Throughout its 30-plus year history, Price Associates, Inc. (PAI) has worked on various significant projects for its clients. Below are brief descriptions of selected work.
Following the processing of letters containing Bacillus anthracis spores (anthrax) through the US Postal Service (USPS) in October 2001, PAI was engaged as a special consultant by USPS & US Army Corps of Engineering to develop sampling designs and models to measure and interpret the health risk associated with Bacillus anthracis surface contamination in the network of Postal facilities downstream from the source of the contaminated letters.
PAI has conducted studies to estimate asbestos exposure, analyze effectiveness of exposure reduction technologies, apportion risk of asbestos-related disease among exposure sources, and project numbers of future cases of asbestos-related disease. Recent publications concerning asbestos authored by Price Associates' staff include:
“Industrial-Grade Talc Exposure and the Risk of Mesothelioma,” Critical Reviews in Toxicology, 2010 Abstract
“Time trend of mesothelioma incidence in the United States and projection of future cases: An update based on SEER data for 1973 through 2005,” Critical Reviews in Toxicology, 2009; Abstract
"Exposure to airborne amphibole structures and health risks: Libby, Montana," Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 2008 Abstract
"Mesothelioma: Risk Apportionment among Asbestos Exposure Sources," Risk Analysis, 2005; Abstract
Dr. Price was an invited member of EPA's peer review panel convened in 2003 to evaluate a proposed revision of EPA's health risk assessment for asbestos. He has testified before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at hearings on changes to OSHA's asbestos construction standard and has provided expert testimony in state and federal courts in property damage, insurance coverage, and personal injury cases.
Clean Air Act Delisting Petition
Various chemicals used by can manufacturers may be emitted to the environment in limited amounts from the can-making process. PAI compiled and analyzed emissions, toxicity, and risk data for ethylene glycol mono-butyl ether (EGBE), formaldehyde, and other chemicals listed in Section 112 of the Clean Air Act as hazardous air pollutants. Our analysis demonstrated that the health risk for the populations exposed to chemical emissions from can manufacturing plants was deminimis. We assisted with the preparation of a petition to EPA for a Subcategory delisting of the can manufacturing industry.
World Trade Center Risk Assessment
Dr. Price was a workshop panelist and invited reviewer of World Trade Center Indoor Assessment: Selecting Contaminants of Potential Concern and Setting Health-Based Benchmarks (WTC Indoor Air Taskforce 2002), and an invited reviewer of An Inhalation Exposure and Risk Assessment of Ambient Air Pollution from the World Trade Center Disaster (EPA 2005). He also participated in an independent study of asbestos risk for residents of the areas surrounding ground zero summarized in "Risk Assessment for Asbestos-Related Cancer from the 9/11 Attack on the World Trade Center," Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2005. Abstract
Bacterial Contamination of Surface Waters (Bacterial Source Tracking–BST)
PAI collaborated with an academic laboratory to develop a bacteria source tracking model used for managing surface water quality in the State of Maryland. We are continuing to apply the methods we developed to analyze bacterial sources in watershed throughout the state. Our methodology is summarized in the following publications:
"A Classification Tree Method for Bacterial Source Tracking with Antibiotic Resistance Analysis Data," Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 72, No. 5, May 2006; Abstract
“A Comparison of ARA and DNA Data for Microbial Source Tracking Based on Source Classification Models Developed Using Classification Trees,” Water Research 41 (2007) 3575 – 3584 Abstract
“Alternative estimate of source distribution in microbial source tracking using posterior probabilities,” Water Research (2010) Abstract
Health Risk Associated with Exposure to Mixtures of Chemicals
PAI worked with Dr. Christopher Borgert of Applied Pharmacology and Toxicology, Inc. to investigate statistical designs for assessing the synergistic effects of exposure to mixtures of toxic substances. The results of our design work and of the broader risk assessment project are summarized in "Assessing Toxicity of Mixtures: The Search for Economical Study Designs," Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2002 and “Evaluating Interaction Studies for Mixture Risk Assessment,” Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001. Abstract
Negative Exposure Assessment
The United States Postal Service (USPS) develops special work practices for its maintenance and repair workers to limit their exposures to various potentially harmful agents in the workplace. PAI developed study designs and conducted statistical analyses to evaluate the USPS work practices for asbestos, lead paint, mercury, and VOCs and prepared reports for submission to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to fulfill requirements for Negative Exposure Assessments (NEAs).
Impaired health associated with exposure to chemicals and particles in the workplace or the general environment often is the consequence of distinct and identifiable multiple exposures to different agents or the same agent at different points in time. PAI has developed models for apportioning risk of disease among multiple exposure sources and using the apportionment distribution to calculate assigned shares of liability. PAI has applied its models to apportion the contribution to mesothelioma for an individual diagnosed with mesothelioma among distinct sources of asbestos exposure ("Mesothelioma: Risk Apportionment among Asbestos Exposure Sources," Risk Analysis, 2005. Abstract) and to calculate assigned shares for smoking and other known causes of diseases associated with smoking.
Projecting Claims and Costs in Mass Tort Actions
Mass tort actions that address health effects of exposures to hazardous substances emitted from processes or products present a unique risk management challenge for businesses. The number and timing of cases (i.e., individuals with impaired health associated with exposure to the substances in question) can be highly uncertain due to characteristics of the exposed population, the intensity and duration of exposure, and the latency period for manifestation of the health effects. The number and timing of claims are also subject to uncertainty arising from varying propensities of exposed individuals to sue. PAI has used methods borrowed from epidemiology, toxicology, demography, exposure analysis, quantitative risk assessment, and statistical analysis, disciplines not typically employed for addressing standard product liability actions, to estimate future liabilities for companies that formerly manufactured and/or distributed asbestos-containing products. PAI’s methods are general and can be used advantageously to reduce uncertainty in estimates of numbers, timing, and costs of claims resulting from any alleged wrongful act (see PAI Briefing - Claims Management, a PDF file).