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									Bulletin Board
March 30, 2007

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*While Chemwatch has taken all efforts
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this publication, it is not intended to be
comprehensive or to render advice.
Websites rendered are subject to change.

Arthur’s Advice Line
Creating New Stores in your Existing Manifest

If you wish to create new Sections or new Specific Locations in existing
Areas (or in existing Sections) in your Manifest, then try this neat little trick.
First of all make sure you are in ADD mode by clicking the “+” in the Manifest
If you would like to create another Section within the same Area, click on the
name of the Area. The name will automatically display in the Area box.
Likewise, if you clicked on “Processing Section” it will appear in the Area
box AND “Processing Section” will also appear in the Section Box. All you
need to do now is type in a new Specific Location and press OK.
This not only saves you some typing but ensures that your next room stays
in the right building!

Hazard Alert
Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil (melaleuca oil) is a clear to very pale yellow essential oil with
a fresh camphoraceous odour. It is taken from the leaves of the Melaleuca
alternifolia which is native to the northeast coast of New South Wales,
Australia. The oil is claimed to have beneficial cosmetic and medical
properties (including antiseptic and antifungal action). The term “tea tree
oil” is somewhat of a misnomer since Melaleuca alternifolia is a paperbark
rather than a tea tree (genus Leptospermum). [1]

Indigenous Australians have used oil extracted from the tree‟s needles for
hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years. Currently, tea tree oil is obtained
by steam distillation of the leaves. Of the over 98 compounds contained in
the oil, terpinen-4-ol is responsible for most of the antimicrobial actions. Tea
tree oil is defined by international standard ISO 4730 (“Oil of Melaleuca,
Terpinen-4-ol type”), which specifies levels of 14 components which are
needed to define the oil as “tea tree oil.” [1]

Tea tree oil is powerful stuff. It is also ubiquitous. Its popularity has seen it
included as an ingredient of lotions and creams for acne, as an antiseptic
for cuts and grazes and as a mild astringent in shampoos, shower gels and
vapour rubs. Its versatility has attracted the interest of scientists - and they
have sounded a note of caution. The International Fragrance Association
warned in 2001 that the product could be irritating to the skin; this warning
was mainly to protect factory workers producing and handling the stuff in
large quantities. The European Cosmetics Association recommended in
2002 that tea tree oil should be limited to a concentration of 1 per cent in
cosmetic products. This opinion was backed by Germany‟s Federal Institute
of Risk Assessment in 2003. In December 2004, the European Commission‟s
scientific committee on consumer products published the most thorough
analysis yet of the safety of tea tree oil. It concluded that its use in cosmetics
and soaps, where its concentration did not exceed 1 per cent, was unlikely
to be harmful. At higher than 1 per cent, there was a risk it might cause skin
irritation in some people. [2]

The Australian Tea Tree Oil Industry Association is due to submit a dossier
of evidence on the safety of the neat product by the end of next month
(March 2007), having missed the initial deadline of the end of 2005. The
EU scientific committee will then consider its verdict. Customers, retailers
and manufacturers now await the outcome with varying degrees of anxiety.
Chris Flower, the director general of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery
Association, is relaxed. He says: “People using tea tree oil products should
carry on without worrying. There is no issue in relation to its safety in
cosmetics. The only real concern is over its use neat. The problems in that
case can be avoided by not overdoing it. It is a matter of common sense.”

Health Effects and Safety:

Melaleuca oil is used almost exclusively externally. Data on oral tea
tree oil in humans in large quantities is sparse aside from several anecdotal
reports of side effects following oral ingestion. Symptoms may include
ataxia and drowsiness. A case study reported in a recent publication
showed a possible association between repeated topical application
of products containing lavender oil and prepubertal gynecomastia (abnormal
breast development in young boys). The study involved just three
individuals. All three cases included the use of lavender oil. In one of the
three cases, a product was used that contained lavender as well as tea
tree oil, and other ingredients. The prepubertal gynecomastia reversed
after discontinuing use of products containing lavender oil. In the same
paper, results from cell culture assays indicated that both essential oils exhibit
weak estrogenic activity. Researchers indicated that other components
in these products may also have contributed to the gynecomastia, but
those components were not yet tested. Researchers also noted that estrogenic
activities have also been reported for many other commonly used essential
oils. [1]
Occasionally, people may have allergic reactions to tea tree oil, ranging from
mild contact dermatitis to severe blisters and rashes. Undiluted tea tree
oil may cause skin irritation, redness, blistering, and itching. Tea tree oil
should not be taken internally, even in small quantities. It can cause impaired
immune function, diarrhea, and potentially fatal central nervous system
depression (excessive drowsiness, sleepiness, confusion, coma). The tea
tree oil in commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes is generally considered
to be acceptable because it is not swallowed. Avoid homemade tea
tree oil mouthwashes. Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms
of overdose: excessive drowsiness, sleepiness, poor coordination, diarrhea,
vomiting. Don‟t use tea tree oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Keep
tea tree oil out of the reach of children and pets. [3]

Personal Protection: [4]

Respiratory Protecion:
• Do not breath vapors.
• Mechanical exhaust required.
• In confined or poorly ventilated areas, the use of an appropriate respiratory
protection may be required.

Hand Protection:
• Compatible chemical-resistant gloves are recommended.
• Wash contaminated gloves before reuse.

Eye Protection:
• Chemical safety goggles are recommended.
• Wash contaminated goggles before reuse.

Body Protection:
• Light protective clothing recommended.
• Wash contaminated clothing before reuse.

Hygiene Measures:
• Avoid inhalation and contact with skin and eyes.
• Good personal hygiene practices should be used.
• Wash after any contact, before breaks and meals, and at the end of the work
• Safety shower and eye bath recommended.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Tree_Oil_(Melaleuca_Oil)
2. http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article2308729.ece
3. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/TeaTreeOil.htm
4. http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/msds/md100447.html


Asia Pacific
Australia to adopt more international standards
A report into Standards Australia released by the Productivity Commission
has recommended more organisations to be accredited to develop Australian
Standards, as well as the adoption of more international standards. The
report made the series of recommendations, while still recognizing the
challenges the standards body faces. John Tucker, CEO at Standards
Australia said that the Productivity Commission had acknowledged that
Standards Australia has already produced a significant plan to address
the key issues of concern. “Many recommendations, including increased
partnership arrangements, greater emphasis on project management and
better use of technology, were already part of the reforms being undertaken
by Standard Australia,” he said. “An important role in the future will be
the continued accreditation of other organisations to develop Australian
standards. Standards Australia does not, must not and should not be seen
as having a monopoly on developing industry and community standards.”
The key recommendations of the report included: Standards Australia
continuing as Australia‟s peak non-government standards development body;
continued adoption of international standards ahead of Australian standards,
wherever appropriate; increased transparency of the justification of new
or amended standards; maintaining or increasing current federal funding
for consumer and industry involvement in international standardization
activities; reducing the barriers to volunteer participation by reducing the
cost of involvement.
Safety Solutions Magazine, Feb/Mar 2007 Vol. 4/No.8

Published Notice of Introduction of a Pilot Study on New
Chemicals Screening Framework and Refund Policy
On 6 February 2007, a notice was published in the Australian Government
Gazette: The Notice of Introduction of a Pilot Study on New Chemicals
Screening Framework and Refund Policy. The proposed new screening
procedures lay out a clear and transparent refund structure where an
application is withdrawn or returned prior to the assessment being completed,
and is based on the stage of the assessment at the time of withdrawal or
rejection of the application.
Enhesa Update, February 2007
Victoria: Published alert on protection from hazardous

Substances formed during industrial processes
On 23 January 2007, an alert on the protection from hazardous substances
formed during industrial processes was published. The purpose of the Alert
is to highlight the responsibility of employers to the potential of exposure to
Hazardous Substances, which may be formed as intermediates, by-products
or consequential wastes during industrial processes.
Enhesa Update, February 2007

Lawmakers renew call for single food safety agency
With the reintroduction of the Safe Food Act, the effort to consolidate food
safety oversight gained momentum. The legislation that was introduced
by Senator Dick Durbin and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, calls for the
development of a single food safety agency and the standardization of the
nation‟s food safety activities. Initially the legislation was proposed in 2005
and has already attracted support from public health groups. The aim of the
bill is to help protect consumers from food-borne illness by consolidating
the current fragmented and overlapping food-safety system. Under the
current legislation, fifteen federal government agencies are responsible for
food safety monitoring, inspection and labeling functions, including the US
Department of Agriculture (USDA) which oversees meat, poultry and egg
products; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which oversees most
other food products; and the US Commerce Department‟s National Marine
Fisheries Service which inspects fish. Collectively at least 30 laws are
governed by these regulatory bodies. If the new legislation were passed, it
would consolidate the activities of the various federal agencies, which are
currently each responsible for different portions of the nation‟s food supply.
Recently, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) deemed federal
oversight of food safety as “high risk” to the economy and public health
and safety. DeLauro said that the GAO confirmed the federal oversight of
food safety as a high-risk area in need of broad-based transformation to
achieve greater effectiveness and accountability. In the report, it was noted
that the patchwork nature of the federal oversight of food safety calls into
question whether the government can plan more strategically to inspect
food production processes, identify and react more quickly to any food-
borne illness outbreaks.
In addition, the GAO questioned whether the fragmented structure allows
agencies to focus on achieving results to promote the safety and integrity of
the food supply. Durbin and DeLauro said that with so many agencies being
involved, there was a risk of duplication of responsibilities, service gaps
and inconsistencies and confusion about which agency oversees different
types of food. An example of this is the FDA, which has jurisdiction over
frozen cheese pizza, and inspects cheese pizza processors once every 10
years on average. On the other hand, USDA has responsibility over frozen
pepperoni pizza, and inspects such processors daily. In another example,
eggs still in the shell are under the jurisdiction of FDA, while USDA takes
over once the eggs are broken. The new agency that would be created
by the legislation- called the Food Safety Administration - would be the
first of its kind, free from the entanglements of past regulators who have
had to balance food safety with the competing priorities of drug approval
or agriculture promotion,” according to a statement on DeLauro‟s website.
Under the new legislation, the Food Safety Administration would be
responsible for regular, but random, inspection of all food processing plants;
categorized review process for all foods to monitor and inspect them based
on their risk, not their name; increased oversight of imported foods; and
established requirements for tracing foods to point of origin.
Food Navigator.com, 19 February 2007

