DETROIT – There are hidden metabolic health effects in the things that most people encounter every day.
From surface cleaners to silicone bracelets, from fracking fluids to sewage – even house dust – these diverse environmental mixtures have the potential to disrupt human health.
Christophe KassotisPh.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, received a grant to further evaluate environmental mixtures.
“Everything we know about chemical toxicity is based on testing that individual chemical, but we’re never exposed to just one chemical alone,” Kassotis said. “Humans are routinely exposed to hundreds or thousands of chemicals every day. Our regulatory system completely ignores this, in part because of the difficulties in figuring out how to review mixtures and predict effects. »
With a $598,487 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Kassotis will develop and evaluate methods and approaches to understand human health risks that may result from exposure to chemical mixtures in the environment.
According to the EPA, toxicological studies have traditionally focused on the effects of a single chemical on human health. However, people are continually exposed to mixtures of many chemicals found in the environment, including air, water, soil, food, and household products. These chemical mixtures include polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), often referred to as “universal chemicals” because they have become so common in everyday products. Other well-characterized mixtures include phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and disinfection by-products (DBPs).
There is a need to assess the toxicity of these chemical mixtures and to understand how their combined effects on human health and the environment differ from what is known about the individual chemicals.
Kassotis and his research team will use house dust samples to develop a component model of receptor bioactivity to predict adipogenic health outcomes. Through their dust extraction tests, WSU researchers expect to support a new method for assessing mixing risks
“Our study is designed to provide a more concrete basis for chemical mixture assessments, a better understanding of where available mixture models succeed and fail in predicting toxicity,” he said. “In short, I hope these experiments will help move the regulatory structure toward including more mixture exposure considerations to better protect public health. We need to better understand how exposure to a single chemical varies with continuous exposures to hundreds of other chemicals.
“If I were to try to sum this up in a simple statement, I hope to improve chemical risk assessment models to account for daily exposures to hundreds of different chemicals and, therefore, lead to better protection of the human health.”
Learn more about Kassotis and his research projects in his Web page.
The project number for this EPA award is R840459.
About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is one of the nation’s leading urban public research universities. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, Michigan and around the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.