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Environ Int. 2018 Aug;117:348-358. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.05.010. Epub 2018 May 21.

Prioritization of reproductive toxicants in unconventional oil and gas operations using a multi-country regulatory data-driven hazard assessment.

Author information

1
Product Stewardship and Toxicology, Group Health, Safety, Security and Environment, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Kuala Lumpur 50088, Malaysia; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT 06250, USA. Electronic address: Salmaan.inayat@petronas.com.
2
Product Stewardship and Toxicology, Group Health, Safety, Security and Environment, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Kuala Lumpur 50088, Malaysia.
3
Bioinformatics Support Program, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06250, USA.
4
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT 06250, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent trends have witnessed the global growth of unconventional oil and gas (UOG) production. Epidemiologic studies have suggested associations between proximity to UOG operations with increased adverse birth outcomes and cancer, though specific potential etiologic agents have not yet been identified. To perform effective risk assessment of chemicals used in UOG production, the first step of hazard identification followed by prioritization specifically for reproductive toxicity, carcinogenicity and mutagenicity is crucial in an evidence-based risk assessment approach. To date, there is no single hazard classification list based on the United Nations Globally Harmonized System (GHS), with countries applying the GHS standards to generate their own chemical hazard classification lists. A current challenge for chemical prioritization, particularly for a multi-national industry, is inconsistent hazard classification which may result in misjudgment of the potential public health risks. We present a novel approach for hazard identification followed by prioritization of reproductive toxicants found in UOG operations using publicly available regulatory databases.

METHODS:

GHS classification for reproductive toxicity of 157 UOG-related chemicals identified as potential reproductive or developmental toxicants in a previous publication was assessed using eleven governmental regulatory agency databases. If there was discordance in classifications across agencies, the most stringent classification was assigned. Chemicals in the category of known or presumed human reproductive toxicants were further evaluated for carcinogenicity and germ cell mutagenicity based on government classifications. A scoring system was utilized to assign numerical values for reproductive health, cancer and germ cell mutation hazard endpoints. Using a Cytoscape analysis, both qualitative and quantitative results were presented visually to readily identify high priority UOG chemicals with evidence of multiple adverse effects.

RESULTS:

We observed substantial inconsistencies in classification among the 11 databases. By adopting the most stringent classification within and across countries, 43 chemicals were classified as known or presumed human reproductive toxicants (GHS Category 1), while 31 chemicals were classified as suspected human reproductive toxicants (GHS Category 2). The 43 reproductive toxicants were further subjected to analysis for carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. Calculated hazard scores and Cytoscape visualization yielded several high priority chemicals including potassium dichromate, cadmium, benzene and ethylene oxide.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings reveal diverging GHS classification outcomes for UOG chemicals across regulatory agencies. Adoption of the most stringent classification with application of hazard scores provides a useful approach to prioritize reproductive toxicants in UOG and other industries for exposure assessments and selection of safer alternatives.

KEYWORDS:

Chemical prioritization; Globally harmonized system; Regulatory list; Reproductive toxicants; Unconventional oil and gas

PMID:
29793188
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2018.05.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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