Development of a priority list of chemical mixtures occurring at 1188 hazardous waste sites, using the HazDat database

Food Chem Toxicol. 1996 Nov-Dec;34(11-12):1163-5. doi: 10.1016/s0278-6915(97)00090-2.


Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund) section 104 mandate, as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 USC 9604 (i)(2), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is to identify individual substances and combinations of substances that pose the greatest public health hazard at hazardous waste sites. This has led to certain mandated activities of the Agency, including development of toxicological profiles, identification of data gaps, and, ultimately, establishment of a research agenda. The Agency has also developed HazDat, a database that captures pertinent information from public health assessments conducted at hazardous waste sites. As a preliminary step, data from sites have been analysed to identify the combinations of chemicals found in various environmental media. The most frequently found combinations were perchloroethylene (PERC) and trichloroethylene (TCE) in water (23.5% of sites); chromium (Cr) and lead (Pb) in soil (20.5%); benzene and toluene in air (3.5%); PERC, 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA) and TCE in water (11.6%); Cr, cadmium (Cd) and Pb in soil (12.0%); and benzene, PERC and TCE in air (2.2%). The findings of this analysis can be enhanced by factoring into the algorithm paramenters such as toxicity, source contribution, and likelihood of human exposure similar to that used for the Agency's priority list of 275 single substances. Assessment of the impact of chemical mixtures on human health is a formidable task, and estimating the toxicity of such mixtures, including the role of chemical interactions, is an equally demanding challenge. Because limited experimental data exist for chemical interactions, alternative methods such as predictive approaches and in vitro techniques are needed to address the many substances and their potential combinations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Hazardous Substances / classification*
  • Hazardous Waste / classification
  • Hazardous Waste / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Public Health / standards
  • Statistics as Topic
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency


  • Hazardous Substances
  • Hazardous Waste