September 24, 2018
Rigid wet/dry vacuum models HD06000 (6-gallon) and HD09000 (9-gallon) sold at Home Depot have been recalled by their manufacturer (Emerson Tool Company) because the on/off switch on the tool can become dislodged and expose energized wiring, posing a shock hazard. The orange and black wet/dry vacuum has four swivel casters, a carrying handle, a hose and accessories. RIDGID is printed on the front of the vacuum. The model number can be found on a silver product identification label on the back of the vacuum’s powerhead assembly.
If you have one of the recalled vacuums, you should immediately stop using the device and contact Emerson Tool Company for a free replacement wet/dry vacuum powerhead assembly, by calling Emerson Tool Company toll-free at 888-847-8718 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT or online at www.emerson.com/en-us/commercial-residential/emerson-tool-company
and click on Safety Notifications.
Hazardous Waste Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations. Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training
is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training
, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on a new Amazon Fire HD10 tablet at no extra charge.
Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Silver Nanomaterials
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the availability of a draft document for public comment titled Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB): Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Silver Nanomaterials.
This document has been revised in response to public, stakeholder, scientific peer review comments, and as discussed at a public meeting on March 23, 2016. NIOSH has considered these comments in developing the revised draft document.
This draft document provides an updated scientific literature review of information pertaining to occupational exposure to silver nanomaterials. This literature review includes studies on the toxicological effects of exposure to silver nanomaterials in experimental animal and cellular systems, the effect of particle size and other properties on the toxicological effects of silver, and NIOSH recommendations on the measurement and control of occupational exposures to silver and silver nanomaterials.
NIOSH assessed the potential health risks of occupational exposure to silver nanomaterials by evaluating the scientific literature. Studies in animals have shown adverse lung and liver effects associated with exposure to silver nanoparticles. Based on an assessment of these data, NIOSH developed a recommended exposure limit (REL) for silver nanomaterials. This new draft REL applies to processes that produce or use silver nanomaterials. In addition, NIOSH continues to recommend its existing REL for total silver (metal dust and soluble compounds, as Ag
For the current review, NIOSH is requesting comments on the August 2018 draft NIOSH document only. An online public meeting will be held October 30, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET or until the last presenter has spoken, whichever occurs first. Members of the public who wish to provide public comments should plan to attend the meeting at the start time listed.
New DOL OIG Audit Report
An Office of Inspector General Audit (OIG) report
has recommended that OSHA to strengthen reporting requirements for employers that report a severe injury, but do not receive an inspection. OIG found OSHA did not know the total number of work-related fatalities and severe injuries, and had limited assurance employers abated hazards properly. As a result, OSHA lacked information needed to target compliance assistance and enforcement efforts effectively.
Fatal Waste Collection Truck Accident
Cal/OSHA has issued citations to GreenWaste Recovery Inc. after a waste collection worker was fatally run over by his own truck in San Jose. An investigation found that the employer failed to ensure the truck’s safety restraint was in working order and did not ensure it was being used by workers driving from the right-hand side of the truck.
On March 2, a GreenWaste Recovery worker was driving a waste collection truck to gather recyclables in San Jose. The worker was making a turn while operating the truck from the right-hand side when he fell out and was run over. Cal/OSHA’s inspection determined that the waste collection truck had a safety chain for the truck cab opening that could not be used because a part was missing.
“Collection vehicles with the option to operate the truck from the right-hand side must be equipped with an occupant restraint system such as a door, locking or latching bar, safety chain or strap,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “To prevent serious and fatal injuries, employers must maintain occupant restraints in working order and ensure the restraints are used by workers.”
Cal/OSHA issued two general and two serious accident-related citations totaling $46,270 in proposed penalties to GreenWaste Recovery. The serious accident-related citations were issued for the employer’s failure to ensure that occupant restraints were being used by workers driving from the right-hand side of the truck and failure to identify and evaluate the unsafe work practice of workers not using occupant restraints. In addition, the employer received two general citations for not maintaining vehicle safety equipment.
Cal/OSHA conducted inspections of GreenWaste Recovery involving three separate worker injuries in 2016 and 2017. Over the last three years, Cal/OSHA has opened at least 186 inspections with solid waste collection and material recovery employers. Those inspections include a fatal incident last year in La Jolla when a waste collection worker was crushed by his unsecured truck that rolled forward and pinned him against a wall.
A citation is classified as serious when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazard created by the violation. Citations are classified as accident-related when the injury, illness or fatality is caused by the violation.
FDA Alert About Potential for Neurologic Adverse Events Associated with Certain Flea and Tick Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerted pet owners and veterinarians
to be aware of the potential for neurologic adverse events in dogs and cats when treated with drugs that are in the isoxazoline class.
Since these products have obtained their respective FDA approvals, data received by the agency as part of its routine post-marketing activities indicates that some animals receiving Bravecto, Nexgard or Simparica have experienced adverse events such as muscle tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Another product in this class, Credelio, recently received FDA approval. These products are approved for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, and the treatment and control of tick infestations.
The FDA is working with manufacturers of isoxazoline products to include new label information to highlight neurologic events because these events were seen consistently across the isoxazoline class of products.
The FDA carefully reviewed studies and other data on Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard and Simparica prior to approval, and these products continue to be safe and effective for the majority of animals. The agency is asking the manufacturers to make the changes to the product labeling in order to provide veterinarians and pet owners with the information they need to make treatment decisions for each pet on an individual basis. Veterinarians should use their specialized training to review their patients’ medical histories and determine, in consultation with pet owners, whether a product in the isoxazoline class is appropriate for the pet.
Although FDA scientists carefully evaluate an animal drug prior to approval, there is the potential for new information to emerge after marketing, when the product is used in a much larger population. In the first three years after approval, the FDA pays particularly close attention to adverse event reports, looking for any safety information that may emerge.
The FDA monitors adverse drug event reports received from the public or veterinarians, other publicly available information (such a peer-reviewed scientific articles), and mandatory reports from the animal drug sponsor (the company that owns the right to market the drug). Drug sponsors must report serious, unexpected adverse events within 15 days of the event. In addition, they must submit any events that are non-serious, plus any laboratory studies, in vitro studies, and clinical trials that have not been previously submitted to the agency, on a bi-annual basis for the first two years following product approval and annually thereafter.
The FDA continues to monitor adverse drug event reports for these products and encourages pet owners and veterinarians to report adverse drug events. You can do this by reporting to the drugs’ manufacturers, who are required to report this information to the FDA, or by submitting a report directly to the FDA.
To report suspected adverse drug events for these products and/or obtain a copy of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or for technical assistance, contact the appropriate manufacturers at the following phone numbers:
- Merck Animal Health (Bravecto): 800-224-5318
- Elanco Animal Health (Credelio): 888-545-5973
- Merial (Nexgard): 888-637-4251
- Zoetis (Simparica): 888-963-8471
Gator Utility Vehicles Recalled by John Deere Due to Crash Hazard
John Deere has recalled its model XUV590 and XUV590 S4 Gator™ utility vehicles because the powertrain hardware can come loose, causing the throttle to stick. This could result in the operator not being able to stop the vehicle, posing a crash hazard.
The recalled utility vehicles were sold in green and yellow, olive drab and camouflage and have four-wheel suspension with side-by-side seating for two or four people.
The range of serial numbers included in the recall are:
1M0590EAxxM010001 - 1M0590EAxxM020029
1M0590EBxxM010001 - 1M0590EBxxM020004
1M0590EDxxM010001 - 1M0590EDxxM010014
1M0590EExxM010001 - 1M0590EExxM010008
1M0590MAxxM010001 - 1M0590MAxxM020071
1M0590MBxxM010001 - 1M0590MBxxM020025
1M0590MDxxM010001 - 1M0590MDxxM010018
1M0590MExxM010001 - 1M0590MExxM010012
1M0590MFxxM010001 - 1M0590MFxxM020004
1M0590MGxxM010001 - 1M0590MGxxM010049
If you have one of these utility vehicles, you should immediately stop using it and contact an authorized John Deere dealer for a free inspection and repair. John Deere is contacting all known purchasers directly.
Polaris Ranger Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles Recalled Due to Crash Hazard
2018 model year Polaris Ranger 500, Ranger 570, Ranger EV and Ranger EV LI-ION recreational off-highway vehicles have been recalled because the front lower control arms can separate, posing a crash hazard.
The Ranger 500 vehicles were sold in red and green. They have “POLARIS” stamped on the front grille, “500” decals on the front fenders, and “Ranger” decals on the rear fenders. The Ranger 570 vehicles were sold in two- and four-seat models in green, blue, and camo. They have “POLARIS” stamped on the front grille, “570” decals on the front fenders, and “Ranger” decals on the rear fenders. The Ranger EV vehicles were sold in gray and camo. They have “POLARIS” stamped on the front grille and “Ranger” decals on the rear fenders. The Ranger EV LI-ION vehicles were sold in camo. They have “POLARIS” stamped on the front grille and “Ranger” decals on the rear fenders.
The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and model number may be found on a label inside the left rear wheel well.
RANGER 500 - INMOLD SAGE GREEN
RANGER 500 - INMOLD SOLAR RED
RANGER 570 - INMOLD SAGE GREEN
RANGER 570 - POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
RANGER EV - INMOLD AVALANCHE GRAY
RANGER EV - POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
RANGER EV LI-ION - POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
RANGER 570 EPS - PAINT NAVY BLUE METALLIC
RANGER CREW 570-4 - INMOLD SAGE GREEN
RANGER CREW 570-4 POLARIS PUR CAM
RANGER CREW 570-4 EPS - NAVY BLUE MET
If you have one of these vehicles, you should immediately stop using it and contact a Polaris dealer to schedule a free repair. Or, call Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.com
and click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” for more information. In addition, check your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the “Product Safety Recalls
“ page to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls. Polaris is contacting all registered owners directly.
Golf Cart Chargers Recalled Due to Fire and Burn Hazards
Links Series golf cart charger model numbers 28080, 28090 or 28100 are being recalled by the manufacturer due to fire and burn hazards. The recalled chargers are black or aluminum and measure approximately 11 inches long by 8 ¾ inches wide by 9 ½ inches tall. “Lester Electrical” and “Links Series” are printed on the front of the recalled chargers along with a picture of a golfer.
The recalled chargers were manufactured between week 29 of 2014 and week 48 of 2016. The date code is embedded in the serial number as the first four digits with the first and second digits representing the week and the third and fourth digits representing the year.
The following serial and model numbers are printed on the ratings label on the back of recalled chargers:
Serial Number Range
2914XXXXX through 4816XXXXX
If you have one of the chargers, you should immediately stop using it and contact Lester Electrical to receive a free replacement control board or schedule a free repair. Call Lester Electrical at 800-295-2086 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, email at email@example.com
or online at www.lesterelectrical.com
and click on “Service & Support” and then “Links Series Field Action” for more information.
Cedar Point Charged with Willful Violation after Employee Injury Due to Fall
OSHA has cited Cedar Fair LP—which operates as Cedar Point—for failing to protect workers from fall hazards after an employee suffered serious injuries at its Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park. The company faces proposed penalties of $142,270 for one willful and one serious safety violation, the maximum penalties allowed under the law.
OSHA inspectors determined the injured employee fell through a skylight while working as part of a three-person crew to remove insulating blankets and covers from a roof. OSHA also cited the company for failing to train employees to recognize fall
“Falls like this are preventable if employers provide required fall protection systems when employees work at elevated heights, or near floor and wall openings,” said OSHA Toledo Area Office Director Kimberly Nelson.
Fatal Injury at Country Club
OSHA has cited Rocky Fork Hunt and Country Club—located in Gahanna, Ohio—for failing to protect employees from rollover hazards after a worker suffered fatal injuries when the lawnmower he was operating tipped over.
OSHA inspectors determined Rocky Fort Hunt and Country Club did not have a roll bar installed on the mower; exposed workers to chemical hazards; and failed to develop and implement an emergency action plan, maintain accurate injury and illness records; and report the fatality as required. The company faces proposed penalties of $25,869.
“Employers have a legal obligation to report fatalities to OSHA within eight hours. A workplace free of hazards is a requirement, not an option,” said OSHA Columbus Area Office Director Larry Johnson. “When equipment is operated on a slope or embankment, rollover protection must be installed.”
Construction Company Cited for Repeat Violations
OSHA has cited L.L.E. Construction LLC for exposing employees to fall and other hazards at a construction worksite in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The company faces $146,554 in proposed penalties.
OSHA inspectors observed employees installing shingles and a skylight without fall protection. The company was cited for failing to provide fall protection, train employees to recognize fall hazards, and properly anchor fall protection equipment; using a damaged ladder, and exposing employees to falls from ladders; failing to provide eye protection; and conduct regular inspections of worksite, materials, and equipment. OSHA cited the company for fall and eye protection hazards in 2010, 2012, and 2013.
OSHA Cites Contractors Following Fatal Pedestrian Bridge Collapse
OSHA cited several contractors for safety violations after one employee suffered fatal injuries and five other employees sustained serious injuries when a pedestrian bridge at the Florida International University campus in Miami collapsed. The five companies collectively received seven violations, totaling $86,658 in proposed penalties.
OSHA cited Figg Bridge Engineers Inc., a civil and structural engineering company; Network Engineering Services Inc. (doing business as Bolton Perez & Assoc.), a construction engineering and inspection firm; Structural Technologies LLC (doing business as Structural Technologies/VSL), specializing in post-tensioning in bridges and buildings; Munilla Construction Management LLC, a bridge and building construction company; and The Structural Group of South Florida Inc., a contractor specializing in concrete formwork.
OSHA’s investigation determined that the companies failed to protect workers when indications of a potential bridge collapse were evident. Violations included exposing employees to crushing and fall hazards; and allowing multiple employees to connect to an improperly installed lifeline.
“Collectively, these employers failed to take appropriate action and provide the necessary protections to their employees while they were working on the bridge on the day it collapsed,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt A. Petermeyer.
Peanut Processor Placed in OSHA Severe Violator Enforcement Program Following Repeat Violations
OSHA has cited Great Southern Peanut LLC for safety and health violations after conducting a follow-up inspection as part of a formal settlement with the agency. The Leesburg, Georgia, peanut processing facility faces $309,505 in proposed penalties.
the company for failing to develop and implement procedures for confined space entry; train employees on confined space hazards; reduce compressed air to the required level; and meet recordkeeping requirements. The company was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“This employer failed to adhere to the terms of a formal agreement to correct workplace hazards identified in a previous inspection, continuing to put employees at risk of serious injury,” said OSHA Savannah Area Office Director Margo Westmoreland.
$284,540 OSHA Penalty for Arm Amputation
OSHA has cited Napoleon Spring Works Inc. for willful and serious safety violations after a temporary employee’s arm was amputated. The Archbold, Ohio, garage door hardware manufacturer faces proposed penalties totaling $284,540
OSHA investigators found the company failed to implement lockout/tag out procedures to prevent equipment from moving unintentionally during production, train employees on lockout/tagout practices, and install adequate machine guarding.
“This employer failed to protect its employees from well-known and preventable hazards,” said OSHA Toledo Area Office Director Kimberly Nelson. “As a result, the company remains in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.”
Fatal Fall from Communications Tower
OSHA cited Midway Tower Service Inc. and Bracken Equipment Holdings LLC for exposing employees to fall and struck-by hazards after an employee suffered fatal injuries at a Utica, Mississippi, worksite.
Midway Tower Service Inc. was cited
for exposing employees to fall and struck-by hazards, failing to remove or replace damaged attachments between the hook of a crane and the load, and for not capping the ends of rebar. OSHA also cited
Bracken Equipment Holdings LLC, a crane rental company, for not removing damaged equipment from service. The companies face $20,990 in proposed penalties.
“It is vital to establish and implement a comprehensive safety and health program that effectively addresses the hazards associated with communication tower work,” said OSHA Jackson Area Office Director Courtney Bohannon.
Underage Worker Crushed to Death, Employer Pleads Guilty
New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced the guilty plea of Luke Park, owner of the Park Family Farm, for child labor violations related to the death of a 14-year-old boy in July 2015.
Park pleaded guilty in Cortland County Court before Justice Julie A. Campbell, to Endangering the Welfare of a Child, the Willful Failure to Pay a Contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and the Prohibited Employment of a Minor. The court ordered Mr. Park to return for sentencing on January 3, 2019.
