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March 17, 2006

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Hazard Alert

Dicrotophos in an organophosphate (OP) insecticide formulated for use
on cotton only. Dicrotophos is used to control: aphids, thrips, spider mites,
cotton fleahoppers, stinkbugs, grasshoppers, boll weevils, black fleahoppers,
plantbugs (lygus), saltmarsh caterpillars, and leaf perforators. Dicrotophos
is classified as Restricted Use and may be purchased and used only by
certified applicators or persons under their direct supervision. Dicrotophos is
restricted use primarily due to its acute oral toxicity. It was assigned a toxicity
Category I for both human and ecological species. [1]

Risks: [1]
The combined risk from food and water are of concern.
• When potential residues from food exposure and surface drinking water
exposure are combined, there may be a potential risk based on the results
of conservative modeling.
• Exposure to dicrotophos through food and ground water do not result in
risk concerns
• There are no residential uses of dicrotophos.
Worker Risk are of concern for most scenarios.
• The short term risk to mixers and loaders of liquid ground, aerial
applications and flaggers to cotton crops are not of concern when closed
system and personal protective equipment are used.
• All intermediate term risk to aerial applicators, mixers and loaders and
flaggers are of concern.

Environmental Fate: [3]
• Breakdown of Chemical in Soil and Groundwater: Hydrolysis rates of
dicrotophos in the aqueous and soil environment are pH-dependent
and follow first-order kinetics. The half-lives of dicrotophos in pH 5,
7, and 9 buffer solutions are 117, 72, and 28 days, respectively. N,N-
Dimethylacetoacetamide and O-desmethyldicrotophos are the major
hydrolytic degradation products. Dicrotophos degradation is not induced by
exposure to light. Dicrotophos has intermediate soil mobility. Dicrotophos
and its degradation products do not persist in the environment. In soil,
the dimethylamino group is converted to an N-oxide then to CH2OH and
aldehyde groups, which further degrade via demethylation and hydrolysis.
Dicrotophos is rapidly degraded under both aerobic and anaerobic
conditions forming N,N-dimethylbutyramide as the major metabolite.
Other metabolites include carbon dioxide and unextractable residues.
The half-life of dicrotophos in a Hanford sandy loam soil was three days.
• Breakdown of Chemical in Surface Water: No information was available.
• Breakdown of Chemical in Vegetation: Dicrotophos is considered
nonphytotoxic when used at the recommended rates. It may be harmful to
some varieties of grain seed. More than 50% of the material is absorbed
into the plant within 8 hours of application. It may be phytotoxic to certain
varieties of fruit under some conditions.

Health Effects: [2]
Acute Health Effects:
• Exposure to Dicrotophos can cause rapid, fatal organophosphate
poisoning with headache, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle
twitching, loss of coordination, and death.

Chronic Health Effects:
• Dicrotophos may damage the nervous system causing numbness,
“pins and needles,” and/or weakness in the hands and feet.
• Repeated exposure may cause personality changes of depression,
anxiety or irritability.

Personal Protection: [2]
• All protective clothing (suits, gloves, footwear, headgear) should be clean,
available each day, and put on before work.
• Wear a face shield along with goggles when working with corrosive, highly
irritating or toxic substances.
• ACGIH recommends Butyl or Nitrile rubber as a protective material.
Eye Protection:
• Wear indirect-vent, impact and splash resistant goggles when working
with liquids.
• Contact lenses should not be worn when working with this substance.

Respiratory Protection
• For field applications check with your supervisor and your safety equipment
supplier regarding the appropriate respiratory equipment.
• Where the potential for high exposure exists, use a MSHA/NIOSH
approved supplied-air respirator with a full facepiece operated in a
pressure-demand or other positivepressure mode. For increased
protection use in combination with an auxiliary self-contained breathing
apparatus operated in a pressure-demand or other positivepressure

1. http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/dicrotophos/summary.htm
2. http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/rtkweb/0676.pdf
3. http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/dicrotop.htm


Asia Pacific

Workplace safety committees food for thought
North East Victorian food and beverage manufacturers are being urged to take
a more strategic approach to workplace safety through the use of effective
occupational health and safety (OHS) committees. To help them achieve
this, WorkSafe is holding a workshop in Shepparton. “A well-structured OHS
committee can create a workplace culture where health and safety issues
are identified and managed in a way that leads to fewer workplace injuries,”
said WorkSafe‟s Acting Director of Projects and Programs, Clarke Martin.
Mr Martin urged all local food and beverage manufacturing companies to
attend the workshop, whether they already had an OHS committee or were
thinking about setting one up. “This workshop is about sharing information so
employers and employees learn how to focus on managing workplace safety
by taking a strategic view, rather than reacting to issues when they arise.”
Mr Martin said OHS committees were particularly important because it was
now a legal requirement for employers to consult with their employees on
matters that may directly affect the employee‟s health, safety or welfare.
WorkCover Victoria, February 2006

Notice on early non-confidential listing on AICS adopted
On 6 December 2005, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and
Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) gazetted a notice on new chemicals - early
non-confidential listing on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances
(AICS). The notice informs holders of an assessment certificate who wish
to list their assessed new chemical on the non confidential section of the
AICS before five years that they can submit a request to NICNAS for early
Enhesa Update, January 2006

Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Regulations
2005 set the 2006 renewable power percentage target
On 16 December 2005 the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment
Regulations 2005 (No 5) entered into force amending the Renewable Energy
(Electricity) Regulations 2001 in Australia. These set the Renewable Power
Percentage (RPP) for 2006 at 2.17 % under the Mandatory Renewable
Energy Target adopted in the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and
add new postcodes zones to the Schedule 7 list of eligible for solar water
heaters to create renewable energy certificates.
Enhesa Update, January 2006

Octabromodiphenyl ether declared a priority existing
On 3 January 2006 Octabromodiphenyl ether was declared a Priority
Existing Chemicals (PEC) by the National Industrial Chemical Notification
and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) in Australia. Persons who wish to
import or this chemical after 3 January 2006 must apply to NICNAS to
have the chemicals assessed under the Industrial Chemicals (Notification
and Assessment) Act 1989 by 1 February 2006, and supply the required
information by 22 March 2006.
Enhesa Update, January 2006

Pentabromodiphenyl ether declared a Priority Existing
On 3 January 2006 Pentabromodiphenyl ether was declared a Priority
Existing Chemicals (PEC) by the National Industrial Chemical Notification
and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) in Australia. Persons who wish to
import or this chemical after 3 January 2006 must apply to NICNAS to
have the chemicals assessed under the Industrial Chemicals (Notification
and Assessment) Act 1989 by 1 February 2006, and supply the required
information by 22 March 2006.
Enhesa Update, January 2006


Federal Agency Food and Agriculture Incident Response
Roles Described in New
EPA announces the availability of an important homeland security resource
document for government agencies and industries associated with the
food and agriculture sector of the United States. This new document,
“Federal Food and Agriculture Decontamination and Disposal Roles and
Responsibilities,” is a collaborative product of USDA, FDA, EPA, DHS, and
DOD. The purpose of the document is to provide government agencies at
all levels and industry and others involved in protecting the nation‟s food and
agriculture with information on the roles, responsibilities, and capabilities of
Federal agencies for addressing decontamination and disposal of animal,
crop, and food commodities contaminated with chemical or biological agents.
Key activities, lead and support agencies, and capabilities are described for
a variety of representative threat scenarios.
Summaries of pertinent Federal statutes, plans for protecting this sector, and
important government contacts are also provided. This document can be
an important resource for understanding Federal roles and responsibilities
and for further planning and preparedness for significant incidents that could
disrupt the nations food and agriculture sector.
EPA Pesticide Program Updates, 21 February 2006

Ethofenprox; Receipt of Application for Emergency
Exemption, Solicitation of Public Comment
EPA has received a specific exemption request from the Louisiana
Department of Agriculture and Forestry to use the pesticide ethofenprox
(CAS No. 80844-07-1) to treat up to 255,000 acres of rice to control rice
water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus. The Applicant proposes a first food
use of this pesticide. EPA is soliciting public comment before making the
decision whether or not to grant the exemption.
EPA Pesticide Program Updates, 21 February 2006

Streptomycin Risk Assessments; Notice of Availability
and Risk Reduction Options
This notice announces the availability of EPA‟s risk assessment(s), and
related documents for the pesticide streptomycin, and opens a public
comment period on these documents. The public is encouraged to suggest
risk management ideas or proposals to address the risks identified. EPA
is developing a tolerance reassessment decision (TRED) for streptomycin
through a modified, 4-Phase public
participation process.
EPA Pesticide Program Updates, 21 February 2006

Triadimefon Risk Assessments; Notice of Availability and
Risk Reduction Options
This notice announces the availability of EPA‟s risk assessments, and related
documents for the triazole fungicide triadimefon and for its free triazole
metabolites, and opens a public comment period on these documents.
The triazole fungicides, which include triadimefon, triadimenol, and
propiconazole, and others, share the common metabolites 1,2,4-triazole,
triazole alanine, and triazole acetic acid (also known as free triazoles).
EPA has conducted an aggregate risk assessment for the free triazole
metabolites to ensure that aggregate exposure and risk from these common
metabolites meet the current safety standards. The public is encouraged to
suggest risk management ideas or proposals to address the risks identified.
EPA is developing a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for triadimefon
through a modified, 4-Phase public participation process.

