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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

Cardno ChemRisk’s publication “A human health risk assessment of lead (Pb) ingestion among adult wine consumers” was recently named one of the top three highly accessed articles in the International Journal of Food Contamination.  Cardno ChemRisk scientists analyzed Pb concentration in wines and modeled adult blood lead levels from wine consumption under various exposure scenarios based on national dietary survey data. Overall, our findings suggest that Pb content in wine does not pose a health risk to adult wine consumers.  You can read our original blog about this paper here.

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Posted on behalf of Angela Perez, Paul Scott and Andrew Monnot.

The per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASare a family of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals that have been used extensively since the 1950s in commercial applications, including surfactants, lubricants, paper and textile coatings, polishes, food packaging, and fire-fighting foams. Some of these PFAS, including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), persist in humans and the environment, and have been detected worldwide in wildlife. 

Two senior toxicologists at Cardno ChemRisk, Drs. Angie Perez and Andy Monnot, presented research on key PFAS exposure and risk assessment issues at the 2017 International DIOXIN Symposia, held in Vancouver, Canada from August 21 -25th.  Dr. Perez presented a meta-analysis of crop uptake factors for PFAS. The objective of Dr. Perez’s research was to provide a state-of-the science review on PFAS uptake in plants intended for human and animal consumption, and to conduct a screening level human health risk assessment for consumption of PFAS based on the following: i) in which crops PFASs have been detected; ii) at what concentrations are PFASs detected; iii) which PFASs have been previously detected in crops; and iv) where in the plant PFASs tend to accumulate, if at all. Additionally, known sources of PFAS deposition in soil and anticipated source deposition trends, based on commercial use patterns, were described.


Dr. Monnot presented a poster entitled An Evaluation of Federal and State Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) Drinking Water Standards in the US.  The purpose of this research was to compare the federal and state drinking water standards for PFOA in light of the recent US EPA lifetime drinking water Health Advisory for PFOA of 0.01 µg/L.  A total of 10 PFOA drinking water standards were identified, ranging from 0.014 to 1.6 µg/L.  Each state used a variety of different assumptions to derive its PFOA drinking water standards. We found that only rarely was there any attempt to evaluate background exposures to PFOA; instead, most states employed a single “default” relative source contribution (RSC) factor, which may over-estimate PFOA’s true background exposures.  

A third poster, authored by Paul K. Scott, a senior risk assessor and expert statistician at Cardno ChemRisk with over 26 years’ experience, was presented by Dr. Monnot and titled A Probabilistic Evaluation of the 2016 U.S. EPA Health Advisory for Perfluorooctanoic Acid. The purpose of this analysis was to determine if some of the factors used to derive the US EPA health advisory for PFOA resulted in an overestimation of exposure and subsequent risk.  Specifically, Scott et al. determined that the relative source contribution (RSC) factor used by the US EPA is not consistent with the information in the scientific literature on background exposures to PFOA from non-drinking water sources. In this study, alternate values for the health advisory were calculated based on more realistic assumptions for the relative source contribution (RSC).  Using alternate values for the drinking water ingestion rate and the RSC resulted in health advisories for lactating women that ranged from 0.2 to 0.76 µg/L, and for the general population that ranged from 0.3 to 1.1 µg/L.  These results suggest that the US EPA used overly conservative assumptions when deriving its health advisory.

Cardno ChemRisk scientists have conducted numerous exposure studies and human health risk assessments pertaining to PFAS. Examples of Cardno ChemRisk’s key PFAS projects include a retrospective exposure assessment for PFOA; a critical review of the findings of the C8 Health Project panel; preparation of supporting documents for Canadian Soil Quality Guidelines; preparation of estimated daily intakes of PFAS from outdoor and indoor air, dust, soil, food, drinking water, and consumer products; and a hazard evaluation and human health risk assessment for a farm after 20 years of land application of biosolids. Cardno ChemRisk scientists also regularly present on the topic of PFAS. Recently, Dr. Perez presented a webinar with Earl Hagström of Sedgwick Law in San Francisco titled Beyond PFOA and PFOS — the Next Wave of Perfluorochemicals-Related Liability”. 

If you would like to learn more about our PFAS capabilities, please contact Paul Scott at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or Angela Perez 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 Rachel Novick and Alison Bowman. 