States seek to ban most common flame retardant
Washington is set to become the first state in the U.S. to ban the most
common form of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame-retardants,
Deca-BDE, which the U.S. EPA lists as a carcinogen. On the opposite side
of the nation, Maine may not be far behind. In Washington the proposed
legislation would phase out the use of Deca-BDEs in computers and other
consumer products by 2011. The bill was introduced in January, marking
the third year that such a ban has been suggested, according to Robert
Duff, director of the state‟s Office of Environmental Health Assessments,
who says that it seems increasingly likely to pass. In addition, the law would
make the state one of a handful that has banned Octa- and Penta-BDEs,
also considered toxic. Deca-BDE replaced these and other discontinued
Environmental Science & Technology, 7 March 2007

EPA Makes Available a Summary of Aquatic Life
Benchmarks for Pesticides
In conjunction with state pesticide and water quality agencies, the EPA‟s Office
of Pesticide Programs (OPP) has been working on the compilation of a chart
of “benchmarks” that states can use to guide their water quality monitoring
efforts. These results are now available: an online summary of aquatic life
benchmarks taken from pesticide specific ecological risk assessments.
These benchmarks can be used by states to help them target any water
monitoring they may intend to undertake and, in doing so, increase the
efficiency of regulatory processes that protect aquatic environments. Aquatic
life benchmarks are estimates of the concentrations below which pesticides
are not expected to have the potential for adverse effects on aquatic life.
These benchmarks can be used as indicators of potential hazard to aquatic
life, but they are not detailed toxicity and risk assessments. Concentrations
of pesticides in streams or groundwater that exceed benchmarks indicate
that further work needs to be done to gather more detailed information and to
conduct a risk assessment to characterize the likelihood of adverse effects
on aquatic life in a given locality. These benchmarks have been developed
from standardized tests that measure the toxicity of an individual pesticide
or metabolite to fish, aquatic plants, or aquatic invertebrates. Comparing
a measured concentration of a pesticide in water with an aquatic life
benchmark provides an initial perspective on the relevance of the pesticide
concentration to environmental health and can be used to identify and
prioritize sites and pesticides that may require further investigation. Aquatic
life benchmarks for 71 pesticides or degradation products can be found at:
Further benchmarks on additional pesticides are expected to be available
periodically. Users of these benchmarks are encouraged to explore more
detailed information on specific studies (referenced on the Web site above)
from which these benchmarks were derived.
EPA Pesticides Update, 7 March 2007

FDA: Warning to asthmatic patients of serious allergic
reactions after treatment with Xolair
According to the FDA, new reports of serious and life-threatening allergic
reactions (anaphylaxis) in patients after treatment with Xolair have been
received. Usually these reactions occur within two hours of receiving a
Xolair subcutaneous injection. However, these new reports include patients
who had delayed anaphylaxis-with onset two to 24 hours or even longer-
after receiving Xolair treatment. Anaphylaxis may occur after any dose of
Xolair (including the first dose), even if the patient had no allergic reaction
to the first dose. Health care professionals who administer Xolair should be
prepared to manage life-threatening anaphylaxis and should observe their
Xolair-treated patients for at least two hours after Xolair is given. Patients
under treatment with Xolair should be fully informed about the signs and
symptoms of anaphylaxis, their chance of developing delayed anaphylaxis
following Xolair treatment, and how to treat it when it occurs. Genentech has
been asked to add a boxed warning to the product label and to revise the
label and provide a Medication Guide for patients.
Medwatch Update, 21 February 2007

FDA: Study: Glycemic control using rosiglitazone
Glaxo SmithKline (GSK) has announced the results of a randomized, double-
blind parallel group study [ADOPT] of 4,360 patients with recently diagnosed
type 2 diabetes mellitus followed for 4-6 years to compare glycemic control
with rosiglitazone relative to metformin and glyburide monotherapies. It
showed that significantly more female patients who received rosiglitazone
experienced fractures of the upper arm, hand, or foot, than did female
patients who received either metformin or glyburide. At GSK‟s request, an
independent safety committee reviewed an interim analysis of fractures in
another large; ongoing; controlled clinical trial and preliminary analysis was
reported as being consistent with the observations from ADOPT. Healthcare
professionals should consider the risk of fracture when initiating or treating
female patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with rosiglitazone.
Medwatch Update, 21 February 2007


Europe tightens CO2 standards
Europe has announced two proposed directives to control CO2 emissions
from cars. In the past 15 years, transport is the only sector in Europe to
record a dramatic increase in CO2 emissions. The European Commission
(EC) has responded with two new proposals to tackle the problem. The first
proposal will force carmakers to cut CO2 emissions from new cars by 18%
by 2012. Carmakers would be responsible for getting emissions down to
130 grams of CO2 per kilometer (g/km) through technology improvements.
Ultimately, the EC wants to bring emissions down to 120 g/km by 2012-25%
below the 2005 level. It says the additional reduction is possible through
increased use of biofuels, better tires, and measures to ensure drivers
change gears at the right time. The second proposal, which updates a fuel-
quality directive from 1998, outlines new fuel-quality standards that aim to
achieve, by 2020, a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions throughout the whole
product life cycle. Overall, this should prevent emission of about 500 million
metric tons of CO2. Furthermore, the proposal contains two additional
measures due to take effect in 2009: cuts by one-third in sulfur emissions
and PAHs from diesel. The proposed standards would allow increased
blending with biofuels, including up to 10% ethanol. These measures are
awaiting approval by the European Parliament. Legislation based on these
proposals is unlikely to be drafted until 2008.
Environmental Science & Technology News, 28 February 2007

Belarus: New rules for carrying out activities of
New rules for carrying out pharmaceutical activities in Belarus have been
approved by the Ministry of Health. The new requirements came into force on
3 February 2007. The rules “Appropriate Pharmaceutical Practice” prescribe
procedures for making medicines, control over quality, period of validity,
packing and marking, storage conditions, as well as sale of medicines.
The rules established five categories of pharmacies and requirements for
location and functioning of pharmacies of each category.
Journal Chemicals Management, February 2007

Safe food and healthy environment - the future of
pesticides and plant protection in the EU.
On 5 March, the Socialist Group organized a Public Hearing on Pesticides,
titled “ Safe food and healthy environment - the future of plant protection
in the EU”. The aim of the hearing was to discuss the various aspects of
the topic with experts from different backgrounds (environment, industry,
agriculture, sciences and consumer protection). Two panels will provide a
forum for specialists to present their positions and enter into an exchange
of opinions. The use of pesticides has been regulated for a long time in
most Member States. Despite efforts to minimise the risks of pesticide use
and to avoid adverse effects, certain quantities of pesticides can still be
found in both in soil and groundwater. Residues beyond established limits
can also be detected in agricultural products. In order to resolve these
problems, the Commission presented a “pesticide package” consisting
of three components. The proposal aims at reducing, as far as possible,
or eliminating existing threats to human health and the environment by a
variety of measures, such as research into and development of less harmful
alternative substances. The main promoter of this Hearing, Danish MEP
and PES shadow rapporteur on the pesticides package, Dan Jorgensen,
has emphasized the significance of this meeting as “the discussion of the
Commission proposal and its consequences will also help to elaborate a
common PES position on pesticides”. “Pesticides - Jorgensen adds - pose
a health risk for users, residents and consumers and can lead to acute
or chronic health damage. Environmental contamination by pesticides can
also have negative effects on flora and fauna and cause biodiversity losses.
This is the reason why the Socialist Group welcomes this new common
legislation and organizes this hearing in order to attend to what professionals
and affected sectors have to contribute in order to improve the situation”.
PSE News, 28 February 2007

EU agency sets food safety agenda for year
Risk assessment research into nanotechnology and marine biotoxins are
some of the areas the European Food Safety Authority plans to target this
year. Details of the plans for the year are outlined in the management plan
published by the agency. The plan sets the agenda for food safety research
and investigations by EFSA, allowing processors an insight into new areas
of concern for the EU agency. Since EFSA was founded in 2002, EU
legislation has put greater responsibilities and tasks at its door. Such tasks
include extensive work on maximum residue levels of pesticides, plant pest
risk analysis, nutrition and health claims. With regard to new or emerging
areas of food safety analysis, EFSA wants to establish new scientific panels
and group of experts to advise it on a number of what it says are priority
projects for the year. These include a risk assessment of nanoparticles, an
emerging technology in the food and food packaging segments. In addition,
EFSA want to work on is establishing detection methods for relevant marine
biotoxins. Risk assessments of morphine exposure through the consumption
of poppy seeds used in food products, are also planned.
Another priority area will be to harmonise methodologies and approaches
for the collection and analysis of data on microbiological and chemical
contamination in food and feed. EFSA is seeking to harmonise risk
assessment approaches across EU regulators, and to establish a database
of national experts on a variety of research areas. In the area of food
additives, flavourings, processing aids and food contact materials EFSA
plans to establish guidelines for the recycling of plastics, for substances for
use in active and intelligent food contact materials.
EFSA also plans to develop guidelines to help companies when they submit
research dossiers on food enzymes for analysis by the agency‟s scientific
panels. The guidelines anticipate the passage of proposed legislation that
would regulate food enzymes. Request to review and update previous
opinions on the safety of irradiation used as a food safety measure have
also been received by EFSA. Legislators have requested that safety of the
exposure from all food sources of aluminium be considered following the
reduction of maximum levels by a joint Food and Agriculture Organisation
and World Health Organisation expert committee on food additives. An panel
on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies will focus on providing scientific
advice requested by EU regulation on nutrient profiles and on nutrition and
health claims made on foods. In addition, the panel will continue to work
on establishing nutrient based recommendations for the EU. It will also
carry out a risk assessment of allergen derivatives for labelling purposes,
and an assessment of dietary foods such as infant formula. Another panel
responsible for evaluating packaging that comes into contact with foods will
continue this work. EFSA said it will concentrate on evaluating substances
authorised for use at a national level but not yet analysed according to the
agency‟s guidelines. Furthermore, the panel will complete a re-evaluation of
food additives, food colours, and substances for use in food supplements and
infant foods. It will also evaluate chemically defined flavouring substances,
among other work.
Nutra Ingredients, 20 February 2007

Pros and cons of PVC in buildings revisited
A report on 6 March 2007, found that the European PVC industry welcomed
a US study that had concluded that the polymer‟s environmental impact
was “like that of any other materials” This interpretation was the European
industry‟s own and not the wording used in the study itself. The report has
been interpreted differently by American environmentalists. In a statement
released on 27 February, NGO the Healthy Building Network stated that
the report “makes clear that PVC is not a healthy building material”. The
conflicting interpretations make it interesting to look again at the report
itself. It was put together by the US green building council in response to
proposals for special credits to avoid the use of PVC. To explore the basis
for such credits it set out to test whether PVC is “consistently among the
worst” material in terms of environmental and health impacts. To do this it
applied risk assessment and life-cycle assessment techniques to PVC and
other materials used in four applications: window frames, pipes, siding and
resilient flooring. The results are complex, but USGBC‟s overall conclusion
is that “no single material shows up as the best...nor as the worst”. In
terms of environmental impacts, PVC emerged relatively favourably (our
It performed “better than several material alternatives studied” in three
applications and worst only in one. PVC emerged less favourably than other
materials (our interpretation) in terms of health impacts, though the picture
is complex. If life-cycle assessments covered only production and use,
PVC “performs better than some alternatives”, the report concludes. But
if the scope includes waste treatment, including backyard burning, PVC is
“consistently among the worst materials studied”. If occupational exposure
is also included PVC “remains among the worst”. PVC moves up the ranking
if end-of-life emissions are reduced. Policies to prohibit backyard burning
and reduce landfill fires would mean PVC once more performed better than
some alternatives in three of the four applications, the report concludes.
Regarding resilient flooring, however, PVC emerges consistently as among
the worst material. Sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles are worst for cancer-related
impacts and are joint worst with linoleum for all health impacts combined.
Sheet vinyl (but not vinyl tiles) is worst in all environmental impact categories
except eutrophication.
ENDS Europe Daily, 9 March 2007
NGOs argue for stricter EU pesticide curbs
At a workshop at the European parliament, NGO‟s renewed calls for tighter
EU controls on pesticides, particularly to protect vulnerable groups. Health
and Environment Alliance and Pesticides Action Network Europe organized
the meeting in an effort to influence ongoing discussions to revise EU
pesticides policy. Speakers at the meeting included Roberto Bertollini of the
World health organisation and Phillipe Grandjean of Harvard and Southern
Denmark universities, who recently suggested the existence of a “silent
epidemic” of neurodevelopmental problems in children linked to exposure
to chemicals including several pesticides. Other speakers recited evidence
and ongoing studies pointing to potential links between pesticides exposure
and acute and chronic illnesses including allergies, asthma, several types of
cancer and Parkinson‟s disease. Responding for pesticide manufacturers,
Philip Botham of Syngenta argued that some of the evidence cited was
misleading and failed to adequately take into account confounding risk
factors. The European crop protection association (Ecpa) claims that the
European Commission‟s proposals already raise the bar for approval of
many pesticides. It is particularly worried at NGOs‟ demand for hazard-based
“cut-off criteria” to be introduced. NGOs would like this to apply especially
for substances that are known or suspected carcinogenic, mutagenic and
reproductive toxins (CMRs) and those that are persistent, bioaccumulative
and toxic (PBT). A European commission official indicated that the EU
executive would be sympathetic to making clear in the legislation that a
key aim is to protect vulnerable populations. NGOs are calling for a ten-fold
reduction in “acceptable daily intake” and other thresholds to protect such
groups. Furthermore they would like member states to commit to quantified
targets to cut pesticides use to reduce overall exposure and a clearer push
for substitution of hazardous substances.
ENDS Europe Daily, 8 March 2007

Dutch copper-based paint ban “not scientific”
According to the EU‟s scientific committee on health and environmental risks
(Scher), the Dutch government has failed to provide sufficient evidence to
justify a proposed ban on copper-based antifouling paint for leisure boats.
The European Commission asked the committee for its opinion on an
environmental risk assessment submitted by the government following
notification of the ban in 2003. Since this time, the ban has been in dispute. In
an opinion released by the Scher committee concluded that the assessment
was not “scientifically sound” enough and failed to show that the product
posed significant environmental risks. In addition, opinions were released
by Scher on two EU risk assessments on priority substances carried out
under the bloc‟s “existing chemicals” review scheme. The first assessment
was on the use of refrigerant gas chlorodifluoromethane, also known as
HCFC- 22. Scher agreed that the gas has very low potential for toxicity after
inhalation and is not irritating or corrosive to skin. The other assessment
was on methenamine, which was backed by Scher. Methenamine is a
compound with very high water solubility used to manufacture products
including adhesives, coatings and pharmaceutics. However, it highlighted
insufficient data regarding exposure in aquatic environments, particularly
degradation in water.
ENDS Europe Daily, 6 March 2007

REACH‟s Impacts
According to a new report, REACH, Europe‟s new chemical regulation will
increase business risk for industry. “Duty of care” obligations must be high
on the agenda of companies producing or importing chemicals-or even
products containing chemicals-under provisions of the European Union‟s
new REACH legislation for the registration, evaluation, and authorization of
chemicals. This is one of the conclusions reached in a report by the European
offices of Marsh, a risk and insurance services firm. The study outlines the
increased business risks that come with REACH, which will be in force on 1
June 2007. REACH, which covers more than 100,000 chemical substances
used in the EU, is expected to cost the chemical industry $3 billion over 11
years. Its direct impacts are clear, the report notes. Any company active
in the EU that either supplies chemicals in the EU or has chemical-related
investments in the EU will have to comply with it. In addition, the report
outlines the indirect impacts of the legislation, including that if testing costs
are too high, chemicals may be withdrawn or restricted, thereby triggering
product reformulation and reengineering. Moreover, REACH‟s “duty of care”
obligations will affect the entire supply chain of manufacturers, importers,
downstream users, and distributors, says Christopher Bryce, Marsh‟s
industry practice leader for chemicals and life sciences in Europe. These
provisions require firms to communicate use and exposure data to people
working with chemicals and to keep records for 10 years after a product
is last used. Bryce says companies “need to evaluate how they may be
affected by the REACH regulation, understand what the risks are, and
decide on the action they should be taking to ensure that they can comply
with the wide obligations that REACH will impose.”
Chemical & Engineering News, 12 March 2007


International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC):
Ingested nitrate or nitrite
Ingested nitrate or nitrite under conditions that result in endogenous
nitrosation is probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). The underlying
mechanism is endogenous nitrosation, which in the case of nitrate must be
preceded by reduction to nitrite. Nitrate and nitrite are interconvertible in vivo.
Nitrosating agents that arise from nitrite under acidic gastric conditions react
readily with nitrosatable compounds, especially secondary amines and alkyl
amides, to generate N-nitroso compounds. Many N-nitroso compounds are
Journal Chemicals Management, February 2007

Janet’s Corner - Not Too Seriously!

A lady walked into a drugstore and told the pharmacist she needed
some cyanide right away. The pharmacist naturally was concerned by
such a request and asked, “Why in the world do you need cyanide?”
The lady then explained that she needed it to poison her husband. The
pharmacist‟s eyes got big and he said, “I can‟t give you cyanide to kill your
husband! That‟s against the law! I‟ll lose my license. They‟ll throw both of
us in jail and all kinds of bad things will happen! Absolutely not - you cannot
have any cyanide!”
The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in
bed with the pharmacist‟s wife. The pharmacist looked at the picture and
replied, “Well, now...you didn‟t tell me you had a prescription.”

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


Genes Affecting Susceptibility To Parkinson‟s Following
Exposure To Weed Killer Identified
A new study by researcher at the University of Alabama has discovered why
some people appear to have a higher risk of developing Parkinson‟s disease
following exposure to a widely used chemical weed killer. The study pinpoints
three genes within animal models, which influence how susceptible they
are to developing a Parkinson‟s disease-like movement disorder, said Dr.
Janis O‟Donnell, a co-author of the research and a professor of biological
sciences at The University of Alabama. “We found these genes do affect how
susceptible these individuals are,” O‟Donnell said. “Our hope is we can use
this observation to discover other genes that might be influencing how these
models, or human beings, might be more or less susceptible to these toxic
agents.” The researchers focused on select genes that were responsible for
dopamine synthesis and the release of dopamine from brain cells. The genes
identified include those that regulate tetrahydrobiopterin, a compound that is
required to make dopamine, as well as those involved directly in dopamine
synthesis. O‟Donnell and her colleagues studied these genes following the
animal model‟s exposure to the chemical paraquat, an herbicide commonly
used throughout the world. Previous research had found links between
elevated rates of Parkinson‟s within particular agricultural communities. “It
was thought that paraquat might be the causative agent,” O‟Donnell said,
“because the chemical structure of paraquat looks a lot like dopamine, and
perhaps it might confuse the cells. However, not everybody that lives in
these communities gets Parkinson‟s.
What is it that‟s different about different individuals that would alter their
susceptibility?” The answer now appears, at least in part, to lie within these
genes identified by the UA researchers. During the study, the researchers
used fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, which share with humans, and
other mammals, many biochemical similarities, particularly in regard to
chemicals produced within their brain cells. Within the fly‟s brain is a distinct
type of neurotransmitter, dopamine. Each fly has about 200 neurons within
its brain that produce dopamine. The human brain, by contrast, has billions
of neurons. The simplicity of the fly‟s brain lends itself to manageable
tracing of experimental impacts on specific neurons. Yet, there are enough
similarities in these animals to make them an acceptable model for studying
human disease. “The flies have dopamine neurons, and these dopamine
neurons function much like they do in higher organisms,” O‟Donnell said.
“Dopamine controls your movement, and it controls the fly‟s movement. One
of the reasons we study the dopamine pathways in the flies is because
the genes involved in this process, the proteins involved, the enzymes that
make these chemicals, are virtually identical in human beings and in fruit
flies.” In Parkinson‟s disease, neurons in the brain that make dopamine
die. Recently, genes associated with some cases of Parkinson‟s have been
identified, but the root cause of most Parkinson‟s disease is currently not
known. The disease is characterized by rigid and tremoring limbs, difficulty
in movement, and impaired reflexes.
Specialized microscopes were used by the UA researchers to analyse the
flies‟ brains after the models had ingested low concentrations of paraquat.
The results showed that within 12 hours, dopamine neurons within particular
regions of the brain began dying. Within 24 hours, many of the dopamine
neurons were gone. “Part of our study was to show that it seems to be,
initially at least, specifically those neurons that paraquat impacts and not
that it‟s just a generic cell killer. Later, all kinds of cells are impacted.” In
addition, visual observation of the flies demonstrated the impact of paraquat.
After ingesting paraquat, the flies began to tremor. They moved slowly, if at
all. “These animals are developing symptoms that almost precisely parallel
most of the symptoms that doctors find in Parkinson‟s patients.” This was
not the only linked between the effects of the disease in humans and the
flies. “Men seem to be about twice as susceptible to Parkinson‟s disease, as
women are,” O‟Donnell said. “We were amazed to find that we see exactly
the same effect in male fruit flies. The male fruit flies show symptoms earlier
and die more rapidly than the females did-which means, perhaps, that
we can exploit this system to help us understand why this discrepancy is
there. The researcher said that they did not expect to see this degree of
parallel. Another surprising find came in how mutating genes impacted the
experiment‟s results. “Under certain conditions, dopamine can react to the
extent where it becomes damaging to some of the cell structures.
We think of these dopamine neurons as being more susceptible to this kind
of damage, called oxidative damage, because they have more dopamine.”
However, in the study, flies with a mutated gene that made too little dopamine
became very susceptible to paraquat while mutants who made too much
dopamine were resistant. In some cases, flies with a particular mutated
gene showed no neuron damage despite ingesting the paraquat. “That‟s
exciting because it tells us that perhaps there are ways to exploit this, to
identify different ways that people could be treated to help slow down the
progress of this disease. By the time you discover a person has Parkinson‟s
disease, they have lost so many neurons, it‟s almost impossible to reverse
the trend. If you could predict it in advance, perhaps there would be some
sort of therapy that could be applied to help protect those individuals.” “The
importance to me,” O‟Donnell said of the study, “is that it is setting the stage
for a more detailed study of how all these genes interact together. There
is so much that we don‟t know yet about how the genes are functioning in
particular parts of the brain and how they interact with the environment.
We‟re interested to know if there are other important genes that are helping
to regulate this, and, if there are, those would be possible targets that human
geneticists would be interested in investigating.”
Science Daily, 7 March 2007

