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Hazard Alert
Malachite Green

Malachite green, IUPAC name 4-4[(4-dimethylaminophenyl)-phenyl-
methyl]-N,N-dimethyl-anline, is a toxic chemical used primarily as a dye.
Alternative names include aniline green, basic green 4, diamond green B or
Victoria green B. The name comes from its similarity in colour to the mineral

In its chromatic form, malachite green (MG) is a synthetic dye used
to colour silk, wool, jute, leather, cotton and paper. It is also used
as a biological stain for microscopic analysis of cell and tissue samples.
In the Gimenez method, it is a blue-green counter-stain to the
basic fuschin which stains bacteria red or magenta. It can also directly
stain endospores within cells. Less commonly, it can be used as a pH
indicator between pH 0.2 -1.8 or as a saturable absorber in dye lasers.
Leuco-malachite green (LMG) is used in forensics as a detection
method for blood. Haemoglobin catalyses the reaction between LMG
and hydrogen peroxide, converting colourless LMG to the chromatic form
of malachite green. The appearance of a green colour therefore indicates
the presence of blood.

Use and Hazards in Aquaculture:
Malachite Green is one of a group of triphenyl dyes that exhibit antimicrobial
and antiparasitic properties. It has been used in the aquaculture industry to
treat Saprolegnia (a fungus) either in fish or as a prophylactic treatment to
protect fish eggs from infection. It has also been a popular treatment for
ichthyophthirius in freshwater aquaria.

It acts as a respiratory poison and damages the cell‟s ability to produce
energy to drive vital metabolic processes. As it is absorbed in the body,
MG breaks down first into a carbinol form, which can cross cell boundaries.
Inside the cell, it is metabolized into LMG. LMG is also toxic, and has been
found to persist in the in the muscle tissue of fish longer than the chromatic

The toxicity of MG in fish is heavily influenced by water hardness, pH,
temperature and the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. Studies
have shown that the toxicity increases with increasing temperature and with
decreasing pH. A two-fold increased in MG concentration lead to 20 times
the mortality rate in rainbow trout eggs. It is also known to be toxic to such
freshwater fish as tetras and catfish. Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis and
reduced fertility have also been reported to occur in rainbow trout. Overall,
although MG is an extremely effective treatment for fungal and parasitic
infections in fish, it can also cause serious side effects.

Due to their potential carcinogenicity, both MG and LMG have been banned
from use in the aquaculture industries of, for example, Australia, New
Zealand and Canada. A study published in 2005 reported that rats fed MG
show “a dose-related increase in liver NA adducts and lung adenomas”.
LMG caused an “increase in the number and severity of changes”. As LMG
is the primary metabolite and is retained in fish muscle much longer, most
intake would be in the leuco form. During the experiment, rats were fed
up to 543 ppm of LMG, a very much large amount than the average 5 ppb
discovered in fish. After a period of 2 years, an increase in lung tumours as
found, but, although adducts were formed, no incidences of liver tumours.
Therefore it was concluded that MG caused carcinogenic symptoms, but a
direct link between MG and liver tumour had not been proved.
It has been suggested that N-methylated metabolites of LMG and MG
could undergo metabolic activation in a similar manner to that observed
with carcinogenic aromatic amines, which are oxidised to metabolites that
react with DNA either directly or after esterification, but this has not yet been

MG is inexpensive to buy, effective and readily available for other, non-
aquaculture uses, and continues to be used in aquaculture in some parts of
the world. Although it is banned from use in China, in 2006 the FDA detected
MG in seafood imported from China. In 2005, Food Standards Australia
and New Zealand (FSANZ) tested aquacultured fish, both domestic and
imported, for over 50 substances and their metabolites. The only antimicrobial
residues detected, in 3 out of 19 domestic samples and 7 out of 40 imported
samples, were of MG and LMG. The levels were less than 0.14 mg/kg, which
FSANZ considered to pose a very low public health and safety risk. Since
September 2005, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
has carried out random testing for MG in imported aquacultured fish.
Health Canada has classified MG contamination in fish as a Class II
Health Hazard, which it states means that the probability of adverse health
consequences is considered remote. As there is no immediate risk to human
health, Health Canada does not recommend any specific course of action to
consumers who may have eaten contaminated fish.



Asia Pacific

NICNAS new chemical fundamentals pre-hazmat
workshops on the regulation of new industrial chemicals
NICNAS will be conducting training workshops in Melbourne at the Sebel
Albert Park, on Wednesday 14th May 2008, prior to the HazMat 2008
Conference. The morning workshop is aimed at new notifiers and those
needing a refresher course on NICNAS and the new chemical notification and
assessment process. In the afternoon, a more detailed look at the notification
and assessment process will be undertaken. This session is most suitable for
those directly involved in preparing submissions. Participants are welcome
to register for either one workshop or for the whole day. Presentations will
be given by both NICNAS and DEWHA (Department of the Environment,
Water, Heritage and the Arts) assessors, who will be available to answer any
queries you may have. Further information on the workshops can be found
at the website. Anyone unable to attend this session who wishes to attend
a workshop on the regulation of new industrial chemicals in your city email
NICNAS Chemical Gazette, March 2008
New Zealand considers mandatory ingredients labelling
New Zealand authorities are considering new measures to introduce stricter
ingredient labelling regulations as a means of drawing attention to potentially
hazardous ingredients. The proposal, which has been supported by the
nation‟s Green Party, aims to bring labelling regulations in line with those
of both the food industry in the country as well as other global cosmetics
The proposal is being made through the Environmental Risk Management
Authority (ERMA) and has been lobbied for and supported by the Green
Party, represented by health spokesperson Sue Kedgley. “Chemicals we
put on our skin can easily find their way into our body, and consumers have
every right to know what is in these products - just as they have the right to
know what is in the food they eat. It is heartening that ERMA agrees with the
Green Party,” Kedgley said. Kedgley has been campaigning for a number of
issues relating to cosmetic and personal care products, including the testing
of imported toothpastes. The proposal is aims to ensure that New Zealand‟s
cosmetic labelling regulation complies with regulations that already exist in
the global marketplace, specifically Australia, the US and Europe. Under the
new proposal, any ingredients used in concentrations of 1 per cent or more
should be listed in descending order, as well as including specific details
about any fragrances or colours used in the formulation. “There are still
many imported and local products that do not have any ingredient labelling,”
Kedgley pointed out. This grey area ties in with Kedgely‟s toothpaste
campaign, which bought to the authority‟s attention that current regulations
left the country vulnerable to the import of unregulated oral care products
manufactured in China. Last year toothpaste import from China was found
to contain traces of the potentially poisonous chemical diethylene glycol.
Furthermore, the Green Party is lobbying in favour of new proposals that
would tighten up the regulation of hair dye products containing ingredients
that have already been outlawed by the European Union. In November
2007, 14 hair dyes were banned in the EU on the grounds that they contain
substances linked to an increase risk of bladder cancer. The new proposal
could see the same hair dyes being banned in New Zealand.
Nutra Ingredients, 11 March 2008

Inventory of chemicals updated
On 22 February 2008, the New Zealand Inventory of Chemicals (NZIoC)
was updated with the recent notifications. In total forty-four new chemicals
were added to the NZIoC in this update. Updates can be found on the ERMA
New Zealand web site.
Environmental Risk Management Authority, 22 February 2008

China upgrades environmental administration to ministry
Hua Jianmin, State Council secretary-general has announced that China
will increase the status of the State Environmental Protection Administration
(SEPA) to a ministry, among the major 27 ministries and commissions of
the Cabinet. “Environmental protection is the fundamental policy of our
country, and is crucial to the existence and development of the Chinese
nation,” Hua, a State Councillor, said while explaining a government
reshuffle plan at the ongoing parliamentary session in Beijing. China will
face the severe challenge of environmental protection for a long time to
come, with the arduous task of reducing pollutants, he noted. The aim of
the new ministry is to establish “environmental improvement and ecological
protection and accelerate the building of a resource-saving and environment-
friendly society.” In addition, Hua said the ministry was responsible for
drafting and implementing programs, policies and standards concerning
environmental protection, working out environmental functions in different
regions, supervising pollution prevention and treatment, and tackling major
environmental issues. China‟s environmental protection work started about
30 years ago, when a group under the then construction commission was
founded. In 1987, an independent national environmental protection bureau
was established at a vice-ministerial level. It was elevated to ministerial level
in 1998. “This further elevation shows the government has become more
concerned with environmental protection,” said Wei Fusheng, a Chinese
Academy of Engineering academician. In recent years, environmental
protection has been in the spotlight as China‟s economic growth has brought
in its wake severe challenges to the environment. In 2006, China missed its
pollution control goals of cutting two main pollutants by two percent. At the
end of 2007, the China Council International Cooperation on Environment
and Development submitted a proposal to the State Council for the elevation
and its vertical administration for local environmental protection bureaus. In
fact, elevation of the environmental protection administration might not be
a cure-all, but it sparked people‟s hope. “Now that they are at the same
level, it would be easier for environmental officials to negotiate with other
departments at the planning stage of some projects, so as to prevent
pollution from the beginning,” said academician Wei. Wang Jinnan, Chinese
Academy for Environmental Planning vice head, shared his view. “In the
past, policies of SEPA were always opposed by various interest groups,”
he said. “After the elevation, the new ministry could enjoy more rights in
decision-making.” However, there were people who remained cool-headed
at the change, especially those from grassroots bureaus who didn‟t see the
sign of change for vertical administration.
Xinhua News, 11 March 2008


Industry Voices Concern With Bill
Officials from the chemical industry have expressed concern over the
antiterrorism legislation passed by the House Homeland Security Committee
on 6 March. Under the new legislation, federal officials would be allowed
to force some facilities to stop manufacturing hazardous chemicals. The
Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008 would create a law giving the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permanent authority to regulate
security at the nation‟s chemical plants and other facilities that use or store
hazardous chemicals. The measure aimed to replace a temporary chemical
facility security statute, which will expire in October 2009. Crafted by the
Democrats on the homeland security panel, the legislation would expand
the existing law‟s scope to cover some 3,000 drinking water and wastewater
treatment facilities. In addition, it would also allow state and local governments
to establish their own chemical security requirements provided that those
regulations do not directly clash with the national standards. However,
the most controversial provisions under the new legislation would require
an estimated 30,000 facilities to review their manufacturing processes
and uses of various chemicals to determine whether the consequences
of a terrorist attack could be reduced by switching to safer chemicals or
production methods. Up to 8,000 facilities considered at high risk for
terrorist attack could be directed by DHS to adopt these so-called inherently
safer technologies (IST) or face a court-ordered shutdown. Jack N. Gerard,
president of the American Chemistry Council, which represents 134 of the
nation‟s biggest chemical companies, says the bill incorporates many of the
security measures already being implemented under the interim chemical
security regulations issued by DHS in April 2007. “Our primary concern,
however, is that certain provisions in the bill will divert the focus away from
security and, instead, place DHS in the position of mandating changes to
chemical processes and products,” Gerard says. “These complex decisions
should be kept in the hands of industry experts who must consider a
host of factors, not just security, when evaluating such changes to avoid
unintended consequences.” Joseph G. Acker, president of the Synthetic
Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association, which represents nearly 300
batch, custom, and specialty chemical makers, says his group also supports
making chemical site security standards a permanent and enforceable
law under the jurisdiction of DHS. “We are, however, stridently opposed
to the merits of mandating IST under the guise of site security and as a
panacea for fighting terrorism,” he says. Including an IST requirement in
security legislation “only advances the political agenda of special interests
that want to curtail or eliminate products and decrease the competitiveness
of U.S. chemical manufacturing,” Acker asserts. However, environmental
groups say that this provision could potentially save thousands of lives. “By
using safer chemicals to replace obsolete poison gases, a U.S. chemical
plant could no longer be turned into a weapon of mass destruction,” says
Rick Hind, legislative director for Greenpeace USA‟s toxics campaign.
The legislation will now be forwarded to the House Energy & Commerce
Committee, which shares jurisdiction over the issue, for review and possible
changes. No companion bill has yet been introduced in the Senate.
Chemical & Engineering News, 11 March 2008

