Doctoral candidate Henry A. Gabb successfully defended his dissertation, "An Informatics Approach to Prioritizing Risk Assessment for Chemicals and Chemical Combinations Based on Near-Field Exposure from Consumer Products," on January 14.
His committee included Associate Professor Catherine Blake (chair); Professor and Dean Allen Renear; Research Scientist Ian Brooks; Jodi Flaws, professor of comparative biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine; and Nathaniel Osgood, professor of computer science at the University of Saskatchewan.
Abstract: Over 80,000 chemicals are registered under the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, but only a few hundred have been screened for human toxicity. The goal of this research is to prioritize the chemical ingredients in consumer products for risk assessment. This work is motivated by mounting evidence that many of these chemicals are potentially harmful. An informatics approach was developed to integrate publicly available data (e.g., product data scraped from online retailers, the PubChem Compound database), then use a probabilistic approach to compute exposure and retention factors based on actual consumer usage patterns. The approach scales to thousands of target chemicals and consumer products, and is a viable and rational way to prioritize chemicals and chemical combinations for risk assessment based on near-field exposure from consumer products.