A drug to fend off radiation
A discovery by researchers may see the development of a drug to protect
emergency workers attending the scene of a “dirty bomb” or nuclear
blast. Often, those exposed to radioactive material die a week following
the exposure, of acute radiation syndrome, which causes the blood cells
essential for clotting and fighting infection to die off. These bone marrow
cells killed by the radiation cannot be replaced and there is currently no
preventative treatment available. Now, a new study by researcher at
Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals, in San Diego, California has found that 5-
androstenediol (AED), an adrenal gland hormone that stimulates the marrow
cell growth, can cut the death rate among monkeys exposed to 6 grays of
radiation, which is usually enough to kill 32 percent of them, to 12 percent.
This works mainly by boosting the platelets.
During the study, the researchers gave 40 monkeys intramuscular injections
of AED 4 hours after the exposure and then once daily for five days. No
other treatment such as blood transfusions were administered. The
results indicated that AED, which had already passed initial safety tests in
humans, may even protect victims of a blast in administered quickly enough
following the exposure. The government is planning to award a contract
for the treatment of acute radiation syndrome later in the month under the
revamped Bioshield fund for civilian defenses against chemical, biological
and nuclear threats.
New Scientist Magazine, 3 March 2007

Cancer-causing Compound Can Be Triggered By
Vitamin C
According to researchers, chromium 6 can be toxic in tiny doses. The
researchers from Brown University uncovered the unlikely culprit: vitamin
C. In a new study, the team shows that when vitamin C reacts with even low
doses of chromium 6 inside human cells, it creates high levels of cancer-
causing DNA damage and mutations. Brown University researchers have
discovered that naturally occurring vitamin C reacts inside human lung
cells with chromium 6, or hexavalent chromium, and causes massive DNA
damage. Low doses of chromium 6, combined with vitamin C, produce up to
15 times as many chromosomal breaks and up to 10 times more mutations
- forms of genetic damage that lead to cancer - compared with cells that
lacked vitamin C altogether. Anatoly Zhitkovich, an associate professor of
medical science at Brown who oversaw the experiments said that these
results were surprising. Outside cells, Zhitkovich said, vitamin C actually
protects against the cellular damage caused by hexavalent chromium. In
fact, vitamin C has been used as an antidote in industrial accidents and
other instances when large amounts of chromium are ingested. As vitamin
C is a powerful antioxidant, it has the ability to block cellular damage from
free radicals. Specifically, the vitamin rapidly “reduces,” or adds electrons,
to free radicals, converting them into harmless molecules. This electron
transfer from vitamin C to chromium 6 produces chromium 3, a form of the
compound that is unable to enter cells. However, what happens inside the
cell was unknown, as vitamin C isn‟t found in cells grown in a lab. Zhitkovich
and his team conducted experiments using human lung cells supplemented
with vitamin C.
They found that in the presence of vitamin C, chromium reduction has a very
different effect. Cellular vitamin C acted as a potent toxic amplifier, sparking
significantly more chromosomal breaks and cellular mutations. “When we
increased the concentration of vitamin C inside cells, we saw progressively
more mutations and DNA breaks, showing how seemingly innocuous
amounts of chromium can become toxic,” Zhitkovich said. “For years,
scientists have wondered why exposure to small amounts of hexavalent
chromium can cause such high rates of cancer. Now we know. It‟s vitamin
C.” Hexavalent chromium has many uses including to plate metals and
to make paints, dyes, plastics and inks. In addition, it is an anticorrosive
agent and added to stainless steel, which releases hexavalent chromium
during welding. Hexavalent chromium causes lung cancer and is found in
40 percent of Superfund sites nationwide. The findings from this latest study
may have policy implications. When combined with vitamin C, chromium 6
caused genetic damage in cells in doses four times lower than current federal
standards, Zhitkovich said. If additional research backs these findings, he
said federal regulators might want to lower exposure standards. Zhitkovich
is part of a major Brown research initiative, the Superfund Basic Research
Program, which addresses the health and environmental concerns created
by hazardous waste contamination. As part of this program, funded by the
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Zhitkovich is conducting
basic research that may result in a medical test that assesses DNA damage
from hexavalent chromium. Science Daily, 12 March 2007

Sweaty hazard
A new study has found that sweat can carry the hepatitis B virus, raising
concerns that wrestlers with the virus may spread the virus to others via cuts
and wounds. Selda Berket-Yucel from Celal Bayar University in western
Turkey said, “My recommendation is that testing for hepatitis B should be
compulsory at the start of every competitor‟s career.” During the study, the
researcher found a latent virus in the blood of 9 out of 70 male Olympic
wrestlers that were screened. In addition, virus particles were found in the
sweat of 8 of these wrestlers, although it is yet to be shown that sweat can
transmit the virus. Berket-Yucel suggests that wrestlers should be vaccinated
against the virus.
New Scientist Magazine, 3 March 2007

Vegetable Soup Chemical Reactions
A new study has suggested that chemists working in developing countries
may be able to substitute extracts of potatoes, celery, eggplant, carrot,
cassava, horseradish or an array of inexpensive and locally available
vegetable products for the costly reagents traditionally needed for chemical
reactions in order to get around budget restraints. Geoffrey A. Cordell at
the University of Illinois at Chicago and colleagues in Brazil explain that the
high cost of imported reagents - substances used in chemical reactions - is
a major problem for such academic, chemical industry and pharmaceutical
laboratories in developing countries. In their study, they examined how
some of the more than 7,000 vegetable crops grown throughout the world
can be used as substitutes for commercial reagents in laboratory work. “The
evaluation of locally available vegetables, fruits, common plants, and natural
waste products for a selection of standard organic chemical reactions of
commercial significance could prove to be a very valuable economic
endeavor,” the report notes. “It may well offer new opportunities to expand
the role of natural products as sustainable chemical reagents where high-
cost, nonrenewable reagents are presently used.”
Science Daily, 7 March 2007

Ivory Coast toxic waste death toll climbs to 15
Ivory Coast officials have confirmed the deaths of five more people exposed
to the toxic waste dumped at Abidjan last August. These deaths take the
death toll to 15. Following the removal of slops from a tanker chartered by
international oil trader, Trafigura, thousands of people fell ill with breathing
difficulties, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The slops were dumped mainly
at open-air sites in the densely populated city. Transfigura have denied that
they have done anything wrong and have said that it had entrusted the
waste to a registered Ivorian company but agreed a 100 billion CFA ($200
million) settlement with the West African state, which ended legal action
the government was pursuing. “The death toll of victims of the toxic waste
...is rising. The latest figures tell of 15 deaths caused by this waste,” said
a statement from the prime minister‟s office. The five deaths, the latest of
which occurred last November, were not initially included in the toll because
most had died at home making it more difficult to establish the cause of
death than with the first 10 who died in hospital, the statement said.
French hazardous waste specialists - Tredi International- have now collected
most of the waste, which has been shipped to France for processing. The
Ivorian government will use most of the settlement payment to pay for the
clean-up and medical care for tens of thousand people who sought medical
treatment after the waste was dumped. Two Trafigura executives who had
been imprisoned in Ivory Coast and faced charges of violating the country‟s
toxic waste and poisoning laws, were freed the following day. Opposition
politicians, rights groups and victims‟ associations have denounced the deal,
which they say, was signed without their consultation and they question its
legality. A British court agreed earlier this month to hear a class action case
brought against Trafigura by law firm Leigh Day & Co which is seeking cash
compensation for what it estimates are around 4,000-5,000 people who
were hurt by the waste. The firm says the case will proceed until victims are
paid the full value of their compensation claims for ill health they suffered
from exposure to fumes from the waste.
Reuters Alertnet, 17 February 2007