Denture Cleansers: Allergic Reactions and Misuse
Seventy-three adverse reactions related to the use of denture cleaners,
including at least one death, have been reported to FDA. Problems have
occurred with both proper and improper use of these products. FDA has
requested that manufacturers of denture cleansers to include a warning in
the label about persulfates, which are known to cause allergic reactions in
some people. Persulfates are used in most denture cleansers as part of the
cleaning and bleaching process. In addition, the agency is recommending
that manufacturers consider appropriate alternatives to persulfates. An
allergic reaction to persulfates may not occur after the first use or even until
after many years of use. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may not appear
for several minutes or even hours after actual use and include irritation,
tissue damage, rash, hives, gum tenderness, breathing problems, and low
blood pressure. Other reactions may be due to misuse of denture cleansers.
For example, some cleansers may list mouthwash as an ingredient, but
consumers should never chew, swallow, or gargle with denture cleansers.
Furthermore, the FDA has recommended that manufacturers improve the
directions on the label to reduce misuse of denture cleansers. Labelling
revisions are required to make it clear that these products are meant to
clean dentures in a container, not while still in the mouth. Some patients
have gargled or swallowed denture cleansers, resulting in abdominal pain,
vomiting, seizures, breathing problems, and low blood pressure. Dentures
should be thoroughly rinsed with water before they are placed in the
FDA Consumer Update, 7 March 2008

Revised National Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System Permit Regulations for Concentrated Animal
Feeding Operations; Supplemental Notice of Proposed
This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) revises the National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements for
concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The revisions come in
response to the order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit in Waterkeeper Alliance et al. v. EPA, 399 F.3d 486 (2d Cir. 2005). In the
June 2006, EPA proposed to require only CAFOs that discharge or propose
to discharge to seek coverage under a permit. Under the amendments, EPA
is proposing a voluntary option for CAFOs to certify that the CAFO does not
discharge or propose to discharge based on an objective assessment of the
CAFO‟s design, construction, operation, and maintenance. In addition, the
June 2006 proposal discussed the terms of the nutrient management plan
(NMP) that would need to be incorporated into NPDES permits. Under the
amendments a framework for identifying the terms of the NMP and three
alternative approaches for addressing rates of application of manure, litter,
and process wastewater when identifying terms of the NMP to be included
in the permit are proposed. This supplemental proposal focuses solely on
certification and terms of the NMP and is not opening any other provisions
of the June 2006 proposal and existing NPDES regulations or Standards for
public comment.
Federal Register, 7 March 2008

High-Performing Building Standard Open for Review
Proposed Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance
Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, is now open for
its second public review. The standard will provide minimum requirements
for the design of high-performance new commercial buildings and major
renovation projects, addressing energy efficiency, a building‟s impact on the
atmosphere, sustainable sites, water use efficiency, materials and resources,
and indoor environmental quality. The American Society of Heating,
Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)in conjunction with
the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the U.S. Green
Building Council have developed the standard. “This standard is an energy-
saving stepping stone toward ASHRAE‟s goal of net-zero-energy buildings,”
says John Hogan, chair of the committee that wrote the standard. “It gives
building owners or jurisdictions that voluntarily choose to adopt the standard
a tool for constructing truly high-performing buildings that provide energy-
efficient, safe, and comfortable environments for occupants.” By applying the
minimum set of prescriptive recommendations, the new standard leads to site
energy savings ranging from 10 percent to 41 percent over Standard 90.1-
2007, including plug and process loads and all other energy consumption
for the building, with an average of 24.9 percent for all climates. In addition,
the proposed standard provides indoor water savings of 35 percent for an
office building and 26 percent for a multifamily building. Further information
on the proposal can be found at:
Environmental Protection News, 10 March 2008


EU overhaul of pesticide approvals spooks Danes
According to Danish environment minister Troels Lund Poulsen, proposals
to overhaul the EU‟s pesticide approval regime will “force pesticides on
Denmark that can destroy Denmark‟s supply of drinking water.” NGO
the Ecological council estimates the plans would increase the number of
authorised active ingredients in Denmark from the current 83 to as many
as 210. Denmark takes its drinking water from untreated groundwater.
Governments are expected to vote on the plans at the end of May
ENDS Europe Daily, 11 March 2008

EFSA criticised for „flawed‟ botanical methods
A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) working group has been
criticised by industry groups over the “medicinal approach” being favoured
for regulating botanical supplements. Currently, the EFSA working group
are assessing a range of botanicals to determine their safety for the end of
constructing negative lists of botanicals that will be regulated as medicines
and be barred from use in supplements and foods. However, this approach
has been criticised by groups such as the European Botanical Forum (EBF),
the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers
(EHPM) and the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA). “The
EBF submitted 25 pages of comments to the EFSA via their website,” EBF
secretary Patrick Coppens said. “As this is a very complex issue both from
a technical and from a legal perspective, our experts took quite some time
to provide detailed comments and we hope EFSA will take these on board.”
EBF have been encouraged that EFSA requested public consultation on the
matter via its working group, but remained concerned “flawed” medicinal
principles would be inappropriately - and potentially destructively - applied
to the European Union 27-member state herbal products market. “Our main
criticism is that the EFSA working group has copied provisions from medicinal
law and used medicinal law elements as determinants to decide upon safety
for the use of botanicals in food,” Coppens said. “It is as if they consider that
botanicals in food supplements today are not regulated at all, whereas the
whole food legal framework applies adequate quality assurance measures
to provide safe products to the consumer. Their approach is flawed.” EBF
have sought a meeting with EFSA to further discuss the issues. EFSA
only acts as a risk assessor, they do not pass regulations. However, the
European Commission rarely contravened its assessments, so industry is
obviously keen that EFSA takes onboard its position as it goes about its
risk assessment procedures. The European Commission requested that
EFSA prepare negative lists of botanicals (whole plant forms) and botanical
preparations (plant extracts and isolates) that may present toxicity issues.
However it has stressed that the list is not intended to ban herbs from foods
and supplements. “EFSA is not establishing any list of botanicals that should
be banned,” a spokesperson recently said. “EFSA‟s scientific committee is
developing two compendia listing botanicals and botanical preparations that
have been used in food and are known to contain undesirable substances.
There is no judgement on whether these botanicals are safe or unsafe for
food use. These botanicals contain some compounds that deserve special
attention when looking at the safety aspects.” Many of the herbs mentioned
are herbal extracts used almost exclusively in medicinal products and
not foods and supplements, Coppens said, but there are others such as
Echinacea and ginkgo biloba that have also been listed. He added that
the methodology used by EFSA was confused in that it was mixing quality
(efficacy) issues with safety issues. “We are surprised by this medical
approach when you consider there is a legal apparatus in place in the Food
Supplements Directive that could be applied in this area.” In addition, he
said: “It seems many of the working group members are schooled in the
pharma-based European Medicines Agency (EMEA) approach but they
should know better because it has been shown time and time again that
trying to transpose medical law onto food law does not work. That was why
the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive and Food Supplements
Directive were enacted in the first place.” Last years decision by a European
Court of Justice will encourage herbal liberalists. The decision ruled against
a German government attempt to classify garlic supplements as a medicine.
The ECJ said the “intended use” was generally not medicinal and therefore
said the supplements should be classified under food law. Definition of food
supplement (Directive 2002/46/EEC): “Foodstuffs the purpose of which
is to supplement the normal diet and which are concentrated sources of
nutrients or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect, alone
or in combination, marketed in dose form, namely forms such as capsules,
pastilles, tablets, pills and other similar forms, sachets of powder, ampoules
of liquids, drop-dispensing bottles, and other similar forms of liquids and
powders designed to be taken in measured small unit quantities.” Definition
of medicinal product (Directive 2001/83, as amended by Directive 2004/27):
“Any substance or combination of substance presented as having properties
for treating or preventing disease in human beings; Or: Any substance or
combination of substances which may be used in or administered to human
beings either with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological
functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action,
or to making a medical diagnosis.”
Nutra Ingredients, 10 March 2008

Europe reaffirms its environment-health efforts
In high-level discussions to be held in Milan, European governments will
reaffirm their commitment to reducing negative environmental impacts
on public health. The meeting, is intended to strengthen the link between
environment and health issues in European policy. The meeting is to be
attended by representatives from 53 countries, who will review implementation
of commitments made at the last World health organisation (WHO) pan-
European ministerial conference on environment and health in Budapest
in 2004. This assessment will feed into the next ministerial meeting, due to
be held in Italy in 2009. According to WHO, improved environmental health
policies could save up to 1.8m lives a year in Europe. Main causes identified by
the international body are air pollution, unsafe water, chemicals and injuries.
But emerging threats such as climate change will “magnify the impact of
the environment on health”, it warns. A report on climate and health in Italy
predicts an average 3 per cent increase in deaths for each degree Celsius
of temperature rise. “Investment in research is essential to identify effective
responses to environmental risks to health, in particular those generated by
climate change”, says Corrado Clini, chair of the European environment and
health committee. European governments renewed focus on environment
and health is a result of the European commission‟s decision that the issue
is “still high on the EU agenda”. The EU executive was forced to reaffirm its
political will on the issue after member states reacted angrily to a suggestion
that environmental impacts on human health had been exaggerated
ENDS Europe Daily, 11 March 2008

EU to cut red tape on environmental laws
The European commission has proposed to streamline EU rules dealing
with off-road machines, batteries and environmental criteria for awarding
the flower ecolabel to indoor paints and varnishes. These proposed changes
are aimed at reducing the administrative burden on businesses and mainly
consist of clarifications and simplifications. In addition, certain reporting
requirements would be removed. A high-level stakeholder group backed
the proposed changes in February. The commission clarifies that “batteries
lawfully placed on the market before 26 September 2008 do not have to be
withdrawn from the market or relabelled after this date”. Strengthened EU
batteries rules entered into force in 2006. Other changes include amending
rules for awarding the EU‟s flower ecolabel to indoor paints and varnishes
to harmonise the definition of volatile organic compound (VOC). Differences
in definitions in this area “create confusion and complicate compliance”, the
commission says. The changes are part of ten “fast track actions” expected
to save European businesses money. This is the commission‟s second
package of measures to help reduce administrative costs by a quarter by
ENDS Europe Daily, 10 March 2008

Janet's Corner - Not Too Seriously!
Health Questions Answered Pt 1

Q: I‟ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that‟s it...don‟t waste them
on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will
not make you live longer; that‟s like saying you can extend the life of your
car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and
corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than
an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need
grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy
vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily
allowance of vegetable slop.

Q: Is beer or wine bad for me?
A: Look, it goes to the earlier point about fruits and vegetables.As we all
know, scientists divide everything in the world into three categories: animal,
mineral, and vegetable. We all know that beer and wine are not animal,
and they are not on the periodic table of elements, so that only leaves one
thing, right? My advice: Have a burger and a beer and enjoy your liquid

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body, and you have body fat, your ratio is one to one.
If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular
exercise program?
A: Can‟t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good.

Q: If I stop smoking, will I live longer?
A: Nope. Smoking is a sign of individual statement and peace of mind. If you
stop, you‟ll probably stress yourself to death in record time.

Q: Aren‟t fried foods bad for you?
A: You‟re not listening. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact,
they‟re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for

Q: What‟s the secret to healthy eating?
A: Thicker gravy.

