High Throughput Risk and Impact Screening of Chemicals in Consumer Products

Olivier Jolliet*, Lei Huang, Ping Hou, Peter Fantke

*Corresponding author for this work

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The ubiquitous presence of more than 80,000 chemicals in thousands of consumer products used on a daily basis stresses the need for screening a broader set of chemicals than the traditional well-studied suspect chemicals. This high-throughput screening combines stochastic chemical-product usage with mass balance-based exposure models and toxicity data to prioritize risks associated with household products. We first characterize product usage using the stochastic SHEDS-HT model and chemical content in common household products from the CPDat database, the chemical amounts applied daily varying over more than six orders of magnitude, from mg to kg. We then estimate multi-pathways near- and far-field exposures for 5,500 chemical-product combinations, applying an extended USEtox model to calculate product intake fractions ranging from 0.001 to ∼1, and exposure doses varying over more than nine orders of magnitude. Combining exposure doses with chemical-specific dose–responses and reference doses shows that risks can be substantial for multiple home maintenance products, such as paints or paint strippers, for some home-applied pesticides, leave-on personal care products, and cleaning products. Sixty percent of the chemical-product combinations have hazard quotients exceeding 1, and 9% of the combinations have lifetime cancer risks exceeding 10−4. Population-level impacts of household products ingredients can be substantial, representing 5 to 100 minutes of healthy life lost per day, with users’ exposures up to 103 minutes per day. To address this issue, present mass balance-based models are already able to provide exposure estimates for both users and populations. This screening study shows large variations of up to 10 orders of magnitude in impact across both chemicals and product combinations, demonstrating that prioritization based on hazard only is not acceptable, since it would neglect orders of magnitude variations in both product usage and exposure that need to be quantified. To address this, the USEtox suite of mass balance-based models is already able to provide exposure estimates for thousands of product-chemical combinations for both users and populations. The present study calls for more scrutiny of most impacting chemical-product combinations, fully ensuring from a regulatory perspective consumer product safety for high-end users and using protective measures for users.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)627-644
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chemical ingredients
  • High throughput exposure and risk screening
  • Household products


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