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Posted by on in Exposure Assessment and Dose Reconstruction
This posting is the first of a three-part series on formaldehyde emissions from hardwood plywood (HWPW), medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard (PB), collectively called composite wood products. This series will focus on the benefits of applying computer modeling tools to the interpretation of formaldehyde emission data, and subsequent risk management decisions. Part 1 of this series provides an overview of the new U.S. EPA formaldehyde emissions standards, and explains how computational exposure modeling was used in the agency cost-benefit analysis. The remaining parts of this series will explain the factors that affect formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, and our recommendations for how computational modeling can be used to help stakeholders interpret emission testing results.

Part 1: U.S. EPA Formaldehyde Emission Standard Highlights the Importance of Exposure Modeling in Rule Implementation

The pre-publication version of U.S. EPA's Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products final rule was posted July 27, 2016 as Title VI of the Toxic Substance and Control Act (TSCA), with most provisions expected to become effective in the summer of 2017. U.S. EPA's rule focuses on reducing exposures to formaldehyde, and avoidance of adverse health effects. Although rarely a focus of most media reports, U.S. EPA frequently relies on complex modeling and cost-benefit analysis to support a conclusion that total quantified benefits outweigh costs. U.S. EPA's formaldehyde rulemaking relied on the use of modeled estimates of formaldehyde exposure to calculate hypothetical benefits quantified by willingness to pay to avoid eye irritation, and number of cases of nasopharyngeal cancer.

The U.S. EPA Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products applies to all types of HWPW, MDF, PB and finished products that are sold, supplied or manufactured in the United States. The requirements of the Standard are consistent and coordinated with the similar California Air Resources Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM). The key points of the rule include:

• Producers of composite wood products within the scope of the rule will be required to comply with specific emission standards;

• Products manufactured with ultra-low formaldehyde or no-added formaldehyde (NAF) resins will be exempt with proper recordkeeping practices; and

• Regulated products must comply with emission standards, as determined by a third-party certifier, in order for a product to be labeled as TSCA Title VI compliant.

While most provisions will become effective within one year of rule publication, laminated products fabricated with a wood or woody-grass veneer attached to MDF or PB will be subject to the same certification and testing requirements as hardwood plywood seven years after rule publication.

The exposure model used by the U.S. EPA is called the Formaldehyde Indoor Air Model – Pressed Wood Products (FIAM-pwp). The model has been peer reviewed, and is publically available. The model uses emissions test data similar to the data that will be required under the U.S. EPA emissions standard. It estimates the concentration of formaldehyde released from one or more composite wood products, and the subsequent human inhalation exposure. The model considers important determinants of exposure like indoor temperature, age of source materials, and the amount of time spent indoors. As is true with any model, there are some limitations in the modeling approach used by U.S. EPA. One important thing to know about formaldehyde is that porous materials such as drywall and furnishings can absorb and retain formaldehyde. U.S. EPA's model does not account for this phenomenon, so it is possible that in some environments, short-term peak formaldehyde exposure could be lower than predicted.

EPA used FIAM-pwp to evaluate scenarios of airborne formaldehyde concentrations in homes, daycares, schools, workplace, vehicles, and the outdoors for various types of structure types in different climatic zone. In total, U.S. EPA evaluated several thousand exposure scenarios during the preparation of the standard. In the final standard, U.S. EPA focused on a comparison of a standard consistent with the CARB ATCM to several alternative emission standards for laminate flooring. Taking into account the cost-benefit analysis, the agency elected to include laminate flooring in the definition of hardwood plywood, with exemptions for certain types of resins. The FIAM-pwp model, and other computational modeling techniques, can be used to prospectively and retrospectively estimate formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products subject to the new U.S. EPA emission standard. These topics, and more, will be discussed in more detail in future blogs in this series.

How Cardno ChemRisk Can Assist with Questions about Formaldehyde

As a state-of-the-art scientific consulting firm, Cardno ChemRisk is well respected for its leadership in human health risk assessment – including computational modeling and statistical services. Cardno ChemRisk has extensive experience using computational modeling to understand past and future exposures in both occupational and environmental settings, especially in situations where collecting measurements is either impossible or impractical. In addition, Cardno ChemRisk applies a variety of statistical methods to understand the important relationships hidden within an environmental or occupational data set. If you are interested in discussing our recommendations for consumer product formaldehyde exposure modeling in more detail, please contact the Ken Unice, Science Advisor and Computational Science Service Area Lead at Cardno ChemRisk.
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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

Posted on behalf of the authors: Melanie NembhardFian LouieClaire McMenamy, and Aaron Chapman

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence

**Change of location for symposium. New location: Reed Smith Palo Alto, CA office

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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
Recently, our study “An assessment of gender-specific risk of implant revision following primary total hip arthroplasty: a systematic review and meta-analysis” was published in the Journal of Arthroplasty (Towle and Monnot 2016). Scientists at Cardno ChemRisk synthesized and examined the evidence on the relative risk of revision in men and women following primary total hip arthroplasty (THA). THA surgeries involve the replacement of damaged hip joints with prosthetic components in an effort to mitigate hip pain. Over time, some THA surgeries require revision due to various modes of failure, such as dislocation, infection, or aseptic loosening. A better understanding of factors that influence the risk of revision due to hip implant failure would help reduce post-surgery complications. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis to examine if males or females are at a higher risk of revision.

Overall, findings suggested that males are at an increased risk of revision following THA when compared to females. Additionally, this study provided evidence that gender-specific risk of revision may be impacted by geographic location (i.e. United States and Europe) and time period of THA operation (i.e. post-2000). The authors discussed potential risk factors for revision among male hip implant patients, including differences in hip anatomy, degree of surgical trauma during surgery, level of physical activity following surgery, as well as differences in primary care provider interactions.

The abstract of the article is available here.  If you have any questions regarding the paper, please contact Kevin Towle or Andrew Monnot.
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Posted by on in Occupational Health/IH
Dr. Anders Abelmann will be presenting on research related to formaldehyde emissions from laminate flooring during a roundtable session at the American Home Furnishings Alliance's (AHFA) Regulatory Summit in Hickory, NC, on September 15th. His presentation will be based on the findings recently published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, titled  An Assessment of Formaldehyde Emissions From Laminate Flooring Manufactured in China.  For more information, please visit either the AHFA website, or contact Dr. Anders Abelmann.
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Cardno ChemRisk is a respected scientific consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco with locations and consultants across the U.S. While our website provides a formal look at our capabilities, the Cardno ChemRisk View provides an informal voice too. Various Cardno ChemRisk consultants will be sharing news and views about current trends, happenings and methodologies in the industry. We’ll also highlight activities of interest at Cardno ChemRisk, within confidentiality restrictions of course.

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