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


Drinking water failing the test
According to a new report on Victoria‟s drinking water, there were nearly
200 incidents where the state‟s supply failed quality tests, including the
discovery of E.coli bacteria. It was the first time E.coli breaches have been
found in metropolitan Melbourne since the Safe Drinking Water Act was
introduced in 2003. At one percent of the test locations, E.coli bacteria
were detected. “There were 195 water quality incidents and events reported
to the Department (of Human Services) by water suppliers during 2006-
07, however none of the reported incidents resulted in notifications of
confirmed associated illness,” the report said. In addition, 193 incidents
were reported in 2005-2006. The annual report on Drinking Water Quality
in Victoria showed water quality “incidents” included reports of the failure
of disinfection equipment at water plants, the presence of metals such as
aluminium and lead, the presence of blue-green algae, or foul tasting water.
Furthermore, the report outline details of higher-than-acceptable levels of
E.coli in two water samples taken from Seville, on Melbourne‟s eastern
fringe. Other breaches of the E.coli standard were detected in water samples
at Cavendish in Western Victoria, Lake Eildon, Myrtleford and Mt Buller in
the state‟s high country, and Nicholson and Wilsons Promontory in south-
east Victoria. Escherichia coli, or E.coli, is a bacterium found in the lower
intestine and can cause gastroenteritis. However, the report, to be tabled
in State Parliament, said further testing at Seville found the water was still
safe for human consumption. Last year, the Alpine bushfires, drought and
floods caused water quality problems, particularly in Gippsland and the Yarra
Valley. “In the face of these very challenging circumstances, the majority of
Victorians who were supplied with drinking water by the state‟s businesses
continued to have access to safe drinking water,” the report said. Across the
state, 99 per cent of all water sampling localities satisfied the E.coli standard
and overall water quality compliance improved. Additionally, the Government
revealed there were “certain areas” of the state that still did not have access
to drinking water that met the basic standards. Those areas were also more
likely to have health problems. Health Minister Daniel Andrews said the
report demonstrated state regulations were working to improve water quality.
He said water quality standards improved or stayed the same, compared
to 2005-06, except for the higher presence of trihalomethanes linked to
low flow conditions cause by the drought. “This overall improvement was
achieved by water authorities against a backdrop of drought and diminishing
water supplies,” he said.
Melbourne Herald Sun, 12 March 2008

Magnesium may prevent strokes in male smokers
A new study by researchers in Finland has found that a high intake of
magnesium may play a role in preventing cerebral infarction, a form of
stroke. Diet is known to have an impact on a person‟s risk of having a
stroke, and in particular, previous studies have demonstrated links between
the intake of sodium and hypertension. Conversely, more magnesium,
potassium and calcium has been inversely linked to hypertension in some
observational studies. The new study, conducted by researchers from
the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, set out to examine the association
between these minerals and the risk of stroke in male smokers. The
researchers detected that of the four, magnesium intake in the diet, from
sources such as whole grains, appeared to significantly reduce the risk
of cerebral infarction. However, the association could not be extended to
supplementation, without further research. At this stage the researchers did
not know the exact mechanism responsible for this observation, but their
findings “suggest that a high consumption of magnesium-rich foods, such as
whole-grain cereals, may play a role in the prevention of cerebral infarction.”
As to whether the magnesium supplementation could have the same effect,
they said that large, long-term randomised trials are required. During the
study, Susanna Larsson, PhD, and her team used prospective data from the
Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) study, which
was primarily designed to see whether alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene
could reduce lung cancer incidence in men who smoke. It followed data
on a cohort of 29,133 men, aged 50 to 69 years, who smoked five or more
cigarettes a day at baseline over a 13.6 year period. The men were recruited
between 1985 and 1988 in southwestern Finland, and they reported on their
diet at baseline using a food frequency questionnaire including 276 food
items and mixed dishes commonly consumed in Finland. The researchers
observed that over the follow-up period, a total of 3365 men suffered a
stroke (2702 cerebral infarctions, 383 intracerebral haemorrhages, 196
sub arachnoid haemorrhages and 84 unspecified strokes. After adjusting
the results to account for age, cardiovascular risk factors (like diabetes
and cholesterol levels), the researchers observed that men who reported
consuming the most magnesium - an average of 589 mg per day - had a 15
per cent lower risk of cerebral infarction than those who consumed the least
(average 373mg per day). This association was most pronounced in men
under 60 years. No association was seen between magnesium intake and
risk of intracerebral or subarachnoid stroke. Moreover, calcium, potassium
and sodium were not associated with risk of any type of stroke.
Nutra Ingredients, 11 March 2008
Dental offices contribute to methylmercury burden
Among the array of chemicals that escape down the drain in dental offices,
mercury from amalgam fillings has probably received the most attention.
Researchers have hypothesised that formation of methylmercury, the
neurotoxic form of mercury, can occur in dental wastewater. Now, a new
study has found a strong correlation between high levels of methylmercury
and the presence of methylating bacteria in dental wastewater. According
to previous research by the American Dental Association (ADA), mercury
from dental fillings can amount to almost 15% of the total mercury that a
wastewater treatment plant receives. Past estimates have put such releases
from the average dental office at up to 35 milligrams a day, from amalgam.
Technology now in place has become more efficient at catching mercury
before it heads off to the local water treatment plant, capturing 40-80% of
the mercury released from amalgams-depending on their configuration, the
office plumbing, and other characteristics. New amalgam separators can
grab 99% of the mercury washed out of a patient‟s mouth. However, the
wastewater also may serve as home to sulphate-reducing bacteria such
as Desulfobacteraceae and Desulfovibrionaceae species, both known to
methylate mercury at high rates, according to Karl Rockne of the University
of Illinois Chicago and co-workers. During the new study, the researchers
took from collection tanks serving more than a dozen chairs in two dental
offices in the Chicago area. They measured total mercury and methylmercury
in both settled and mixed water samples. Using quantitative polymerase
chain reaction, they then identified the methylating bacteria. Rockne says at
first they were surprised by the total output, which amounts to 5 kilograms
(kg) of methylmercury per year for the entire U.S. (The team‟s previous
work estimated 1 kg of total mercury per chair per year.) In addition, their
results showed that ratios of methylated to elemental or ionic mercury
were good predictors for the formation of methylmercury; concentrations
of methylmercury were up to 10-40 times less than those of total elemental
mercury. The researchers concluded that sulphate-reducing bacteria were
responsible for the methylmercury in the dental wastewater. But they could
not pinpoint whether the methylation occurred in people‟s mouths or further
down the line. In future research, the team plan to study other metals in
amalgams, including silver, which may be toxic to the bacteria.
Many devices are successful at trapping mercury, but they are not built to
gather methylmercury, the author‟s stress. Controversy associated with
human-health effects from mercury-containing dental fillings has resulted in
decreased use of such amalgams, says Rockne, but they are still common.
“Theoretically, it‟s been known [that mercury could be converted] in the
wastewater itself into methylmercury,” says Rod Mackert, a professor of
dental materials at the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry
and a long-time spokesperson for ADA on the issue of mercury. The new
research could be the first direct evidence of where that formation occurs,
he adds. Recent research by Mark Stone of the Naval Institute for Dental
and Biomedical Research and colleagues recently reported (PDF: 142 KB)
concentrations of metals in dental wastewater, including different bioavailable
species of mercury. Stone, who says Rockne‟s new work is important, notes
that “other non-sulphate-reducing bacteria that are known methylators of
mercury [could be] contributing to the [methylmercury] production.” Mackert
emphasizes that the total amount of methylmercury the team found is
“infinitesimal,” particularly when compared with the overall amounts of total
mercury and methylmercury entering the environment from other sources,
such as coal burning and gold mining. Nevertheless, last September
ADA began encouraging dentists to switch to the more efficient amalgam
separators as part of their best management practices advisories. “It seems
like a good idea,” Mackert says, to stop the metal in its many forms from
going to treatment plants at all, where it would end up in the post treatment
sludge, often sold for land applications. Rockne agrees that “dental traps are
only one of the sources of methylmercury to the wastewater system,” and
a small one at that. But because dental offices have a simple pipe system,
solving the problem there is easier than reducing mercury from some other
sources, including food and air deposition, he underscores.
Environmental Science & Technology, 12 March 2008

Artificial sweetener persists in the environment
In 2005, sucralose, the sugar substitute better known as Splenda, hit
Norwegian food markets. The following year, scientists from the Norwegian
Institute for Air Research (NILU) found the chemical to be omnipresent in
the environment-in Oslo Fjord and in raw and treated wastewater. Now, a
new study by Swedish researchers has found it completely unchanged in
wastewater effluent in Stockholm and elsewhere in Sweden. The Swedish
environmental protection agency (EPA), NaturvÂrdsverket, commissioned
researchers at the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) to
examine surface waters and wastewater effluent for sucralose. The result
showed that samples from both large and small wastewater treatment
plants in Sweden had sucralose concentrations of 8 micrograms per litre
(µg/L) or more before treatment. Larger plants could decrease sucralose
concentrations by 10% at most. As is expected, the remaining sludges
contained negligible amounts of sucralose, but that was not the case for
effluent. At least one smaller municipal sewage treatment plant released
treated effluent containing about 11 µg/L. Downstream, nearby surface
waters had sucralose concentrations about 10-fold less, but in some cases,
surface waters contained up to 3.5 µg/L. Sucralose is seemingly harmless to
people and humans excrete 98% of it unchanged. However, it is extremely
persistent, with a half-life in water of up to several years, depending on
pH and temperature. That persistence makes Henrik Kylin of NILU, one of
the scientists who found the compound in Norway, very wary. In May last
year, levels in Oslo Fjord hit 2-7 µg/L in sewage influent and effluent, Kylin
reported. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that sales in Norway of
one low-calorie soft drink brand alone could account for about half of the
measured concentrations. Because the EU Scientific Committee on Food
approved sucralose as safe for human consumption, the sweetener did
not have to undergo an environmental review, notes Per Ola Darnerud of
the Swedish National Food Administration. Several EU countries, including
Sweden, have allowed its use in food products. Sucralose was approved for
use in Canada and the U.S in the 1990, also without environmental impact
Kylin points out that sucralose would have passed such a review because it
does not appear to have toxic effects, nor does it bioaccumulate. “We don‟t
even have test methods for the type of ecosystem effects that would be
relevant” to sucralose, Kylin says. Kylin says that the presence of a sugar-like
substance in the environment could change organisms‟ feeding behaviours.
What is even more worrying is the possibility that sucralose could interfere
with plant photosynthesis, and that could cause problems for algae-and
having the unexpected consequence of shutting down CO2 uptake, the
researcher says. In addition, sucralose has been shown to interfere with the
transport of sucrose in sugarcane, in research by John Ward and colleagues
at the University of Queensland St Lucia (Australia). Kylin says that to
date, no one has systemically examined the environmental effects of the
substance. As a follow-up to the monitoring report, the Swedish EPA has
started using biological assays with fish and mussels to determine whether
any toxicological endpoints can be observed, says Swedish EPA researcher
Axel Hullberg. The researchers expect to report their results later this year.
Tate & Lyle, the inventors of sucralose, said in a statement that the original
petitions submitted 20 years ago to European regulatory authorities included
environmental impact data. The new report from IVL shows that sucralose
passes through sewage treatment plants, the company says, but it provides
no indication of environmental impacts. Because the artificial sweetener is
not “biologically active”, Tate & Lyle contends, “regulatory authorities have
already determined that sucralose poses no risk to the environment.” In the
meantime, Sweden is raising the issue of persistent food additives of any
kind with the EU, which has taken environmental testing under consideration
for future products, Darnerud says. As for those additives already on the
market, there may be “other compounds that could have equal or similar
effects, that are not broken down so easily, but that have not been looked at,”
he comments. The U.S. and Canada have used sucralose for a long time,
without any evidence so far of adverse effects to the environment or human
health. But perhaps, Darnerud says, that‟s because no one has looked for
those impacts or because they will take decades to appear.
Environmental Science & Technology, 12 March 2008

