Approximately 80,000 industrial chemicals are in use and about 700 new chemicals are introduced to commerce each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
To assess human health risks from
exposure to harmful substances, James Englehardt, professor
in the College of Engineering at the University of Miami, is
proposing a new technique that is more efficient than current
many other diseases are largely man-made and
iatrogenic in origin,
yet we ignorantly dismiss their growing incidence to factors which
we assume are not preventable.
The findings are published online in advance of print, by the journal of Risk Analysis.
In general, chemical contaminants do not occur individually, but rather in mixtures, and components of the mixtures can act to increase, or reduce the health effects of other mixture components, explained Englehardt.
The researchers then developed a Bayesian mathematical technique to allow their model to accept various types of input information and produce a risk estimate that is rigorously more conservative the less information is available for the assessment.
Englehardt is now overseeing work on a method to detect risk in drinking water in real time, directly from sensor data.
That work is part of a current project, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, to build an autonomous net-zero water residence hall on the University of Miami campus. All wastewater from the residence hall will be converted to drinking water, for return to the residence hall in a closed loop process.
During the research, student residents
will not drink or cook with the water, but will use it for all other