EPA Pesticide Program Updates, 21 February 2006
Triadimenol Risk Assessments; Notice of Availability and
Risk Reduction Options
This notice announces the availability of EPA‟s risk assessment, and related
documents for the triazole fungicide triadimenol and for its free triazole
metabolites, and opens a public comment period on these documents.
The triazole fungicides, which include triadimenol, triadimefon, and
propiconazole, and others, share the common metabolites 1,2,4-triazole,
triazole alanine, and triazole acetic acid (also known as free triazoles). EPA
has conducted an aggregate risk assessment for the free triazole metabolites
to ensure that aggregate exposure and risk from these common metabolites
meet the current safety standards. The public is encouraged to suggest
risk management ideas or proposals to address the risks identified. EPA
is developing a tolerance reassessment decision (TRED) for triadimenol
through a modified, 4-Phase public participation process.
EPA Pesticide Program Updates, 21 February 2006

Notice of Filing of a Pesticide Petition for the
Establishment of a Regulation for the Residues of the
Fungicide Epoxiconazole in or on Coffee Beans
This notice announces the initial filing of a pesticide petition by BASF
Corporation, Agricultural Products, who proposes to establish a tolerance
for residues of the fungicide epoxiconazole, (2RS,3SR)-3-(2- chlorophenyl)-
2-(4-fluorophenyl)-2-[(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)methyl] oxirane in or on food
commodity coffee bean at 0.05 parts per million (ppm).
EPA Pesticide Program Updates, 21 February 2006


Proposal for a revised Battery Directive
On 13 December 2005, the European Parliament adopted in second reading
the Council‟s Common Position COD/2003/282 of 18 July 2005 regarding
the draft Directive on hazardous materials in batteries and accumulators,
collection and recycling. Although the Council‟s amendments diverge from
the Commission‟s initial proposal, the Parliament adopted the compromise
with amendments. The proposal addresses further restrictions on heavy
metals content in batteries and accumulators, notably, mercury, cadmium
and lead. It aims to prevent spent batteries ending up in incinerators or
landfills and therefore to recover the various metals used in batteries. It also
sets minimum rules for the functioning of national collection and recycling
schemes in order to enhance the proper functioning of the internal market
and guarantee a level playing field for all the parties involved in the battery
life-cycle. Once implemented, it would repeal and replace the earlier
Batteries Directive 91/157/EEC as amended by Directive 93/86/EEC and
Directive 98/101/EC.
Enhesa Update, January 2006

Proposal for a Directive on restrictions on the marketing
and use of certain carcinogens
On 8 December 2005, the Council adopted in first reading the Proposal for
a Directive of the Parliament and of the Council amending, for the 29th time,
Council Directive 76/769/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations
and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions
on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations
(substances classified as carcinogens, mutagens or substances toxic to
reproduction - c/m/r). The 29th amendment will insert 346 entries containing
substances newly classified or reclassified under Commission Directive
2004/73/EC, in the Appendix of Annex I to Directive 76/769/EEC.
Enhesa Update, January 2006

Second and Third List of Indicative Occupational
Exposure Limit Values drafted
In 2001 the Commission issued the first draft of a Directive establishing a
second list of indicative occupational exposure limit values in implementation
of Council Directive 98/24/EC and amending Directive 91/322/EEC. In
September 2003 the Member States represented in the Technical Progress
Committee approved a list of 34 substances. The draft Directive has still
not been officially adopted by the Commission. In the meantime a draft
Directive establishing a third list of indicative occupational exposure limit
values in implementation of Council Directive 98/24/EC and amending
Directive 91/322/EEC was prepared.
Enhesa Update, January 2006

Agreement reached on the revision of the Machinery
On 15 December 2005 the European Parliament adopted the opinion on
the proposed Directive on technical harmonization of machinery in the
second reading. On 18 July 2005. EU‟s Agriculture and Fisheries Council
adopted a Common Position regarding a proposed Directive on technical
harmonization of machinery. The proposed Directive (COM (2000) 899) shall
repeal Directive 98/37/EC and amend Directive 95/16/EC. The objective is
to provide a simplified legal framework for approval and testing procedures
for machinery while taking into account the New Approach.
Enhesa Update, January 2006

Revised draft EU chemicals legislation debated (REACH)
On 13 December 2005, the Council adopted in first reading the proposed
Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of
Chemicals (REACH). In the European Parliament, the leading parliamentary
committee with respect to REACH is the Committee on Environment, Public
Health and Consumer Protection. As a result of the vote of the Parliament
on 17 November 2005, hundreds of amendments were adopted, of which
the most important concerned a compromise on registration requirements,
on the exceptions from the scope of the proposed Regulation and on the
rules governing the granting of authorizations. On 29 October 2003 the
European Commission issued its latest proposal for a Regulation concerning
the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals,
establishing a European Chemicals Agency and amending Directive 1999/45/
EC and Regulation (EC) {on Persistent Organic Pollutants}. REACH would
place a duty on companies which produce or import more than 1 tonne of a
chemical to assess the risks arising from the use of the chemical and to take
appropriate measures that manage any risk identified. The proposal would
replace 40 pieces of current legislation on chemicals. The 1200 pages of
proposed legislative text are largely made up of technical annexes that are
not new requirements, as well as a range of brand new procedures.
Enhesa Update, January 2006

Janet’s Corner - Not Too Seriously!

A Mathematician, a Biologist and a Physicist are sitting in a street
cafe watching people going in and coming out of the house on the
other side of the street. First they see two people going into the house.
Time passes. After a while they notice three persons coming out of the
The Physicist: “The measurement wasn‟t accurate.”
The Biologist: “They have reproduced”.
The Mathematician: “If now exactly one person enters the house then it will
be empty again.”

Please note: articles for Janet’s Corner are not original, and come from various
sources. Author’s credits are supplied when available.


Greenland ice loss doubles in past decade, raising sea
level faster
The loss of ice from Greenland doubled between 1996 and 2005, as its
glaciers flowed faster into the ocean in response to a generally warmer
climate, according to a NASA/University of Kansas study. The study will be
published in the journal Science. It concludes the changes to Greenland‟s
glaciers in the past decade are widespread, large and sustained over time.
They are progressively affecting the entire ice sheet and increasing its
contribution to global sea level rise.
Researchers Eric Rignot of NASA‟s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
California, and Pannir Kanagaratnam of the University of Kansas Center for
Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, Lawrence, used data from Canadian and
European satellites. “The Greenland ice sheet‟s contribution to sea level
is an issue of considerable societal and scientific importance,” Rignot said.
“These findings call into question predictions of the future of Greenland in
a warmer climate from computer models that do not include variations in
glacier flow as a component of change. Actual changes will likely be much
larger than predicted by these models.”
The evolution of Greenland‟s ice sheet is being driven by several factors.
These include accumulation of snow in its interior, which adds mass and
lowers sea level; melting of ice along its edges, which decreases mass and
raises sea level; and the flow of ice into the sea from outlet glaciers along its
edges, which also decreases mass and raises sea level. This study focuses
on the least well known component of change, which is glacial ice flow. Its
results are combined with estimates of changes in snow accumulation and
ice melt from an independent study to determine the total change in mass of
the Greenland ice sheet.
Science Daily, 18 February 2006

Overseas NOx could be boosting ozone levels in US
Large amounts of a chemical that boosts ozone production are being
transported to North America from across the Pacific Ocean in May,
according to a new report by researchers from Georgia Tech. These higher
levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), arriving in late spring, could be contributing
to significant increases in ozone levels over North America. The research
appeared in volume 33 of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
“It‟s well-known that pollutants don‟t always stay in the region in which
they are produced. What‟s not understood as well is where and when they
travel,” said Yuhang Wang, associate professor in the School of Earth and
Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Finding
this large amount of NOx traveling from across the Pacific is important
because it will allow us to build better models so we can better understand
how pollutants created in one region of the world are affecting the other
Science Daily, 18 February 2006

New, expensive, widely-used drugs continue to cause
liver problems
Adverse drug reactions in the liver are the most common reason for drugs
to be taken off the market, and the federal Food and Drug Administration
now wants better ways to detect these problem drugs before they reach the
market and injure users.
In an article published this week in the influential New England Journal
of Medicine, scientists writes that liver injuries continue to plague the
nation‟s drug development system, proving very costly to pharmaceutical
companies that spend millions of dollars on development, only to find later
that a new medicine is potentially toxic to the liver. “Any drug can cause
liver problems,” says Dr. Navarro, who is medical director for hepatology
and liver transplantation in the Department of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson
University Hospital. “Recognizing liver injury depends on vigilance,” he
says. “We propose in the paper that probably the best way to detect liver
injury early is for patients to simply speak with their physicians about the
drugs they are taking.” Because of their genetic makeup, certain people
are more likely than others to develop liver-related problems, Dr. Navarro
notes. He believes that in the coming decade, researchers will find new
ways to develop safer drugs with fewer side effects by better understanding
the potential genetic impact a new medication may have and by identifying
those individuals who might be more likely to be harmed by the drug.
Science Daily, 17 February 2006

Chewing gum aids surgery recovery
Chewing gum may speed recovery after bowel surgery, research suggests.
A US team found chewing gum seemed to speed up the return of normal
bowel function, and therefore help shorten hospital stays. They believe
gum may stimulate the same nerves as eating, promoting the release of
hormones that activate the gastrointestinal tract. Any type of abdominal
surgery can cause a marked decrease or stoppage of intestinal function,
a condition known as ileus. This can cause pain, vomiting and abdominal
distension, and keep patients in hospital longer. There is also an increased
risk of infection and breathing problems.
The researchers studied 34 patients who underwent surgery to remove a
portion of the large intestine - a procedure known as sigmoid colon resection.
Half chewed sugarless gum three times a day following their surgery, the
rest did not. The gum-chewing group left the hospital after an average
of 4.3 days, compared with 6.8 days for the control group. Patients who
chewed gum also passed gas sooner, and had their first bowel movement
sooner than those who did not. Some patients who undergo bowel surgery
are known not to be able to tolerate food, or even water in the immediate
aftermath of their operation. The researchers argue that getting people to
chew gum instead may be cheap and helpful alternative.
BBC News, 21 February 2006

Rocks „could store all Europe‟s CO2‟
The entire carbon dioxide emissions created in Europe could be stored
underneath the North Sea if the infrastructure were put in place, a Norwegian
company has claimed. Gas and oil firm Statoil said the undersea aquifer
beneath its Sleipner platforms in the North Sea, 200 miles off the Norwegian
coast, is capable of permanently holding carbon dioxide (CO2) - a gas linked
to climate change. The Sleipner platform provides methane to countries
throughout western mainland Europe and is capable of exporting 20 million
cubic metres of gas every day. But it is also the first of a handful of geological
sites where CO2 is stored.
“There are calculations which say it could handle all of Europe‟s CO2
emissions for several hundreds of years,” said Statoil‟s Senior Vice President
for the Environment Tor Fraeren. “It could all be handled by this reservoir. I
hope that during these hundreds of years we could solve the CO2 problem
in a more efficient way, but we have the potential here to store it.” Climate
scientists generally acknowledge that storing carbon in this way can play a
role in combating global warming.
BBC News, 16 February 2006

Pistachios, sunflower seeds may help lower cholesterol
According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,
sesame seeds and wheat germ ranked highest for phytosterols among the
nuts and seed that were investigated. Phytosterols are chemicals found in
plants that have been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of
some cancers. While the exact mechanism by which phytosterols lower
cholesterol is not fully understood, it‟s believed these compounds inhibit the
absorption of cholesterol in the stomach. “Nuts and seeds are rich sources
of phytosterols,” wrote the authors. “Nuts have also been consistently
associated in both epidemiological studies and clinical feeding trials with
reduced blood cholesterol levels and decreased incidence of cardiovascular
In the study, deemed in a statement to be the most comprehensive analysis
to date, researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
analyzed 27 different nut and seed products, including raw nuts, dry and
oil roasted nuts and peanut butter, in order to rank them by phytosterol
While sesame seeds and wheat germ came out on top, the researchers
noted that pistachios and sunflower seeds, the next-highest-ranking, are
more likely to be consumed as a snack food and could therefore be easily
incorporated in a cholesterol-lowering diet. These were followed by pumpkin
seeds, pine nuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, black walnuts, pecans,
cashews, peanuts and hazelnuts. Brazil nuts and English walnuts came in
Canada Health, 17 February 2006

Rheumatoid arthritis may increase skin cancer risk
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who are being treated with disease-modifying
drugs, biological response modifiers, or corticosteroids may want to be extra
careful about skin cancer screening and sun protection. A recent study in the
Journal of Rheumatology found that people who have rheumatoid arthritis
have an increased risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC),
and that those who are being treated with TNF inhibitors together with
another medication called methotrexate, or the medication prednisone, are
even more likely to develop skin cancer compared to osteoarthritis suffers.
In the study, researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine
compared self-reported information on skin cancer from 15,789 rheumatoid
arthritis patients and 3,639 osteoarthritis patients. Rheumatoid arthritis is an
autoimmune condition where the body attacks the joints, causing pain and
possible disability, whereas osteoarthritis is a “wear and tear” condition where
the cartilage in the joints deteriorates. After adjusting for skin cancer risk
factors such as age and prior history of skin cancer, the researchers found
rheumatoid arthritis to be associated with a 19% increase in skin cancer
risk compared to osteoarthritis sufferers. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who
were treated with prednisone or a class of biological response modifiers
called TNF inhibitors faced a 28% and 24% increase in risk respectively.
Canada Health, 17 February 2006

Ovarian cancer responds to aspirin derivative with chemo
A new study using ovarian cancer cell lines shows promise in treating
the deadly disease by combining the chemotherapy drug cisplatin with
an aspirin-like compound to make recurrent cancer cells less resistant to
the chemotherapy. As a first course of treatment, ovarian cancer typically
is treated with surgery followed by a regimen of the chemotherapy drug
cisplatin. However, cisplatin is not an effective treatment when the ovarian
cancer inevitably returns, say scientists. “Somehow the ovarian cancer
cells adapt and become resistant to this drug,” they added. “Once treated
with cisplatin, the ovarian cancer cells develop an abundance of thiols,
which are a kind of cellular antioxidants that protect the cancer from the
They wondered whether the abundance of thiols could somehow be used
against the ovarian cancer cells. The study found that the nitric oxide
released from the aspirin derivative NCX-4016 reacts with the cellular thiols,
which causes the cancer cells to stop proliferating. In addition, the nitric
oxide depletes the thiols, making the cancer cells more susceptible to the
chemotherapy. Scientists plan to continue this research in animal models.
Science Daily, 20 February 2006

Estrogen-progestin menopausal hormone therapy and
risk of lobular and tubular breast cancer
Estrogen-progestin menopausal hormone therapy is associated with a more
than two-fold higher relative risk of developing lobular cancer or tubular
cancer than of developing ductal cancer. The results of a large European
study published today in the journal Breast Cancer Research show for the
first time that estrogen-progestin therapy is associated with a higher relative
risk of developing tubular cancer than ductal cancer, when taken for more
than five years. The study also confirms previous findings that estrogen-
progestin therapy is associated with a higher relative risk of lobular cancer
than ductal cancer.
Lena Rosenberg from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden
and colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet and the Genome Institute of
Singapore carried out a population-based case-control study of women
recently diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. They selected 1,888 women
with ductal breast cancer, 308 women with lobular cancer and 93 women
with tubular breast cancer. Rosenberg et al.‟s results show that women
who used medium potency estrogen-progestin combination therapy had a
higher risk of developing lobular or tubular breast cancer than of developing
ductal cancer, compared with women who did not use hormone therapy.
The risk of developing any of the cancers was higher for women who had
used the therapy for more than five years. For these women, the risk of
developing tubular cancer or lobular cancer was more than twice the risk of
developing ductal cancer. Other factors, such as the number of births, age at
menopause or body mass index, were found to be associated with a similar
risk of developing the three subtypes of breast cancer.
Science Daily, 20 February 2006

Pinch of controversy over salt in diet
For years people have been cautioned about the potential risks of consuming
too much salt, but a team of New York scientists has concluded that a low-
sodium diet may do more cardiovascular harm than good for people who
are not at high risk for hypertension. Researchers at Albert Einstein College
of Medicine in the Bronx say healthy participants in a large government-
sponsored clinical trial who restricted daily salt intake to less than 2,300
milligrams were 37 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease. The
finding, reported in today‟s American Journal of Medicine, is at loggerheads
with prevailing medical wisdom and government recommendations.
Lead researcher Dr. Hillel Cohen theorizes that low-sodium diets raise the
kidney‟s levels of renin, a protein involved with increasing blood pressure
when sodium levels are low. Cohen also theorizes that low-sodium diets set
the stage for diabetes by encouraging insulin resistance, the inability of the
hormone to control blood sugars. Cohen‟s team included Michael Alderman,
a researcher who for nearly two decades has looked into the negative health
effects of low-sodium diets.
Dr. Jeffrey Cutler of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute said
consumers should abide by government guidelines on salt intake: no more
than 2,300 milligrams daily. “This group has been publishing papers for a
number of years, trying to show the usual advice is wrong,” he said.
Cohen said his study is not the definitive answer. “We‟re raising a yellow
warning flag here,” Cohen said yesterday. “It‟s simply a warning flag, that
the evidence behind the [government‟s sodium intake] guidelines need to
be investigated.”
Newsday, 21 February 2006

Organic diets lower children‟s exposure to two common
Organic diets lower children‟s dietary exposure to two common pesticides
used in U.S. agricultural production, according to a study by Emory
University researcher Chensheng “Alex” Lu, PhD. The substitution of
organic food items for children‟s normal diets substantially decreased the
pesticide concentration to non-detectable levels. Previous research has
linked organophosphorus pesticides to causes of neurological effects in
animals and humans, Dr. Lu says. “The use of organophosphorus pesticides
in residential areas has either been banned or restricted by recent regulatory
changes,” Dr. Lu continues. “This helps to minimize children‟s exposure, but
still few restrictions have been imposed in agriculture.”
In his initial research, Dr. Lu and his colleagues specifically measured
the exposure of two organophosphorus pesticides (OP) - malathion and
chlorpyrifos - in 23 elementary students in the Seattle area by testing
their urine over a 15-day period. The participants, ages 3 to 11-years-
old, were first monitored for three days on their conventional diets before
the researchers substituted most of the children‟s conventional diets with
organic food items for five consecutive days. The children were then re-
introduced to their normal foods and monitored for an additional seven days.
According to Dr. Lu, there was a “dramatic and immediate protective effect”
against the pesticides until the conventional diets were re-introduced. While
consuming organic diets, most of the children‟s urine samples contained
zero concentration for the malathion metabolite. However, once the children
returned to their conventional diets, the average malathion metabolite
concentration increased to 1.6 parts per billion with a concentration range
from 5 to 263 parts per billion, Dr. Lu explains.
Science Daily, 21 February 2006

Tequin (gatifloxacin): warnings update about risk of
hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia
BMS notified FDA and healthcare professionals about proposed changes to
the prescribing information for Tequin, including an updating of the existing
WARNING on hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high
blood sugar), and a CONTRAINDICATION for use in diabetic patients.
The changes also include information identifying other risk factors for
developing low blood sugar and high blood sugar, including advanced
age, renal insufficiency, and concomitant glucose-altering medications
while taking Tequin. The proposed changes are highlighted in the following
“Dear Healthcare Provider” letter issued by BMS. Specific wording of these
additions and revisions to the labeling is pending FDA review and approval.
MedWatch Newsletter, 18 February 2006

Elevated morphine levels in poppy seeds: Risk to health
not ruled out
Poppy seeds have a distinctive taste and are rich in fat and proteins. That‟s
why they are a popular choice for bread, rolls and cakes or for edible oil.
Although the seeds come from opium poppy from which pharmaceutical
alkaloids like morphine or codeine are also produced, edible poppy naturally
only contains traces of these substances. However, analyses have revealed
that the morphine levels in edible poppy seeds vary considerably and have
obviously increased in recent years. Types of poppy, harvesting time and
geographical origin can all influence the alkaloid levels. The main reason for
the clearly elevated values is probably contamination caused by alkaloid-
containing fragments of seed capsules or milky sap during seed collection.
In unfavourable scenarios morphine levels can be ingested from food which
are in the therapeutic range. “In the worst case doses of this kind can lead to
impaired consciousness, respiratory depression and cardiovascular effects”,
warns BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. In order to rule
out this risk for the consumer, BfR has established a tolerable daily upper
intake level and recommended a guidance value for morphine on behalf
of the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection. Until manufacturers have
succeeded in reducing the morphine levels, the Institute advises against
excessive consumption of foods containing large amounts of poppy seeds
- particularly during pregnancy.
BfR Newsletter, 20 February 2006

Delight as “killer” lighters to be banned from sale in the
European Union
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said today that it was
overjoyed the European Union is to ban the sale of cigarette lighters that
are not child resistant. The decision is likely to save 20 lives and 1,200
fires a year across the EU caused by children playing with cheap lighters,
and save five lives and 220 injuries each year in the UK. The move follows
a meeting of Committee of Member States established under the General
Product Safety Directive.
In the United States, where child resistant lighters were introduced in 1995,
there has been a 60 per cent reduction in fires, injuries and deaths caused
by children under-five.
Sources say the European Commission will shortly launch a joint project
with member states‟ customs and market surveillance authorities to ensure
the ban is fully implemented.
EurOhs Newsletter, 22 February 2006

Agreement to strengthen local workplace safety
Safety Groups UK has been formed out of the National Health and Safety
Groups Council, a body representing around 80 community-based groups
which give advice to small and medium sized businesses in their area. The
new organisation was launched by David Eves, former Deputy Director
General of HSE, in London on 26 January 2006. The partnership agreement
with the HSE is designed to support the Health and Safety Commission‟s
Strategy for workplace health and safety in Great Britain to 2010 and
The aim is to jointly develop and deliver a work programme to make a
significant contribution to specific projects that underpin the HSC strategy.
Both sides want to ensure key health and safety messages are promoted
to all health and safety groups and as widely as possible beyond their
immediate membership. HSE is funding a consultant to carry out research to
help achieve these aims. Kerry Ross, chairman of Safety Groups UK, said:
“Our mission is to ensure that health and safety groups are key players in
the UK health and safety system and in the delivery of UK health and safety
strategy. We are ideally placed to do this, being made up of representatives
from local businesses and providing low-cost health and safety help through
such things as seminars and advice lines.”
EurOhs Newsletter, 22 February 2006

Mead Johnson GENTLEASE powdered infant formula
recalled due to metal particles in product
Mead Johnson and FDA notified consumers and healthcare professionals of
a recall of one lot, lot # BMJ19, of GENTLEASE powdered infant formula,
found to contain metal particles up to 2.7 millimeter in size. If an infant were to
inhale the infant formula into the lungs, the presence of these particles could
present a serious risk to the infant‟s respiratory system and throat. There
were approximately 41,464 24-ounce cans of this lot of recalled product
distributed, beginning on December 16, 2005, through many major retail
stores across the country, so the consumer should concentrate on the code
on the can rather than on the place of purchase. The affected products can
be identified by the lot number and expiration/use by date embossed on the
bottom of the can of BMJ19, use by 1 Jul 07. Consumers who have a can
of this batch of GENTLEASE powdered infant formula should not use the
product and should contact Mead Johnson at 888-587-7275 immediately.
MedWatch Newsletter, 23 February 2006

Hospital for the broken-hearted
A hospital clinic for the broken-hearted has been set up in Germany to give
emergency treatment to those who have been dumped. Set up by Munich-
based Dr Birgit Delisle, the clinic in the Schwabing Hospital is aimed primarily
at love-sick teenagers who do not know how to cope with a broken heart.
“Having your heart broken can lead to physical and psychological problems,
from loss of appetite which leads to sudden weight loss to unbelievable pain
that drives many people to take drastic measures.” The free clinic in the
Bavarian capital will have experts on hand to advise both sexes on how to
cope with being single.
Ananova News, 24 February 2006

Child anxiety link to ecstasy use
For some time, scientists have been aware that using ecstasy is associated
with emotional health problems, such as depression, psychotic symptoms,
and anxiety disorders. But it was not clear whether emotional problems
were caused by using ecstasy, or if they led to ecstasy use. The team of
researchers from the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam looked at the
1,580 children as part of a long-term population study. All were aged between
four and 17 when they were first assessed in 1983 - before ecstasy began
to be used as a recreational drug in the Netherlands. The study participants
were followed up in 1997, when they were aged between 18 to 33.
It was found that individuals who had shown signs of anxiety and depression
as children in 1983 showed an increased risk of starting to use ecstasy.
People with these conditions may be particularly susceptible to ecstasy‟s
effects including enhanced feelings of bonding with other people, euphoria,
or relaxation, hoping they can alleviate their symptoms, the researchers say.
But they add that long-term use of the drug has previously been found to
lead to an increased risk of depressive symptoms. So people who are trying
to make themselves feel better may, in the long-run, end up feeling worse.
BBC News, 24 February 2006

Frog „key to mosquito repellents‟
A bottle-green Australian frog may hold the key to future mosquito repellents,
a study says. A University of Adelaide team found the secretions of the
dumpy tree frog are effective at warding off mosquitoes. Researchers found
mice given the secretions remained bite-free for four times longer than those
not, the Biology Letters journal reported. But experts said such repellents
would only have a limited effect in fighting malaria, which is spread by
Researchers chose to investigate frogs because previous research
had uncovered that their secretions can act as powerful painkillers and
hallucinogens. The team also found two other Australian species - the
desert tree frog and Mjoberg‟s toadlet - released mosquito repellent odour
from their skin, although their secretions were not tested on mice. In the
study, mice given the secretions from the dumpy tree frog remained bite-
free for around 50 minutes compared to 12 minutes for an untreated group.
However, mice given Deet, the chemical that is typically used in commercial
mosquito repellents, were protected for up to two hours. The researchers
said the frog secretions should not yet be considered as an alternative to
Deet, which was originally formulated for the US army after WWII. But they
said: “The discovery highlights the potential of the unsung properties of
amphibian skin.
BBC News, 22 February 2006

Britain‟s emissions plan rejected
Britain has been denied leave by the European Commission to raise the
amount of pollution it can create under the EU emissions trading scheme.
Britain asked permission last year to increase the amount of carbon dioxide
its industry was allowed to emit from 2005 to 2007 by 20 million tonnes. The
Commission refused but the EU‟s Court of First Instance then ruled changes
could be made. However, the Commission now says Britain submitted the
changes too late.
It said the court had ruled that it had to consider changes only so long as they
were submitted on time. But Britain had missed a deadline of 30 September
2004, it said. “Since the UK amendment was notified after this deadline, the
Commission has passed today‟s decision rejecting the amended plan on
the grounds of late submission,” it said. Britain accused the Commission of
hiding “behind procedure”.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
said it was studying a range of options in response, including the possibility
of a legal challenge. The emissions trading scheme is EU‟s key instrument
for fighting climate change and meeting commitments under the Kyoto
environment treaty. Carbon dioxide is the main gas blamed for global
BBC News, 22 February 2006

Report: Chromium industry withheld data on lung cancer
The chromium industry withheld and manipulated data showing that workers
exposed to one of its chemicals had an increased risk of lung cancer, says
a paper published Thursday in Environmental Health. The journal report,
written by David Michaels of George Washington University‟s School of
Public Health and Peter Lurie of the consumer group Public Citizen, charges
that the industry misrepresented the dangers of hexavalent chromium in an
attempt to thwart stricter workplace regulation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is under court order
to issue a new federal workplace exposure level for the chemical by the
end of this month. The Industrial Health Foundation, an industry group, in
1998 commissioned a study of lung cancer mortality in workers exposed to
the chemical at low, intermediate and high levels. The data came from four
industrial plants, two in the USA and two in Germany, to provide a large-
enough pool of workers for a statistically significant study. The cancer risk
was found to be elevated at the intermediate and high levels, according to
the new paper. The authors charge that the research was completed in 2002
but not given to OSHA then, despite the fact that the agency was actively
seeking all available data. The data were split into two separate papers, one
on the American workers and one on the German workers. The information
on the American workers was submitted in 2004. Michaels described the
findings as significantly weakened because the number of workers in the
American study was so small. Data on the larger German group were
supplied a year later, after OSHA was no longer accepting information for
its rule-making process. In that study, the intermediate- and high-exposure
groups were combined, Lurie said, giving the inaccurate impression that
exposure was dangerous only at the highest levels. “They‟re dead wrong,”
said Kate McMahon of Collier Shannon Scott, a Washington law firm
representing another industry group, the Chrome Coalition. She said OSHA
knew of the research but wouldn‟t have accepted it until it was published in
a peer-reviewed journal. A spokesman for OSHA declined to comment.
Google News, 23 February 2006

Study with smokers shows vitamins combine for benefits
A new study has found that supplements of vitamin C can largely stop the
serious depletion of vitamin E that occurs in smokers, demonstrating for the
first time in humans a remarkable interaction between these two antioxidants
as they work together. The research also suggests a possible mechanism
by which smoking can cause cancer. The findings are being published today
in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, a professional journal, by scientists
from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
The results of the research were based on a placebo-controlled, double-blind
clinical study with smokers and non-smokers, and showed that supplements
of 1000 milligrams of vitamin C per day could reduce by up to 45 percent
the rate of disappearance of one form of vitamin E in smokers. In general,
vitamin C supplements helped protect the function and plasma levels of
vitamin E, so that smokers who took supplements had about the same level
of antioxidant protection as non-smokers.
Science Daily, 25 February 2006

Microbes convert Styrofoam into biodegradable plastic
Bacteria could help transform a key component of disposable cups, plates
and utensils into a useful eco-friendly plastic, significantly reducing the
environmental impact of this ubiquitous, but difficult-to-recycle waste
stream, according to a study scheduled to appear in the April 1 issue of the
American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology.
The microbes, a special strain of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida,
converted polystyrene foam - commonly known as Styrofoam(tm) - into a
biodegradable plastic, according to Kevin O‟Connor, Ph.D., of University
College Dublin, the study‟s corresponding author. The study is among the
first to investigate the possibility of converting a petroleum-based plastic
waste into a reusable biodegradable form.
O‟Connor and his colleagues from Ireland and Germany, utilized pyrolysis,
a process that transforms materials by heating them in the absence of
oxygen, to convert polystyrene - the key component of many disposable
products - into styrene oil. The researchers then supplied this oil to P.
putida, a bacterium that can feed on styrene, which converted the oil into a
biodegradable plastic known as PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates). The process
might also be used to convert other types of discarded plastics into PHA,
according to O‟Connor. PHA has numerous uses in medicine and can be
used to make plastic kitchenware, packaging film and other disposable
items. The biodegradable plastic is resistant to hot liquids, greases and oils,
and can have a long shelf life. But unlike polystyrene, it readily breaks down
in soil, water, septic systems and backyard composts.
Science Daily, 24 February 2006


Volatile organic compounds in ambient air of Mumbai-
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a major group of air pollutants
which play a critical role in atmospheric chemicals. These contribute to toxic
oxidants which are harmful to ecosystem, human health and atmosphere.
The variability of pollutants is an important factor in determining human
exposure to these chemicals. Data on levels of VOCs in developing countries,
including India, are lacking. The present work deals with the estimation of
target VOCs at 15 locations of five categories in Mumbai. The categories are
residential, industrial, commercial, traffic intersections and petrol refueling
stations. Concentrations of benzene, at all the locations, were found to be
much above the guidelines values prescribed by World Health Organization
(WHO) for ambient air quality. All other VOCs were observed to be below
the WHO guideline values. The results show that levels of VOCs in Mumbai
were high. There is need for a regular monitoring schedule of VOCs in the
urban environment. Variability studies are important to assess the exposure
potential of pollutants which are an important parameter for health impact
studies. This study also presents the variability of VOCs in the urban area
of Mumbai. Variability was divided into measurement spatial, temporal and
temporal-spatial interaction components. The temporal component along
with temporal-spatial interaction component were the major contributors to
variability. VOCs associated with mobile source emissions and emissions
from marine source were found to be distributed uniformly in the urban
atmospher in Mumbai.
Authors: Srivastava, Anjali; Joseph, A. E.; Devotta, S.
Full source: Atmospheric Environment 2006, 40(5), 892-903 (Eng)

Endocrine disrupters: A human risk?
Endocrine disrupters (EDs) alter normal hormonal regulation and may be
naturally occurring or environmental contaminants. Classically, EDs act
genomically, with agonistic or antagonistic effects on steroid receptors and
may alter reproductive function and/or cause feminization by binding to
estrogen or androgen receptors; their binding to the thyroid receptor may
dysregulate the neuroendocrine system. Recently, it has been shown that
EDs can also act by non-genomic mechanisms, altering steroid synthesis
(inhibition of cytochrome P 450 isoforms) or steroid metabolism. The
alkylphenol and phthalate plasticisers inhibit the inactivation of estrogens by
sulphation (via SULT 1A1 and 1E1 isoforms) and so cause a rise in levels of
the free active endogenous estrogens.
A range of ED effects have been shown in mammals, fish, birds, reptiles,
amphibia and aquatic invertebrates but it is not yet clear whether these
processes also occur in human beings. It is evident that EDs, as well as
altering reproduction, can cause changes in neurosteroid levels and so have
the potential to affect immune function, behavior and memory. This may be
of long-term concern since traces of EDs such as plasticisers, brominated
fire retardants, sunscreen agents and cosmetic ingredients are widely
distributed in the environment and in human biofluids.
Authors: Waring, R. H.; Harris, R. M.
Full source: Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 2005, 244(1-2), 2-9

Lipid adjustments in the analysis of environmental
contaminants and human health risks
The literature on exposure to lipophilic agents such as polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs) is conflicting, posing challenges for the interpretation
of potential human health risks. Laboratory variation in quantifying PCBs
may account for some of the conflicting study results. For example, for
quantification purposes, blood is often used as a proxy for adipose tissue,
which makes it necessary to model serum lipids when assessing health risks
of PCBs. Using a simulation study, the authors evaluated four statistical
models (unadjusted, standardized, adjusted, and two-stage) for the analysis
of PCB exposure, serum lipids, and health outcome risk (breast cancer).
The authors applied eight candidate true causal scenarios, depicted by
directed acyclic graphs, to illustrate the ramifications of mis-specification
of underlying assumptions when interpreting results. Statistical models that
deviated from underlying causal assumptions generated biased results.
Lipid standardization, or the division of serum concentrations by serum
lipids, was observed to be highly prone to bias. The authors conclude that
investigators must consider biology, biological medium (e.g., nonfasting
blood samples), laboratory measurement, and other underlying modelling
assumptions when devising a statistical plan for assessing health outcomes
in relation to environmental exposures.
Authors: Schisterman, Enrique F.; Whitcomb, Brian W.; Buck Louis, Germaine
M.; Louis, Thomas A.
Full source: Environmental Health Perspectives 2005, 113(7), 853-857

Seasonal dynamics of the hepatotoxic microcystins in
various organs of four freshwater bivalves from the large
eutrophic Lake Taihu of subtropical China and the risk to
human consumption
So far, little is known on the distribution of hepatotoxic microcystin (MC) in
various organs of bivalves, and there is no study on MC accumulation in
bivalves from Chinese waters. Distribution pattern and seasonal dynamics
of MC-LR, -YR, and -RR in various organs (hepatopancreas, intestine,
visceral mass, gill, foot, and rest) of 4 edible freshwater mussels (Anodonta
woodiana, Hyriopsis cumingii, Cristaria plicata, and Lamprotula leai) were
studied monthly during October 2003-September 2004 in Lake Taihu with
toxic cyanobacterial blooms in the summer. There were rather good positive
correlations in MC contents between intestines and hepatopancreas of the
4 bivalves. There appeared to be positive correlations between the max.
MC content in the hepatopancreas and the delta13C or delta15N of the
foot, indicating that the different MC content in the hepatopancreas might
be due to different food ingestion. A glutathione (GSH) conjugate of MC-LR
was also detected in the foot sample of C. plicata. Among the foot samples
analyzed, 54% were above the provisional WHO tolerable daily intake (TDI)
level, and the mean daily intakes from the 4 bivalves were 8-23.5 times the
TDI value when the bivalves are eaten as a whole, suggesting the high risk
of consuming bivalves in Lake Taihu.
Authors: Chen, Jun; Xie, Ping
Full source: Environmental Toxicology 2005, 20(6), 572-584 (Eng)

A Urinary Metabolite of Phenanthrene as a Biomarker of
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolic Activation in
Workers Exposed to Residual Oil Fly Ash
Residual oil fly ash is a chemical complex combustion product containing
a significant component of potentially carcinogenic transition metals and
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). In this work, the utility of r-1,t-
2,3,c-4-tetrahydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydrophenanthrene (trans, anti-PheT),
a metabolite of phenanthrene, to detect occupational PAH exposure, was
assessed. It was concluded that urinary trans, anti-PheT was detected in
concentrations comparable with 1-OHP in occupationally exposed workers,
particularly non-smokers. Results showed urinary trans, anti-PheT may be
an effective biomarker of PAH uptake and metabolic activation.
Authors: Kim, Jee Young; Hecht, Stephen S.; Mukherjee, Sutapa; Carmella,
Steven G.; Rodrigues, Ema G.; Christiani, David C.
Full source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2005, 14(3),
687-692 (Eng)

Sidenafil for treatment of erectile dysfunction in men with
chronic carbon disulfide intoxication
Occurrence of erectile dysfunction (ED) in viscose rayon workers with chronic
carbon disulfide (CS2) intoxication recognized as an occupational disease
is well known. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of sildenafil
in patients with ED attributable to chronic CS2 intoxication. Seventeen men
were former rayon workers with ED and chronic CS2 intoxication recognized
as an occupational disease. The sildenafil efficacy was assessed using
the responses to questions according to the International Index of Erectile
Function (IIEF). Sildenafil was an effective, reliable, and well-tolerated
treatment of erectile dysfunction in men with chronic carbon disulfide
Authors: Batora, Igor; Orszag, A.; Vrabec, Jan; Farkasova, D.
Full source: Pracovni Lekarstvi 2005, 57(2), 73-77 (Eng)
Health Effects of Subchronic Exposure to Diesel-Water

Emulsion Emission
The Lubrizol Corporation in conjunction with Lovelace Respiratory Research
Institute and several subcontracting laboratories recently conducted a rodent
health assessment of inhaled combustion emissions of PuriNOx diesel
fuel emulsion. Overall, effects observed were mild. Emulsion combustion
emissions were not associated with neurotoxicity, reproductive/developmental
toxicity, or in vivo genotoxicity. Small decreases in serum cholesterol and small
increases in platelet values in some groups of exposed animals were observed.
Particulate matter accumulation within alveolar macrophages was evident in
all exposure groups. These findings are consistent with normal physiological
responses to particle inhalation. Other statistically significant effects were
present in some measured parameters of other exposed groups but were
not clearly attributed to emissions exposure. Positive mutagenic responses
in several strains of Salmonella typhimurium were observed subsequent to
treatment with emulsion emissions subfractions. Based on the cholesterol and
platelet results, it can be concluded that the 100-mu g/m3 exposure level was
the no-observed-effect level. In general, biological findings in diesel emulsion
emission-exposed animals and bacteria were consistent with exposure to
petroleum diesel exhaust in the F344 rat and Ames assays.
Authors: Reed, M.; Blair, L.; Burling, K.; Daly, I.; Gigliotti, A.; Gudi, R.;
Mercieca, M.; McDonald, J.; Naas, D.; O‟Callaghan, J.; Seilkop, S.; Ronsko,
N.; Wagner, V.; Kraska, R.
Full source: Inhalation Toxicology 2005, 17(14), 851-870 (Eng)

Relationship between chemical structure and the
occupational asthma hazard of low molecular weight
organic compounds
Relationships between chemical structure and reported occupational
asthma hazard for low molecular weight (LMW) organic compounds were
investigated quantitatively; a model linking asthma hazard with chemical
substructure was developed and validated; and mechanistic hypotheses
that might explain the relationships were generated. Although a wide variety
of chemical structures are associated with occupational asthma, bifunctional
reactivity is strongly associated with occupational asthma hazard across a
range of chemical substructures. This suggests that chemical crosslinking
is an important molecular mechanism leading to the development of
occupational asthma. The logistic regression model is freely available on
the internet and may offer a useful but inexpensive adjunct to the prediction
of occupational asthma hazard.
Authors: Jarvis, J.; Seed, M. J.; Elton, R. A.; Sawyer, L.; Agius, R. M.
Full source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2005, 62(4), 243-
250 (Eng)

Inhibition and recovery of rat hepatic glutathione S-
transferase zeta and alteration of tyrosine metabolism
following dichloroacetate exposure and withdrawal
Dichloroacetate (DCA) is an investigational drug for certain metabolic
disorders, a byproduct of water chlorination and a metabolite of certain
industrial solvents and drugs. DCA is biotransformed to glyoxylate
by glutathione S-transferase zeta (GSTz1-1), which is identical to
maleylacetoacetate isomerase, an enzyme of tyrosine catabolism. Clinical
relevant doses of DCA (mg/kg/day) decrease the activity and expression
of GSTz1-1, which alters tyrosine metabolism and may cause hepatic and
neurological toxicity. The effect of environmental DCA doses (mug/kg/day)
on tyrosine metabolism and GSTz1-1 is unknown, as is the time course
of recovery from perturbation following subchronic DCA administration.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats (200 g) were exposed to 0 mug, 2.5 mug, 250
mug, or 50 mg DCA/kg/day in drinking water for up to 12 weeks. This study
demonstrates that short-term administration of DCA inhibits rat liver GSTz
across the wide concentration range to which humans are exposed.
Authors: Guo, Xu; Dixit, Vaishali; Liu, Huiping; Shroads, Albert L.; Henderson,
George N.; James, Margaret O.; Stacpoole, Peter W.
Full source: Drug Metabolism and Disposition 2006, 34(1), 36-42 (Eng)

Risk of brain tumors in children and susceptibility to
organophosphorus insecticides: the potential role of
paraoxonase (PON1)
Prior research suggests that childhood brain tumors (CBTs) may be
associated with exposure to pesticides. Organophosphorus insecticides
(OPs) target the developing nervous system, and until recently, the most
common residential insecticides were chlorpyrifos and diazinon, two OPs
metabolized in the body through the cytochrome P 450/paraoxonase 1
(PON1) pathway. To investigate whether two common PON1 polymorphisms,
C-108T and Q192R, are associated with CBT occurrence, the authors
conducted a population-based study of 66 cases and 236 controls using
DNA from neonatal screening archive specimens in Washington State, linked
to interview data. The results are consistent with an inverse association
between PON1 levels and CBT occurrence, perhaps because of PON1‟s
ability to detoxify OPs common in children‟s environments. Larger studies
that measure plasma PON1 levels and incorporate more accurate estimates
of pesticide exposure will be required to confirm these observations.
Authors: Nielsen, Susan Searles; Mueller, Beth A.; De Roos, Anneclaire J.;
Viernes, Hannah-Malia A.; Farin, Federico M.; Checkoway, Harvey
Full source: Environmental Health Perspectives 2005, 113(7), 909-913

Cancer Mortality among Men Occupationally Exposed to
Several studies have evaluated cancer risk associated with occupational
and environmental exposure to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT).
The results are mixed. To further inquire into the human carcinogenicity of
DDT, authors conducted a mortality follow-up study of 4552 male workers
exposed to DDT during antimalarial operations in Sardinia, Italy, conducted
in 1946 to 1950. Overall mortality in the cohort was about as expected,
but there was a deficit for death from cardiovascular disease and a slight
excess for nonmalignant respiratory diseases and lymphatic cancer among
the unexposed subcohort. For internal comparisons, authors used Poisson
regression analysis to calculate relative risks of selected malignant and
nonmalignant diseases with the unexposed subcohort as the reference.
Cancer mortality was decreased among DDT-exposed workers, mainly due
to a reduction in lung cancer deaths. Birth of subjects elsewhere was a
strong predictor of mortality from leukemia. Mortality from stomach cancer
increased up to 2-fold in the highest quartile of cumulative exposure, but no
exposure-response trend was observed. Risks of liver cancer, pancreatic
cancer, and leukemia were not elevated among DDT-exposed workers.
No effect of latency on risk estimates was observed over the 45 years of
follow-up and within selected time windows. Adjusting risks by possible
exposure to chlordane in the second part of the antimalarial operations did
not change the results. In conclusion, authors found little evidence for a
link between occupational exposure to DDT and mortality from any of the
cancers previously suggested to be associated.
Authors: Cocco, Pierluigi; Fadda, Domenica; Billai, Beatrice; D‟Atri, Mario;
Melis, Massimo; Blair, Aaron
Full source: Cancer Research 2005, 65(20), 9588-9594 (Eng)

Recent developments in exhaled breath analysis and
human exposure research
Recent studies have shown how exhaled breath analysis has matured to
the point that is now being used to indicate early biological responses to
exposures. Exhaled breath analysis also helps identify potential vulnerabilities
of susceptible sub-populations, and generally provide a more thorough
understanding of the basic mechanisms of the diseases associated with
some of the most important public health threats.
Authors: Lindstrom, A. B.
Full source: Breath Analysis for Clinical Diagnosis and Therapeutic
Monitoring, [Based on Presentations at the Conference “Breath Gas Analysis
for Medical Diagnostics”], Dornbirn, Austria, Sept. 23-26, 2004 2004 (Pub.
2005), 337-346 (Eng)

The relationship between enantiomeric fraction and
concentration of alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane in human
The deviation of enantiomeric fractions (EFs) of chiral alpha-
hexachlorocyclohexane (alpha-HCH) in 85 placenta samples from Finland is
reported. Data obtained imply that humans are exposed to racemic or nearly
racemic alpha-HCH sources, because EFs are 0.5 at higher concentrations
of the pollutants. The stable EFs might result from dominant uptake rates
of racemic compounds. The EF deviation occurs only if the concentrations
are below around 0.5 ng/g in total. This critical concentration should be an
important point to conclude about the exposure process, which suggests
that the uptake rate become less dominant in the exposure process. Also
this point might be species- or organo-(tissues) specific according to enzyme
selectivity for enantiomers and its activity.
Authors: Shen, Heqing; Main, Katharina; Kaleva, Marko; Schmidt, Ida;
Boisen, K.; Chellakooty, M.; Damgaard, Ida; Virtanen, H.; Haavisto, A. M.;
Skakkebaek, Niels; Toppari, Jorma; Schramm, Karl-Werner
Full source: Organohalogen Compounds [computer optical disk] 2004,
66(Dioxin 2004), 426-428 (Eng)


Prevalence and risk factors of occupational hand
dermatoses in electronics workers
A field investigation determined the prevalence, patterns, and risk factors of
occupational hand dermatoses among electronics workers. This survey was
conducted at 5 electronics facilities using a self-administered questionnaire
on skin symptoms and risk factors. Hand dermatitis was associated with
working in fabrication units and personal history of atopy and metal allergy
in the following job titles: wafer bonding, cutting, printing/photo-masking,
softening/de-gluing, impregnation, tin plating. Among those with reported
hand dermatitis, 183 completed skin examination and patch testing, 65 of
183 (35.5%) were diagnosed as having irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) and
7 of 183 (3.8%) as having allergic contact dermatitis. The most important
allergens were Ni, Co, and phenylenediamine. In conclusion, Taiwanese
electronics workers have a high risk of hand dermatitis, especially ICD.
Preventive efforts should focus on workers with risk factors or at certain
work sites.
Authors: Shiao, Judith Shu-Chu; Sheu, Hamm-Ming; Chen, Chiou-Jong;
Tsai, Perng-Jyh; Guo, Yueliang Leon
Full source: Toxicology and Industrial Health 2004, 20(1-5), 1-7 (Eng)

Contact allergy to latex in health care workers - a case
reports study
Contact allergy to latex is a relatively new problem that gives rise to much
controversy among researchers. The aim of the study was to develop a
study model of contact allergy induced by latex proteins. The study covered
60 health care workers who had reported decreased tolerance of rubber
gloves. Of the total group, contact allergy to latex was found in 5 persons,
including 3 persons with concurrent immediate reaction to latex, and 2
persons with allergy of the isolated nature. Only in 1 persons coexistent late
allergy to latex and rubber accelerator of the thiurams group were observed.
Path tests with 30% ammoniac latex seem to be a useful diagnostic method
in the detection of contact allergy to latex. In case of doubtful reactions, the
use of lower allergen concentrations is recommended.
Authors: Krecisz, Beata; Kiec-Swierczynska, Marta
Full source: Medycyna Pracy 2004, 55(6), 477-480 (Pol)

Cancer risks in a historical UK cohort of benzene exposed
The aims were to examine mortality from different causes and cancer
incidence among a cohort of benzene workers in England and Wales.
Mortality was close to expectation for all causes and significantly increased
for cancer of the lip, cancer of the lung and bronchus, secondary and
unspecified cancers, acute non-lymphocytic leukemia (ANLL), and all
neoplasms. Significant deficits were shown for 3 non-malignant categories
(mental disorders, diseases of the digestive system, accidents). SMRs for
other leukemia, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma were close to or below
expectation. There was some evidence of under-ascertainment of cancer
registrations, although significantly increased SRRs were shown for lung
cancer and cancer of the pleura (mesothelioma). Many study subjects would
were exposed to carcinogens other than benzene (for example, asbestos,
rubber industry fumes, foundry fumes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons),
and the excesses of lung cancer and mesothelioma are likely to reflect
exposures to these other carcinogens. The carcinogenic effects of benzene
exposure on the lymphohaematopoietic system were limited to ANLL.
Authors: Sorahan, T.; Kinlen, L. J.; Doll, R.
Full source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2005, 62(4), 231-
236 (Eng)

Long-term exposure to solvents impairs vigilance and
postural control in serigraphy workers
The effects of solvent exposure (mainly aromatic hydrocarbons) on central
regulation of vigilance and postural control, particularly in occasional difficult
situations that provide sensorial conflicts, was investigated. Exposed workers
reported reduced alertness but not disturbance of sleep quality compared
with controls. Moreover, they had the worst postural performance in all
sensory conditions and demonstrated a reduced ability to resolve sensory
conflict situations. The precision of stance was clearly affected by solvent
exposure in contrast with energy consumption required to regulate proper
balance control. The depressive effect of aromatic hydrocarbon exposure on
cortical and subcortical structures controlling vigilance and postural stability
could lead to increased risk of occupational accident, especially due to
Authors: Vouriot, Alexandre; Hannhart, Bernard; Gauchard, Gerome C.;
Barot, Alain; Ledin, Torbjorn; Mur, Jean-Marie; Perrin, Philippe P.
Full source: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental
Health 2005, 78(6), 510-515 (Eng)

