Office of Research and Development Publications

Chemical Risk Assessment: Traditional vs Public Health Perspectives

Citation:

Gwinn, M., D. Axelrad, T. Bahadori, D. Bussard, W. Cascio, K. Deener, D. Dix, R. Thomas, R. Kavlock, AND T. Burke. Chemical Risk Assessment: Traditional vs Public Health Perspectives. American Journal of Public Health. American Public Health Association, Washington, DC, , 1032-1040, (2017).

Impact/Purpose:

Preventing adverse health impacts from exposures to environmental chemicals is fundamental to protecting individual and public health. Chemical risk assessments inform environmental public health decisions by providing scientific information about the potential health effects following exposure to a chemical. However, traditional chemical risk assessment is faced with multiple challenges with respect to predicting and preventing disease in human populations. It is becoming clear that to protect public health more effectively, future risk assessments will need to use the full range of available data, draw on innovative methods to integrate diverse data streams, and consider health endpoints that also reflect the range of subtle effects and morbidities observed in human populations(e.g., metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, childhood behavioral disorders, etc.).In the manuscript, we provide an example to illustrate how this proposed approach could be applied to the challenge of cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of mortality worldwide and has many known risk factors, including some environmental factors.

Description:

Preventing adverse health impacts from exposures to environmental chemicals is fundamental to protecting individual and public health. When done efficiently and properly, chemical risk assessment enables risk management actions that minimize the incidence and impacts of environmentally-induced diseases related to chemical exposure. However, traditional chemical risk assessment is faced with multiple challenges with respect to predicting and preventing disease in human populations, and epidemiological studies increasingly report observations of adverse health effects at exposure levels predicted from animal studies to be safe for humans. This discordance reinforces concerns about the adequacy of contemporary risk assessment practices (Birnbaum, Burke, & Jones, 2016) for protecting public health. It is becoming clear that to protect public health more effectively, future risk assessments will need to use the full range of available data, draw on innovative methods to integrate diverse data streams, and consider health endpoints that also reflect the range of subtle effects and morbidities observed in human populations. Given these factors, there is a need to reframe chemical risk assessment to be more clearly aligned with the public health goal of minimizing environmental exposures associated with disease.

URLs/Downloads:

GWINN ET AL 2017 AJPH PDF PLUS.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 993 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 07/01/2017
Record Last Revised: 05/04/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 337147

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

IMMEDIATE OFFICE (AA)

IMMEDIATE OFFICE OF ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR