Thomas A. Hinners
Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, NERL/ORD
EXPERTISE: Tom Hinners has been involved in the application, evaluation, and development of measurement methods for inorganic pollutants in environmental and biological samples for more than 35 years. These efforts have included the use of atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICPAES) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) applied to air pollution, accumulation of pollutants in biological specimens, hazardous-waste assessments, and methodology evaluations. Tasks have involved validating a simplified methodology to determine total mercury and methyl mercury in biological samples (including segments of single hair fibers to assess exposure chronology as recommended by the NAS), the determination of stable lead isotopes (for source tracking), and the identification of direct (and indirect) interferences in ICPMS. He is knowledgeable in the use of statistics to defend data interpretations and is meticulous in technical writing and reviewing.
INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH MISSION: Immediate research objectives: By conducting hair analyses, collaborate in an assessment of mercury exposure to (1) an Asian American Pacific Islander community in the Puget Sound area with the State of Washington and (2) a minority community on the Gulf of Mexico with Texas A & M University - Brownsville. Continue mercury collaborations with the State of Alaska.
SIGNIFICANCE/RELEVANCE OF RESEARCH IN RISK ASSESSMENT PARADIGM: Analytical chemistry plays a central, critical, and crosscutting role not just in hazardous waste management, environmental monitoring, site characterization, and risk assessment, but also in numerous engineering processes required for manufacturing, waste treatment, and site remediation. Development of methods for environmental chemical analysis must necessarily be a continual process because these methods serve as the foundation for all data collected under regulatory programs and also serve as key elements in assessing risk to human and ecological health. Research development efforts for methods in support of RCRA are also directly applicable and essential to other regulatory programs such as CERCLA/SARA, TSCA, CWA, SDWA, FIFRA, and the new CCA.
Tom Hinners is a primary author of EPA Methods 6010 and 6020 in Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste (the SW-846 Manual) for multi-elemental analyses using ICPAES and ICPMS. He prepared a revision of ICPAES Method 6010 (with an extensive data compilation) for inclusion as Method 990.08 in the Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC). As a designer and monitor of contractor tasks, he obtained performance information for beryllium measurements by EPA Methods 7090 & 7091 as well as for As, Sb, and Se by revised methods. These methods have enabled the Agency to monitor the nation's environmental health more intelligently and with better confidence. The activities supported by these methods include environmental monitoring and ecological surveys (e.g., early warning of health/ecological effects such as those sought by EMAP); human/health surveys (e.g., The National Human Exposure Assessment Survey, NHEXAS); waste characterization; site characterization; monitoring of engineered site containment integrity; and risk and human-exposure assessment (e.g., biomarkers).
SIGNIFICANT PIONEERING CONTRIBUTIONS: Elucidated and publicized that (contrary to a misleading generalization) consumption of skinnier fish can yield mercury exposures above EPA recommendations, demonstrated capability of an analyzer to determine mercury in segments of single hair fibers, confirmed procedure to measure methyl mercury in hair by participating in a Health Canada interlaboratory program, published first environmental article on the use of ICPMS to distinguish the sources of lead using the stable-isotope ratios, documented statistical decrease in bone lead of animals following the decreased use of lead in gasoline, identified direct and indirect interferences in ICPMS, quantified the limitations of internal standards in ICPMS, demonstrated significant role for carboxyl groups in the binding of metals to hair by esterification to block the binding, described limitations in a procedure to speciate arsenic, and developed a AAS procedure for more-sensitive measurement of blood lead.
IMPACT OF CONTRIBUTIONS ON SCIENTIFIC/REGULATED COMMUNITY: ICPAES & ICPMS Methods adopted for use in Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste (the SW-846 Manual) and revised ICPAES Method requested for publication in Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC). Assisted Disney World in determining that they did not have Se contamination of a pond (only interference in ICPMS from BrH+ ions at m/z 82). More than 1200 copies of the interlaboratory report on the ICPAES method were requested from NTIS. Journal articles from his research have been cited more than 200 times according to the Citation Index.
