based on this review, the IARC working group determined that  “sufficient evidence” exists that welding fume is a human lung carcinogen (Group 1) (Lancet 2017). Previously, IARC had classified welding fume as being “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B) based on available data at the time that the mixture was evaluated in 1989 (IARC 1990).

A complicating factor in reclassifying welding fume is its complexity. Generally, welding fume is a mixture of metal fumes (i.e., iron, manganese, chromium, nickel, silicon, titanium) and gases (i.e., carbon monoxide, ozone, argon, carbon dioxide). Welding fume can contain varying concentrations of individual components that are classified as human carcinogens, including hexavalent chromium and nickel. However, the presence of such metals and the intensity of exposure to each differ significantly according to a number of variables, including the type of welding technique used and the composition of the base metal and consumable (IARC 1990). Nonetheless, IARC did not differentiate between these variables in its decision.

What actions should be taken as a results of IARC’s reclassification? 

1.       Update hazard communication programs to include information regarding welding fume now being classified as a Group 1 carcinogen.

2.       Update exposure assessments for welding fume, including both for welders and nearby workers who are not engaged in welding. Given that NIOSH guidance for carcinogens aims to keep exposures as low as feasible, documenting and characterizing the potential for exposures to bystanders such as welder helpers, fire watches, or workers located adjacent to welding operations is especially important.

3.       Develop similar exposure groups (SEGs) based on the exposure assessment, and determine appropriate control measures.

Cardno ChemRisk scientists have measured and assessed workplace and environmental exposures to numerous compounds, including welding fume, and have performed historical dose reconstructions or cumulative estimates of excess cancer risk in numerous occupational settings. In addition, Cardno ChemRisk scientists have experience deriving internal occupational exposure limits based on available toxicological data. If you have any questions, or would like more information about our environmental health and safety capabilities, please contact William Cyrs, CIH, at

]]> (Allison Insley) Centers of Excellence Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:35:52 +0000
Alcohol and Opioid-related Deaths 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.]]> (Lindsey Garnick) Centers of Excellence Mon, 18 Dec 2017 22:58:13 +0000
Cardno ChemRisk EHS/Tox Seminar Series

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.
]]> (Lindsey Garnick) Centers of Excellence Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:25:40 +0000
The Release of California’s Long-Awaited Cannabis Regulations

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

]]> (Fian Louie) Centers of Excellence Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:56:04 +0000