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Concept: Probabilistic risk assessment


Potential environmental risks caused by chemicals that could be released from a recycled plastic product were assessed using a screening risk assessment procedure for chemicals in recycled products.

Concepts: Risk, Assessment, Risk management, Environmentalism, Risk assessment, Probabilistic risk assessment


Understanding the spatial characteristics of dengue fever (DF) incidences is crucial for governmental agencies to implement effective disease control strategies. We investigated the associations between environmental and socioeconomic factors and DF geographic distribution, are proposed a probabilistic risk assessment approach that uses threshold-based quantile regression to identify the significant risk factors for DF transmission and estimate the spatial distribution of DF risk regarding full probability distributions. To interpret risk, return period was also included to characterize the frequency pattern of DF geographic occurrences. The study area included old Kaohsiung City and Fongshan District, two areas in Taiwan that have been affected by severe DF infections in recent decades. Results indicated that water-related facilities, including canals and ditches, and various types of residential area, as well as the interactions between them, were significant factors that elevated DF risk. By contrast, the increase of per capita income and its associated interactions with residential areas mitigated the DF risk in the study area. Nonlinear associations between these factors and DF risk were present in various quantiles, implying that water-related factors characterized the underlying spatial patterns of DF, and high-density residential areas indicated the potential for high DF incidence (e.g., clustered infections). The spatial distributions of DF risks were assessed in terms of three distinct map presentations: expected incidence rates, incidence rates in various return periods, and return periods at distinct incidence rates. These probability-based spatial risk maps exhibited distinct DF risks associated with environmental factors, expressed as various DF magnitudes and occurrence probabilities across Kaohsiung, and can serve as a reference for local governmental agencies.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Risk, Probability, Fever, Risk assessment, Per capita income, Probabilistic risk assessment, Residential area


Due to their widespread usage, people are exposed to pesticides on a daily basis. Although these compounds may have adverse effects on their health, there is a gap in the data and the methodology needed to reliably quantify the risks of non-occupational human dermal exposure to pesticides. We used Franz cells and human skin in order to measure the dermal absorption kinetics (steady-state flux, lag time and permeability coefficient) of Carbendazim and Simazine. These parameters were then used to refine the dermal exposure model and a probabilistic simulation was used to quantify risks resulting from exposure to pesticide-polluted waters. The experimentally derived permeability coefficient was 0.0034 cm h(-1) for Carbendazim and 0.0047 cm h(-1) for Simazine. Two scenarios (varying exposure duration and concentration, i.e. environmentally relevant and maximum solubility) were used to quantify the human health risks (hazard quotients) for Carbendazim and Simazine. While no risks were determined in the case of either scenario, the permeability coefficient, which is concentration independent and donor, formulation, compound and membrane specific, may be used in other scenarios and exposure models to quantify more precisely the dermally absorbed dose during exposure to polluted water. To the best of our knowledge, the dermal absorption kinetics parameters defined here are being published for the first time. The usage of experimental permeability parameters in combination with probabilistic risk assessment thus provides a new tool for quantifying the risks of human dermal exposure to pesticides.

Concepts: Medicine, Health, Risk, Water pollution, Risk management, Skin, Risk assessment, Probabilistic risk assessment


Growing consensus suggests that frailty-associated risks should inform shared surgical decision making. However, it is not clear how best to screen for frailty in preoperative surgical populations.

Concepts: Decision making, Critical thinking, Risk, Decision theory, Risk management, Uncertainty, Probabilistic risk assessment, Minoritarianism


Quantifying excess cause-specific mortality among people with coeliac disease (CD) compared with the general population accounting for competing risks will allow accurate information to be given on risk of death from specific causes.

