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Human health risks due to airborne polychlorinated biphenyls are highest in New Bedford Harbor communities living closest to the harbor.

07:00 EST 18th November 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Human health risks due to airborne polychlorinated biphenyls are highest in New Bedford Harbor communities living closest to the harbor."

In response to concerns raised by communities surrounding the New Bedford Harbor Superfund site, we completed a field and modeling study that concluded the harbor is the primary source of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in air around the harbor. The follow-up question from residents was whether the PCBs measured in air pose a risk to their health. The US Environmental Protection Agency focuses their site-specific, risk-based decisions for site clean-up on cancers. We focused our assessment on the non-cancer effects on the thyroid based on the congener specific patterns and concentrations of PCBs measured in air near and distant to the harbor. Human and animal studies of PCB-induced effects on the thyroid provide evidence to support our analysis. Drawing from the published toxicological data, we used a Margin of Exposure (MOE) approach to derive a human-equivalent concentration in air associated with human health effects on the thyroid. Based on the MOEs calculated herein, evaluation of the MOE indicates that changes in thyroid hormone levels are possible among people living adjacent to the Harbor. Changes in thyroid hormone levels are more likely among people who live near the harbor compared to residents living in areas distant from the harbor. This risk assessment documents potential health risks associated with proximity to a marine Superfund Site using site-specific ambient air PCB congener data.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: The Science of the total environment
ISSN: 1879-1026
Pages: 135576

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