Radiation Exposure In Utero And In Young Children
Increases Adult Cancer Risk
According to a new study of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki
bombings, radiation exposure before birth or during early childhood
increased the risk of adult solid cancers. It is known that radiation exposure
during foetal development increases the risk of childhood cancers and that
exposure during early childhood increases the risk of adult-onset cancers.
However it was not known if radiation exposure to the foetus increases
the risk of adult cancers. In order to answer this question, Dale Preston,
Ph.D., of the Hirosoft International Corporation in Eureka, California, and
colleagues at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima,
Japan, calculated the excess risk of solid cancers in adult survivors of the
Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, relative to non-exposed populations.
During the study, the researchers examined people who had either been
exposed to radiation prior to birth or from birth to six years of age. The
researchers found that of the 2,452 study participants who were exposed
to radiation before birth, 94 have developed adult cancers. In addition, 649
of the 15,388 individuals who were exposed between birth and six years
of age developed adult cancers. By age 50, the excess relative risk for
those exposed before birth was 1.0 per Sv (a unit for measuring radiation
exposure), and for those exposed as young children, it was 1.7 Sv at age
50. The researchers note that the overall risk of solid cancers increases with
age, and so continuing to follow the study participants as they age will be
important. Furthermore, the investigators only considered solid cancers, and
did not examine the rate of blood cancers, such as leukaemia. “The present
data suggested that increases in risks of adult-onset cancer among those
exposed to radiation in utero may be smaller than for those exposed in early
childhood,” the authors write. That said, these data might be important when
considering the public health risks of medical and occupational radiation
exposure for pregnant women.
Science Daily, 13 March 2008

Artificial Butter Chemical Harmful To Lungs, Rodent
Study Shows
A new study by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, has found that
exposure to a chemical called diacetyl, a component of artificial butter
flavouring, can be harmful to the nose and airways of mice. The study was
undertaken because diacetyl has been implicated in causing obliterative
bronchiolitis (OB) in humans. OB is a debilitating but rare lung disease, which
has been detected recently in workers who inhale significant concentrations
of the flavouring in microwave popcorn packaging plants. The researchers
found that when laboratory mice inhaled diacetyl vapours for three months,
they developed lymphocytic bronchiolitis - a potential precursor of OB.
However, none of the mice, were diagnosed with OB. “This is one of the
first studies to evaluate the respiratory toxicity of diacetyl at levels relevant
to human health. Mice were exposed to diacetyl at concentrations and
durations comparable to what may be inhaled at some microwave popcorn
packaging plants,” said Daniel L. Morgan, Ph.D., head of the Respiratory
Toxicology Group at the NIEHS and co-author on the paper. The study was
done in conjunction with Duke University researchers. The authors conclude
that these findings suggest that workplace exposure to diacetyl contributes
to the development of OB in humans, but further research is required. While
the study focused on exposure of laboratory animals by inhalation closely
duplicating the way humans are exposed to airborne toxicants, the authors
noted that some anatomical differences between the mice and humans may
account for why the nasal cavity of mice is more susceptible to reactive
vapours than that of humans. Another reason may be that mice breathe
exclusively through their noses. In addition, the researchers speculate that
the extensive reaction of diacetyl vapours in the nose and upper airways of
mice may have prevented toxic concentrations from penetrating deeper in the
lung to the bronchioles or tiny airways where obstruction occurs in humans.
When the mice were exposed to high concentrations of diacetyl using a
method that bypasses the nose, the researchers found lesions partially
obstructing the small airways. Further studies are currently being conducted
to determine if these lesions progress to OB in mice. A larger set of studies
are now planned by the National Toxicology Program, to provide inhalation
toxicity data on artificial butter flavouring and the two major components,
diacetyl and another compound called acetoin. The NTP studies will help
pinpoint more definitively the toxic components of artificial butter flavouring
and potentially help identify biomarkers for early detection. The NTP data will
then be shared with public health and regulatory agencies so they can set
safe exposure levels for these compounds and develop guidance to protect
the health of workers in occupations where these chemicals are used.
Science Daily, 13 March 2008

Chemicals Like DEET In Bug Spray Work By Masking
Human Odours
The United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army invented DEET
fifty years ago to protect soldiers from disease-transmitting insects. However,
despite decades of research, researchers are still unclear precisely how it
works. Now, by pinpointing DEET‟s molecular target in insects, researchers
at Rockefeller University have definitively shown that the widely used bug
repellent acts like a chemical cloak, masking human odours that blood-
feeding insects find attractive. The new study, to be published in the journal
Science Express, makes it possible not only to systematically improve upon
the repellent properties of DEET but also to make it a safer chemical. “For
all these years, there were a lot of theories but no consensus on how DEET
worked,” says Leslie Vosshall, head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and
Behaviour. “Does it smell bad to mosquitoes or does it blind them to odours”
It was a great unsolved problem.” Mosquitoes are strongly attracted to
odours in human breath and sweat, including carbon dioxide, lactic acid and
an alcohol-based compound called 1-octen-3-ol. Different receptors within
their olfactory system detect these odours, among others, and lead them
to their prey. DEET simply interferes with the proper functioning of odorant
receptors, making the hunt for a tasty meal all the more difficult. However,
this interference is selective. During the study, the researchers recorded the
electrical activity of cells in the mosquito olfactory system while exposing the
insects to the chemical, in order to observe DEET‟s effect on different odorant
receptors. They found that DEET only shuts down those receptors that work
in tandem with a smell co-receptor called Or83b, which is present in all
insects. Whereas DEET shuts down the receptor pairs that detect 1-octen-
3-ol and two other sweaty odours, it doesn‟t affect the lone receptor that
detects carbon dioxide. That‟s because this carbon dioxide receptor doesn‟t
require Or83b to function, whereas the sweaty-odour receptors do. “Each
receptor complex has different properties,” says Vosshall. “And the idea is
that DEET is acting on the uniqueness of this complex.” Since mosquitoes
that lack this co-receptor have yet to be genetically engineered, Vosshall
and her group used fruit fly mutants that do not have the co-receptor. While
normal flies avoid a vial treated with DEET, the researchers found that flies
without the co-receptor ventured into the vials, suggesting that Or83b is
required to detect this potent chemical. Vosshall then showed that DEET
specifically affected the receptor/co-receptor as a unit by isolating the RNA
of each and injecting both into a frog egg. As expected, DEET inhibited
the odorant receptor/co-receptor complex even in this environment, which
was isolated from the olfactory system. Vosshall said that by targeting the
co-receptor complex rather than the co-receptor alone, DEET doesn‟t shut
down the entire olfactory system. “Instead, it seems to shut down strategically
different parts of it. It just shuts down enough of these receptors to confuse
the mosquito or blind it to the odours it finds attractive.” While DEET used
widely, researches are concerned about its potential health risks and have
prompted the pursuit of alternatives, though so far none have proven to be
significantly more effective than DEET. “We now know how DEET works,
and this is the first step in making significantly better insect repellents,” says
Science Daily, 13 March 2008

Toxic TVs headed for trash
It is expected that next year when U.S. airwaves go digital, people may
throw out millions of analogue TVs containing up to 8 pounds of lead each.
However, research on the environmental effects of junked TVs sends mixed
signals. Many old TVs may end up in landfills, or worse, dumped in roadside
graves. On 17 February 2009, U.S. airwaves that have carried moving
pictures since 1939 will go blank. Congress approved a complete switch to
digital signals for all broadcast television, and people who rely on broadcasts
“over the air” will have to either purchase a digital TV or use government-
provided coupons to buy a converter box for $40-70. The change over, has
some environmental groups concerned about where discarded TVs will go
if millions of households decide to spring for new digital sets. “It used to
be that people kept their TV until it was dead,” says Barbara Kyle, national
coordinator of the non-profit Electronics TakeBack Coalition. “But now
there‟s such a push to replace old things.” Cable and satellite users won‟t
notice the switch, but the non-profit Consumers Union estimates that 23
million people will need converters or new TVs. Many might purchase digital
TVs instead of converter boxes, according to the non-profit U.S. PIRG, the
federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, whose secret-shopper
surveys found retailers misinforming customers about their options. Most
analogue TVs use cathode ray tubes (CRTs), and each CRT is lined with
4-8 pounds of lead to block X-rays generated with the picture. More than a
decade ago, Tim Townsend began studying what happens to TVs in landfills,
when Florida was considering classifying them as hazardous waste.
“People knew they had lead in them and knew they were being disposed
of,” he says, but no one knew whether they posed a danger. Townsend, an
engineer at the University of Florida, started smashing CRTs in his lab and
used a test designed by the U.S. EPA to see how much lead would leach out
as water percolates through a landfill, “like the coffee coming out of coffee
grounds,” he says. The researcher discovered a problem-on average, about
18 milligrams per litre (mg/L) of lead leached out, well above EPA‟s test
limit of 5 mg/L. Partly on the basis of this finding, EPA ruled that CRTs are
hazardous waste. However, it exempted households from CRT rules, so in
many states citizens can still toss TV sets into landfills.
The EPA test gives worst-case results, Townsend says. In later studies,
the results demonstrated that much less lead escapes from CRTs under
more realistic landfill conditions. Lead levels in lab tests with actual landfill
leachate were often well below EPA limits. Townsend is now in the process
of analysing data gathered from his own homemade landfills. Townsend
finds his research being used to support both sides of the debate. On the
one hand, he says that TVs often don‟t leach much lead. “But it‟s always
better to recycle and keep these things out of landfills,” he adds. Leachate
from landfills has to be treated, and recycling helps avoid “digging more lead
out of the ground somewhere else in the world.” Today‟s flat-panel LCD and
plasma TVs could create a new set of environmental problems, Townsend
adds. LCD lamps contain mercury, and no one is sure what happens to
liquid crystals in the environment. Plus, all TVs contain lead solder on circuit
boards. Townsend‟s initial tests haven‟t found enough mercury leaching from
LCD lamps to qualify as hazardous waste, but he says any heavy metal is a
concern. Electronics TakeBack Coalition is now pushing for manufacturers
to establish recycling programs in order to keep TVs and other electronics
out of landfills. So far, in the U.S, Sony is the only producer to do so.
Furthermore, cities and states have a patchwork of recycling programs,
which vary in cost and convenience. For example, in Washington, D.C.,
residents are limited to two free drop-off days per year-the city‟s Department
of Public Works aims to provide weekly opportunities-or to paying $45 or
more to private recyclers. And U.S. residents donate 23 million pounds of
electronics to Goodwill Industries each year, says spokesperson Christine
Nyirjesy Bragale, including many TVs. “We expect an influx of TVs in the next
year and beyond,” she says, noting that the charity is working to educate its
low-income customers about the switch to digital.
Environmental Science & Technology, 12 March 2008

