Scholarly article on topic 'Advance in Environmental Risk Assessment of High Level Biosafety Laboratory'

Advance in Environmental Risk Assessment of High Level Biosafety Laboratory Academic research paper on "Environmental engineering"

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Procedia Environmental Sciences
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{"Biosafety laboratory" / "Environmental risk assessment" / "Pathogenic micro-organism"}

Abstract of research paper on Environmental engineering, author of scientific article — Q.G. Wang, F. Ding, S.B. Li, X.H. Zhao

Abstract Environmental risk assessment of high level biosafety laboratory is one of important parts of biosafety research, which focused on the environmental effects of pathogenic microorganism leaked from laboratory, including pollution of waste air, sewage and solids. Environmental risk assessment was firstly studied in 1970s in the developed countries, especially in the United States. Ecological assessment and human health assessment have been widely researched, while the laboratory environmental risk assessment of pathogenic microorganism leakage was still not well studied. Pathogenic microorganism can be reproduced on the host body and different types of them have different life cycles in the environment. Therefore, the risks and their changes of pathogenic microorganism are complex in the environment, leading to no guidelines for microorganism risk assessment.

Academic research paper on topic "Advance in Environmental Risk Assessment of High Level Biosafety Laboratory"

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Procedía

ELSEVIER

Environmental Sciences

Procedía Environmental Sciences 133 (2012) 1458 - 1461

The 18th Biennial Conference of International Society for Ecological Modelling

Advance in Environmental Risk Assessment of High Level

Biosafety Laboratory

Q.G. Wang*, F. Ding, S.B Li, X.H. Zhao

Appraisal Center for Environment and Engineering, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100012, P.R. China

Abstract

Environmental risk assessment of high level biosafety laboratory is one of important parts of biosafety research, which focused on the environmental effects of pathogenic microorganism leaked from laboratory, including pollution of waste air, sewage and solids. Environmental risk assessment was firstly studied in 1970s in the developed countries, especially in the United States. Ecological assessment and human health assessment have been widely researched, while the laboratory environmental risk assessment of pathogenic microorganism leakage was still not well studied. Pathogenic microorganism can be reproduced on the host body and different types of them have different life cycles in the environment. Therefore, the risks and their changes of pathogenic microorganism are complex in the environment, leading to no guidelines for microorganism risk assessment.

© 2011 Published by Elsevier B.V. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of School of Environment, Beijing Normal University.

Key words: Biosafety laboratory; Environmental risk assessment; Pathogenic micro-organism

1. Introduction

The number of high level biosafety laboratory had a rapid increase due to the occurrence and spread of highly pathogenic infectious disease. The objective of the high level biosafety laboratory is pathogenic microorganism with high human and environmental risks. Thus it becomes a "hot spot " for the worldwide governments how to avoid these environmental effects of pathogenic microorganisms. Most researches indicated virus and bacterium in the sewage, waste air and solids from three or four level biosafety laboratory could live for several hours, even several years [1]. If they are not strictly disposed, the polluted laboratory wastes will become a potential infection source, which might result in disease

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +86-010-84923922; fax: +86-010-84923922. E-mail address: qinggaiwang@163.com

1878-0296 © 2011 Published by Elsevier B.V. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of School of Environment, Beijing Normal University. doi:10.1016/j.proenv.2012.01.137

Q.G. Wang et al. /Procedía Environmental Sciences 13 (2012) 1458 - 1461

ourbreak and influence seriously threatened environment and human health. In September of 2003, one post graduate student was infected by "SARS" virus in the lab of the institute of environment health of Singapore State University, and a researcher from Taiwan was also infected by "SARS" virus in the lab. Additionally, in 1979, the anthrax bacteria was accidently leaked from the lab of one army institute in former Soviet Union, which led to 79 people infecting the bacterium, and final death of 68 people[2,3]. Therefore, it has been paid much more attention on how to dispose strictly these lab wastes and prevent these highly pathogenic microorganisms escaping and polluting environment.

Environmental risk assessment of biosafety laboratory is one of important parts of biosafety research, which focus on the environmental effects of pathogenic microorganism leaked from laboratory, including pollution of waste air, sewage and solids.

2. Environmental risk assessment for biosafety laboratory: past and present studies

Risk assessment was firstly studied in 1970s in some developed countries, especially in the United States. Environmental risk assessment techniques mainly underwent three periods. During the first period from 1970s to early 1980s, the connotative meaning of risk assessment was not very clear and the assessment only depended on toxicity identification. A great progress has been made during the second period, which provided a basis for building risk assessment system. The American Academy of Sciences presented four parts of risk assessment, named "four stages of risk assessment", i.e. hazard identification, explosion assessment, dose-effect relation analysis and risk characterization. The above contents consisted of the main frame of risk assessment, and The United States generated and promulgated a series of technical files and guidelines regarding human health risk assessment and ecological assessment based on the above studies. The third period of risk assessment has started since 1989, when the scientific system of risk assessment formed. After that risk assessment got further development and improvement. American EPA worked out more perfect chemical risk assessment guideline [4,5]. However, the risk assessment guideline of the leakage of pathogenic microorganisms has not yet developed [5,6]. The risk assessment of pathogenic microorganism significantly differed from the chemical risk assessment [5], as microorganism could multiply in the host body and different types of them had different life cycles and secondary transmission risks in the environment. After infecting the bacterium, human hosts might gain or not gain the part or whole immunities. Moreover, the responses of animals to microorganisms might be completely different from those of human beings. Therefore, the risk of occurrence and the changes caused by pathogenic microorganisms were more complex, thus microbial risk assessment guideline have not yet developed up to date. But there were some microbial risk assessment procedures and protocols used within the Agency (OW, ORD, OPPTS, and OSWER), as well as other federal Agencies (e.g., USDA and FDA) and the international community (e.g., the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization) [5].

For the environmental risk assessment of laboratory biosafety, pathogenic microorganisms are the most important determining factor influencing the bio-hazard assessment and environmental risk assessment. [7,8] Risk assessment is generally based on the virulence of pathogens, the consequences of infection (including morbidity), epidemic, infection dose, infection or transmission ways, host range, pathogens surviving ability and their effective prevention and treatment to assess their infection, hazards and impacts of the "three kinds of wastes". Some U.S. research institutions have been engaged in microorganism risk research, and some microbial risk assessment procedures and terms were formed. U.S. EPA's risk management department, some federal agencies and research institutions are collaborating and trying their best to develop guideline for microbiological risk assessment based on the existing findings, experience and expertise, which aimed at building a set of optional and available tools and methods for microbial risk assessment to guide microbial risk assessment.

QQ.G. Wang et al. /Procedia Environmental Sciences 131 (20122) 14158 - 1461

Owing to the complexity of the diffusion and decay of the infectious aerosols in the atmospheric environment, no better predicting models were developed to predict the environmental risks of biosafety laboratory. The diffusion of infectious aerosols entered into the atmosphere mainly depends on the weather. Thus many researchers applied different models including Gausse Model, NAME model, RIMPUFF model and DERMA model to simulate the process [9,10]. Additionally, the Gaussian plume model was also used. Considering short distance and flat terrain, several models will produce similar simulation results. However, the plume model is a three-dimensional model, thus the plume model is more accurate when predicting long-distance transmission. Gaussian plume model has been widely used because of its clear physical meaning, simple structure, ease of calculation compared to other models. However, the decay process of pathogenic microorganisms are generally not considered in these predicting models as only the wind, temperature, and humidity were considered as main influencing factor[11]. Therefore, the model needs to be further refined and improved.

3. Environmental Risk assessment for high level biosafety laboratory: potential studies in the future

According to the past and present studies regarding environmental risk assessment of high level biosafety laboratory, the future researches on environmental risk assessment of bio-safety laboratory should focus on the following topics:

(1)To estimate the environmental safety thresholds for pathogenic micro-organism

The safety thresholds of pathogenic microorganisms are the basis for environmental risk assessment. Environmental risk assessment will not be able to carry out without the safe threshold of pathogenic microorganisms. Threshold of environmental safety is more difficult to make [3], since different pathogenic micro-organisms have different pathogens, even if the same pathogen in different bacteria (viruses) has different intensity of strain virulence. Pathogenic micro-organisms are related to an infected person's immune status and susceptibility, and exposure influence depends on the pathogens of microorganisms and pathogenic organism's resistance. Different genera, species, subspecies, or type of pathogenic microorganisms, and different pathogenic microorganisms have different pathogens, thus there are different results after different individuals are infected.

(2)To generate assessment approaches for biological hazards of air, solid and liquid pollutants from labrotary and develop the monitoring technique, appratus and conditions for pathogenic microorganisms

Bio-hazard assessment method is based on "three kinds of wastes" from high-level biosafety lab, and aims at generating the monitoring indicators and standard methods of pollution aerosols, waste and sewage [3], establishing bio-hazard assessment approach for the polluted aerosol leakage of exhaust system, solid and liquid pollutants and setting up biological assessment method for environmental pollution of "three kinds of wastes". Bio-hazard assessment is one of important biological risk assessment.

(3)To research the diffusion and decay rules of pathogenic microorganisms in the external environments

The diffusion and decay of pathogenic microorganisms in the external environment is impacted by the weather, their half-life and other factors. If the diffusion and decay process of pathogenic microorganisms is incorporated into the risk assessment model, this can improve the model prediction accuracy of the results.

(4) To develop the predicting and assessing models of environmental risk for pollutant leached from high level biosafety laboratory

Environmental risk prediction model and appraisal system need to be established for pathogenic microorganisms due to the leakage of exhaust system of high-level biosafety laboratory. It is necessary to

Q.G. Wang et al./ Procodia Environmental Sciences 13 (2O12)1448 - 1488

consider the impacts of the wind and terrain conditions on aerosol dispersion model. Environmental risk assessment software need to be developed for three kinds infectious waste from a high-level biosafety laboratory, which can provide the risk management services for biosafety laboratory.

Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by National Eleven Five-Year Scientific and Technical Support Plans (2008BAI62B05).

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