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Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018

Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018

Noncancer Research

In addition to conducting analysis activities to identify cancer hazards, NTP also evaluates the scientific evidence to determine whether environmental chemicals, physical substances, or mixtures—collectively referred to as substances—cause adverse, noncancer, health effects. NTP also provides opinions on whether these substances might be of concern given what is known about current human exposure levels. The NIEHS/NTP Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) conducts health hazard assessments and other evidence evaluations, including scoping reviews, evidence maps, and state-of-the-science evaluations, which are published as NTP monographs, NTP research reports, and journal publications, and hosts workshops to address important issues in environmental health sciences. Andrew Rooney, Ph.D., served as acting director of OHAT in FY 2018.

In FY 2018, OHAT added evidence mapping as a new interactive data presentation format as an output option of its evidence evaluations. Evidence maps categorize or "map" the key concepts for a particular question or topic. When performed with a systematic literature search and selection process, the resulting evidence map allows readers to explore evidence categorized by health effect, exposure, evidence stream (e.g., human, experimental animal, or mechanistic data) and study design. The State-of-the Science Evaluation of Transgenerational Inheritance of Health Effects demonstrates this new interactive data presentation.

Ongoing Noncancer Health Effects Projects

Study Scientist
Project Summary Status
Evaluation of long-term neurological effects of acute exposure to the organophosphorus nerve agent sarin

Andrew Rooney
Sarin is a highly toxic organophosphorus nerve agent developed for chemical warfare during World War II that continues to be used as a weapon today.

In partnership with the NIH Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Program, NTP has conducted a systematic review to evaluate the evidence for long-term neurological effects in humans following acute exposure to sarin.
Draft monograph released December 2018
Evaluation of inflammation-based atherosclerosis associated with environmental exposures

Brandy Beverly and Andrew Rooney
This evaluation examines whether environmental substances contribute to inflammation, which ultimately leads to atherosclerosis, and identify biomarkers of the inflammation involved.

Atherosclerosis was selected for investigation because of the significant public health impact of the disease, and the well-established role for inflammation in the disease process that leads to it.
Evaluation ongoing
NIEHS-EPA pilot study of exposure to chemicals in consumer products

Kyla Taylor
NIEHS is collaborating with EPA to perform a small-scale, longitudinal pilot study to evaluate the performance of existing survey, measurement, and modeling methods for assessing exposures to chemicals in several consumer product categories, including personal and child care, household cleaning, lawn and garden, home improvement, and food packaging products.

The pilot study addresses several research needs related to the measurement and modeling of human exposures.
Pilot study sample collection completed September 2018. Biological samples are being analyzed by CDC
Respiratory effects associated with exposure to biocides

Vickie Walker
Biocides are commercial products used to kill or control the spread of harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. The EPA Office of Pesticide Programs nominated biocides to NTP for evaluation of the evidence for respiratory outcomes from occupational exposure to biocides.

The ongoing study includes developing a scoping review and evidence map on potential respiratory health effects of 10 major antimicrobial biocides commonly used for disinfection in hospitals.
Evaluation ongoing
State of the science for transgenerational inheritance of health effects

Vickie Walker
Transgenerational inheritance is the phenomenon in which an individual’s exposures have far-reaching consequences, affecting multiple generations removed from the original insult.

NTP conducted a state-of-the-science or scoping review to examine the evidence for transgenerational inheritance of health effects associated with exposure to a wide range of stressors (e.g., environmental chemicals, drugs of abuse, nutrition and diet, pharmaceuticals, infectious agents, stress) in humans and animals.

The evaluation, published in Environment International in February 2018, systematically compiled and categorized the literature to develop an evidence map for transgenerational inheritance by broad health-effect categories, exposures, and types of evidence, and identified areas of consistency, uncertainty, data gaps, and research needs.

Evidence mapping illustrated that risk of bias (having generally few studies) and heterogeneity in exposures and endpoints examined present serious limitations to available bodies of evidence for assessing transgenerational effects.
Evaluation published February 2018
Evaluation of children’s health and traffic-related air pollution

Kembra Howdeshell and Brandy Beverly
Research on traffic-related air pollution and children’s health has increased in the past decade, reflecting improvement in air monitoring technology and exposure methodology.

Traffic-related air pollution has been measured in multiple ways, including direct traffic measures (such as traffic proximity or density) and surrogate measures of traffic-related air pollution (such as particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and other products of fossil-fuel combustion generated by motor vehicles including benzene, diesel exhaust, and PAHs). 