Ibuprofen Destroys Aspirin‟s Positive Effect On Stroke
A new study by researchers at the University of Buffalo have found that
stroke patients who use ibuprofen for arthritis pain or other conditions while
taking aspirin to reduce the risk of a second stroke undermine aspirin‟s ability
to act as an anti-platelet agent. During the study, the researchers examined
data from patients seen by physicians at two offices of the Dent Neurologic
Institute, 28 patients were identified as taking both aspirin and ibuprofen (a
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID) daily and all were found to
have no anti-platelet effect from their daily aspirin. Thirteen of these patients
were being seen because they had a second stroke/TIA while taking aspirin
and a NSAID, and were platelet non-responsive to aspirin (aspirin resistant)
at the time of that stroke. The results from the study showed that when 18
of the 28 patients returned for a second neurological visit after discontinuing
NSAID use and were tested again, all had regained their aspirin sensitivity
and its ability to prevent blood platelets from aggregating and blocking
arteries. The new study is the first to demonstrated the clinical consequences
of the aspirin/NSAID interaction in patients being treated for prevention of
a second stroke, and presents a possible explanation of the mechanism
of action. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration warn that ibuprofen
might make aspirin less effective, but states that the clinical implications of
the interaction have not been evaluated. “This interaction between aspirin
and ibuprofen or prescription NSAID‟s is one of the best-known, but well-
kept secrets in stroke medicine,” said Francis M. Gengo, Pharm.D., lead
researcher on the study. “It‟s unfortunate that clinicians and patients often
are unaware of this interaction. Whatever number of patients who have
had strokes because of the interaction between aspirin and NSAIDs, those
strokes were preventable.” Gengo is professor of neurology in the UB School
of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and professor of pharmacy practice in
the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “We first looked
at this issue way back in 1992 in a study conducted in normal volunteers, but
it was published as an abstract only,” he said. “We never followed through
with a manuscript, but another group published an elegant study in the New
England Journal of Medicine showing this interaction at least seven years
“When we began to assess this in our stroke patients, a surprisingly high
percentage of a group of 653 patients, around 17 percent, were taking aspirin
plus Motrin [a brand of ibuprofen]. “The prescription medication Aggrenox,
which also is used for secondary stroke prevention and contains aspirin
and extended release dipyridamole, is affected the same way as aspirin,”
Gengo continued. “In preventing strokes, it is statistically a little better than
aspirin but more expensive. “However, one of the most common side effects
when you first start taking Aggrenox is headache, so some physicians,
pharmacists or physician assistants tell patients to take a Motrin so they
don‟t get a headache. This likely would negate the effects of the aspirin
and extended release dipyridamole. Those patients might as well take this
expensive drug and flush it down the toilet.” The researchers tested all 18
patients to verify that the six men and 12 women were taking their aspirin
or aspirin and extended release dipyridamole as directed. Information on
the concomitant use of NSAIDS was obtained from patient interviews. Data
from the earlier healthy volunteer study showed the magnitude and time
course of each drug administered separately, as well as in combination.
Gengo noted that the results from the study provide important information
because most of the previous studies only take measurements at one point
in time, and that time point may have been during the 4-6 hour window when
concentrations of NSAIDS were sufficiently high to inhibit aggregation. “Our
data report the entire time course of this interaction,” he said. “The results
showed that platelets resumed aggregating within 4-6 hours when aspirin
and ibuprofen were taken close together, leaving patients with no anti-
platelet effect for 18-20 hours a day. Normally, a single dose of aspirin has an
effect on platelet aggregation for 72-96 hours,” Gengo said. “When I lecture
to pharmacy students, I tell them „Please, you have a responsibility to the
patients you care for. When you counsel a patient taking aspirin/extended
release dipyrdamole to lower stroke risk, tell patients they may have some
transient headaches, but to avoid ibuprofen. You may have prevented that
patient from having another stroke.‟”
Science Daily, 12 March 2008

Farm smells can cause real stink
According to a new study, gassy ammonia and other smelly gases from farm
animals can attach to dust particles, forming an unpleasant and unhealthy
mix for humans. During the study, the researchers examined dust from
sheds housing cattle, chickens and pigs, with dust mainly coming from feed,
manure, bedding, soil and the animals‟ dry skin. Co-author Jongmin Lee
says weak van der Waals forces cause gas and dust molecules to bond. The
resulting attraction is weaker than most chemical bonds, but it‟s enough to
keep the gas stuck to the dust.
The gas can also separate, or desorb, from the dust. “The reverse of
adsorption, desorption, is the transfer of gas from dust particles to the
surrounding air, and the principles are the same as for adsorption,” says Lee,
a researcher in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition, the researcher
added that heat can allow the gases to become volatile and desorb. The next
step was for Lee and colleague Professor Yuanhui Zhang to create a closed
cylinder device that introduced heat and then allowed them to measure the
gas released from dust collected from farm barns, pipelines and exhaust
fans in Illinois. They focused on ammonia, one of the smelliest gases
animals produce. The results showed that laying hens and pigs produce far
more ammonia dust than cattle do. The researchers attribute this to the way
the animals are housed. The cattle are in a roomier building with open areas
and plenty of natural ventilation. However, in the case of pigs and hens,
they are housed in more cramped quarters with mechanical ventilation.
Aside from the stink problem, the gassy particles may pose human health
risks. “Particles smaller than 10 micrometres can penetrate into the large
upper branches just below the throat where they are caught and removed by
coughing and spitting or by swallowing,” says Lee. “Also, particles smaller
than 2.5 micrometres can get down into the deepest portions of human
lungs and can cause respiratory disease. “Furthermore, there is a minor
threat that contained buildings could explode due to the build-up of gassy
dust. Zhang says there is no official report of an animal building exploding.
“[But] methane digesters on animal facilities have the potential to explode,”
he says. Similar explosions have occurred in grain stores. To address this
problem, the researchers suggest that animal keepers improve ventilation,
frequently clean their structures, properly treat manure and add oil or fat
to feed. Gary Riskowski, a professor and head biological and agricultural
engineer at Texas A&M University, says the key to this paper is that the
researchers are trying to develop a way of measuring how much odour
attaches to particles. He says this may lead to ways of diluting the gas and
its malodorous properties. Pigs are particularly stinky, Riskowski indicates,
even though their ammonia emissions are slightly lower than those found in
poultry sheds. “Pig facilities have a more complex mix of odorants and the
characteristic swine odour comes primarily from gases other than ammonia
so many people will find swine odour more objectionable,” he says.
ABC News, 12 March 2008

Are alternatives any safer than plastics?
There is growing concern regarding the safety of polycarbonate water bottles,
which leach trace amounts of an oestrogen mimic known as bisphenol A,
that many people are ditching the plastic and looking for containers made
from other materials. However, this raises other questions including just
how safe are the alternatives? Many of the substitute materials have been
given a favourable nod by many environmentalists, but some of the newer
chemicals used to replace polycarbonate haven‟t been studied in depth to
fully verify their safety, and Canada‟s regulatory system has loopholes that
allow products to be sold without much testing. One of the main alternatives
to polycarbonate, particularly in BPA-free baby bottles, is a honey-
coloured plastic known as polyethersulphone, or PES. Health Canada has
approved the use of this material for food-processing equipment because
any resulting human exposures would be “extremely low,” but has never
done an assessment checking whether use in baby bottles holds any risks.
“The department has not reviewed the use of polyethersulphone in other
applications, such as food storage containers for consumers or baby bottles,”
Health Canada said. Under Canada‟s Food and Drugs Act, it is against the
law to sell food in packaging that leaches dangerous substances. However,
Health Canada says it hasn‟t received any requests for safety assessments
from companies selling polyethersulphone products to ensure they‟re
complying with the act. Furthermore, it said the provisions in its regulations
against selling food in harmful packaging don‟t apply to “the sale of empty
baby bottles.” Environmental Defence, a Toronto-based conservation group
that is lobbying the federal government to ban plastics containing BPA from
food-contact uses, recommends consumers use glass bottles, but says
some types of plastic pass muster with it. The group doesn‟t believe BPA-
free plastics pose a risk, because these materials don‟t readily break down
and leach chemicals into beverages. “If you‟re not comfortable using glass
bottles, which frankly would be our top recommendation ... then go with a
non-toxic plastic,” says Rick Smith, the group‟s executive director.
Industry lobby groups representing bisphenol A manufacturers, claim that
consumers should stick with polycarbonate because it has been well studied.
Trace amounts of BPA in the parts-per-billion range leach from baby bottles
and plastic liners inside canned food during normal usage. The industry
contends these exposures to a synthetic oestrogen are safe, although
independent scientists disagree. Currently, Health Canada is evaluating
the evidence from both sides. “Safety data on alternatives is not readily
available, if available at all, which makes it difficult for anyone to assess
the safety of BPA-free products,” says Steven Hentges, spokesman at the
Arlington, Virginia-based American Plastics Council. Born free Inc, is one of
the manufacturers using PES for baby bottles. President Ron Vigdor says
the company has tested its bottles in laboratories in Canada, the United
Kingdom and Israel, and have found no detectable leaching from the plastic
in analyses with a sensitivity in the parts-per-trillion range. He said the
company chose the material, which he says costs several times more than
polycarbonate, because it is able to withstand high-temperature dishwashing
and microwaving without degrading. Frederick vom Saal, a professor in the
biological sciences department at the University of Missouri, has tested PES
and found that it “does not seem as estrogenic” as the bisphenol A used to
make polycarbonate, although he said the biological activity of sulphones
“hasn‟t been well characterised” in the scientific literature. However, the
researcher said that based on the chemical properties of PES, it doesn‟t react
as readily as polycarbonate to heating, acidic fluids or alkaline dishwasher
detergents, so it is likely a safer choice for making food-contact plastics.
Because it doesn‟t readily leach “even if it had identical toxicity” to bisphenol
A, “it would still be a better choice,” he said. Many consumers are now
choosing water bottles made from stainless steel like those manufactured
by Klean Kanteen, a California-based company. However, on the companies
website it warns that there is a small possibility of nickel allergies from
stainless steel.
The company says it provides the information so consumers can make
informed choices about its products, but has never received a report of any
allergies. Not all plastics are created equal, at least when it comes to the
debate over their environmental and health impact. British Columbia‟s Labour
and Environmental Alliance Society has published a guide to potential health
hazards in everyday household products. It gives three types of plastic a
thumbs down, but endorses three others. Consumers can readily identify
the type of plastic by looking on the container (usually on the bottom) for the
industry-defined code - a triangle encasing a number, as listed below.
drink and single-use water bottles. May leak antimony, a heavy metal.
3 PVC POLYVINYL CHLORIDE: Used in some clear plastic food wraps. The
group worries that phthalates used to soften this type of plastic might leach
out. Phthalates worry some researchers because they can interfere with
testosterone production.
7 OTHER Includes polycarbonate, used in water bottles and office-style
water-cooler jugs. This plastic is made from bisphenol A, which has some
ability to mimic oestrogen and has been linked by some researchers to
diseases associated with hormone imbalances.
2 HDPE HIGH-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE: Often used in opaque detergent
bottles, juice bottles, hard plastic milk jugs and some plastic grocer bags.
4 LDPE LOW-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE: Often used for see-through dry
cleaning bags and produce bags.
5 PP POLYPROPYLENE: Often used in yoghurt containers.
Globe & Mail, 11 March 2008

Nanoparticles interact with existing pollutants and make
them more toxic
While nanoscience and nanotechnology are relatively new, nanoparticles
made from C60 (Buckminster fullerenes) are already finding potential
applications in consumer products ranging from car lubricants to cosmetics
and medicines. A new study has found that nanoparticles, when released
into water systems, may interact with other common pollutants in aquatic
environments and have important consequences for their toxicity to plant
and animal life. Other organic (carbon-based) chemicals are known to have
an effect on the toxicity of pollutants to plant and animal life. However,
nanoparticles like C60 have unique and altered properties compared to
larger particles, which may result in very different effect on the toxicity and
availability of pollutant molecules, which are able to attach themselves
to C60. In addition, the nanoparticles may be inherently toxic. The study,
conducted by researchers at the Technical University of Denmark and the
University of Copenhagen, Denmark, tested the effect of four common
pollutant chemicals: atrazine, methyl parathion, pentachlorophenol (PCP)
and phenanthrene on green algae and freshwater crustaceans. The
researchers found that in the presence of C60 nanoparticles, the availability
of the toxic chemicals to the organisms was affected. When phenanthrene
was attached to C60, it was more toxic to algae at lower concentrations,
for instance, and was more available to the crustaceans, for whom it is
toxic. However, PCP in combination with C60 was less toxic to both algae
and crustaceans. The C60 had little effect on the toxicity of the other
two pollutants tested. The researcher observed that the presence of the
nanoparticles affected how quickly and how much of the pollutant was
taken in by the organisms. Furthermore, clumps of the C60 itself stuck to
the crustaceans‟ bodies and inside their digestive systems. The authors
recommended that nanoparticle risk assessment take into account not just
the toxicity of the particles themselves, but also the possible interaction with
other environmental contaminants. Also, further research is required into
the effects of nanoparticles‟ different phases (in particular their behaviour in
water as they form suspensions or clumps of molecules know as aggregates)
to identify their potential toxicity in the aquatic environment.
Environmental Expert, 13 March 2008