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Posted on behalf of Kevin Towle

Silicone breast implants have been used for augmentation or reconstructive breast surgeries since the 1960s. However, as their popularity skyrocketed, concerns began to arise regarding a potential link between the implants and autoimmune or connective tissue diseases. Numerous studies were conducted on this issue in the 1980s and beyond, yielding mixed results. In 1992, the FDA issued a moratorium on silicone implants for safety assessment, and this ban remained in effect until 2006. Today, silicone implants are used in 84% of breast augmentation surgeries. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were approximately 243,600 silicone breast augmentations in 2016.

During the FDA's moratorium, in 2000, a meta-analysis was conducted that examined 20 studies between 1984 and 1999. This analysis found no association between silicone breast implants and autoimmune disease. Since then, tools for autoimmune disease diagnosis have improved. Subsequent studies utilizing these tools found positive associations in previously unexamined cohorts, which demonstrated a need for an updated meta-analysis to quantitatively measure any association between silicone implants and autoimmune disease.

In 2016, Cardno ChemRisk conducted a meta-analysis of the results of 20 cohort and nine case control studies. Silicone breast implants were associated with a non-statistically significant decreased risk for all connective tissue diseases, meta-RR 0.87 (95% CI: 0.62-1.21). When stratified by disease, silicone breast implants were associated with a non-statistically significant increased risk of sclerosis, meta-RR 1.14 (0.75-1.74), and a non-statistically significant decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, meta-RR 0.75 (95% CI: 0.52-1.08), and systemic lupus erythematosus, meta-RR 0.90 (95% CI: 0.43-1.87). These findings suggest that silicone breast implant exposure is not associated with autoimmune disease among women.

If you would like to receive more information on this topic, please contact Dr. Andrew Monnot
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Posted on behalf of Angela Perez, PhD and Fian Louie

In a report published by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging (CSFPP), 30 cheese products, including dry cheese found in macaroni and cheese packets, were tested for 13 phthalates. Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, was found at detectable levels in 93 percent of all samples tested, making it the most frequently detected phthalate. A synopsis of the CSFPP report was recently published in the New York Times on July 12, 2017.

DEHP is one of the most extensively used phthalates worldwide. The majority of DEHP is used as a plasticizer for flooring, waterproofing, cable sheathing/insulation, PVC, epoxy and polyurethane products; it is also used in fragrance bases for perfumery and cosmetic products. Several phthalates, including DEHP and many others that were tested by the CSFPP, are legal through the FDA for use as indirect food additives or as paper and paperboard components (for example, see: 21 CFR 176).

Cardno ChemRisk previously performed a risk assessment of DEHP in which 47 varieties of cheese sold in California from 31 companies were tested. Based on the sampling results, we performed a human health risk assessment to compare the potential human exposure levels to Prop 65 levels set at the time of the project. Based on our results, we concluded that the DEHP concentrations measured in California cheeses did not exceed the Proposition 65 NSRL (No Significant Risk Level, or the daily intake level posing a 1/100,000 lifetime risk of cancer).

Per the recent CSFPP report, the concentration of DEHP across all 30 products tested ranged from less than one microgram per kilogram (µg/kg) product weight to 165 µg/kg product weight, or parts per billion. The average DEHP concentration was 50 micrograms DEHP per kilogram product weight (assuming the products below the LOQ are zero). The NSRL adopted for DEHP under Proposition 65 is 310 micrograms per day (µg/day) for oral exposure (Cal/EPA 2002). The MADLs (Maximum Allowable Dose Level, or the level at which a chemical would have no observable effect even if an individual were exposed to 1,000 times that level) adopted for DEHP are 410 µg/day for adults, and 58 µg/day for infant boys (29 days-24 months) via oral exposure (Cal/EPA 2005; OAG). To put this in perspective, a cheese packet in a box of macaroni is approximately 1/3 cup or about 38 grams. Assuming an individual eats an entire box of macaroni and cheese and that the cheese mix contains the maximum concentration of DEHP reported by CSFPP for this product category (165 µg/kg product weight), then that person would consume a total of 6 µg of DEHP. This is nearly 10 times less than the MADL for infant boys and over 50 times less than the NSRL for adults.

For any questions, or if you need further information, regarding our risk assessment capabilities, please contact Drs. Angela Perez or Rachel Novick.
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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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