This topic is the subject of this series of evaluations on the evidence for an association between traffic-related air pollution and health outcomes impacting the fetus and children, beginning with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and neurological development and function in children.
Evaluation ongoing
Evaluation of adverse health effects and occupational exposure to cancer chemotherapy agents

Kembra Howdeshell
This evaluation examined the evidence that occupational exposure to cancer chemotherapy agents is associated with adverse health effects, including genetic toxicity, cancer, reproductive and developmental effects, and acute effects.

The draft NTP monograph has been completed and is undergoing formatting for final publication.
Final monograph completed September 2018
Environmental influences on the epigenome: a scoping report

Katie Pelch and Vickie Walker
This evaluation leveraged newly developed text mining and machine learning tools to carry out scoping activities that will explore the evidence linking environmental exposures to health outcomes via genome-wide alterations in DNA methylation. Deferred
Chemical factors affecting breast cancer risk: a state-of-the-science review

Vickie Walker and Jason Stanko
This evaluation is examining the evidence that environmental substances or factors influence breast cancer risk.

In collaboration with the DNTP NTP Laboratory, OHAT is conducting an evidence evaluation of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and dietary components as well as other factors that are associated with adverse effects on the breast or mammary gland and could potentially influence breast cancer risk.
Evaluation ongoing
Neonicotinoid pesticides and adverse health outcomes

Windy Boyd
Neonicotinoid pesticides are a class of chemicals that act as insecticides by exerting neurotoxic effects through irreversible binding to insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

This scoping review is identifying the extent of evidence available to understand human health effects of seven neonicotinoid pesticides (acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam).
Evaluation ongoing
Parkinson’s disease: associations with environmental exposures

Windy Boyd
Although some Parkinson’s disease cases can be attributed to genetic factors, the causes of many cases remain unknown.

Many studies report associations between environmental exposures and Parkinson’s disease or related symptoms. OHAT conducted two scoping reviews on this topic. The first systematically mapped the evidence of the associations between exposures to environmental chemicals considered broadly and Parkinson’s disease.

During scoping activities, hundreds of studies on the associations between exposure to the herbicide paraquat and Parkinson’s disease were identified, making paraquat a candidate chemical for further systematic review. Therefore, a more detailed scoping review was developed to characterize reported associations between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease.
Evaluation ongoing
Systematic reviews on potential health effects of fluoride

Kyla Taylor
This systematic review is evaluating potential neurobehavioral effects from exposure to fluoride during development that includes consideration of human epidemiological studies, experimental animal studies, and mechanistic data.

The project includes an update to NTP’s 2016 systematic review of published animal literature examining neurobehavioral effects of exposure to fluoride during development and adulthood in rodents. The 2016 report concluded that the level of evidence supporting adverse effects on learning and memory in animals exposed to fluoride in the diet or drinking water is low to moderate.
Evaluation ongoing
Prenatal exposure to progestogens and adverse health outcomes

Kembra Howdeshell
Progesterone and synthetic progesterone derivatives are administered to reproductive age women for a variety of health outcomes, including contraception, infertility, and treatment or prevention of miscarriage or preterm birth.

Concern for possible adverse effects on the developing fetus stems from alterations in normal steroid hormone exposure during development that have been shown to cause adverse effects on offspring health and development.

A scoping review is underway to identify and characterize the literature on the possible association between exposure to progestogens during pregnancy and adverse health outcomes in the offspring.
Evaluation ongoing
Evaluation of the findings from the consortium linking academic and regulatory insights on the toxicity of bisphenol A (CLARITY-BPA) program

Kembra Howdeshell, Brandy Beverly, Retha Newbold, Andrew Rooney, and John Bucher
Bisphenol A is used in the manufacture of plastics, among other products, and has been identified as an endocrine disruptor. Its ubiquity in the environment has raised concerns about its potential health effects.

Academic studies have identified several health effects of bisphenol A, while guideline compliant studies have failed to detect effects, except at high doses. As a result, NTP and NIEHS designed the Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on the Toxicity of Bisphenol A (CLARITY-BPA) program to enhance the links between academic and guideline-compliant research.

The findings of the CLARITY-BPA program will be summarized in two reports. The first report, authored by the CLARITY-BPA participants with background and publication summaries written by NTP, is an integrated assessment of the published findings from the guideline compliant and investigational research activities undertaken within the CLARITY-BPA program.

The second report, authored by NIEHS/NTP, will attempt to synthesize and compare the CLARITY-BPA findings with prior studies on BPA from CLARITY-BPA participants to identify potential reasons for differences and assess whether there are additional scientific approaches to consider when performing guideline compliant studies of endocrine active agents.
Evaluation ongoing