Biological monitoring of mercury exposure in individuals
referred to a toxicological center in Venezuela
People in developing countries are often considered at greater risk
of mercury (Hg) poisoning due to a variety of factors including a lack of
awareness regarding their occupational risks. Individuals requiring urine
mercury (U-Hg) analysis at the Center for Toxicological Investigations of the
University of Carabobo (CITUC), between 1998 and 2002 were studied to
identify demographic characteristics associated to U-Hg levels. Chemical
laboratory technicians had the highest mean U-Hg (4.46 mug/g Ct). Mean
U-Hg levels in female adults (3.45 mug/g Ct) were statistically superior to
levels in male adults (2.15 mug/g Ct). Two of the 172 women in reproductive
age, had U-Hg levels higher than 78 mug/g Ct. Individuals from Falcon State
were found to have the highest mean U-Hg (4.53 mug/g Ct). U-Hg levels
higher than permissible limits were found in only 2 states (Carabobo and
Bolivar) with a total of 24 cases. Although the results of this investigation
were highly variable, the findings can be used to examine circumstances
which influence mercury toxicity trends, and possibly used in future studies
working to identify Hg exposures.
Authors: Rojas, Maritza; Seijas, David; Agreda, Olga; Rodriguez, Maritza
Full source: Science of the Total Environment 2006, 354(2-3), 278-285 (Eng)
Exposure to inhalable dust and endotoxins in agricultural
Endotoxin is a well-known bacterial toxin that causes several health effects.
Animal faeces and plant materials contaminated with bacteria have been
identified as important determinants of organic dust related endotoxin
exposure. Although high exposure to organic dust and endotoxins has been
described regularly in agricultural industries, a detailed overview of levels
of airborne exposure to endotoxins in the agricultural industry, as well as a
systematic comparison between several specific branches using the same
exposure assessment protocols are lacking. In this study, personal endotoxin
exposure in a broad spectrum of agricultural industries was investigated and
possible determinants of exposure were explored. Mean exposure levels
were high, with large differences between sectors and between companies
within the sectors. Highest dust and endotoxin exposures were found in
companies of the GSL sector. In all three sectors exposure was higher in
the primary production part compared to the (industrial) products processing
part of the sector. The Dutch proposed health based occupational exposure
limit (50 EU m-3) and temporary legal limit (200 EU m-3) for endotoxin were
often exceeded. Differences in exposure between workers were larger
than the day-to-day variability. Identified determinants increasing exposure
levels were company, dustiness of the product and contact with animals/
faeces. Wet‟ processes resulted in less dusty working environments and
thus lowered endotoxin exposure. Overall, exposure to endotoxins over the
whole range of agricultural industries is high. A 10-1000 fold reduction in
exposure is needed to reduce endotoxin related health risks.
Authors: Spaan, Suzanne; Wouters, Inge M.; Oosting, Isabella; Doekes,
Gert; Heederik, Dick
Full source: Journal of Environmental Monitoring 2006, 8(1), 63-72 (Eng)

Reproductive history, occupational exposures, and
thyroid cancer risk among women textile workers in
Shanghai, China
Thyroid cancer risk has been previously associated with increased age
at first pregnancy and history of miscarriage. Occupational risk factors for
thyroid cancer, with the exception of radioactive iodine, have not been well
investigated. Authors conducted a case-cohort study nested in a cohort of
267,400 female textile workers in Shanghai, China, who had been followed
for cancer incidence during 1989-1998. Associations were observed
between thyroid cancer and employment in jobs with 10 or more years of
benzene exposure and formaldehyde exposure. Administration workers
also had an increased risk. No associations between examined reproductive
factors and thyroid cancer were observed in this study. Despite statistically
imprecise risk estimates, the findings suggest potential associations with
some occupational chemical exposures in this cohort of textile workers.
Authors: Wong, E. Y.; Ray, R.; Gao, D. L.; Wernli, K. J.; Li, W.; Fitzgibbons,
E. D.; Feng, Z.; Thomas, D. B.; Checkoway, H.
Full source: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental
Health 2006, 79(3), 251-258 (Eng)

Occupational risk factors for kidney cancer: a cohort
study in Sweden
Although many studies have examined the associations between occupational
exposures and kidney cancer, the evidence is not consistent. To examine
the risk of occupational exposures on kidney cancer, authors carried out a
follow-up study on the economically active Swedish population, based on
the latest update of the Swedish Family-Cancer Database. An increased risk
of renal parenchymal cancer was observed for miners and quarry workers,
drivers, sales agents, transport workers, and public safety and protection
workers among men, and launderers and dry cleaners among women.
Significantly increased SIRs of renal pelvical cancer were also observed for
the food manufacture workers among men, and journalists and shoe and
leather industry workers among women.
Male forestry workers, smelters, and metal foundry workers had increased
risk for unspecified kidney cancer. Although smoking may explain some of
these results, exposure to gasoline, diesel, their exposure products, some
metal and chemicals in shoe and leather works, and dry-cleaning products
may be associated with kidney cancer.
Authors: Ji, Jianguang; Granstroem, Charlotta; Hemminki, Kari
Full source: World Journal of Urology 2005, 23(4), 271-278 (Eng)

Evaluation of possible health effects of pyrethroid
insecticides, bifenthrin 10% WP, and deltamethrin 25%
WG, on spraymen exposed in a field trial in India
Possible health effects were evaluated of short-term occupational exposures
of pyrethroid insecticides, bifenthrin 10% WP and deltamethrin 25% WG, on
spray men exposed in a field trial in India.
The clinical assessment together with biochemical and nerve conduction tests
indicate that bifenthrin and deltamethrin should pose no major occupational
health hazard to spray men during relevant exposures provided the spraying
is done by trained spray men taking all protective measures.
Authors: Srivastava, H. C.; Kumar, G. P.; Hassan, A.; Dabhi, M.; Pant, C. S.;
Yadav, R. S.
Full source: Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 2005,
75(3), 413-420 (Eng)

Intervention effects of health education and behavior
environmental protection on trinitrotoluene chronic
occupational diseases
Totally 177 workers received the health education, and the remnants
of trinitrotoluene (TNT) on the skin of the 144 exposed workers after
work and shower bath were examined. The contents of TNT and main
metabolite 2,6-dinitro-4-amino-toluene (DNAT) in urine were measured in
32 volunteers taking vitamin C orally. The positive rate of TNT on the skin
decreased obviously, the positive rates before intervention, 1 and 3 weeks
after intervention were 45.9%, 35.6% and 13.8%, respectively, and the
differences were significant; and the contents of TNT and DNAT in urine
showed a decreasing tendency.
After taking vitamin C orally, the contents of TNT in urine were significantly
increased, but the contents of DNAT were insignificantly decreased. Health
education is an effective way and means to prevent the TNT chronic poisoning.
In order to prevent TNT occupational diseases, a series of comprehensive
measures should be adopted in the present situations.
Authors: Li, Zhilan; Li, Shunmin; Mi, Fatai
Full source: Zhongguo Linchuang Kangfu 2004, 8(15), 2857-2859 (Ch)

Occupational radiation exposure to NORMS in a gold
Preliminary studies have been conducted into the occupational radiation
exposure to NORMS from surface and underground mining operations in a
gold mine in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. A brief description of the methods
and instrumentation is presented. The annual ED has been estimated to be
0.26 ± 0.11 mSv for surface mining and 1.83 ± 0.56 mSv for the underground
mines using the ICRP dose calculation method. The results obtained are
found to be within the allowable limit of 20 mSv per annum for occupational
exposure control recommended by the ICRP.
Authors: Darko, E. O.; Tetteh, G. K.; Akaho, E. H. K.
Full source: Radiation Protection Dosimetry 2005, 114(4), 538-545 (Eng)

Public Health

Bayesian hierarchical distributed lag models for summer
ozone exposure and cardio-respiratory mortality
In this article authors develop Bayesian hierarchical distributed lag models
for estimating associations between daily variations in summer ozone
levels and daily variations in cardiovascular and respiratory (CVDRESP)
mortality counts for 19 large U.S. cities included in the National Morbidity,
Mortality and Air Pollution Study (NMMAPS) for the summers of 1987-1994.
On average across cities, authors found that a 10ppb increase in summer
ozone level over the previous week is associated with a 1.25 per cent
increase in CVDRESP mortality. Authors found that associations between
summer ozone and CVDRESP mortality are sensitive to the confounding
adjustment for PM10, but are robust to: (i) the adjustment for long-term
trends, other gaseous pollutants (NO2, SO2 and CO); (ii) the distributional
assumptions at the second stage of the hierarchical model; and (iii) the prior
distributions on all unknown parameters. Bayesian hierarchical distributed
lag models and their application to the NMMAPS data allow us to estimate
of an acute health effect associated with exposure to ambient air pollution
in the last few days on average across several locations. The application of
these methods and the systematic assessment of the sensitivity of findings
to model assumptions provide important epidemiological evidence for future
air quality regulations.
Authors: Huang, Yi; Dominici, Francesca; Bell, Michelle L.
Full source: Environmetrics 2005, 16(5), 547-562 (Eng)

Blood lead levels and risk factors for lead poisoning in
children and caregivers in Chuuk State, Micronesia
Lead poisoning is a preventable environmental disease. Children and developing
fetuses are especially vulnerable; even low blood lead levels (BLLs) are linked
with learning and behavioral problems. The authors assessed children‟s and
their caregivers‟ BLLs and risk factors for lead exposure in Chuuk State,
Federated States of Micronesia. Mean BLLs were 39 mug/l for children and 16
mug/l for caregivers. Children with BLLs of >= 100 mug/l (elevated) were 22.9
times more likely to have a caregiver with an elevated BLL, 6.2 times more likely
to live on an outer island, and 3.4 times more likely to have a family member
who made lead fishing weights than did other children even after controlling
for age and sex. For children, 61% of elevated BLLs could be attributed to
making fishing weights. Caregivers with elevated BLLs were 5.9 times more
likely to live in a household that melted batteries than other caregivers even
after controlling for age and education. For caregivers, 37% of the elevated
BLLs could be attributed to melting batteries. The association of elevated BLLs
in children and their caregiver suggests a common environmental exposure.
Melting batteries to make fishing sinkers is a preventable source of lead
exposure for children and their caregivers in Chuuk.
Authors: Brown, Lisa M.; Kim, Dennis; Yomai, Anamaria; Meyer, Pamela A.;
Noonan, Gary P.; Huff, Daniel; Flanders, W. D.
Full source: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2005,
208(4), 231-236 (Eng)

