BHIMS tool to aid risk assessment of exposure to multiple chemicals

Implementation of the basic hazard index screening for health risks associated with simultaneous exposure to multiple chemicals using a standardized target organ and systems framework

Evaluating the level of danger to human health from exposure to multiple chemicals in contaminated sites is a complex task. To address this difficulty, researchers have developed a new screening tool that can be incorporated into public health risk assessment, which may include polluted former industrial plants, waste dumps, or even land where pesticides have been used. This ‘hazard index’ approach indicates when risk to health is high, which organs are most affected, and where further evaluation should be conducted in the context of environmental or occupational exposure at such sites.

2017 Study Abstract

Environmental health risk assessments often involve assessing the potential health effects of exposure to multiple chemicals at once (i.e., complex mixtures). Because the possible number of chemical combinations is very large, few controlled in vivo toxicological studies with chemical mixtures are relevant or practical. In lieu of specific mixture toxicity data, the segregated hazard index (HI) approach has been used to determine whether simultaneous exposures may warrant further investigation due to their combined adverse effects. Each chemical is assigned to one or more target organs based on critical effects; HIs for each target organ are generated by summing the individual hazard quotients for each of the chemicals assigned to that organ or organ system. To conduct this phased risk assessment approach in a consistent manner, a comprehensive, systematized list of toxicity targets for implementing this approach is needed. We present a comprehensive and standardized list of toxicity target organs and systems (TTOS), with example data sets, for consistent implementation of the segregated HI method. This method is designed to facilitate the standardization of the widespread use of the basic segregated HI approach. The basic hazard index mixtures screening (BHIMS) tool allows for rapid identification of exposure concerns that may warrant further and more sophisticated assessment. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2017;13:852–860. Published 2017. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

More Information
  • New hazard index tool to aid risk assessment of exposure to multiple chemicals, Science for Environment Policy, Issue 498, 6 December 2017.
  • Implementation of the basic hazard index screening for health risks associated with simultaneous exposure to multiple chemicals using a standardized target organ and systems framework, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, March 2017.

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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