CSS Pathways: December 2016

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Chemical Safety and Sustainability Research News

CSS Pathways: Anticipating Impacts of Chemicals

December 2016

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CSS Board of Scientific Counselors (BoSC) Meeting

The CSS BoSC Subcommittee recently met to learn about the progress of the implementation of the CSS 2016-2019 Strategic Research Action Plan. The Subcommittee evaluated the integration of CSS science across its diverse project areas. In addition, CSS Program and Regional partners participated in the meeting providing an opportunity for the BoSC to explore if and how CSS science is shaped and translated to advance EPA’s mission. The meeting was a resounding success – CSS scientists had the opportunity to showcase the breadth and depth of their transformative research and solicit feedback and insights from the diverse expertise of the Subcommittee. The Subcommittee report is expected to be released early in 2017.

SETAC booth

Society of Environmental Toxicological and Chemistry (SETAC) Annual Meeting

As has become tradition, CSS had a strong presence at the SETAC Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. Several scientists demonstrated online EPA tools including the Chemistry Dashboard, Web-ICE, and Sequence Alignment to Predict Across Species Susceptibility (SeqAPASS) at EPA’s popular booth. CSS scientists played an important role in presenting their research on harmful algal blooms, poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, and pharmaceuticals in the environment, as well as adverse outcome pathways for environmental chemicals and high throughput data to prioritize chemicals for environmental hazards. For more information and to view materials from the meeting, visit the SETAC website.

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American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting

CSS National Program Director, Tina Bahadori, along with Tom Burke (EPA Science Advisor), Ruth Etzel (Office of Children’s Health Protection Director), and Kacee Deener (Senior Science Advisor) presented at this year’s APHA Annual Meeting during the session “Public Health Problem Solving: A New Frame for Cumulative Risk Assessment”. They explained why chemical risk assessment is important for public health protection; discussed current challenges with chemical risk assessment; described how epidemiology and emerging science and data streams can be used to inform some of the complexities of risk assessment; and examined what is meant by a public health frame for chemical risk assessment. Read Tom Burke’s blog on APHA and watch an “in the moment” video about his efforts to showcase and strengthen EPA’s ties with the public health community. 


Pathways to protection: Cross-species extrapolation

From humans to wildlife, EPA strives to develop more efficient ways to assess how chemicals affect organisms. Publicly available data from ToxCast and Tox21 research efforts have been used to prioritize endocrine disruptors for additional testing. While these data are relevant to mammalian species, it was not evident whether these assays accurately reflect the potential impact to non-mammalian species. This recent publication demonstrates how the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework can be applied using CSS tools (SeqAPASS) and data (EDSP 21 Dashboard) to conduct cross-species extrapolation to evaluate the applicability of the high throughput test data when assessing the ecological risk of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

species distribution

Ecological Recovery After an Oil Spill: Addressing the Dearth of Data

Following a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it can be difficult to evaluate long-term effects on wildlife populations because often times the data and models required for these evaluations are lacking. CSS published a new article that examines the trade-offs between data demands for complex models and the need to conduct population level risk assessments. The study modeled the sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) distribution in Florida to predict species distribution based on temporal and spatial data. The results demonstrate the efficacy of proposed approaches for rapid assessments needed during emergencies or disasters. 

research orgo pieces

What more should we know? Identifying chemical properties to improve high-throughput exposure assessments

Our skin is a major protective barrier for our bodies but it is also one of the major routes of exposure to chemicals. The relevance of the dermal exposure pathway to chemicals in personal care products and indoor environments is well recognized. CSS scientists evaluated the applicability of available data and models to rapidly screen the dermal absorption of chemicals. They identified areas of uncertainty in chemical datasets that could help improve high-throughput exposure assessments.