Benzene and its methyl-derivatives: Derivation of
maximum exposure levels in automobiles
Automobile drivers are exposed to several organic hydrocarbons.
Concentrations measured in passenger compartments have been reported
to range between 13 and 560 mug/M3 for benzene, 33-258 mug/M3 for
toluene, 20-250 mug/M3 for xylene (mixed isomers) and 3-23 mug/M3
for trimethylbenzene (mixed isomers). These aromatic hydrocarbons are
emitted from gasoline and from materials inside a car. In the present study
the authors evaluated, whether these exposures pose a potential risk to the
health of drivers. Therefore, the authors derived maximum exposure levels
inside cars for chronic (ELIAchronic) and short-term (STELIA) exposure.
The lowest ELIA‟schronic for benzene, toluene, xylene and trimethylbenzene
were 0.083, 1.2, 8.8 and 0.31 mg/M3, respectively. The respective STELIA‟s
were 16, 30, 29 and 25 mg/M3. Obviously concentrations of toluene, xylene
and trimethylbenzene inside cars do not exceed their individual STELIA‟s.
In contrast, benzene seems to be problematic, since concentrations inside
cars amount up to 0.56 mg/M3, which exceeds the ELIAchronic derived for
benzene. This should not be underestimated, since benzene is a genotoxic
carcinogen that probably acts by non-threshold mechanisms. In conclusion,
concentrations of toluene, xylene and trimethylbenzene usually observed
inside cars are unlikely to pose a risk to the health of drivers. A systematic
toxicological evaluation of the risk associated with benzene exposure in cars
seems to be necessary.
Authors: Schupp, Thomas; Bolt, Hermann M.; Jaeckh, Rudolf; Hengstler,
Jan G.
Full source: Toxicology Letters 2006, 160(2), 93-104 (Eng)

Personal, indoor, and outdoor exposure to PM2.5 and
its components for groups of cardiovascular patients in
Amsterdam and Helsinki
This work assessed relations among pairs of personal, indoor, and outdoor
fine particle concentrations and their chemical composition with respect to
their effect on older persons with cardiovascular disease. In Amsterdam, 337
personal and 409 indoor measurements were collected from 37 subjects;
in Helsinki, 336 and 503 indoor measurements were collected from 47
subjects. Median personal, indoor, and outdoor PM2.5 concentrations were
13.6, 13.6, and 16.5 mug/m3 in Amsterdam and 9.2, 9.2, and 11.1 mug/
m3 in Helsinki. In both cities, personal and indoor PM2.5 concentrations
were lower than and highly correlated with outdoor concentrations. For most
elements, personal and indoor concentrations were also highly correlated
with outdoor concentrations. Highest correlations were observed for S, SO42-
, and particle reflectance. Reflectance was a useful proxy for elemental C,
but site-specific calibration with elemental C data was necessary. Results
supported using fixed site measurement to assess PM exposure in time
series studies linking day-to-day PM variations to day-to-day variations
in health end-points, especially for PM components which were generally
associated with fine particles and with few indoor sources.
Authors: Brunekreef, Bert; Janssen, Nicole A. H.; de Hartog, Jeroen
J.; Oldenwening, Marieke; Meliefste, Kees; Hoek, Gerard; Lanki, Timo;
Timonen, Kirsi L.; Vallius, Marko; Pekkanen, Juha; van Grieken, Rene
Full source: Research Report - Health Effects Institute 2005, 127, i-iv, 1-79

Percutaneous absorption of hazardous chemicals from
fabric into and through human skin
A review discusses the absorption of hazardous chemicals from fabric
into skin and into the systemic circulation. Clothing and other fabric media
(rugs and upholstery) must be considered repositories for hazardous
chemicals and these hazardous chemicals within fabric can be transferred
to human skin. The threat of chemical warfare agents adds to the potential
hazard of chemicals in clothing. Clothing seems to have minimal effect on
vapors because of the rate of gas exchange can exceed the rate of skin
Authors: Wester, Ronald C.; Quan, Danyi; Maibach, Howard I.; Wester,
Rebecca M.
Full source: Drugs and the Pharmaceutical Sciences 2005, 155(Percutaneous
Absorption: Drugs--Cosmetics--Mechanisms--Methodology), 303-310
Specific accumulation of organochlorines in human
breast milk from Indonesia: Levels, distribution,
accumulation kinetics and infant health risk
This study determined concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
and organochlorine compound (OC) pesticides in the milk samples of
women from the general population in four locations of Indonesia. The most
prevalent residues of OCs were DDTs, PCBs and hexachlorocyclohexane
isomers (HCHs), whereas other OCs such as chlordane compounds
(CHLs), tris(4-chlorophenyl)methane and hexachlorobenzene were lower.
The levels of OCs varied between locations and individuals, with DDTs
higher in suburban and rural areas than urban localities, may be due to
the differences in food habits and sources between the individuals and
locations. Data from Purwakarta site indicated continuing DDT exposure,
which may confirm recent usage of DDT in Indonesia. A positive correlation
was observed between concentration of OCs in human milk and age of
mothers, primiparas women having higher OCs than multiparas, suggesting
these parameters play an important role influencing the OC burdens in
lactating women. Some individuals accumulated DDTs and HCHs in breast
milk close to or even higher than the TDI (tolerable daily intake) guidelines
proposed by Health Canada. Specific residents were exposed to high levels
of DDTs in Indonesia.
Authors: Sudaryanto, Agus; Kunisue, Tatsuya; Kajiwara, Natsuko; Iwata,
Hisato; Adibroto, Tussy A.; Hartono, Phillipus; Tanabe, Shinsuke
Full source: Environmental Pollution (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 2006 (Pub.
2005), 139(1), 107-117 (Eng)

Relationship between Radical Generation by Urban
Ambient Particulate Matter and Pulmonary Function of
School Children
The mechanisms by which particulate matter (PM) produces adverse effects
on the respiratory system, such as pulmonary dysfunction in children, are
largely unknown. However, oxidative stress is thought to play an important
role. Various chemical compounds in ambient particulate matter, including
transition metals and aromatic organic compounds, may contribute to
adverse effects through intrinsic generation of reactive oxygen species
(ROS). The obtained data indicate that chemical features that contribute to
intrinsic generation of ROS may be relevant for PM risk assessment.
Authors: Hogervorst, Janneke; de Kok, Theo; Briede, Jacob; Wesseling,
Geertjan; Kleinjans, Jos; van Schayck, Constant
Full source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 2006
(Pub. 2005), 69(3), 245-262 (Eng)


Safety and Potential of Drug Interactions of Caspofungin
and Voriconazole in Multimorbid Patients
Due to their broad antimycotic spectrum and the relatively low rate of side
effects, the two antifungals caspofungin and voriconazole are considered as
attractive therapeutic alternatives to amphotericin B. However, treatment of
severe mycotic infections in patients taking co-medication is associated with
the risk of severe adverse drug interactions. The risk of such interactions
is increased if voriconazole and, much less pronounced caspofungin, are
co-administered with drugs which have an inducing or inhibiting effect on
the CYP 450 system, primarily on the isoenzymes CYP2C19, CYP2C9 and
CYP3A4. This review provides a comprehensive overview on the potential
drug interactions of caspofungin and voriconazole in multimorbid patients.
Authors: Kulemann, Vanessa; Bauer, Martin; Graninger, Wolfgang;
Joukhadar, Christian
Full source: Pharmacology 2005, 75(4), 165-178 (Eng)

Dangers relating to fires in carbon-fibre based composite
Inhalable carbon fibers have been suspected to pose similar threats
to human health as asbestos fibers. It is well-known that fibers having a
diameter of less than 3 mum might be inhaled and transported deep into the
human respiratory system. Some composite materials use carbon fibers as
structural reinforcement. These fibers do not pose any risks as such as they
are firmly connected to the laminate and surrounded by a polymer matrix. Also,
these fibers typically have diameters > 6 mum and thus, are not inhalable.
However, if the material is exposed to a fire, the carbon material might be
oxidized and fractionated and thereby, inhalable fibers might be generated
into the fire smoke. The capability of carbon fiber-based composite material
to produce dangerous inhalable fibers from different combustion scenarios
has been investigated. It was found that the risk of fires generating inhalable
carbon fibers is related to the surface temperature, the oxygen level and the
airflow field close to the material surface. The temperatures necessary for
oxidation of the carbon fiber is so high that it is possible that only a flashover
situation will pose any real danger. Other possible danger scenarios are
highly intense fires, or situations where structural damage is part of the fire
Authors: Hertzberg, Tommy
Full source: Fire and Materials 2005, 29(4), 231-248 (Eng)

Relative risk analysis of several manufactured
nanomaterials: an insurance industry context
A relative risk assessment is presented for the industrial fabrication of
several nanomaterials. The production processes for five nanomaterials
were selected for this analysis, based on their current or near-term potential
for large-scale production and commercialization: single-walled carbon
nanotubes, bucky balls (C60), one variety of quantum dots, alumoxane
nanoparticles, and nano-titanium dioxide. The assessment focused on
the activities surrounding the fabrication of nanomaterials, exclusive of
any impacts or risks with the nanomaterials themselves. A representative
synthesis method was selected for each nanomaterial based on its potential
for scaleup. A list of input materials, output materials, and waste streams for
each step of fabrication was developed and entered into a database that
included key process characteristics such as temperature and pressure.
The physical-chemical properties and quantities of the inventoried materials
were used to assess relative risk based on factors such as volatility,
carcinogenicity, flammability, toxicity, and persistence. Results from this
analysis determined that relative environmental risk from manufacturing
each of these five materials was comparatively low in relation to other
common industrial manufacturing processes.
Authors: Robichaud, Christine Ogilvie; Tanzil, Dicksen; Weilenmann, Ulrich;
Wiesner, Mark R.
Full source: Environmental Science and Technology 2005, 39(22), 8985-
8994 (Eng)

Research Strategies for Safety Evaluation of
Nanomaterials, Part II: Toxicological and Safety
Evaluation of Nanomaterials, Current Challenges and
Data Needs
This article summarizes a roundtable discussion held at the 2005 Society
of Toxicology Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. The purpose of the
roundtable was to review the current challenges and data needs for conducting
toxicological and safety evaluations for nanomaterials, with the goals of
presenting the current state-of-the science on the safety of nanomaterials
and bringing together scientists representing government, academia, and
industry to identify priorities for developing data to facilitate risk assessments
for these materials. In this summary, the unique physicochemical properties
associated with nanomaterials are reviewed in the context of the difficulties
associated with measuring and characterizing them. In addition, the
development of appropriate hazard data, the collection of accurate human
and environmental exposure information, and the development of a better
fundamental understanding of the modes of action for nanomaterials are
discussed as factors that will impact the development of comprehensive
toxicology and safety evaluations.
Authors: Holsapple, Michael P.; Farland, William H.; Landry, Timothy D.;
Monteiro-Riviere, Nancy A.; Carter, Janet M.; Walker, Nigel J.; Thomas,
Karluss V.
Full source: Toxicological Sciences 2005, 88(1), 12-17 (Eng)

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