EXTERNAL COLLABORATIONS: Currently, with the State of Washington Department of Health on mercury exposure to an Asian American Pacific Islander community in the Puget Sound area, with Texas A & M University on mercury exposure to a minority group on the Gulf of Mexico, with the Alaska State Veterinarian on mercury in fish and animals, and with Health Canada on mercury in hair. Previously, with the Alaska State Epidemiologist, NOAA’s Seafood Inspection Laboratory, the National Park Service, and with scientists at the Geochemische Institut (Germany), at the National Research Council of Canada, at Trent University (Canada) and at UC Santa Cruz on interlaboratory values for lead isotopes in a bone-ash reference material. As the organizer of a 1992 Workshop on Predicting Acid Generation from Non-Coal Mining Wastes, collaborated with several scientists from the U.S. and Canada. Collaborated with Professor Rolf Peterson, Michigan Technological University, and Professor Paul Myers (University of Michigan) on Wildlife Lead-Pollution Trends in Moose on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.
EDUCATION: B.S. degree in Chemistry, 1964, George Washington University. M.S. (ABT) in Pharmacology, 1967, George Washington University (Professor Peter Weiss, adviser).
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: September 1979 - present: Research Chemist, U.S. EPA, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Environmental Sciences Division, Las Vegas, Nevada. June 1970 - September 1979: Research Chemist, U.S. EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC. 1968 - 1970: Research Assistant, American Medical Association, Institute for Biomedical Research, Chicago, IL. 1967 - 1968: Research Assistant, Northwest Institute for Medical Research, Chicago, IL.
ANCILLARY AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES: Currently, evacuation zone warden. Previously, Division Awards Board (2 years), Property Custodian (22 years), EPA Dietary Exposure Team; Endocrine Disruptor Team; Environmental Monitoring Management Council Workgroup; SW-846 Workgroup (in support of RCRA); EPA ICP Users Group (member, then chairman); Branch QA Representative; federal Bankcard Holder; Branch Safety Inspector; formal EPA manuscript reviewer, and Flexitime Committee member.
PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES/ACTIVITIES/OFFICES: American Chemical Society member for 32 years; former Chairman of the EPA ICP Users Group.
SIGNIFICANT AWARDS: EPA Superior Performance Awards (2000-2003, 1999, 1988-91, 1980, 1977), EPA Cash Award for diligent collaboration with University of Michigan (1996). NERL Internal Grant Awardee (1996) "Trace-Element Speciation by Hyphenated Techniques" EMSL-Las Vegas Innovative Research Awards (1991 & 1992) to study bone lead.
PUBLICATIONS: 58 publications and presentations including contributions to 4 books.
Selected recent publications:
Tsuchiya, A., T. A. Hinners, T. M. Burbacher, E. M. Faustman, and K. Marien. "Mercury Exposure From Fish Consumption Within The Japanese and Korean Communties". Journal Of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Taylor & Francis, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, 71(15):1019-1031, (2008). Published 08/30/2008.
Hinners, T.A. “Possible Ramifications of Higher Mercury Concentrations in Fillet Tissue of Skinnier Fish,” poster at 2004 National Forum on Contaminants in Fish, 25-28 January, San Diego, CA.
Cizdziel, J., Hinners, T.A., Cross, C., and Pollard, J. Distribution of Mercury in the Tissues of Five Species of Freshwater Fish from Lake Mead, USA, J. Environ. Monit. 5:802-807, 2003.
Cizdziel, J., Hinners, T.A., Pollard, J., Heithmar, E.M., Cross, C. Mercury Concentrations in Fish From Lake Mead, USA, Related to Fish Size, Condition, Trophic Level, Location, and Consumption Risk, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 43:309-317, 2002.
Cizdziel, J., Hinners, T.A., and Heithmar, E.M., Determination of Total Mercury in Fish Tissues Using Combustion Atomic Absorption Spectrometry with Gold Amalgamation, Water, Air, and Soil Pollut. 135:355-370, 2002.
Hinners, T.A., Hughes, R., Outridge, P.M., Davis, W.J., Simon, K., and Woolard, D.R. Interlaboratory Comparison of Mass Spectrometric Methods for Lead Isotopes and Trace Elements in NIST SRM 1400 Bone Ash, J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 13:963-970, 1998.
Hinners, T.A., Pergantis, S.A., and Heithmar, E.M.,
"Assessment of Internal Standards for Arsenic in ICPMS," Winter
Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry, poster FP26, Fort Lauderdale, FL,