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Exposure to multiple “chemical mixtures”: methods for their human and ecological risk assessment

 

Glossary over Exposure to multiple “chemical mixtures”: methods for their human and ecological risk assessment

Absorption

The process of taking in. For a person or an animal, absorption is the process of a substance getting into the body through the eyes, skin, stomach, intestines, or lungs. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Active ingredient

The term “active ingredient” is mostly used in drugs to name the substance which is pharmaceutically active.

The term “active substance” is also used in biocidal products to name the component which actually kills, or otherwise controls pests or bacteria.

It is not necessarily the largest or most hazardous component of the product. Some products may contain more than one active ingredient or substance. Non-active ingredients are often called inert ingredients. (Source: GreenFacts)

Adverse health effect

A change in body function or cell structure that might lead to disease or health problems. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Background level(s)

Levels of chemical or physical agents that are normally found in the environment.

Two types of background levels may exist for chemical substances or physical agents: (a) Naturally occurring levels: ambient concentrations of substances or agents present in the environment, without human influence; (b) Anthropogenic levels: Concentrations of substances or agents present in the environment due to human-made, non-site sources (e.g., automobiles, industries). (Source: US EPA Glossary of IRIS Terms  )

Biochemistry

The study of the chemical processes and compounds occurring in living organisms. (Source: American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Glossary  )

Biocide(s)

According to the Biocides Directive (98/8/EC), biocidal products are those that are intended to destroy, render harmless, prevent the action of, or otherwise exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism by chemical or biological means. Examples include disinfectants, preservatives, antiseptics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.

Biocidal products mentioned in the Biocides Directive are listed in the following table: (Source: GreenFacts, based on the Biocides Directive (98/8/EC)  )

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Bioinformatics

The science of informatics as applied to biological research.

Informatics is the management and analysis of data using advanced computing techniques.

Bioinformatics is particularly important as an adjunct to genomics research, because of the large amount of complex data this research generates. (Source: FSA Genomics: Glossary of Terms  )

Biomolecule

A biomolecule is a chemical compound found in living organisms. These include chemicals that are composed of mainly carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus.

Biomolecules are the building blocks of life and perform important functions in living organisms. (Source: Articleworld.org Biomolecule  )

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Biomonitoring

Biomonitoring is a scientific technique for assessing human exposures to natural and synthetic chemicals, based on sampling and analysis of an individual's tissues and fluids.

While blood, urine, breast milk and expelled air are most commonly measured, hair, nails, fat, bone and other tissues may also be sampled.

This technique takes advantage of the knowledge that chemicals that have entered the human body leave markers reflecting this exposure. The marker may be the chemical itself. It may also be a breakdown product of the chemical or some change in the body that is a result of the action of the chemical on the individual.

For example, alterations in the levels of certain enzymes or other proteins may serve as markers; so too might modifications of normal body processes, such as the transfer of oxygen to tissues. (Source: Biomonitoring Info, What is biomonitoring?  )

Carcinogen

A substance, factor or situation that causes or induces cancer. (Source: GreenFacts )

Chronic

Occurring over a long period of time, either continuously or intermittently; used to describe ongoing exposures and effects that develop only after a long exposure. (Source: US EPA Thesaurus  )

Concentration

The amount of a chemical or substance present in a particular quantity of soil, water, air, food, blood, hair, urine, breath, or any other media. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Contaminant(s)

A substance that is either present in an environment where it does not belong or is present at levels that might cause harmful effects to humans or the environment. (Source: GreenFacts)

Developmental effects

Effects in the developing offspring due to exposure before conception (either parent), prenatally, or postnatally to the time of sexual maturation. Developmental effects may be expressed at any time in the life span of the organism. Developmental effects are a subset of reproductive effects. (Source: CSIRO CSIRO biological effects and safety of EMR Glossary  )

Ecosystem(s)

The complex system of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.

Ecosystems have no fixed boundaries; instead their parameters are set to the scientific, management, or policy question being examined. Depending upon the purpose of analysis, a single lake, a watershed, or an entire region could be considered an ecosystem. (Source: US EPA Glossary of Climate Change Terms   )

Enzyme(s)

A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up. Organisms could not function if they had no enzymes. (Source: NHGRI NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

European Food Safety Authority

"Following a series of food scares in the 1990s (eg BSE, dioxins…) which undermined consumer confidence in the safety of the food chain, the European Union concluded that it needed to establish a new scientific body charged with providing independent and objective advice on food safety issues associated with the food chain. Its primary objective as set out in the White Paper on Food Safety would be to: “…contribute to a high level of consumer health protection in the area of food safety, through which consumer confidence can be restored and maintained.” The result was the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Set up provisionally in Brussels in 2002, EFSA provides independent scientific advice on all matters linked to food and feed safety - including animal health and welfare and plant protection - and provides scientific advice on nutrition in relation to Community legislation. The Authority communicates to the public in an open and transparent way on all matters within its remit. EFSA’s risk assessments provide risk managers (consisting of EU institutions with political accountability, i.e. European Commission, European Parliament and Council) with a sound scientific basis for defining policy driven legislative or regulatory measures required to ensure a high level of consumer protection with regards to food safety." (Source: EFSA website )

Exposure

Contact of the cells of an organism with a substance, micro-organism or radiation. In the case of humans, this may involve contact with a substance or agent by swallowing, breathing, or through the skin or eyes. Exposure may be short-term [acute exposure], of intermediate duration, or long-term [chronic exposure].