Concepts: Death, Demography, Risk, Actuarial science, Risk management, Coeliac disease, Finance, Probabilistic risk assessment


Systematic review (SR) is a rigorous, protocol-driven approach designed to minimise error and bias when summarising the body of research evidence relevant to a specific scientific question. Taking as a comparator the use of SR in synthesising research in healthcare, we argue that SR methods could also pave the way for a “step change” in the transparency, objectivity and communication of chemical risk assessments (CRA) in Europe and elsewhere. We suggest that current controversies around the safety of certain chemicals are partly due to limitations in current CRA procedures which have contributed to ambiguity about the health risks posed by these substances. We present an overview of how SR methods can be applied to the assessment of risks from chemicals, and indicate how challenges in adapting SR methods from healthcare research to the CRA context might be overcome. Regarding the latter, we report the outcomes from a workshop exploring how to increase uptake of SR methods, attended by experts representing a wide range of fields related to chemical toxicology, risk analysis and SR. Priorities which were identified include: the conduct of CRA-focused prototype SRs; the development of a recognised standard of reporting and conduct for SRs in toxicology and CRA; and establishing a network to facilitate research, communication and training in SR methods. We see this paper as a milestone in the creation of a research climate that fosters communication between experts in CRA and SR and facilitates wider uptake of SR methods into CRA.

Concepts: Scientific method, Evaluation, Risk, Research, Risk management, Uncertainty, Risk assessment, Probabilistic risk assessment


Hong Kong imposed a partial restriction on application of organotin-based antifouling paints in 1992. Since September 2008, the International Maritime Organization prohibited the use of such antifouling systems on all sea-going vessels globally. Therefore, it is anticipated a gradual reduction of organotin contamination in Hong Kong’s marine waters. Using the rock shell Reishia clavigera as a biomonitor, we evaluated the organotin contamination along Hong Kong’s coastal waters over the past two decades (1990-2015). In 2010 and 2015, adult R. clavigera were examined for imposex status and analysed for tissue concentrations of six organotins. We consistently found 100% imposex incidence in female R. clavigera across all sites. Tissue triphenyltin (TPT) concentrations were high in most samples. A probabilistic risk assessment showed that there were over 69% of chance that local R. clavigera would be at risk due to exposure to phenyltins. Comparing with those of previous surveys (2004-2010), both imposex levels and tissue concentrations of organotins did not decline, while the ecological risks due to exposure to organotins were increasing. We also observed high concentrations of monobutyltin and TPT in seawater and sediment from locations with intense shipping activities and from stormwater or sewage discharge. Overall, organotins are still prevalent in Hong Kong’s marine waters showing that the global convention alone may be inadequate in reducing organotin contamination in a busy international port like Hong Kong. Appropriate management actions should be taken to control the use and release of organotins in Hong Kong and South China.

Concepts: Water, Ecology, Risk, Risk assessment, South China Sea, Economy of the People's Republic of China, Probabilistic risk assessment, International Maritime Organization


To assess health risks associated with inhalation exposure to formaldehyde and benzene mainly emitted from building and decoration materials in newly remodeled indoor spaces in Beijing.

Concepts: Evaluation, Risk, Risk management, Risk assessment, Probabilistic risk assessment


Thousands of synthetic turf fields in the US are regularly used by millions of individuals (particularly children and adolescents). Although many safety assessments have concluded that there are low or negligible risks related to exposure to chemicals found in the recycled rubber used to make these fields, concerns remain about the safety of this product. Existing studies of recycled rubber’s potential health risks have limitations such as small sample sizes and limited evaluation of relevant exposure pathways and scenarios.

Concepts: Sample size, Evaluation, Risk, Assessment, Risk management, Risk assessment, Educational evaluation, Probabilistic risk assessment


This collection of papers provides state-of-the-art science on a complex topic which has been challenging for scientists and regulators for a long time. The papers emanated from the SETAC Pellston Workshop™ ‘Environmental Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine-Active Substances (EHRA)’. Forty-eight international experts met in early February 2016 to discuss whether the environmental risks posed by endocrine-disrupting substances (EDS) can be reliably assessed. The primary conclusion of the workshop was that if data on environmental exposure, effects on sensitive species and life-stages, delayed effects and effects at low concentrations are robust, initiating environmental risk assessment of EDS is scientifically sound and reliable. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Risk, Science, Risk management, All rights reserved, Hazard, Risk assessment, Copyright, Probabilistic risk assessment