Potential association between radiation and circulatory
disease in nuclear workers
According to a new study by Westlakes Scientific Consulting, nuclear
workers exposed to relatively high levels of radiation over long periods of
service before the 1980s may be at increased risk of circulatory disease.
The new study, published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology,
analysed 65,000 individuals employed between 1946 and 2002 at sites
operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc and its predecessors. Professor Steve
Jones, corresponding author of the study, said the findings are important but
must be interpreted with caution: “What we have shown is an association
between relatively high levels of occupational exposure to radiation and
mortality from circulatory system disease. However, we have not been
able to take account of all the other possible causes of circulatory system
disease. The possible biological mechanisms that might explain a link with
radiation are tentative at best, and so the results of our analysis are not
consistent with any simple causal interpretation.” “We also found an overall
“healthy worker” effect - that is, workers had lower mortality rates than the
local general population, and the overall mortality of occupationally exposed
workers was no different from workers who were not exposed at all. Overall,
socioeconomic status had a greater influence on mortality rate of the cohort
than did radiation exposure status.” During the study, the researchers
examined the relationship between non-cancer mortality rates and
cumulative radiation exposure (as measured by personal dosimeter badges
worn by the workers). They detected an association between mortality from
non-cancer causes of death, particularly circulatory system disease, and
external exposure to ionising radiation. Workers with the highest levels of
occupational exposure - which occurred before the 1980s - had an increased
risk of dying from circulatory disease compared to those with the lowest
levels of exposure. Currently, average occupational exposures at the sites
studied are comparable to, or less than, exposures from natural background
radiation. Michael Gillies, a statistician from the study team, explained that
further research is necessary to determine whether radiation exposure is
directly responsible for the increases in circulatory disease observed: “Other
factors associated, for example, with diet, exercise, socioeconomic status,
shift working and stress, may be responsible. Many studies associate these
factors with an increased risk of circulatory disease, and this is clearly
something that requires more detailed investigation.”
Environmental Expert, 13 March 2008

Potato proteins offer blood pressure benefits
Finnish researchers have discovered proteins isolated from the humble
potato may be biologically active and capable of reducing blood pressure,
as well as having antioxidant activity. Isolated proteins, obtained as
processing waste from the potato industry, could form hydrolysates, which
possessed angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitory activity, report
the researchers in the journal Food Chemistry. “The results of this study
suggest that potato is a promising source for the production of bioactive
compounds as ingredients for developing functional foods with a beneficial
impact on cardiovascular health,” wrote lead author Anne Pihlanto from
MTT Agrifood Research Finland. During the study, the researchers isolated
the proteins from potato tubers (Solanum tuberosum) and subjected to a
treatment with alcalase, neutrase and esperase enzymes. Hydrolysis of the
potato protein isolates (breaking down of the compound by reacting with
water) produced proteins with an increased activity for ACE-inhibition and
radical scavenging activity, reports Pihlanto. ACE inhibitors work by inhibiting
the conversion of angiotensin I to the potent vasoconstrictor, angiotensin
II, thereby improving blood flow and blood pressure. High blood pressure
(hypertension), defined as having a systolic and diastolic blood pressure
(BP) greater than 140 and 90 mmHg, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular
disease (CVD). ACE inhibitors made by drug companies have been found
to be beneficial in treating hypertension, particularly in patients with type-1
or type-2 diabetes, and also appear to provide good cardiovascular and
renal protection. Pharmaceutical ACE-inhibitors do however have side
effects. The researchers reported that the ACE-inhibitory potencies of the
hydrolysates were high, while the proteins also showed some, but lesser,
activity before hydrolysis. Furthermore, the found that the samples showed
a limited antioxidant activity, as measured using the total radical-trapping
potential (TRAP) method. Subjecting the protein isolates to a tow-hour
hydrolysis did increase the antioxidant activity, added the researchers.
“The most active sample was the potato liquid alcalase hydrolysate, which
produced an antioxidant capacity of 0.48 grams dry matter, equivalent to
one millimole of trolox by the TRAP method,” they stated. Commenting on
the ACE-inhibitory activity, Pihlanto and co-workers indicated that this was
most likely related to the peptides and /or free amino acids produced during
the enzymatic treatment. however, they could not rule out the possibility
of other unknown compounds. The researchers said that future research
would focus on identifying the active compounds, as well as verifying the
antihypertensive activity of the potato protein hydrolysates in vivo. “Food
by-products have the additional advantage of representing a value-
added outlet for inexpensive starting material,” wrote the researchers. “An
economic analysis for the whole process from the collection of by-products
to the production of the powered peptide mixture would provide valuable
information for the food industry,” they concluded.
Nutra Ingredients, 12 March 2008


Air pollution since the industrial revolution - the path to
global warming
This paper traces the impact of industrial atmosphere pollution on human
health and the environment since the industrial revolution and the steps
taken to address each problem as it has been identified over the last
50 years, with a view to placing the climate change debate in context. It
highlights that our understanding of atmosphere pollution and its implications
has largely developed through bitter experience, as each problem has been
recognised, notably the generation of airborne particulates, sulphur dioxide,
photochemical smog, ozone depleting substances and most recently
greenhouse gases. In addition the paper reflects on specific changes
relevant to the paint industry as the community focus on occupational
health and safety has become greater. This includes the demise of lead
and chromate compounds, coal tars, asbestos and other toxic or otherwise
hazardous constituents. It also reflects on future directions in the light of
global warming predictions.
Author: Bartlett, D. J.
Full Source: Surface Coatings Australia 2007, 44(11), 22-26 (English)

Deoxynivalenol: Toxicity, mechanisms and animal health
Trichothecene contamination of agricultural staples such as wheat, barley
and maize during Fusarium colonisation is an increasingly common problem
possibly because of expanded use of “no-till farming” and changing climate
patterns. Since food and feed contamination by trichothecenes have
been associated with human and animal toxicoses, serious questions
remain regarding assessment of potential risks from ingesting food borne
trichothecenes and how they should be regulated. Deoxynivalenol (DON),
known colloquially as “vomitoxin” is the trichothecene most commonly
detected, often at the ppm level. All animal species evaluated to date are
susceptible to DON according to the rank order of pigs > mice > rats >
poultry > ruminants. Differences in metabolism, absorption, distribution, and
elimination of DON among animal species might account for this differential
sensitivity. Both 3- and 15-acetyl DON, which sometimes co-occur in smaller
amounts, cereal grains, are equivalently or less toxic than DON based
on LD50 values in mice and are thus unlikely to pose any additional risk.
Acute exposure to extremely high DON (g27 mg/kg body wt.; b.w.) doses is
required to cause mortality or marked tissue injury in experimental animals.
In contrast, acute exposure to relatively low doses (g50 µg/kg b.w.) can
cause vomiting in pigs, the most sensitive species. This corresponds to
human food poisoning outbreaks with nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting as
primary symptoms that were associated with Fusarium infested cereals.
The most common effects of prolonged dietary exposure of experimental
animals to DON are decreased weight gain, anorexia, decreased nutritional
efficiency and altered immune function with species differences again being
Author: Pestka, James J.
Full Source: Animal Feed Science and Technology 2007, 137(3-4), 283-298


Early neurotoxic effects of inhalation exposure to
aluminium and/or manganese assessed by serum levels
of phospholipid-binding Clara cells protein
Little is known on the disturbances of lung epithelium function in
aluminium casting smelters and shipyard welders exposed by inhalation
to irritant occupational pollutants, dust and fumes. The exact mechanism
of aluminium and manganese toxicity is not known, but it is thought that
they may potentiate oxidative and inflammatory stress, leading to impaired
neurological function. The aim of the study was to investigate the subclinical
effects of aluminium and manganese exposure on the nervous system
and to assess their relationship to the biomarkers of exposure and effect
in workers exposed to neurotoxic fumes. The relationship between the
neurological and respiratory effects was investigated in 50 workers at
aluminium casting smelters exposed to xGM (0.29 Al2O3 mg m- 3, and 59
shipyard welders exposed to xGM ) 0.16 Mn mg m- 3, and the reference
group. Serum anti-inflammatory, phospholipid binding Clara cell protein
(CC16) as a peripheral marker of the bronchiolar epithelium function
measured. The lowest CC16 concentrations were found in workers showing
subjective CNS symptoms and abnormal neurophysiological findings:
EEG and visual evoked potentials. A strong inverse relationship was found
between serum Al (Al-S) and CC16 concentrations (p) 0.006). Younger
smelter workers and welders, with a shorter exposure duration, presented
a higher number of VEPs than the workers employed for a longer period
of time. The sub-clinical neurological symptoms (VEP) and low CC16 level
can be associated with an internalisation of Al ions with lipid fractions of the
lung epithelium, which in turn may help Al ions overcome the blood-brain
barrier. The inhibited secretion of anti-inflammatory Clara cell protein and
low respiratory performance in younger Mn welders was found to enhance
subclinical neurotoxic symptoms, especially VEPs, related to exposure to
airborne Mn and Mn-B.
Authors: Halatek, Tadeusz; Sinczuk-Walczak, Halina; Rydzynski, Konrad
Full Source: Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A: Toxic/
Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering 2008, 43(2), 118-124

Sensitive determination of free benzophenone-3 in human
urine samples based on an ionic liquid as extractant
phase in single-drop microextraction prior to liquid
chromatography analysis.
Benzophenone-3 (BZ3), one of the compounds most commonly used as
UV filter in cosmetic products, can be absorbed through the skin into the
human body, since it can be found at trace levels in urine from users of
cosmetic products that contain BZ3. Moreover, different undesirable effects
have been attributed to this compound. Thus, sensitive analytical methods
to monitor urinary excretion of this compound should be developed. This
paper presents a selective and sensitive methodology for BZ3 determination
at ultratrace levels in human urine samples. The methodology is based on
a novel microextension technique, known as single-drop microextension
(SDME). An ionic liquid (IL) was used as extractant phase instead of an
organic solvent. After the microextension process, the extractant phase was
injected into a liquid chromatography system. The variables of interest in the
SDME process were optimised using a multivariate optimisation approach.
A Plackett-Burman design for screening and a circumscribed central
composite design for optimising the significant variables were applied. Ionic
strength, extension time, stirring speed, pH, ionic liquid type, drop volume
and sample volume were the variables studied. The optimum experimental
conditions found were: sodium chloride concentration, 13% (w/v); extension
time, 25 min; stirring speed, 900 rpm; pH, 2; ionic liquid type, 1-hexyl-3-
methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate ([C6-MIM][PF6]); drop volume, 5
µL; and sample volume, 10 mL. The proposed method requires a standard
addition calibration approach, and it has been successfully employed to
determine free BZ3 in urine samples coming from human volunteers who
applied a sunscreen cosmetic containing this UV filter. The limit of detection
was in the order of 1.3 ng mL-1 and repeatability of the method, expressed
as relative std. deviation, was 6% (n ) 8).
Authors: Vidal, Lorena; Chisvert, Alberto; Canals, Antonio; Salvador,
Full Source: Journal of Chromatography, A 2007, 1174(1-2), 95-103 (Eng)
Model studies for evaluating the neurobehavioral effects
of complex hydrocarbon solvents II. Neurobehavioral
effects of white spirit in rat and human.
To evaluate the neurobehavioral effects of hydrocarbon solvents and to
establish a working model for extrapolating animal test data to humans,
studies were conducted which involved inhalation exposure of rats and
humans to white spirit (WS). The specific objectives of these studies were to
evaluate the behavioural effects of exposure to WS in rats and humans and to
determine relationships between internal levels of exposure and behavioural
effects. In both animals and volunteers, methods for assessment of similar
functional effects were used to enable interspecies comparisons. A battery
of tests including standardised observational measures, spontaneous
motor activity assessments and learned visual discrimination performance
was utilised in rat studies to evaluate acute central nervous system (CNS)
depression. Groups of rats were exposed to WS at target concentrations
of 0, 600, 2400 or 4800 mg/m3, 8 h/day for 3 consecutive days. Blood and
brain concentrations of two WS constituents; 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene (TMB)
and n-decane (NDEC), were used as biomarkers of internal exposure. In a
volunteer study, 12 healthy male subjects were exposed for 4 h to either 57 or
570 mg/m3 WS in two test sessions spaced 7 days apart, and neurobehavioral
effects were measured using a computerized neurobehavioral test battery.
Blood samples were taken at the end of the exposure period to measure
internal concentrations of TMB and NDEC. Results of the behavioural
tests in rats indicated WS-induced changes particularly in performance
and learned behaviour. In humans, some subtle performance deficits were
observed, particularly in attention. The behavioural effects were related to
concentrations of the WS components in the central nervous system. These
studies demonstrated a qualitative similarity in response between rats and
humans, adding support to the view that the rodent tests can be used to
predict levels of response in humans and to assist in setting occupational
exposure levels for hydrocarbon solvents.
Authors: Lammers, J. H. C. M.; Emmen, H. H.; Muijser, H.; Hoogendijk, E.
M. G.; McKee, R. H.; Owen, D. E.; Kulig, B. M.
Full Source: NeuroToxicology 2007, 28(4), 736-750 (Eng)