“This incident is a tragic reminder that child labor laws exist for a reason. My office will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who puts a minor in harm’s way,” said Attorney General Underwood.
The Attorney General indicted Park in November 2016, stemming from the July 2015 incident at the Park Family Farm, located at 3036 East River Road in Homer, New York. In the plea allocution, Park admitted that Alex Smith, a 14-year-old boy, was killed while working on his dairy farm. The boy was operating a New Holland LS170 Skidloader with a hydraulic lift and fork attachment, which is explicitly prohibited by child labor laws, in an attempt to prepare bales of hay for cow feed. Park admitted that he found the boy’s body pinned underneath the hydraulic lift and bale of hay, with the engine of the Skidloader still running. The medical examiner’s autopsy concluded that the boy’s chest and abdomen were crushed, resulting in his death by mechanical asphyxiation.
In addition, Park admitted that he employed other minors on his dairy farm and required them to work approximately 60 hours a week, which exceeds the 48 hour per week maximum for 16- and 17-year-olds when school is not in session. Park also admitted that the majority of his employees were paid off-the-books, resulting in an underpayment in Unemployment Insurance Contributions amounting to approximately $10,500.
“Of all the labor violations we see, those against children are some of the most abhorrent. Endangering the welfare of New York’s children by violating the labor laws is absolutely unacceptable,” said NYS Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon. “Children are our most valuable asset and compliance with the Child Labor Law is not discretionary—it’s mandatory.”
New York’s Child Labor Law sets forth some of the strictest guidelines in the country on the employment of minors. The law sets forth safety guidelines with certain absolute prohibitions, including the operation of hydraulic lift machinery. The law also seeks to ensure that burdensome working hours do not interfere with a child’s education. For example, minors that are 16- and 17-years old are limited to working no more than 28 hours in any week when school is in session, and 48 hours per week when on vacation or over the summer.
The law also requires that minors obtain an employment certificate (working papers) in order to be employed. There are exceptions for jobs such as babysitting and newspaper carriers.
We Are Bombarded by Thousands of Diverse Species and Chemicals
We are all exposed to a vast and dynamic cloud of microbes, chemicals and particulates that, if visible, might make us look something like Pig-Pen from Peanuts.
Using a re-engineered air-monitoring device, scientists from the Stanford University School of Medicine
have peered into that plume and discovered a smorgasbord of biological and chemical minutia that swirl in, on and around us. Their findings show, in unprecedented detail, the variety of bacteria, viruses, chemicals, plant particulates, fungi, and even tiny microscopic animals that enter our personal space—a bombardment known as the human “exposome.”
“Human health is influenced by two things: your DNA and the environment,” said Michael Snyder
, PhD, professor and chair of genetics at Stanford. “People have measured things like air pollution on a broad scale, but no one has really measured biological and chemical exposures at a personal level. No one really knows how vast the human exposome is or what kinds of things are in there.”
That curiosity—to see, for the first time, what a person’s exposure looks like at an individual level and how much it varies among people—was what motivated the study, Snyder said. But studying the exposome also provides an opportunity to clarify environmental influencers of human health that are otherwise obscure, he said. For example, rather than simply blaming pollen, those with seasonal allergies would be able to identify exactly what they’re allergic to by monitoring their exposome data and symptoms throughout the year.
The study’s findings also reveal information about geographic- and household-chemical spikes and weather-related patterns, and likewise show the wide range of chemical and biological particulates that can be found between individuals—even within a relatively small geographic region, such as the San Francisco Bay Area.
was published online September 20 in Cell
. Snyder is the senior author. Postdoctoral scholar Chao Jiang, PhD; research scientist Xin Wang, PhD; research associate Xiyan Li, PhD; and postdoctoral scholars Jingga Inlora, PhD, and Ting Wang, PhD, are co-lead authors.
For two years, the scientists collected data from 15 participants who traversed more than 50 different locations. Some people were monitored for a month, some for a week, and one (Snyder) for two full years. To capture bits of each individual’s exposome, a small device that straps snuggly to the participant’s arm “breathes” in tiny puffs of air—about one-fifteenth the volume of an average human breath.