Mercury Contamination Of Fish Warrants Worldwide
Public Warning
According to the findings of “The Madison Declaration on Mercury Pollution”,
the health risks posed by mercury contaminated fish is sufficient to warrant
issuing a worldwide general warning to the public, especially children and
women of childbearing age, to be careful about how much and which fish
they eat. “The Madison Declaration on Mercury Pollution” was developed
at the Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant
last August in Madison, Wisconsin, the declaration is a synopsis of the
latest scientific knowledge about the danger posed by mercury pollution.
It presents 33 principal findings from five synthesis papers prepared by the
world‟s leading mercury scientists. The declaration and supporting papers
summarize what is currently known about the sources and movement of
mercury in the atmosphere, the socioeconomic and health effects of mercury
pollution on human populations, and its effects on the world‟s fisheries
and wildlife. The declaration outlined five other major findings including:
On average, three times more mercury is falling from the sky today than
before the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago as a result of the increasing
use of mercury and industrial emissions; the uncontrolled use of mercury
in small-scale gold mining is contaminating thousands of sites around the
world, posing long-term health risks to an estimated 50 million inhabitants
of mining regions. These activities alone contribute more than 10 percent
of the mercury in Earth‟s atmosphere attributable to human activities today;
little is known about the behavior of mercury in marine ecosystems and
methylmercury in marine fish, the ingestion of which is the primary way most
people at all levels of society worldwide are exposed to this highly toxic
form of mercury; methylmercury exposure now constitutes a public health
problem in most regions of the world; methylmercury levels in fish-eating
birds and mammals in some parts of the world are reaching toxic levels,
which may lead to population declines in these species and possibly in fish
populations as well.
“The policy implications of these findings are clear,” said James Wiener,
a Wisconsin Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin-La
Crosse who served as technical chair for last summer‟s conference. “The
declaration and detailed analyses presented in the five supporting papers
clearly show that effective national and international policies are needed
to combat this global problem.” Wiener said the Madison Declaration
summarizes a year-long effort by many of the world‟s leading mercury
scientists, assembled into four expert panels, to review and synthesize the
major mercury science findings. Every member of all four scientific panels
endorsed the declaration, he said. Wiener added that all 1,150 participants
at the conference were invited to express their confidence in the experts‟
findings, and the vast majority of those who did so agreed with the experts‟
conclusions. Other major findings of the declaration include: Increased
mercury emissions from developing countries over the last 30 years have
offset decreased emissions from developed nations; there is now solid
scientific evidence of methylmercury‟s toxic health effects, particularly to
the human fetus; new evidence indicates that methylmercury exposure
may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly in adult men;
increasing mercury concentrations are now being found in a number
of fish-eating wildlife species in remote areas of the planet. the actual
socioeconomic costs of mercury pollution are probably much greater than
estimated because existing economic analyses don‟t consider mercury‟s
impacts on ecosystems and wildlife; the concentration of methylmercury
in fish in freshwater and coastal ecosystems can be expected to decline
with reduced mercury inputs; however, the rate of decline is expected to
vary among water bodies, depending on the characteristics of a particular
Science Daily, 12 March 2007

Supplement irony
Wasting money on vitamin supplements is one thing. But what if those same
supplements were actually hurting you? That is the question that has been
raised by a study of 68 clinical trials of vitamin supplements on almost a
quarter of a million participants. The findings from the trials suggested that
people who took vitamin supplements were 16 percent more likely to die
than those not taking them within the trial period. In addition, beta-carotence
and vitamin E supplement users were at 7 and 4 percent greater risk
respectively. Christian Gluud of Copenhagen University Hospital and lead
author of the study said, “there is absolutely no benefit from taking these
supplements, and I would recommend people avoid them.” Manufacturers
of the vitamin supplements have claimed that many of the people in the
clinical trials were already sick. “You can‟t expect an antioxidant supplement
to reverse 20 years of chronic smoking,” says Judy Blatman of the Council of
Responsible Nutrition in Washington DC, which represents US supplement
manufacturers. However, Gluud stands by his findings saying that 70 percent
of the participants in the trials were healthy.
New Scientist Magazine, 3 March 2007

Cocoa „Vitamin‟ Health Benefits Could Outshine Penicillin
According to a new study, epicatechin, a compound found in cocoa, has
health benefits so great that it may rival penicillin and anaesthesia in terms
of importance to public health. Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at
Harvard Medical School, said that epicatechin is so important that it should
be considered a vitamin. Hollenberg has spent years studying the benefits
of cocoa drinking on the Kuna people in Panama. He found that the risk of
4 of the 5 most common killer diseases: stroke, heart failure, cancer and
diabetes, is reduced to less then 10% in the Kuna. They can drink up to
40 cups of cocoa a week. Natural cocoa has high levels of epicatechin.
„If these observations predict the future, then we can say without blushing
that they are among the most important observations in the history of
medicine,‟ Hollenberg says. „We all agree that penicillin and anaesthesia are
enormously important. But epicatechin could potentially get rid of 4 of the 5
most common diseases in the western world, how important does that make
epicatechin?... I would say very important‟. Nutrition expert Daniel Fabricant
says that Hollenberg‟s results, although observational, are so impressive
that they may even warrant a rethink of how vitamins are defined.
Epicatechin does not currently meet the criteria. Vitamins are defined as
essential to the normal functioning, metabolism, regulation and growth of
cells and deficiency is usually linked to disease. At the moment, the science
does not support epicatechin having an essential role. But, Fabricant,
who is vice president scientific affairs at the Natural Products Association,
says: „the link between high epicatechin consumption and a decreased
risk of killer disease is so striking, it should be investigated further. It may
be that these diseases are the result of epicatechin deficiency,‟ he says.
Currently, there are only 13 essential vitamins. An increase in the number
of vitamins would provide significant opportunity for nutritional companies
to expand their range of products. Flavanols like epicatechin are removed
for commercial cocoas because they tend to have a bitter taste. So there is
huge scope for nutritional companies to develop epicatechin supplements or
capsules. Epicatechin is also found in teas, wine, chocolate and some fruit
and vegetables.
Science Daily, 12 March 2007

Lipid coating increases uptake of nanotubes
According to a new study, when carbon nanotubes are made water-soluble
with natural lipid layers, they are readily taken up and structurally modified
by daphnids, or water fleas (Daphnia magna). In high concentrations the
nanotubes are toxic to the fleas. Previous studies showed that increased
solubility makes nanotubes persist longer in aqueous environments. However,
at the time the researchers did not test their direct impact living organisms.
Carbon nanotubes are known for their insolubility. However, treatments with
various materials, like surfactants and certain natural polymers, make them
more water loving. During the study, Stephen Klaine of Clemson University
and his colleagues investigated the potential toxicity of water-soluble single-
walled carbon nanotubes by placing different concentrations of lipid-coated
nanotubes in cups of water containing starved daphnids. The researchers
found that as they increased the concentration of the nanotubes, more of
the fleas survived. Without nanotubes, 20% survived, whereas with 0.5
milligrams of nanotubes per liter (mg/L), about 90% survived. Beyond 0.5
mg/L, the fleas began to die and fall to the bottom of the cups. “It was good
for a while,” says Klaine. “And then it became toxic.”
The experiment was repeated using algae in the cups containing the
nanotubes and water fleas. In the presence of algae, nearly 100% of the
fleas survived at all concentrations of nanotubes up to 5 mg/L. The numbers
fell to a little less than 80% at 10 mg/L. The results indicate that the toxicity
of the tubes was from ingestion and that when algae were present, the
daphnids ate more algae and fewer nanotubes. Analysis of the daphnids
under the microscope showed that their guts fill up with nanotubes within
45 minutes to an hour of exposing them to the material. In addition, the
researchers observed that as the fleas gorged on the soluble nanotubes,
a dark precipitate accumulated at the bottom of the cups, just like the kind
that forms when the uncoated, insoluble nanotubes are put in water. Klaine
suggests that the daphnids were swallowing the tubes, stripping the lipid
layer, using it for food, and spitting out the naked nanotubes, thus making
them insoluble once again. A spectrophotometry technique was used to
confirm this suspicion, showing that the black precipitate did indeed have
identical spectral properties to the original, unmodified nanotubes. Taken
together, this meant that not only were daphnids feeding on these tubes but
they were also “drastically modifying” them, says Klaine. Furthermore the
study illustrates the significance of evaluating the environmental impacts
of both coated and uncoated nanomaterials, especially since they have
different solubility‟s , says Klaine.
“The implications are that [a soluble nanoparticles] is moving downstream,” he
points out. This will affect organisms in the water even far away from the site
of release of the nanoparticles. On the other hand, an insoluble nanoparticle
“remains in the sediments. So, entirely different organisms get affected,” he
says. However, the study was not able to identify the mechanism responsible
for these particles killing the water fleas or how the daphnids use the lipid layer
for food, he adds. Ronald Turco, an environmental toxicologist at the Purdue
Climate Change Research Center who studies the environmental impact of
nanomaterials on microbes says that the modification of the nanotubes by the
Daphnia makes for “really interesting findings for the environmental world.”
Until now, the few studies on ecotoxicity of nanoparticles have focused on
the materials themselves. This study “shows that the coating matters,” says
Turco. “We do have to be careful of what we put on the outside more than
[what is] inside.” However, this is not the final word on the environmental
impact of such soluble nanomaterials, caution Klaine and Turco. It is only
the beginning of evaluating their environmental effects. “This is going to lead
us to doing similar work in other organisms,” says Klaine.
Environmental Science & Technology, 7 March 2007

Individual Surface Atoms Identified
For the first time researchers have been able to identify the atoms on
different surfaces. This break through was achieved at room temperature,
using the atomic force microscope (AFM). Scientists use the AFM to
image and manipulate atoms and structures on a variety of surfaces. For
imaging, the surface is scanned with the microscope‟s sharp, vibrating tip
(a microscopic inverted pyramid), which is attached to a flexible cantilever.
The atom at the apex of the tip “senses” individual atoms on the underlying
surface when it forms incipient chemical bonds with them. Because these
chemical interactions subtly alter the tip‟s vibration frequency, they can
be detected and mapped. Physicist ”scar Custance at Osaka University‟s
Graduate School of Engineering, in Japan, and his colleagues now have
exploited the short-range chemical forces acting between the AFM tip and
surface atoms to distinguish between silicon, tin, and lead atoms on an
alloy surface. The trick is to first measure these forces precisely for each
type of atom expected in the sample. The team finds that any given AFM
tip will interact most strongly with silicon atoms and, relative to the tip-
silicon interaction, the tip will interact 23% and 41% less strongly with tin
and lead atoms, respectively. Thus, each type of atom has a distinct force
“fingerprint” that can subsequently be used to identify it. Such discrimination
between different atoms is impossible by simply imaging the atoms, the
researchers point out. Previously, microscopes like the AFM were used to
identify chemical species on surfaces, but only at cryogenic temperatures,
not room temperature. Alexander Shluger, a physicist at the London Centre
for Nanotechnology and University College London, says the work could
have a major impact in surface science, catalysis, and other areas and will
inspire other groups to try the same approach.
Chemical & Engineering News, 5 March 2007

