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Are Metals in Costume Cosmetics Safe?

Just in time for Halloween, scientists from BAL recently contributed to a new paper evaluating the risk of using metal-containing costume cosmetics. The article, published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology and co-authored by BAL’s Elizabeth Madonick, estimated exposure to As, Co, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Sb via incidental ingestion and dermal uptake. Within the limited scope of this study, the results suggest that intermittent use of costume cosmetics does not pose an unnecessary health risk to consumers, but if you plan on trick-or-treating year-round, your exposure may exceed guidance values. Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone!

Arsenic and Lead Bioaccessibility in Soils

Contamination from trace metals, such as arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) in soils, can lead to potential health risks from inhalation and ingestion of the soil or vegetables grown in the soil. While it is well known that different molecular forms of As and Pb have different toxicological effects, the correlation between elemental species in the soil and the bioaccessibility of the metals from that soil has not been well established. For instance, tetraethyllead was historically added to gasoline, while lead chromate, lead oxide, and lead carbonate were common pigments added to paint. All of these compounds could be present in contaminated soil and each has a different degree of bioaccessibility.

Typical risk assessment models assume that 60 to 100% of contaminant metals in a soil sample are bioaccessible; however, these assumptions can result in incorrect health risk assessments and unnecessarily high remediation costs because it has been demonstrated that actual bioaccessibility can range from 0 to 100%. In vivo animal studies are often used to determine bioaccessibility, which are expensive and time consuming. The demand for reliable and affordable methods to improve the accuracy of risk assessments and assist regulators in making responsible remedial decisions, while still protecting human health, has been growing in recent years. This demand is being met with methods such as EPA Method 1340 “In Vitro Bioaccessibility Assay for Lead in Soil”. This method was validated for Pb-contaminated soil under field conditions and released in February 2017.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) worked with The Ohio State University to develop an in vitro method for As bioaccessibility. The California Arsenic Bioaccessibility (CAB) Method was validated against the swine method, which is historically the most commonly used animal model for evaluating site-specific arsenic toxicity. The CAB Method has been approved for use in evaluating site-specific relative bioavailability of As in contaminated soils in the State of California as outlined by DTSC’s Human Health Risk Assessment Note 6.

Understanding the details of these methods and the appropriate applicability for each is part of the expert customer service you can expect from Brooks Applied Labs. Please feel free to contact us to discuss how your project might benefit from analyses for bioaccessible metals.

Supporting Arsenic Chemistry at AOAC and NW Remediation Conferences

Brooks Applied Labs’ scientists, Ben Wozniak and Russell Gerads, recently presented at the AOAC Annual Meeting and Northwest Remediation Conference, respectively. The focus of their presentations was on arsenic chemistry in consumptive products and in the environment. Their presentations are now available for download:

As scientists, we understand the relationship between contaminants in the environment and our food. However, without understanding not just the chemistry of arsenic, but also how it is mobilized in the environment and metabolized by organisms, the road to generating quantitative results can be perilous. These recent presentations by BAL scientists are another testament to our approach to ethics in business and our desire to foster scientific growth in fields that directly impact the world around us. Partnering with BAL goes beyond selecting a laboratory, as we are most often perceived as a valuable teammate called upon to solve the most challenging problems. Feel free to contact one of our representatives to find out how we can help you.

On the Road Again: SETAC & IWC

The International Water Conference (IWC) is the world’s premier conference for understanding and dealing with the technical and business challenges of industrial water treatment, presenting the latest in scientific advances and practical applications at its 5-day conference held in Orlando November 12-16, 2017. On November 13th, BAL’s Jamie Fox will be moderating the discussion portion of the session Advances in On-Line Monitoring Methods for Boiler Water and FGD Wastewater. BAL has extensive experience and expertise in resolving complex wastewater interferences to ensure accurate quantification and speciation of trace metals in this matrix. To learn more, visit our Industrial Wastewater page on our website.

The theme of this year’s SETAC North America Annual Meeting, Toward a Superior Future: Advancing Science for a Sustainable Environment, aligns well with BAL’s vision statement. Following our tradition of presenting good science at national and international conferences, BAL staff will be presenting two posters at this conference held November 12-16 in Minneapolis: Elizabeth Madonick will present Arsenic Speciation in Soils and Sediments: How Data Quality Objectives Determine Most Appropriate Method Selection, and Brian Smith will present Method Comparison for Bioaccessible Lead and Arsenic in Soils. Contact us any time after November 13th if you would like to receive a PDF copy of these posters.