The device, about the size and shape of a large matchbox, accompanies participants everywhere and is equipped with a sub-micron filter that traps particulate matter in the device. The data—bacteria, viruses, chemicals, fungi and anything else sucked up by the device—is brought back to Snyder’s lab and extracted for DNA and RNA sequencing, as well as chemical profiling, to identify all the collected organisms and chemicals that the person is exposed to.
This idea—to siphon up bits of an individual’s exposome and systematically categorize what’s in it—is novel, Snyder said. And it required Jiang to stitch together an entirely new database.
“Scientists had assembled separate bacteria, viral or fungi databases, but to fully decode our environmental exposures, we built a pan-domain database to cover more than 40,000 species,” Jiang said. It includes information on bacteria, viruses, fungi, animals, plants and more, all organized in a single searchable database.
“We sequenced these samples in incredible detail,” said Snyder, who is also the Stanford W. Ascherman, MD, FACS, Professor in Genetics. “No one has ever done a study this deep before. We ended up with about 70 billion readouts.”
Between participants, Snyder and Jiang found that exposomes could be vastly different, even in a reasonably tight geographic region—in this case, the San Francisco Bay Area. Snyder cited an especially well-controlled portion of the study, in which four participants, including Snyder, were closely monitored over one month, as a case in point.
Each person lived in a distinct region of the San Francisco Bay Area: Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Redwood City and San Francisco (though the person who lived in Redwood City commuted across the bay to his job). “It turns out, even at very close distances, we have very different exposure profiles or ‘signatures,’” Snyder said. These personal signatures are essentially traces of specific fungi, plants, chemicals and bacteria that are consistently seen on or around a single person, but that vary between people. Many environmental aspects contribute to this microscopic amalgam—pets, household chemicals, flowers in bloom and even rain.
“The bottom line is that we all have our own microbiome cloud that we’re schlepping around and spewing out,” Snyder said.
Specific and unique signatures were captured for every individual (although Snyder added that DEET, an insect repellant, along with several carcinogens were found in just about every chemical sample). For example, the resident from San Francisco showed high rates of “sludge bacteria,” or bacteria typically found in wastewater and sewage treatments. Snyder had consistently high fungal exposures at home due to what he suspects is the use of “green” paint. “The guy who painted my house was a really environmentally friendly, green person. And he avoided using paints with a substance called pyridine in it,” Snyder said. Pyridine, which used to be a popular additive to house paints, has an inverse relationship with fungus, meaning the less pyridine, the more fungus.
Snyder’s profile was the most diverse, as he took the device everywhere he went, both nationally and internationally, for two years, swapping out its filters for every new location. Outside his pet exposures (Snyder has a cat, a dog and a guinea pig), his signature also showed evidence of eucalyptus in the early spring months, providing some nuanced information about what might be causing his April allergies.
Besides the four highly controlled participants, a dozen participants were added during different times of the year, helping Snyder capture exposures brought by weather, seasons and location.
“There are a lot of findings that haven’t been described before—all kinds of fungal, bacterial and plant seasonal patterns,” Snyder said. Although the devices picked up potential pathogenic viral and bacterial sequences, it can be tricky to distinguish a threatening pathogen to humans from one of its harmless close cousins, he said. The bottom line is that we all have our own microbiome cloud that we’re schlepping around and spewing out.
As for the carcinogens, it’s also more complicated than simply detecting them in the device. “We’re measuring individual exposures, not absolute levels,” he said. “So, at this point the data isn’t generalizable enough to make broad claims.”
But that’s not to say that one day it won’t be. Snyder said that this study is just scratching the surface of human exposome data and how it relates to health, and his team’s future goals center on better understanding the exposome as it relates to human health. “We want to measure more people in more diverse environments,” Snyder said. “We also want to simplify the technology, ideally to the point that everyone can be out there measuring their own personal exposures—perhaps something like an exposome-detecting smartwatch.”
The work is an example of Stanford Medicine’s focus on precision health
, the goal of which is to anticipate and prevent disease in the healthy and precisely diagnose and treat disease in the ill. The other Stanford author of the study is postdoctoral scholar Qing Liu, PhD.
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