Model studies for evaluating the neurobehavioral effects
of complex hydrocarbon solvents III. PBPK modelling of
white spirits constituents as a tool for integrating animal
and human test data
As part of a project designed to develop a framework for extrapolating acute
central nervous system (CNS) effects of hydrocarbon solvents in animals
to humans, experimental studies were conducted in rats and human
volunteers in which acute CNS effects were measured and toxicokinetic
data were collected. A complex hydrocarbon solvent, white spirit (WS) was
used as a model solvent and two marker compounds for WS, 1,2,4-tri-Me
benzene (TMB) and n-decane (NDEC), were analysed to characterize
internal exposure after WS inhalation. Toxicokinetic data on blood and
brain concentrations of the two marker compounds in the rat, together
with in vitro partition coefficients were used to develop physiology based
pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models for TMB and NDEC. The rat models were
then allometrically scaled to obtain models for inhalatory exposure for man.
The human models were validated with blood and alveolar air kinetics of
TMB and NDEC, measured in human volunteers. Using these models, it
was predicted that external exposures to WS in the range of 344-771 mg/m3
would produce brain concentrations similar to those in rats exposed to 600
mg/m3 WS, the no effect level (NOEL) for acute CNS effects. Assuming
similar brain concentration-effect relations for humans and rats, the NOEL
for acute CNS effects in humans should be in this range. The prediction
was consistent with data from a human volunteer study in which the only
statistically significant finding was a small change in the simple reaction
time test following 4 h exposure to approximately 570 mg/m3 WS. Thus,
the data indicated that the results of animal studies could be used to predict
a no effect level for acute CNS depression in humans, consistent with the
framework described above.
Authors: Hissink, A. M.; Kruese, J.; Kulig, B. M.; Verwei, M.; Muijser, H.;
Salmon, F.; Leenheers, L. H.; Owen, D. E.; Lammers, J. H. C. M.; Freidig,
A. P.; McKee, R. H.
Full Source: NeuroToxicology 2007, 28(4), 751-760 (Eng)

N-acetyl-L-cysteine affords protection against lead-
induced cytotoxicity and oxidative stress in human liver
carcinoma (HepG2) cells
Although lead exposure has declined in recent years as a result of change to
lead-free gasoline, several epidemiologists have pointed out that it represents
a medical and public health emergency, especially in young children
consuming high amounts of lead contaminated flake paints. A previous study
in our laboratory indicated that lead exposure induces cytotoxicity in human
liver carcinoma cells. In the present study, we evaluated the role of oxidative
stress in lead-induced toxicity, and the protective effect of the anti-oxidant
n-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC). We hypothesized that oxidative stress plays a
role in lead-induced cytotoxicity, and that NAC affords protection against
this adverse effect. To test this hypothesis, we performed the MTT [3-(4, 5-
dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assay and the trypan
blue exclusion test for cell viability. We also performed the thiobarbituric acid
test for lipid peroxidation. Data obtained from the MTT assay indicated that
NAC significantly increased the viability of HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent
manner upon 48 h of exposure. Similar trend was obtained with the trypan
blue exclusion test. Data generated from the thiobarbituric acid test showed
a significant (p e 0.05) increase of MDA levels in lead nitrate treated
HepG2 cells compared to control cells. Interestingly, the addition of NAC
to lead nitrate-treated HepG2 cells significantly decreased cellular content
of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as evidenced by the decrease in lipid
peroxidation by-products. Overall, findings from this study suggest that NAC
inhibits lead nitrate-induced cytotoxicity and oxidative stress in HepG2 cells.
Hence, NAC may be used as a salvage therapy for lead-induced toxicity in
exposed persons.
Authors: Yedjou, Clement G.; Tchounwou, Paul B.
Full Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public
Health [online computer file] 2007, 4(2), 132-137 (Eng)


Lead induced structural and functional alteration of
sperm cell among industrial workers
This study examined the effect of lead between two groups of industrial
workers - one were from battery manufacturing and the other from a pigment
factory. These workers were exposed to inorganic lead for 7-10 years
(group II) and 10-15 years (group III) for a daily working duration of 8 hours.
The control subjects (group I) were selected from persons without any
occupational exposure to lead. All the subjects were of same socio-economic
status and between the age group of 30-40 years. Semen and blood samples
were collected from all the subjects. Atomic absorption spectrophotometric
method was used to measure the lead in the blood and semen samples.
Sperm count, motility, morphology abnormalities and hypoosmotic swelling
test (HOST) were carried out. Seminal plasma acid phosphatase and sperm
ATPase activities were measured in all the subjects. Sperm membrane lipid
peroxidation and seminal plasma ascorbate and dehydro ascorbate were
measured to determine the lead induced generation of oxidative stress.
The results demonstrated a significant increase in blood and semen lead
content with the increase in duration of exposure. Decrease in sperm count
and increase in acid phosphatase activity along with significant increase
in sperm morphology abnormalities, decrease in membrane integrity
along with increased membrane lipid peroxidation suggested lead induced
generation of oxidative stress which resulted in structural alteration to the
sperm cells. The protective action of seminal plasma by the ascorbate -
dehydro ascorbate system was not sufficient to restrict the oxidative stress.
Furthermore, along with structural alterations, sperm motility and ATPase
activity decreased indicating functional impairment of the sperm cells. The
authors concluded that these findings suggest that lead may be responsible
for the generation of oxidative stress, resulting in the structural as well as
functional alteration to the spermatozoal component.
Authors: Gupta, Subarna; Mukherjee, A. K.; Bhattacharya, S. K.; Roy, S. K.;
Chowdhury, Amal Roy
Full Source: Toxicology International 2007, 14(1), 1-5 (Eng)

Results of monitoring asbestos effects on health of
working personnel and general population completed by
Yekaterinburg Medical Research Centre
This study examined the results of a 75-yr study of the Yekaterinburg
Medical Research Centre (Russia), which evaluated the effect of asbestos
on the health status of working people and the population. The results
yielded basic hygienic, sanitary, clinical, epidemiological, and experimental
data on the effect of asbestos on the health status of working people and
the population and led to the conclusion that the centre‟s experience in
studying the problems may serve as the real basis for substantiating the
safe permissible controlled use of chrysotile asbestos.
Authors: Kogan, F. M.; Kashanskii, S. V.; Plotko, E. G.; Likhacheva, E. I.;
Selyakina, K. P.; Domin, S. G.
Full Source: Gigiena i Sanitariya 2007, (3), 41-44 (Russ)

VOC emissions during outdoor ship painting and health-
risk assessment
Significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC) are released into
the atmosphere in building or repair shipyards due to the painting of ship
external surfaces. Such emissions have not been specifically regulated so
far. This study evaluated the quantities and, as far as possible, the nature
of the emitted VOC, to characterise the dispersion of these chemicals in
the atmosphere. In addition, the exposure and resulting health risks for
surrounding populations were assessed. VOC emissions are diffuse, since
they come from the whole painted surfaces. A methodology for quantifying
them was developed and tested, using information provided by ALSTOM-
Chantiers de l‟Atlantique and data found in paint technical sheets. Reliability
was checked against emission values established by ALSTOM or found
in literature. Then, for two particular situations, construction on one hand,
repair on the other hand, atmosphere dispersion of total VOC is simulated
to assess the long-term impact (characterised by the plume extension and
the annual mean concentrations) of these compounds. Finally, a health-
risk assessment based on the estimates is performed to evaluate the risks
by inhalation for people living near the site. Considering the presumed
composition of paints and the available reference toxicological values, total
VOC are entirely assimilated to toluene. In both examples (construction and
repair) and in the current state of knowledge, the calculated risk is not of
health concern. The authors concluded that further research is required and
proposed several ways to proceed including: a more exhaustive collection
of data relative to VOC and other substances contained in paints, on-site
measurement of VOC in the ambient air, characterisation of diffuse emissions
related to other activities, such as purging or welding, and other pollutants,
like particles.
Authors: Malherbe, Laure; Mandin, Corinne
Full Source: Atmospheric Environment 2007, 41(30), 6322-6330 (Eng)

Measurement of particulate concentrations produced
during bulk material handling at the Tarragona harbour
Bulk material handling can be a significant source of particles in harbour
areas. This study investigated the impact on the atmosphere from a
number of loading/unloading activities of diverse raw materials. Continuous
measurements of ambient particle concentrations were measured and
recorded close to the emission sources. Two experimental campaigns have
been carried out in the Tarragona port to document the impact of specific
handling operations and bulk materials. Dusty bulk materials such as silica-
manganese powder, tapioca, coal, clinker and lucerne were dealt with during
the experiments. The highest impacts on ambient particle concentrations
were recordeed during handling of clinker. For this material and silica-
manganese powder, high concentrations were recorded in the fine grain
size (<2.5 µm). The lowest impacts on particulate matter concentrations
were recorded during handling of tapioca and lucerne, mainly in the coarse
grain size (2-5-10 µm). The effectiveness of several emission abatement
measures, such as ground watering to diminish coal particle resuspension,
was demonstrated to reduce ambient concentrations by up to two orders
of magnitude. The importance of other good practices in specific handling
operations, such as controlling the height of the shovel discharge, was also
observed during these experiment. The authors concluded that the findings
can be further utilised as a useful experimental database for emission factor
Authors: Artinano, B.; Gomez-Moreno, F. J.; Pujadas, M.; Moreno, N.;
Alastuey, A.; Querol, X.; Martin, F.; Guerra, A.; Luaces, J. A.; Basora, J.
Full Source: Atmospheric Environment 2007, 41(30), 6344-6355 (Eng)