Airborne Pollutants Know No Borders
Scientific evidence is mounting to suggest that gas and aerosol pollutants
are routinely transported by winds across and between continents and
can affect the air and climate of areas far from their source. A study by
researchers in July 2004, observed smoke plumes from forest fires raging
in Alaska and Canada. Satellite images showed trails of smoke as far away
as Europe, Africa, and the Arctic. Scientists studying atmospheric changes
have observed smoke plumes from wildfires in the boreal forests of Alaska
and Canada that were carried as far as parts of Europe, Africa and the
Arctic. Satellite imagery was used to guide field research that used weather
instruments aboard five different aircraft and the ship Ronald H. Brown
to sample the air above North America and the Atlantic Ocean. Hanwant
Singh, project scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, in California‟s
Silicon Valley said, “Our findings are the most extensive characterization of
the North American troposphere to date.” “We investigated the transport and
transformation of gases and aerosols on intercontinental scales. Pollution
plumes from Asia and North America were intercepted and analyzed as they
were transported over the North American continent and the Atlantic.” Singh
led the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment - North America
(INTEX-A) campaign that studied the chemical composition and processes
of atmospheric changes over North America.
Rapid industrialization has been blamed for the changes in atmospheric
composition and climate and the related energy consumption. Fossil
fuels are the main source of energy. Previous studies have shown that air
pollutants from carbon-based fuels include such contaminants as carbon
monoxide, nitrogen oxides and other harmful gases and particles. Any
substance introduced into the atmosphere has the potential to circle the
Earth. In the last decade, field experiments have documented the flow of
air pollutants from the Asian continent to the Pacific Ocean. Typically, the
transport of Asian pollution to North America peaks in spring. However, five
major Asian plumes were observed at lower atmospheric levels crossing
North America in the summer. When plumes were sampled and analyzed,
findings showed fewer human-produced pollutants (such as carbon dioxide)
and more biogenic trace gases, which occur naturally from microbial activity
in soil (such as nitrous oxide and nitric oxide) and wetlands, swamps and
rice paddies (such as methane.) “We found that air quality across the North
American continent was greatly polluted by major fires over Alaska and
Canada and strong winds from Asia,” explained Singh. While pollution flow
into North America from Asia has been recorded, air pollution from North
America has also been observed.
Field research was conducted during the summer months because of
greater sunlight, plant emissions, and the possibility wildfires all contributing
to increased smog. Air samples were collected from air coming across the
Atlantic using four aircraft strategically based in New Hampshire (USA), Faial
(Azores) and Creil (France), each carrying different weather instruments.
Smoke plumes from these wildfires were detected by several satellites and
affected areas thousands of miles away. Smoke reached Europe without
significant removal of particles. Receptor sites along the pathway showed
an increase in ozone and decrease in carbon monoxide in the upper
troposphere over the Atlantic. Furthermore the data showed relatively little
direct Asian influence on ozone over the United States, but a sizable U.S.
influence on Europe‟s ozone. Ozone can be both beneficial and harmful to
life on Earth. In the stratosphere, it prevents most of the harmful ultraviolet
rays from reaching the Earth‟s surface. But in the troposphere, near the
Earth‟s surface, the ozone is a pollutant. Surface ozone forms when nitrogen
oxides and volatile organic compounds react in the presence of sunlight.
Just as Asia‟s pollution influences the air quality over North America, and
North America‟s pollution affects European air, studies also show that ozone
and other oxidants travel to Asia from Europe.
Science Daily, 12 March 2007

Study: Using Ozone-Emitting Air Purifiers Along With
Household Cleaning Products Detrimental to Indoor Air
According to new research by scientist at the University of California, Irvine
(UCI), indoor air purifiers that produce even small quantities of ozone may
actually make the air dirtier when used at the same time as household
cleaning products. The study showed that ozone emitted by purifiers reacts
in the air with unsaturated volatile organic compounds such as limonene
- a chemical added to cleaning supplies that gives them a lemon fragrance
- to create additional microscopic particles. Certain ionic purifiers emit
ozone as a byproduct of ionization used for charging airborne particles and
electrostatically attracting them to metal electrodes. Ozonolysis purifiers
emit ozone at higher levels on purpose with the ostensible goal of oxidizing
volatile organic compounds in the air. “The public needs to be aware that
every air purification approach has its limitation, and ionization air purifiers
are no exception,” said Sergey Nizkorodov, assistant professor of chemistry
at UCI and co-author of the study. “These air purifiers can not only elevate
the level of ozone, a formidable air pollutant in itself, but also increase the
amount of harmful particulate matter in indoor air.” Asthma and cardiovascular
problems can be aggravated by high levels of airborne particles and links
have been identified between higher levels of particles and higher death
and lung cancer rates. Excess ozone can damage the lungs, causing
chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation. During the
study, Nizkorodov and students Ahmad Alshawa and Ashley Russell used a
sparsely furnished office with a floor area of about 11 square meters. They
placed an ozone-emitting air purifier in the middle of the room along with a
large fan to better mix the air.
At timed intervals, limonene vapor was injected in the room. Samples
of the air were taken about one meter from the purifier and analyzed for
ozone and particulate matter levels. Two types of air purifiers were tested,
a commercial ionic purifier that emits about 2 milligrams of ozone per hour,
and an ozonolysis purifier that emits approximately 100 milligrams of ozone
per hour. Continuous operation of the ionic purifier without limonene resulted
in a slight reduction in the average particle concentration, while operation of
the ozonolysis purifier resulted in no detectable effect on the particle level.
When limonene was added to the room, the particle concentration shot up
in both cases, on some occasions up to 100 times the original level. Adding
limonene to the room when a purifier was not operating produced little
change in the overall particle level. In addition, the scientists developed a
mathematical model that precisely matched their experimental observations.
This model can be used to predict whether a given air purifier will make
the air dirtier in a given indoor environment. This data will be important
as the process of regulating indoor air purifiers that emit ozone begins. In
California a bill was passed in September 2006, requiring the California Air
Resources Board to develop regulations that will set emission standards
and procedures for certifying and labeling the devices. “State regulators
should set a strict limit on the amount of ozone produced by air purifiers to
protect the public from exposure to unhealthy ozone and particulate matter
levels,” Nizkorodov said. Previous research by the scientist found that in a
small, poorly ventilated room, an indoor air purifier that produces even a few
milligrams of ozone per hour can create an ozone level that exceeds public
health standards
Environmental Protection News, 1 March 2007

Deca PBDEs not needed in TVs, Maine claims
In a report by Maine‟s Department of Environmental Protection, it has
been recommended that Deca-BDE be banned. Maine should ban the
Deca polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardant in televisions
beginning in 2012, recommends a report by the state‟s Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP). “Televisions account for the majority of
the use of the Deca flame retardant in the U.S.,” explains John James of
the Maine DEP. He notes that Sony, Panasonic, and Philips already offer
TVs that use alternatives to Deca. Legislation was passed in Maine in
2004, banning the more toxic Penta and Octa PBDEs and requiring that
the heavier Deca formulation be banned in 2008 if safer alternatives were
identified. Furthermore, Maine‟s DEP recommended that any mattresses
and upholstered furniture containing Deca be banned in 2008, although the
formulation is not now known to be used in these products.
Environmental Science & Technology, 7 March 2007

Lung Cancer Risk Reduced In Female Textile Workers
Exposed To Endotoxin
The results of a new study have shown that long-term, high-level exposure to
bacterial endotoxin - a contaminant found in raw cotton fiber and cotton dust
- is associated with a 40 percent decrease in lung cancer risk among female
Chinese textile workers. Studies conducted since the 1970‟s have found
evidence of a lower than average risk of lung cancer for textile workers.
Additionally, studies have shown that workers in other occupations with
high endotoxin exposure, such as dairy farmers, have reduced lung cancer
risks as well. Although many researchers hypothesize that endotoxin might
be associated with reduced risk of lung cancer, no previous studies had
quantified the relationship between endotoxin exposure and lung cancer
risk. During the new study conducted by George Astrakianakis, Ph.D.,
of the University of Washington in Seattle, and his colleagues, endotoxin
exposure was compared between 628 female cotton textile workers in
Shanghai who were diagnosed with lung cancer with a group of 3,184
female workers without lung cancer who were matched by age to the cancer
patients. The researchers estimated the workers‟ total endotoxin exposure
in textile factories based on their measurements of cotton dust exposure,
which varied depending on the workers‟ jobs and length of employment.
The risk of developing lung cancer decreased as workers were exposed to
greater amounts of endotoxin over many years. Twenty years of exposure
to endotoxin reduced the incidence of lung cancer to approximately 7.6 per
100,000, compared with 19.1 per 100,000 for the average Shanghai woman.
The risk was lowest for women whose endotoxin exposure occurred early
in their career.
How endotoxins could reduced lung cancer risk remains unclear. “Potential
anticarcinogenic effects of endotoxin are probably mediated by the innate
and acquired immune systems, although the specific mechanisms have yet
to be elucidated,” the authors write. Several other factors that could have
influenced their results were considered. The protective effect of endotoxin
could not be explained by differences in smoking habits, but the authors could
not exclude a potential bias in the study‟s design, which they call the healthy
worker survivor effect. The authors also acknowledge that uncertainties exist
in estimating endotoxin exposures in past years, but the findings remained
virtually unchanged when different exposure scenarios were applied. An
accompanying editorial by Paolo Boffetta, M.D., of the International Agency
for Research on Cancer in France, discusses the importance of this finding
for lung cancer research, but warns that the study‟s limitations make it too
early to consider using endotoxins for lung cancer prevention. “Results of
the study by Astrakianakis [and colleagues] are strongly suggestive that
endotoxin exposure is associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer, but
potential confounding [variables] and lack of strong supportive mechanistic
evidence prevent stronger conclusions,” Boffetta writes. “Great caution
should be exercised by all when moving from the results of observational
studies of the effects of complex mixtures to interventions aimed at cancer
Science Daily, 7 March 2007

