Chemical Exposure

AquAeTer was retained by a client’s legal counsel to perform a human health risk assessment for skin cancers allegedly caused by exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) from a former wood treating facility. The results of the assessment were to be used in arbitration for the industry. The plaintiffs were alleging past exposure to contaminants by deposition from the air and from a nearby baseball field and creek. The area had also been historically impacted by coal mining operations as recognized by the State.

AquAeTer reviewed data including PAH concentrations from the baseball field and creek,age of population, and length of potential exposure. The potential route of exposure was identified as the ingestion pathway to internal organs via dermal (skin) exposures to soils and sediments. AquAeTer used the USEPA risk assessment guidance to determine the potential increase for cancer from PAH exposure. These calculations factored in the percent of the body exposed (based on the type of activity the person was engaged in), the length of time the soils or sediments could have been in contact with the skin, and the concentrations of PAHs in the soil. In this case, the potential exposure on the baseball field would have been from activities when exposed skin came in contact with the soil, such as running and kicking up dust or sliding into bases with bare hands.

AquAeTer calculated the estimated exposure concentration and a calculation of the intake rate of the chemical based on the route of entry. That concentration was multiplied by a USEPA risk factor for that chemical. The cancer absorbance factor was multiplied by the intake rate into the body which provided a risk number for the increased potential for cancer from exposure. In this case, the risk factor calculated was less than the USEPA acceptable risk level, that is, no risk of cancer.

AquAeTer provided the following services to its client for this sampling and reporting project:

  • Characterization of the site setting and population
  • Identification of potential exposure pathways
  • Quantitative Human Health Risk Assessment
  • Expert Opinion Report