CTEH Spotlight: Dr. Dallas Cowan, CIH, DABT (Part I)

Earlier this year, we were proud to welcome Dr. Dallas Cowan, CIH, DABT to the team. As head of our new Southern California office, Dr. Cowan brings nearly a decade of experience in occupational toxicology, industrial hygiene, exposure and human health risk assessment to CTEH. Find out more about him below:

What does your role as senior toxicologist and head of CTEH’s Southern California office entail?

I joined CTEH at the beginning of 2017 with the goal of expanding our company’s presence on the West Coast. Over the last six months, I’ve focused on servicing existing clients, developing new business and building our brand. To date, my work has primarily focused on conducting human health risk assessments in a variety of workplace settings. A few of these projects have included evaluating occupational exposures to asbestos; conducting pharmacokinetic alcohol modeling; and conducting exposure assessments for drugs such as opiates and Xanax. Throughout my career, I’ve also published papers on asbestos, product sustainability and various chemicals. This knowledge has been extremely helpful in my new role, where I’m able to get up to speed on projects and help clients swiftly solve issues.

What brought you to CTEH?

CTEH is extremely well known and respected in our industry. In addition to being involved in every major emergency response over the past 20 years, it’s developed a strong presence in the risk assessment, toxicology and industrial hygiene fields. When I met with CTEH, I was immediately attracted to its culture, personalities and the opportunities it provided for career advancement. I also knew it would be able to provide the infrastructure I needed to establish my own practice in Southern California. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the team. There are good working relationships among colleagues, and senior leadership is always willing to provide mentorship and guidance. From support staff to our principals, the entire company is excited and united behind the common goals of serving our clients, expanding our expertise and building our brand.

Tell us more about your work on air-sampling campaigns characterizing different concentrations of chemicals and its effect on human health.

In general, we do air-sampling campaigns when workers are exposed to a substance, and there’s a data gap in peer-reviewed literature or scientific community. We first create simulation studies to recreate the tasks and better understand what exposures may have occurred. We then develop sampling protocols for the various workplace situations or tasks and use NIOSH methods to conduct the sampling. Following this, we send the data to the laboratory and analyze it using statistic methods. Often, the research is later published in peer-review literature so we can share the knowledge with others in our industry.

Want to hear more from Dr. Cowan? Connect with him on LinkedIn, and check back for Part II of his CTEH Spotlight.

CTEH Spotlight: Dr. Dallas Cowan, CIH, DABT (Part II)

We recently introduced you to Dr. Dallas Cowan, CIH, DABT of our new Southern California office. Get to know him even better in Part II of this CTEH Spotlight: 

You’ve conducted extensive research on respiratory protection; biological modeling of drugs and alcohol; and product safety assessments. What encouraged you to pursue these lines of research?

These lines of research are all areas I was interested in and where I had found a gap in the literature. For example, early in my career I focused on product sustainability. At the time, there was a big push in the scientific community to understand what sustainability meant for companies. To help address this issue, I analyzed and summarized what the country’s top 100 firms did for sustainability. Through this research, I found a small portion of these companies actually had sustainability leadership. While this has changed over time, my research helped small and medium-sized enterprises use large companies’ best practices as a model for their own sustainability programs. This work later led to my 70-page research paper on the California Safer Consumer Products Regulation, which provided guidance to businesses on how they could best comply with new protocols. These are just two examples of how I’ve evaluated existing literature, summarized it and published papers to fill holes in industry data.

You recently published an article about best practices to determining blood alcohol concentrations at specific time points. Tell us more about this.

During my career, I’ve been heavily involved in the pharmacokinetic modeling of blood alcohol concentrations (BAC). In 2016, this research, “The best-practices approach to determination of blood alcohol,” was published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. This publication showed how mathematical modeling, through a combination of alcohol metabolism and post-mortem alcohol generation considerations, can be used to retrospectively determine BAC at a given time point for forensic analyses. Read the full abstract here.

What industry or community organizations are you involved with at CTEH?

I’m a proud member of the Society of Toxicology and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). From 2014-2015, I was the president for the San Diego Local Section of the AIHA. I live in Carlsbad, California with my wife and two daughters. In our spare time, we enjoy going to the beach, being active, spending time outdoors and taking advantage of the sunny weather in San Diego.


Have additional questions for Dr. Cowan? Connect with him on LinkedIn.