Exposure can be divided into external and internal.

External exposure refers to the whole dose to which an organism is exposed.

Internal exposure refers only to that fraction of the initial chemical dose that is absorbed and distributed throughout the body via systemic circulation. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Exposure assessment(s)

Quantitative or qualitative evaluation of the contact of a chemical [or a physical factor] with the outer boundary of the human body, which includes consideration of the intensity, frequency and duration of contact, the route of exposure (e.g. dermal, oral or respiratory), rates (chemical intake or uptake rates), the resulting amount that actually crosses the boundary (dose), and the amount absorbed (internal dose) (WHO 1999). (Source: EMCOM Glossary  )

Genome

The complete set of genes of an organism.

The human genome for instance contains 30 000 to 40 000 genes. (Source: GreenFacts)

Genotoxic

Toxic (damaging) to DNA. Substances that are genotoxic may bind directly to DNA or act indirectly leading to DNA damage by affecting enzymes involved in DNA replication, thereby causing mutations which may or may not lead to cancer or birth defects (inheritable damage). Genotoxic substances are not necessarily carcinogenic. (Source: GreenFacts)

In vitro

In an artificial environment outside a living organism or body. For example, some toxicity testing is done on cell cultures or slices of tissue grown in the laboratory, rather than on a living animal. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

In vivo

Within a living organism or body. For example, some toxicity testing is done on whole animals, such as rats or mice. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Lactation

In female mammals, lactation refers to the production of milk in the mammary glands for the offspring. In humans, it is referred to as breastfeeding. (Source: GreenFacts)

Metabolism

The conversion or breakdown of a substance from one form to another by an enzyme. (Source: GreenFacts, based on ATSDR Glossary of Terms )

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Metabolite

A substance that is the product of biological changes to a chemical. (Source: US EPA Glossary  )

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Metabolomics

Metabolomics is the global study of all the small molecules produced in the human body. (Source: GreenFacts, based on The Wellcome Trust Metabolomics   )

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Molecule

A molecule is the smallest part of any chemical compound composed of two or more atoms and which has the qualities of that substance and can exist alone in a free state. As an example, a molecule of water (H2O) consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. (Source: GreenFacts, based on Helios Glossary   )

Pesticide

A toxic chemical product that kills harmful organisms (e.g., insecticides, fungicide, weedicides, rodenticides, acaricides). (Source: FAO Glossary of biotechnology & genetic engineering  )

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Physiology

Study of the biological, chemical and physical activities and processes that underlie the functioning of living organisms (cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems) and their parts. (Source: GreenFacts)

Population

A group or number of people living within a specified area or sharing similar characteristics (such as occupation or age). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Pregnancy outcomes

Results of conception and ensuing pregnancy, such as sex ratio, birth weight, spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, lower birth weight, preterm delivery or stillbirth. (Source: GreenFacts)

Protein

A large molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order, formed according to genetic information.

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Proteomics

The study of the structure and function of proteins, including the way they work and interact with each other inside cells. (Source: JNCI Cancer Spectrum;  Cancer Dictionary  )

Receptor

A molecule on the surface of a cell that serves as a recognition or binding site for antigens, antibodies or other cellular or immuniologic components. (Source: NIAID HIV vaccine Glossary   )

Risk assessment

A scientifically based process consisting of four steps:

  • hazard identification,
  • hazard characterization,
  • exposure assessment and
  • risk characterization
(Source:   Official Journal of the European Communities 2002 L 31 )

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Synergy

When the combined effect of several forces operating is greater than the sum of the separate effects of the forces. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )

The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection

The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) is an advisory body, established in 1969, that advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection.

At present GESAMP is jointly sponsored by nine UN organizations with responsibilities relating to the marine environment, and they utilize GESAMP as a mechanism for coordination and collaboration among them. GESAMP functions are to conduct and support marine environmental assessments, to undertake in-depth studies, analyses, and reviews of specific topics, and to identify emerging issues regarding the state of the marine environment. GESAMP itself today consists of 16 experts, drawn from a wide range of relevant disciplines, who act in an independent and individual capacity. Studies and assessments are usually carried out by dedicated working groups, most of whose members are not sitting members of GESAMP but part of the broader GESAMP network.

GESAMP's UN sponsors: IMO, FAO, UNESCO-IOC, WMO, IAEA, UN, UNEP, UNIDO, UNDP.GESAMP

Source: (Source: www.gesamp.org/about  )

Toxicity

The capacity or property of a substance to cause adverse effects. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Toxicology

The study of the harmful effects of substances on humans or animals. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Uncertainty factor

A number (equal or greater than 1) used to divide NOAEL or LOAEL values derived from measurements in animals or small groups of humans, in order to estimate a NOAEL or LOAEL value for the whole human population; also called margin-of-safety. (Source: IPCS )

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