Use of epidemiologic information to set recreational water criteria for microorganisms

  • Event Name : HESI Enviro Epidemiology Committee
  • Start Date/Time :
  • End Date/Time :
  • Location : HESI Enviro Epidemiology Committee, Webinar

HESI’s Environmental Epidemiology Committee is hosting a webinar series to illustrate the critical role epidemiology can play in the field of quantitative risk assessment. The purpose of these presentations is to provide insight on how to best realize the full potential of human studies in risk assessment and regulatory decision making, and to feature ongoing efforts in this space.

Please, join us for our next webinar, presented by Dr. Charles Haas (Drexel University). Q&A session to follow.

Abstract: Use of epidemiologic information to set recreational water criteria for microorganisms.

Exposure of people to infectious microorganisms occurs in a variety of venues and by different activities. Venues include saline, brackish and fresh natural waters, pools, spray parks, etc. Exposure may occur via inadvertent ingestion during contact (primary or secondary) recreation, impact of water on skin, and inhalation (with or without aspiration) from spray activities. There are a diversity of pathogens that may be of concern, although historically the focus has been on gastroenteric pathogens. US EPA has developed recreational criteria, with a focus on primary contact, from several epidemiological studies done since the 1970’s. This talk will review the underlying epidemiological studies used (in which microbiological indicator organisms were employed to assess water quality), and outline the data gaps that pure reliiance on epidemiological evidence has. The complementary approach of developing criteria using a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) approach will be discussed, and compared (with respect to both advantages and limitations) to the epidemiological approach, and some paths forward to fuse the two types of evidence indicated.

Speaker Bio: Charles N. Haas is the L.D. Betz Professor of Environmental Engineering, at Drexel University, where he has been since 1991. He received his BS (Biology) and MS (Environmental Engineering) from the Illinois Institute of Technology and his PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has served on the faculties of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Illinois Institute of Technology prior to joining Drexel. He co-directed the USEPA/DHS University Cooperative Center of Excellence Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA). He is a distinguished fellow of the International Water Association, and a fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Risk Analysis, the American Society of Civil Engineers the American Academy of Microbiology and the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. He is a Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member by eminence of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. He has received the Dr. John Leal Award and the AP Black Award of the American Water Works Association and the Clarke Water Prize. In 2021, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Over his career, Professor Haas has specialized in the assessment of risk from and control of human exposure to pathogenic microorganisms, and in particular the treatment of water and wastewater to minimize microbial risk to human health. Professor Haas has served on numerous panels of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He is a past member of the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academies, and the US EPA Board of Scientific Counselors.

Recorded Video From Event

Contact Us

Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI)
Phone: +1-202-659-8404
Fax: +1-202-659-3859

740 15th Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005

Stay Informed

Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.