Estimates of atmospheric particle emissions from bulk
handling of dusty materials in Spanish Harbours
This study showed the methodology developed to estimate particle
emissions from several typical activities of bulk handling in harbours.
It is based on several field experiments carried out in the Harbour of
Tarragona, where high time resolution monitors were deployed close to
different areas of bulk solids handling operations. Monitors recorded particle
concentrations and meteorological variables. A high-resolution dispersion
model is used to estimate the emission rates that best fits the observations.
Results were comparable to those obtained with the AP-42 (EPA). The
new emission estimates are used as input for an emission model called
EMIPORT. In addition, the model employs AP-42 (EPA) emission factors as
a complement. This work is one of the activities of the LIFE project called
HADA (Herramienta Automatica de Diagnostico Ambiental or in English
Automatic Tool for Environmental Diagnostic).
Authors: Martin, F.; Pujadas, M.; Artinano, B.; Gomez-Moreno, F.; Palomino,
I.; Moreno, N.; Alastuey, A.; Querol, X.; Basora, J.; Luaces, J. A.; Guerra,
Full Source: Atmospheric Environment 2007, 41(30), 6356-6365 (Eng)

Public Health

Lung function growth in children with long-term exposure
to air pollutants in Mexico City
This study evaluated the association between long-term exposure to ozone
(O3), particulate matter less than 10 µm in diameter (PM10), and nitrogen
dioxide (NO2) and lung function growth in Mexico City schoolchildren. 3,170
children aged 8 years at baseline were followed from 23 April 1996 until 19
May 1999. The children attended 39 randomly selected elementary schools
located near 10 air quality monitoring stations and were visited every 6
months. Statistical analyses were performed using general linear mixed
models. After adjusting for acute exposure and other potential confounding
factors, deficits in FVC and FEV1 growth over the 3-yr follow-up period
were significantly associated with exposure to O3, PM10, and NO2.
Multipollutant models showed an interquartile range (IQR) increase in mean
O3 concentration (IQR, 11.3 ppb) was associated with an annual deficit in
FEV1 of 12 mL in girls and 4 mL in boys, an IQR range (IQR, 36.4 µg/m3)
increase in PM10 with an annual deficit in FEV1 of 11 mL in girls and 15 mL
in boys, and an IQR range (IQR, 12.0 ppb) increase in NO2 with an annual
deficit in FEV1 of 30 mL in girls and 25 mL in boys. The authors concluded
that long-term exposure to O3, PM10, and NO2 is associated with a deficit
in FVC and FEV1 growth among schoolchildren living in Mexico City.
Authors: Rojas-Martinez, Rosalba; Perez-Padilla, Rogelio; Olaiz-Fernandez,
Gustavo; Mendoza-Alvarado, Laura; Moreno-Macias, Hortensia; Fortoul,
Teresa; McDonnell, William; Loomis, Dana; Romieu, Isabelle
Full Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
2007, 176(4), 377-384 (Eng)

Persistent endothelial dysfunction in humans after diesel
exhaust inhalation
Previously, studies have demonstrated that inhalation of diesel exhaust
causes an immediate (within 2 h) impairment of vascular and endothelial
function in humans. This study investigated the vascular and systemic
effects of diesel exhaust in humans 24 h after inhalation. Fifteen healthy
men were exposed to diesel exhaust (particulate concentration, 300 µg/m3)
or filtered air for 1 h in a double-blind, randomised, crossover study. Twenty-
four hours after exposure, bilateral forearm blood flow, and inflammatory and
fibrinolytic markers were measured before and during unilateral intrabrachial
bradykinin (100-1,000 pmol/min), acetylcholine (5-20 µg/min), sodium
nitroprusside (2-8 µg/min), and verapamil (10-100 µg/min) infusions. The
results indicated that resting forearm blood flow, blood pressure, and basal
fibrinolytic markers were similar 24 h after either exposure. An increase
in plasma cytokine concentrations were observed following exposure to
diesel exhaust. (tumour necrosis factor-R and interleukin-6) but appeared
to reduce acetylcholine, and bradykinin induced forearm vasodilatation.
In contrast, there were no differences in either endothelium independent
(sodium nitroprusside and verapamil) vasodilatation or bradykinin-induced
acute plasma tissue plasminogen activator release. The authors concluded
that the findings suggest that there is a selective and persistent impairment
of endothelium-dependent vasodilatation that occurs in the presence of mild
systemic inflammation. Combustion-derived air pollution may have important
systemic and adverse vascular effects for at least 24 h after exposure.
Authors: Toernqvist, Haakan; Mills, Nicholas L.; Gonzalez, Manuel; Miller,
Mark R.; Robinson, Simon D.; Megson, Ian L.; MacNee, William; Donaldson,
Ken; Soederberg, Stefan; Newby, David E.; Sandstroem, Thomas; Blomberg,
Full Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
2007, 176(4), 395-400 (Eng)
Identification and Determination of Hexachlorocyclopentadienyl-Dibromocyclooctane
(HCDBCO) in Residential Indoor Air and Dust: A Previously Unreported
Halogenated Flame Retardant in the Environment
Hexachlorocyclopentadienyl-dibromocyclooctane (HCDBCO, CAS Registry
No. 51936-55-1) was detected in residential indoor air and indoor dust in
Ottawa, Canada. Positive identification of this compound was based on
interpreting mass spectra obtained under electron impact and negative
chemical ionisation operating modes, and through the synthesis of this
compd. This study describes the environmental presence of HCDBCO.
Although HCDBCO concentrations in indoor dust were generally low
versus those of polybrominated di-Ph ethers [PBDE] and dechlorane plus
(another recently detected flame retardant), high HCDBCO concentrations
were detected in dust samples with a maximum concentration of 93,000
ng/g, 16 times higher than maximum concentrations of the structurally
related, dechlorane plus. HCDBCO concentrations detected in indoor air
were higher than those of major PBDE congeners. Maximum HCDBCO
concentration in indoor air was 3000 pg/m3. Structurally, HCDBCO belongs
to a group of norbornane-based halogenated flame retardants. The authors
concluded that the presence of HCDBCO in the indoor environment raises
awareness of the potential release of this and related flame retardants to
the environment during production and use of products, which contain them,
and the potential implications of human exposure to these compounds since
people spend the majority of their time indoors.
Authors: Zhu, Jiping; Hou, Yuqing; Feng, Yong-lai; Shoeib, Mahiba; Harner,
Full Source: Environmental Science & Technology 2008, 42(2), 386-391

Carbon monoxide exposure assessment among toll
operators in Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This study was conducted to determine tollbooth CO and carboxyHb
(COHb) levels among the tollbooth operators and office workers in the Klang
Valley, Kuala Lumpur. All tollbooths were equipped with well functioning air-
conditioning. The total number of respondents was 180: 90 toll operators
and 90 office workers aged between 19 and 52 years. The result showed
that the highest peak of CO level recorded was 61 ppm. The highest
average peak CO level within a shift was 30 ppm. The CO level was higher
during peak traffic at 6.00-8.00 a m. No significant correlation was observed
between average peak CO level with vehicle load. The toll operators‟ median
COHb level was significantly higher compared to office workers. A weak
but significant correlation was detected between COHb levels with average
peak CO levels. The authors concluded that the findings show that tollbooth
operators were chronically exposed to CO leading to higher COHb levels.
Authors: Niza, S.; Jamal, H. H.
Full Source: International Journal of Environmental Health Research 2007,
17(2), 95-103 (Eng)

A 10-year observation of contact allergy to p-
phenylenediamine according to data of the Institute of
Occupational Medicine in Lodz
The compound p-phenylenediamine (PPD), a major component of hair dye,
usually induces non occupational allergy in women. This study investigated
the prevalence of occupational and environmental sensitisation to PPD over
the last 10 yr to analyse the causes of this hypersensitivity. The authors
examined the medical records of 3224 patients (2153 women and 1071
men) in the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine (Poland) in the years
1997-2006. In addition to determining the prevalence of occupational and
environmental sensitisation to PPD, the rate of PPD cross-reactions with N-
isopropyl-N-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine (IPPD) was analysed. The results
indicated a positive response to PPD in 154 (4.8%) patients. The prevalence
of this condition was twice as high in men (7.5%) than in women (3.4%).
Among female professions in which the detected allergy to PPD is found,
hairdressers and nurses prevailed, while among men‟s jobs, locksmithing
and related occupations as well as farming and bricklaying predominated.
Of the 154 patients sensitised to PPD, only 27 (17.5%) also reacted to
IPPD. In the group of patients (36 subjects) with IPPD allergy, as many
as 27 (75%) presented positive reactions. Occupational sensitisation was
found among hairdressers, beauty stylists, tanners, shoemakers, furriers,
carpenters, and photographers. Among some of the locksmiths, welders,
electricians, bricklayers, drivers, and farmers who reacted to both PPD and
IPPD, black rubber was found to be the source of sensitisation, so that the
reaction to IPPD was secondary. The authors concluded that it is likely that
the remaining patients performing these jobs cross-reacted to aromatic
amines enclosed in crude oil derivatives and clothing dyes. Allergy to PPD
indicates a need to investigate other aromatic amines, which may appear to
be the primary cause of occupational sensitisation.
Authors: Kiec-Swierczynska, Marta; Krecisz, Beata; Swierczynska-Machura,
Full Source: Medycyna Pracy 2007, 58(3), 215-222 (Pol)


A flame speed correlation for unconfined gaseous
An approximate method for description of flame acceleration in congested
areas filled with combustible gases is presented. The method takes into
account both the flame folding arising from interactions with obstacles of the
flow produced by the flame and the increase of the burning rate resulting
from turbulence generated in the flow ahead of the flame. A simple analytical
expression for the flame speed is suggested. Coefficients in this correlation
are determined by fitting the model predictions with a set of experimental
data. This correlation is then used to evaluate the maximum flame speed
that may be developed in vapour cloud explosions as a function of scale and
obstacles. As an example of applications, the flame speeds are evaluated
for four typical fuels: methane, propane, ethylene, and H, and for three
different levels of congestion. Both ideal stoichiometric mixtures of the four
fuels with air and clouds with nonuniform concentration distributions are
considered. The method is shown to take appropriate account of mixture
properties. In particular, the known difference in combustion behaviour of
methane, propane, ethylene, and H was well captured by the method. From
the maximum flame speeds, the severity of the blast effect from unconfined
gaseous explosions is evaluated. The results are compared with other
methods for evaluation of the blast effect from unconfined vapour cloud
Author: Dorofeev, Sergey B.
Full Source: Process Safety Progress 2007, 26(2), 140-149 (Eng)

Alarm control system for realtime monitoring gas
concentration in coal mine
An alarm control system for realtime monitoring gas concentration comprises
a optical sensor, a low-pass filter amplifier, a keypad, a sound-light alarm, a
digital display, a single chip and control program loaded in the single chip, a
temperature sensor, and a voltage stabilised power supply connected with
the single chip, the temperature sensor and the photo sensor through wires.
The output of the photo sensor is connected with the input of the low-pass
filter amplifier, whose output is connected with the input of the single chip.
The keypad is connected with the I/O port of the single chip, and the sound-
light alarm and the digital display are respectively connected with the single
chip, whose input is connected with the output of the temperature sensor.
The system has simple structure and low power consumption, and can
realtime monitor gas concentration.
Authors: Yu, Hongzhu; Wang, Changgeng
Full Source: Faming Zhuanli Shenqing Gongkai Shuomingshu CN
101,078,680 (Cl. G01N21/17), 28 Nov 2007, Appl. 10,016,871, 25 May
2006; 10pp. (Ch)

Transportation security scanner
A security system designed to be mounted adjacent a passenger entrance
area of a bus or train. The security device scanning system includes a
controller disposed within the bus or train, the two scanners configured in
substantially a vertical manner proximate the passenger entrance area. The
scanners further include a plurality of transmitters and receivers that detect
materials using a plurality of detection methods including but not limited to
x-ray, pulse induction and chemical sniffing. The security scanning system
further includes a distress signalling system.
Authors: Colbert, Sherline E.; Colbert, Gerald
Full Source: U.S. Pat. Appl. Publ. US 2007 290,844 (Cl. -340; G08B13/18),
20 Dec 2007, Appl. 2006/453,615, 15 Jun 2006; 7pp. (Eng)

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