Exposure Assessment

Proposed Evaluation of Ambient Air Quality in Two Southern Maine Communities. Dr. Smith teamed with another consulting firm to propose a multiyear study of ambient air quality and health effects in two adjoining communities in southern Maine. Survey data for the two communities suggested higher incidences of certain adverse health effects and early mortality.  Both communities suspect sir contaminants from area industry play a causative role in these outcomes.

The proposed work plan included broad-based community health surveys to identify the type and incidence of adverse health effects and a real-time sampling of ambient air quality from more than 6 locations within the community. Ambient air samples are to be analyzed fro particulate mater (i.e., PM10 and PM2.5), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and selected semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC). Analysis of the resulting information is to include an evaluation of potential associations between identified adverse health effects and identified ambient air quality indicators. The results will be used by area health professionals and leaders to improve the quality of peoples health in these communities.

Evaluation of Human Exposure. At the clients request, Dr. Smith evaluated New York State concerns regarding human health risk posed by mercury in offsite soils, air, and fish, near an operational mercury retort facility.  Dr. Smith used an evaluation of potential exposure routes and pathways to convince State regulators that there was no need to characterize human health risks at offsite areas of concern.

Critical Review of Exposure Parameters Used in Risk Assessment.  At the request of a national environmental consulting firm, Dr. Smith critically evaluated a draft report characterizing human health risks associated with ingestion of fish containing mercury and PCBs from Onondaga Lake in New York.  Dr. Smith’s evaluation identified changes in several exposure assumptions to more accurately reflect human exposure at the site.  Dr. Smith assisted in the revision of the exposure assessment to include this information, including more appropriate default exposure assumptions and a federally defined estimate of PCB loss through fish preparation and cooking.  The changes resulted in a several-fold reduction in the human health risk posed by mercury and PCBs in fish.

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