ISES Conference 2014 – From Big Data to Aggregate Exposure
Written by Robert Coyle
There were a number of interesting approaches to aggregate exposure calculation with organisations conducting large surveys to investigate product consumption and exposure through product co-use. Monte carlo simulation methods were presented as a method used to combine various databases…a method employed by Creme Global since 1999.
Dr. Damien Comiskey’s presentation on the habits and practices survey, consisting of 36,446 individuals from USA and EU countries demonstrating the quality and quantity of data used in the Creme RIFM model. This was followed by Cian O’Mahony’s presentation on the exposure results that can be extracted from the Creme RIFM Aggregate Exposure model, and showed how our easy-to-use software tool can produce refined aggregate exposure to cosmetics, personal care and aircare products.
In another session on pesticides, Cian O’Mahony presented during the pesticide symposium on how the Pesticide Control Division (PCD) in Ireland use our Creme Food Safety software in conjunction with their monitoring programme to assess exposure to pesticides amongst Irish consumers.
It was great to see big data and mathematical modelling making an appearance at the conference this year for the first time. The EPA are doing some very interesting work in this area in their RTP.
A presentation by a representative from Nielsen (known for TV ratings in the USA), discussed how gathering big data from many sources could be useful in the field of exposure science. A spirited debate ensued when an exposure scientist noted the incongruity between the small measurement-based data, typically used in exposure science, and Nielsen’s proposal for using big data. The issue was settled when Cronan McNamara, CEO at Creme Global, pointed out that there is a natural symbiosis between big data and small experimental studies. He pointed out that models based on big data will always contain assumptions, these models can be validated using data from smaller, more focussed experimental studies. Once validated, the models can then be used in conjunction with the big data to produce useful and reliable results.
Other highlights included new investigations conducted into exposure to flavoured e-cigarettes. Concerns over marketing tactics were raised especially due to the enticing flavours (‘Milk Chocolate’ and ‘Raspberry Menthol’ to name but a few) that might attract attention from children. It was shown that U.S. poison centres received hundreds of phone calls per month, especially due to children swallowing the flavour mixture, an increase from approximately 5 calls per month in previous years. The presenter mentioned actually swallowing the flavours cocktail himself used in these e-cigarettes in the spirit and tradition of self-experimentation. It seems like more work is needed to investigate the exposure effects of these compounds through accidental ingestion.
Poster and presentations are available to download here: