online course on
The Future of Environmental and Human Health Exposure Modelling of Chemicals

This course is designed to familiarise the user with the new MERLIN-Expo tool by completing a number of tutorials. MERLIN-Expo enables robust, regulatory-relevant environmental fate and exposure assessments to be performed with ease and transparency by anyone.

Description

Currently, exposure assessment is often recognised as a weak point in ecological and human health risk assessment, due to either a lack of integrated approaches for combined stressors, the widespread use of over-conservative ‘worst-case’ scenarios, the estimation of external exposures but not internal ones, or the lack of identification of key exposure drivers. Advanced features in this tool such as uncertainty and sensitivity analysis as well as pharmacokinetic considerations put this tool at the forefront of regulatory science and the users can range from people working in a consultancy or regulatory body to research specialists interested in higher tier modelling. MERLIN-Expo is the product of the 4FUN project and is based on a prototype software originally developed in the 2-FUN project. The aim of the 4FUN project is to innovate and exploit this software by collecting and identifying end-user requirements in order to improve and standardise the MERLIN-Expo software. In this, the final step, the improved software is delivered together with online training courses, several workshops and a summer school to introduce a new tool to the environmental and human health risk assessment community.

Presentations
Lessons
ChaptersTitles of the lessonsMaterials
1
Introduction
Introduction

MERLIN-Expo is the end result of the 2FUN project which aimed to develop an innovative and useful tool for the assessment of human health risks from exposure to chemicals. Now under the 4FUN project this tool is to be standardized through rigorous testing and dissemination activities. MERLIN-Expo will enable robust, regulatory –relevant environmental fate and exposure assessments to be performed with ease and transparency. Highly desired features such as uncertainty and sensitivity analysis as well as the consideration of pharmacokinetics put this tool at the forefront of regulatory science.

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Quiz
Surveys
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2
General principles of e-fate, exposure, risk assessment and modelling
General principles of e-fate, exposure, risk assessment and modelling

This module gives a quick introduction to the general principles of environmental fate, exposure, risk assessment and modelling without the use of any complex equations or mathematical proofs. It explains the essence of chemical fate and gives tips about how to create an adequate model. To properly understand chemical fate it is useful to separate the environment into discrete ‘media’ or ‘compartments’. These are identified and discussed in this module and at the end the user should have a better understanding of chemical fate and how to make the right decisions in areas of risk, efficacy and management of chemical substances.

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3
Using the software
Using the software

This module is an introduction to the graphical user interface of MERLIN-Expo. It explains the technical aspect of the program, shows how to go about setting up your model and how to run your simulation. MERLIN-Expo contains a library from which complete subsystems can be selected, such as River, Fish, Invertebrates, etc., making it easy for the user to design a custom model with interactions between the subsystems. After watching this tutorial the user should have a good understanding of the MERLIN-Expo setup, know where to locate the different functionalities and be able to successful carry out a simulation.

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4
The River Model
The River Model

The River Model implemented in MERLIN-Expo dynamically simulates the time-dependent concentration of contaminants such as organic compounds or metals in water, suspended particulate matter and bottom sediments in river systems. It can be coupled with other models such as human intake, plant or freshwater models to estimate the concentration of contaminants in drinking water, irrigation water or bioaccumulation respectively. The data obtained can be compared against standard regulatory frameworks to aid in decision making.

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5
The River Transport Scenario
The River Transport Scenario

The River Model Scenario provides an example of the River Model in MERLIN-Expo, used for simulating the time dependent concentration of a chemical in a river system. In this example, the model simulates the concentration of copper (Cu) in the river Seine downstream of an industrial plant. The model simulates transport of Cu with water flow, partitioning of Cu on suspended particles and sediment, and deposition and resuspension of sediment particles.

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6
The Human Model
The Human Model

The human model implemented in MERLIN-Expo is a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model that describes the relationship between an external dose and the internal dosimetry using parameters related to the anatomy and the physiology of the individual and physico-chemical properties of the contaminants. The goal of the PBPK model is to simulate the toxicokinetics of contaminants in humans, i.e. the amounts or concentrations in different organs/tissues, under various exposure conditions.

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7
The Soil Model
The Soil Model

The Soil model is one of many available in the MERLIN-Expo library and is used to dynamically simulate the distribution of organic contaminants and metals in soil systems. It provides an estimation of the time-dependent concentration of contaminants in the soil, which can be compared to regulatory thresholds, to evaluate environmental risk. The model can also be combined with other models in the library to calculate the concentration of contaminant that is available for absorption by the other modules, such as root uptake for plant modules. At the end of this module the user should be able to understand the processes that are considered in the Soil model and the type of chemicals that can be modelled.

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8
The Fish Model
The Fish Model

The fish model available in MERLIN-Expo was designed to simulate the accumulation of organic contaminants and metals in fish and to calculate the concentration of the chemicals accumulated. This information can be used for several decision frameworks and for comparison with regulatory thresholds defined for environmental risks. The model can be coupled with other models available in the MERLIN-Expo library to provide input information. For example, if coupled with the Human intake model it can estimate the human intake rate of a given chemical accumulated in fish. This could then be used in comparison with regulatory thresholds defined for human health risks to establish an acceptable daily intake. At the end of module the user should be able to understand the processes within the fish model and the chemicals that can be modelled.

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9
The Fruit Tree Model
The Fruit Tree Model

The fruit tree model is one of the many models available from the Merlin-Expo library and can used to simulate the accumulation of organic contaminants and metals in fruits at harvest and if ingestion rates of the fruits are supplied it can also be used to estimate the human intake rate of the accumulated chemical in the fruits. It can also be coupled with other models such as the soil model to calculate the exchange of contaminants between soil porewater and particles through adsorption and desorption processes. In the end the model can provide results for comparison with regulatory thresholds defined for human health risks such as acceptable daily intake.

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Webinars
WebinarTitleModeratorProfessorOnlineMaterial
1 The Merlin-EXPO tool - General introduction
The Merlin-EXPO tool - General introduction

The webinar presents the new Merlyn Expo tool explaining reasons why it was developed and what are the needs it is meant to answers. Furthermore, an example case study will be presented to show the main MERLIN-Expo’s features.

Dr Gabriele Sacchettini
Dr Gabriele Sacchettini

Gabriele Sacchettini is a permanent researcher at Aeiforia, spin-off of the the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Within the activities which he is involved in, are included initiatives and research projects at national and European level especially regarding the sustainable use of plant protection products in agriculture, the sustainable management of water resources and training and communication activities to promote sustainability in the agro-food sector.
Dr Philippe Ciffroy
Dr Philippe Ciffroy

Senior Scientist at EDF (National Hydraulic and Environment Department, Environmental and Health Risks Unit), France. Philippe’s current role at EDF focuses on a range of topics including: health hazards (chemicals, microbiology), radioecology and the impact of power generation on water quality and soil contamination.

14/09/2015, 11.00 CET

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2 Linking models together: a practical guide
Linking models together: a practical guide

One of the strengths of MERLIN-Expo is the ability to link the model elements, such as water, fish and humans. This means that the outputs from one model (e.g. the river) can be used as inputs for another model (e.g. the fish). When you have mastered the skill of linking models, you can create your own scenario as complex as you choose. In this Webinar, Boris Alfonso will guide you in how to link models together within MERLIN-Expo using a realistic case example. He will introduce the MERLIN-Expo interface and show you how to link models of river, aquatic invertebrate, fish and human intake. At the end of the webinar you should be confident to prepare your own MERLIN-Expo linked model for your own case. Your skills can be taken across to the other models within MERLIN-Expo, such as the air, soil or vegetation models.

Dr Gabriele Sacchettini
Dr Gabriele Sacchettini

Gabriele Sacchettini is a permanent researcher at Aeiforia, spin-off of the the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Within the activities which he is involved in, are included initiatives and research projects at national and European level especially regarding the sustainable use of plant protection products in agriculture, the sustainable management of water resources and training and communication activities to promote sustainability in the agro-food sector.
Dr Boris Alfonso
Dr Boris Alfonso

Senior software developer at Facilia, Sweden. Expertise in software development and web programming. MSc in Engineering, Sankt-Petersburg State Technical University, Russia. BSc in Engineering, specialized in Software Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. 10 years of experience in software development.

01/02/2016, 11.00 CET

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3 Building a food web
Building a food web

People have understood the importance of bioaccumulation of chemicals for decades: The level of exposure of organisms higher in the food chain can be substantially higher than those at the base. The big question is: how can we model this effectively? Elisa Giubilato will be presenting a case study using the MERLIN-Expo tool. Her case study concerns bioaccumulation of persistent pollutants in an aquatic food web including aquatic invertebrates (like sediment-dwelling organisms) and fish species. This example is based on real data from biota species in the Venice Lagoon. When you have attended the Webinar and practised using Elisa's example, you will be able to apply these concepts to any aquatic environment.

Dr Gabriele Sacchettini
Dr Gabriele Sacchettini

Gabriele Sacchettini is a permanent researcher at Aeiforia, spin-off of the the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Within the activities which he is involved in, are included initiatives and research projects at national and European level especially regarding the sustainable use of plant protection products in agriculture, the sustainable management of water resources and training and communication activities to promote sustainability in the agro-food sector.
Dr Elisa Giubilato
Dr Elisa Giubilato

PostDoc research fellow at the University Ca' Foscari of Venice (Italy), at the Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics. Her research activities are focused on the development and application of risk assessment methodologies for chemical substances and contaminated sites management, including exposure assessment modelling and application of multi-criteria methods for the integration of environmental, toxicological and biomonitoring data.

29/02/2016, 11.00 CET

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4 Human Intake Model
Human Intake Model

In this webinar, Johan Bierkens will be presenting a case study from Belgium where historical soil pollution with industrial heavy-metal waste is causing health concerns for the local population. MERLIN –Expo was used to calculate the intake of lead by local children through various exposure routes (inhalation, dust and soil ingestion and through locally produced food) and for predicting the internal exposure through heightened levels of lead in blood.

Dr Gabriele Sacchettini
Dr Gabriele Sacchettini

Gabriele Sacchettini is a permanent researcher at Aeiforia, spin-off of the the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Within the activities which he is involved in, are included initiatives and research projects at national and European level especially regarding the sustainable use of plant protection products in agriculture, the sustainable management of water resources and training and communication activities to promote sustainability in the agro-food sector.
Dr Johan Bierkens
Dr Johan Bierkens

Senior Scientist at VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research, VITO Health Unit), Belgium. Johan's current role at VITO focuses on a range of topics related to expert advice on environmental and human exposure and risk assessment for industry and regulators.

21/03/2016, 11.00 CET

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5 MERLIN-Expo in the context of regulations and other models
MERLIN-Expo in the context of regulations and other models

Previous webinars have demonstrated the usefulness of MERLIN-Expo in local environmental impact assessment frameworks through various case studies. In this webinar, Frederik Verdonck will present other potential regulatory frameworks in which MERLIN-Expo can be used. A comparison with other (multimedia) environmental exposure tools will be presented. Specific focus will be given to benchmarking the river model model in MERLIN-Expo and EUSES, a common tool that is used in the EU REACH and BPR regulations.

Dr Gabriele Sacchettini
Dr Gabriele Sacchettini

Gabriele Sacchettini is a permanent researcher at Aeiforia, spin-off of the the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Within the activities which he is involved in, are included initiatives and research projects at national and European level especially regarding the sustainable use of plant protection products in agriculture, the sustainable management of water resources and training and communication activities to promote sustainability in the agro-food sector.
Dr Frederik Verdonck
Dr Frederik Verdonck

Data Science Project Manager at Arche, Belgium. Frederik’s role at Arche focuses on modelling and statistics of chemical and product hazard, exposure and risk assessment for human health and environment predominantly under the EU chemical Regulations REACH and BPR.

02/05/2016, 11.00 CET

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6 Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis in MERLIN-Expo
Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis in MERLIN-Expo

Modelling involves uncertainties due to variability or uncertainty in the parameter input values. Sensitivity analysis and uncertainty analysis are methods used for quantification of the resulting uncertainty in the model output and for evaluating the main contributing parameters. This webinar will address how to perform these analyses in MERLIN-Expo.

Dr Gabriele Sacchettini
Dr Gabriele Sacchettini

Gabriele Sacchettini is a permanent researcher at Aeiforia, spin-off of the the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Within the activities which he is involved in, are included initiatives and research projects at national and European level especially regarding the sustainable use of plant protection products in agriculture, the sustainable management of water resources and training and communication activities to promote sustainability in the agro-food sector.
Dr Philippe Ciffroy
Dr Philippe Ciffroy

Senior Scientist at EDF (National Hydraulic and Environment Department, Environmental and Health Risks Unit), France. Philippe’s current role at EDF focuses on a range of topics including: health hazards (chemicals, microbiology), radioecology and the impact of power generation on water quality and soil contamination.

06/06/2016, 11.00 CET

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Certificate

To obtain a certification of attendance you have to complete all modules included in the course watching all videos and answering correctly to the relative quiz included. If you have completed all these modules please click here to obtain your certificate.

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