Bacteria-Eating Virus Approved as Food Additive
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a mixture of viruses as
a food additive to protect people. The additive can be used in processing
plants for spraying onto ready-to-eat meat and poultry products to protect
consumers from the potentially life-threatening bacterium Listeria monocyto-
genes (L. monocytogenes). The viruses used in the additive are known as
bacteriophages. Bacteriophage means “bacteria eater.” A bacteriophage,
also called a phage, is any virus that infects bacteria. Consuming food
contaminated with the bacterium L. monocytogenes can cause an infectious
disease, listeriosis, which is rarely serious in healthy adults and children, but
can be severe and even deadly in pregnant women, newborns, older people,
and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are about
20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Listeriosis can
cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or death of a newborn baby.
Symptoms of the disease include fever and muscle aches, and sometimes an
upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the nervous
system, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can
occur. It has been estimated that approximately 2,500 people each year
in the U.S. become seriously ill with listeriosis and of these, about 500 die.
Cooking can kill the bacteria, however many ready-to-eat foods, such as
hot dogs, sausages, luncheon meats, cold cuts, and other deli-style meats
and poultry, may become contaminated within the processing plant after
cooking and before packaging. Unlike fresh meat and poultry, the ready-to-
eat products can be consumed without reheating, so the L. monocytogenes
survive and are ingested.
“L. monocytogenescan continue to thrive even in refrigerated conditions,” says
Capt. Andrew Zajac, a food safety expert and acting director of the Division
of Petition Review within the FDA‟s Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition (CFSAN). “If a food product contaminated with L. monocytogenesis
bought by a consumer and brought home and refrigerated, the bacteria
can continue to multiply.” Bacteriophages are found in the environment
and infect only bacteria, says Zajac. “They don‟t infect plant or mammalian
cells.” Thousands of varieties of phages exist, and each one infects only one
type or a few types of bacteria. The particular phages approved as a food
additive are very specific to Listeria, says Zajac. “They‟ll only thrive if Listeria
are present.” The type of phage that was approved is lytic, which means that
the phage destroys its host during its life cycle without integrating into the
host genome. This type of phage works by attaching itself to a bacterium
and injecting its genetic material into the cell. The phage takes over the
metabolic machinery of the bacterium, forcing it to produce hundreds of new
phages and causing the bacterial cell walls to break open. This process
kills the bacterium and releases many new phages, which seek out other
bacteria to invade and repeat the cycle. “The process continues until all
host bacteria have been destroyed,” says Zajac. “Then the bacteriophages
cease replicating. They need a host to multiply and will gradually become
inactive when they lose the host.” In order to receive approval to market a
new food additive, the manufacturer must seek FDA approval. Evidence
must be submitted that the proposed additive performs as it is intended and
will not cause harmful effects when consumed.
If an additive is approved, the FDA issues a regulation that includes information
on the types of foods in which the additive can be used and maximum
amounts to be used. Furthermore, the regulation provides the additive‟s
identity and specifications on purity, which will ensure that the additive used
in food is the same substance that was evaluated and approved by the
FDA. Once a food additive is approved, any company can use the additive,
says Zajac, as long as it meets the conditions in the regulation. In August
2006, the FDA published a regulation permitting the use of a Listeria-specific
bacteriophage preparation on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. The
preparation combines six different phages that have been shown to be
effective against 170 different strains of L. monocytogenes. Multiple phages
are used so that if the L. monocytogenes develop resistance to several
phages, the remaining ones can still destroy the bacteria. Before approval,
the FDA evaluates the safety of the ingredient for its intended use and at
the same time, the USDA evaluates the ingredient‟s suitability. The FDA‟s
food additive regulations define safety as “a reasonable certainty that the
substance is not harmful under the intended conditions of use.” The FDA‟s
CFSAN determined that the phage preparation does not pose any safety
concerns based, in part, on published reports submitted by the petitioner on
the results of the use of phages in animal and human studies. The USDA‟s
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) evaluated the bacteriophage
preparation‟s suitability. “Suitability establishes that the use of a substance
is effective in performing the intended purpose of use and at the lowest
level necessary for particular types of products,” says Robert C. Post, Ph.D.,
director of the FSIS‟ Labeling and Consumer Protection Staff.
In addition, suitability is an assurance that the use of the additive will not
result in a product that is unfit for human consumption (adulterated) or one
that misleads consumers. Consumers would be misled if, for example, the
additive makes a product “appear to be a better value than it actually is
or it masks spoilage,” says Post. The FSIS evaluated data submitted by
manufacturer to ensure suitability for a number of ready-to-eat products, such
as sausages, turkey, soups, stews, hot dogs, bologna, Vienna sausage, and
cooked ham and turkey. The Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry
Products Inspection Act requires that the use of the phage preparation be
declared on labeling as an ingredient. Consumers will see “bacteriophage
preparation” on the label of meat or poultry products that have been treated
with the food additive. If consumers have any concerns about what they‟re
getting at the deli counter, says Post, “they always have the ability to ask for
the label of the product being prepared or sliced to see what it contains.” This
approval marks the first time that the FDA has regulated the use of a phage
preparation as a food additive. Phages are currently approved in the United
States for pesticide applications, such as spraying on crops. Scientists
continue to be interested in other uses for phages, such as to prevent food
products from contamination with other types of harmful bacteria and to act
as possible treatments for bacterial infections in people.
FDA Consumer Magazine, January-February 2007

Childcare centre was on pesticides site
Western Australia is conducting a review of all its childcare centres after
a centre was shut down after it was found to have been built on an old
pesticides site. The Department for Community Development (DCD) in
WA, suspended the license of the Cuddles Child Care Centre in Carlisle,
in Perth‟s east, after being advised the centre was built over an old
pesticides facility owned by pharmaceuticals company Bayer. The state
Health Department said it was told that the site was possibly contaminated
because pesticide containers had been inappropriately disposed of there,
probably in the 1980‟s and early 1990‟s. In an information sheet for parents
on its website, the Health Department said the pesticide residue was later
removed and soil monitoring in 1997 and 1998 showed pesticide levels met
acceptable standards. It is unlikely children have been affected because
the contamination was located at the rear of the old property, not near the
day care centre, the information sheet said. DCD spokesman Mark Glasson
said all the state‟s licensed child care centres will now be checked to make
sure they are not on contaminated sites. “The department ... will in future
ensure that application forms for a childcare centre license will incorporate
questions seeking information about the history of the land on which they
propose to operate,” Mr Glasson said. Mr Glasson said the Cuddles Child
Care Centres company was given permission by the Town of Victoria Park
to build the Carlisle centre in May 2005.
Under local planning requirements, childcare centres are regarded as
commercial developments and require less stringent health checks than
residential developments. Town of Victoria Park spokeswoman Rochelle
Lavery said the Council recently discovered that when Bayer conducted
the clean-up of the site it failed to submit its final report to the Department
of Environment and Conservation (DEC). This meant the clean-up never
received the final tick-off and when the council alerted Bayer to this the
company then submitted its final report to DEC, Ms Lavery said. “I‟m
presuming that there‟s some concern that the processes that were in place
in 1997 are not acceptable now,” Ms Lavery said. Cuddles Management,
which owns the Carlisle Cuddles centre, later released a statement saying
it had no prior knowledge of the site being used by a chemical company
or of any contamination. “How did the town of Victoria Park allow for the
approval of the site with the knowledge of the prior use and why were reports
not audited at this stage?‟‟, Cuddles Management state manager Roberta
Keown asked. The Health Department will now test the site for pesticides
and heavy metals and assess the risk to 70 or more children who were at
the centre.
News.com.au, 16 February 2007

Silicon From Sea Life
In a new study, materials scientists have found a way to convert the unicellular
algae‟s intricate silica exoskeletons into silicon without destroying their
architectural finery. The resulting rococo microstructures could find use in
sensing, optical, and electronic applications, according to Georgia Institute
of Technology‟s Kenneth H. Sandhage, who led the study. The researchers
sealed in the exoskeletons in a steel ampoule along with some magnesium
granules in order to strip the oxygen atoms out of the silica structures. The
apparatus was then heated up to 650oC. That‟s hot enough to generate
magnesium gas, which reduces the silica to elemental silicon. It‟s not so hot,
however, that the silicon becomes volatile, so the glassy cage‟s original shape
remains intact. A bath in hydrochloric acid removes any oxidized magnesium
from the structure, leaving only silicon behind. David J. Norris, a materials
science professor at the University of Minnesota, calls the technique “a
powerful new tool for modifying biologically derived or inspired materials.” In
a commentary that accompanies the report, Norris writes: “Silicon is arguably
the „gold standard‟ among electronic materials, and this approach is akin to
the magic touch of a modern Midas. It should allow a variety of intricate
glass structures, both natural and artificial, to be transformed into silicon.” In
addition, the magnesium-mediated reduction boosts the structures‟ surface
area by introducing a multitude of nanoscale pores. High-surface-area
silicon has potential for use in sensing applications, and Sandhage and
colleagues demonstrate that the reduced diatom shell works well as a nitric
oxide microsensor. Sandhage says his work with diatoms is “something of
a lucky coincidence.” In 1991, he went to Germany on an Alexander von
Humboldt Foundation fellowship and spent some time touring the country
with the other Humboldt fellows by bus. After a while, Sandhage says, he
grew tired of looking at castles and started to chat with bus mate and marine
biologist Monica Schoenwaelder about her work with diatoms. “I had been
making ceramics out of macroscopic silica, but I never thought about doing
it with microscopic structures until then,” Sandhage recalls.
Chemical & Engineering News, 12 March 2007

CSB Final Strategic Plan to Put Emphasis on Greater
Chemical Safety Impact
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board released its Strategic Plan for 2007 to 2012
on 23 February 2007. The strategic plan is a guide in setting priorities and
allocating resources in support of its mission to prevent chemical accidents.
The plan contains a new emphasis on conducting new CSB safety studies
that will include significant safety recommendations. Furthermore, the
board plans to focus on broadly disseminating report findings, lessons, and
recommendations through innovative agency outreach efforts. In the plan, the
CSB establishes five strategic agency goals that it hopes to accomplish over
the next six years. The four mission goals focus on investigating chemical
accidents, conducting safety studies, broadly disseminating agency findings
and successfully closing safety recommendations. The fifth enabling goal
targets the development and retention of a high-performing workforce. This
plan was completely revised during 2006, with a heightened emphasis on
investigations, studies, recommendations and outreach efforts that have
a significant potential to impact chemical safety. Each of these five long-
term strategic goals includes key objectives, key actions for implementation
and associated specific metrics used to measure progress. Chairman
Carolyn W. Merritt said, “Our quality of work and the influence we exert
within industry and the public is a testament to the dedication of our highly
trained and motivated people. As leadership grows within the organization,
the CSB will continue to produce insightful, challenging and influential work
in support of our mission to promote chemical accident prevention.” The
strategic plan must be reviewed and revised every three years according
to the Government Performance Results Act of 1993. The CSB 2007-2012
Strategic Plan details the legislative mandate, agency goals, factors affecting
goal achievement and relationships with other agencies.
Occupational Health 7 Safety News, 26 February 2007


Toxicity and genotoxicity studies of surface and waste
water samples using a bacterial SOS/umu test and
mammalian MTT and comet assay
Surface and wastewaters are complex mixtures that may contain thousands
of different pollutants of different origins (industrial, agricultural and domestic).
Many of them show toxic and/or genotoxic effects and are therefore
potentially hazardous for humans and the environment. The best approach to
evaluate potential toxic/ genotoxic risks of such mixtures is to use biological
test systems with living cells or organisms that give a global response to
the pool of micropollutants present in the sample. In this study the author
evaluated the cytotoxic/genotoxic potential of 51 different water samples
potentially contaminated with pharmaceutical and personal care products
(PPCP). The samples were evaluated for their genotoxic potential with the
bacterial SOS/umu test with Salmonella typhimurium TA1535/pSK1002
and for their cytotoxic potential with mammalian cell based MTT assay
with human hepatoma (HepG2) cells. The results from the present study
confirmed that biological tests are indispensable for the reliable assessment
of cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of surface and waste waters. There is
also a need for chemical analytical characterization of cytotoxic/genotoxic
samples in order to identify and quantify the compounds responsible for the
Authors: Zegura, B.; Heath, E.; Cernosa, A.; Filipic, M.
Full Source: WIT Transactions on Biomedicine and Health 2006,
10(Environmental Toxicology), 159-168 (Eng)

The applicability of biomonitoring data for
perfluorooctanesulfonate to the environmental public
health continuum
Perfluorooctanesulfonate and its salts (PFOS) are derived from
perfluorooctanesulfonyl fluoride used as surfactants and for their repellent
properties. PFOS is highly persistent in the environment and has a long serum
elimination half-life in both animals and humans. In 2000 the 3M Company,
a major manufacturer, announced a phase out of PFOS-related materials.
Animal studies indicate that PFOS is well absorbed orally and distributes
mainly in blood serum and the liver. Several repeat-dose toxicolology studies
in animals consistently demonstrated that the liver is the primary target
organ. Several biomonitoring research needs that have been identified on
PFOS include additional data from general populations pertaining to other
matrixes besides blood; matched serum and urine samples from humans
and research animals; and comparison of whole blood, serum, and plasma
concentrations from the same individuals.
Authors: Butenhoff, John L.; Olsen, Geary W.; Pfahles-Hutchens, Andrea
Full Source: Environmental Health Perspectives 2006, 114(11), 1776-1782


Metabolism of acrylamide to glycidamide and their
cytotoxicity in isolated rat hepatocytes: protective effects
of GSH precursors
Acrylamide (AA) is a widely studied industrial chemical that is neurotoxic,
mutagenic to somatic and germ cells, and carcinogenic in rodents.
The recent discovery of AA at ppm levels in a wide variety of commonly
consumed foods has energized research efforts worldwide to define
toxicity and prevention. Metabolism and cytotoxicity of AA and its epoxide
glycidamide (GA) were studied in the hepatocytes freshly isolated from male
Sprague-Dawley rats. The isolated hepatocytes metabolized AA to GA. The
data suggest that CYP2E1 played a major role in metabolizing AA to more
toxic GA. Both AA and GA induced a concentration- and time-dependent
glutathione (GSH) depletion of the hepatocytes. From decreasing rates of
GSH contents in hepatocytes, the parameters of glutathione S-transferase
(GST) in hepatocytes to AA and GA were calculated. These data indicate that
GA is more toxic than AA as assessed by intracellular GSH depletion and
loss of viability of hepatocytes. GSH precursors such as N-acetylcysteine
and methionine provided significant anti-cytotoxic effects on the decrease of
GSH content and cell viability of hepatocytes induced by GA and AA.
Authors: Kurebayashi, Hideo; Ohno, Yasuo
Full Source: Archives of Toxicology 2006, 80(12), 820-828 (Eng)

In vivo spermatotoxic effect of chromium as reflected in
the epididymal epithelial principal cells, basal cells, and
intraepithelial macrophages of a nonhuman primate
The objective is to understand, through a simulation experiment in a nonhuman
primate model, the potential in vivo spermatotoxic toxic effect of hexavalent
chromium (CrVI) in men who are occupationally or environmentally exposed
to it. Design: Controlled laboratory study. Setting: Research laboratory in a
department of endocrinology in a university in India. Animal(s): Male bonnet
monkey, Macaca radiata Geoffroy. Monkeys were exposed ad libitum to 100,
200, and 400 ppm CrVI, dissolved in drinking water, for a chronic period of
180 days. For this analysis, main outcome measure(s) were the examination
of epididymis with a transmission electron microscope and assessment of
the effect of CrVI in terms of accumulation of sperm-derived lipofuscin (LF).
Result(s): The abundance of basal cells and intraepithelial macrophages
and the content of LF material in these cell types increased. Conclusion(s):
Occupational or environmental exposure to CrVI, as would occur in the
tannery, soap, and other industries in developing and underdeveloped
countries, can be toxic in vivo to spermatozoa.
Authors: Aruldhas, Mariajoseph Michael; Subramanian, Senthivinayagam;
Sekhar, Pasupathi; Vengatesh, Ganapathi; Govindarajulu, Peranaidu;
Akbarsha, Mohammad Abdulkader
Full Source: Fertility and Sterility 2006, 86(Suppl. 3), 1097-1105 (Eng)

Results of a long-term carcinogenicity bioassay on
Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to sodium arsenite
administered in drinking water
Arsenic (As) is a metal found in nature whose acute and chronic toxic effects
have been known for decades. Several epidemiological studies have shown
that prolonged exposure to As can induce various types of malignant tumors
in humans, namely, skin, lung, liver, kidney, and bladder cancers. These
effects have been observed particularly in geographic areas where people
are exposed to well water with high concentrations of As. Given the limited
evidence demonstrating the carcinogenic potential of As in animals, a long-
term carcinogenicity bioassay on sodium arsenite (NaAsO2) was performed
at the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center (CMCRC). NaAsO2 was
administrated with drinking water at various concentrations for 104 wk to
Sprague-Dawley rats, at the start of the study. The animals were monitored
until spontaneous death at which time each animal underwent complete
necropsy. The results demonstrate that in their experimental conditions
NaAsO2 induces sparse benign and malignant tumors among treated rats.
The types of tumors observed are infrequent in the strain of Sprague-Dawley
rats of the colony used in their laboratory. Notably, an elevated incidence of
these types of oncological lesions is also observed among people living in
geographical areas where As is present at higher concentrations in drinking
Authors: Soffritti, Morando; Belpoggi, Fiorella; Degli Esposti, Davide;
Lambertini, Luca
Full Source: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2006, 1076
(Living in a Chemical World), 578-591 (Eng)
Investigation of combined effect of chromium (VI) and
nitrate in experiments on rats.
The aim of the study was to investigate the combined effect of chromium (VI)
(Cr (VI)) and nitrate (NO3-) on the organism of Wistar rats at the oral route
of administration. Tests on general toxicity were conducted on the basis of
methodical recommendations 407 and 408 of the organization for economic
co-operation and development guideline for testing of chemicals. The
effects of tested substances were characterized by four types of combined
action of them: antagonistic, additive, synergistic and unknown. Results:
According to the blood biochemistry indexes the following combined effect
of tested chemicals was determined: antagonistic 50%, synergistic 33.3%,
additive 16.6%. Analysis of the complex of substances under the study by
the parameters of orientation reactions showed that the combined effect of
substances was mostly antagonistic.
Authors: Zabulyte, D.; Uleckiene, S.; Kalibatas, J.; Paltanaviciene, A.;
Juozulynas, A.; Gocentas, A.
Full Source: Trace Elements and Electrolytes 2006, 23(4), 287-291 (Eng)

An exploratory study comparing blood metal
concentrations between stroke and nonstroke patients in
Various heavy metals have been known for causing ischemic stroke. In order
to describe the causative relationship between the blood levels of various
heavy metals and stroke patients, patients with stroke and patients without
stroke were selected from one Oriental medical hospital. 9 kinds of metals
such as As, Cd, Co, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn were analyzed in blood
from patients with and without stroke. There were no significant differences
in the means of metal concentrations between the stroke and non-stroke
patients except for the mean of Co concentration. In order to identify the
specific risk level of stroke increased by a multiple interaction of metals,
regression coefficients and odds ratio for a pair or multiple pair of metals
were reanalyzed. In conclusion, Co showed the significant level in blood
from patients with stroke. Among various metals analyzed in this study, Co
is the important metal for increasing the risk of stroke.
Authors: Park, Yeong-chul; Park, Hae-mo; Ko, Seong-gyu; Lee, Sun-dong;
Park, Hong-duok
Full Source: Hangug Hwangyeong Bogeon Haghoeji 2006, 32(3), 199-206


Cancer morbidity in iron and steel workers in Korea
This study investigated the cancer morbidity of iron and steel workers from
two Korean iron and steel complexes using Poisson regression methods.
Work histories were merged with the national cancer registry for 44,974
workers who were followed from 1988-2001. Four hundred and sixty-four
cancers, in 1% of the population, were diagnosed over 14 years. Based
on the national cancer rates, these findings demonstrated a healthy
worker effect for all cancer, in particular lung cancer, stomach cancer,
and liver cancer. The authors found a significantly elevated morbidity for
lung cancer at the affiliated plants vs. the parent plants, and all-cancer
morbidity was significantly elevated for maintenance workers compared to
office and production workers. Coke plants showed a higher incidence for
lymphohematopoietic cancer and stomach cancer incidence was higher in
the maintenance departments. The authors concluded that these results
suggest that there is a possible excess cancer morbidity in some processing
areas. Further study of this cohort is required, along with alternate study
designs such as case control study, to elucidate the relationship of exposure
and health risks of iron and steel workers.
Authors: Ahn, Yeon-Soon; Park, Robert M.; Stayner, Leslie; Kang, Seong-
Kyu; Jang, Jae-Kil
Full Source: American Journal of Industrial Medicine 2006, 49(8), 647-657

Chemical safety and health conditions among Hungarian
hospital nurses
This study used genotoxicological and immunotoxicological test on 811
donors including 94 unexposed controls and 717 nurses with various
working conditions from different hospitals (The Hungarian Nurse Study).
The nurses were exposed to different chemical: cytostatic drugs, anesthetic,
and sterilizing gases, such as ethylene oxide (CTO) and formaldehyde.
Biomarkers used were: clinical laboratory routine tests, completed with
genotoxicological (chromosome aberrations [CA], sister chromatid
exchange [SCE]), and immune-toxicological monitoring (ratio of lymphocyte
sub-populations, lymphocyte activation markers, and leukocyte oxidative
burst). The results showed that the cytostatic drug-exposed nurses had
the highest rate of genotoxicological-affected donors. Comparing geno-
and immunotoxicological effect markers, the authors found that among
genotoxicological affected donors the frequency of helper T cell (Th)
lymphocytes, the ratio of activated T and B cells increased, whereas the
oxidative burst of leukocytes decreased. Increased CA yields were observed
in those hospitals that lacked protective measures compared with ISO
9001 quality control or equivalent measures. Anemia, serum glucose level,
thyroid dysfunctions, benign, and malignant tumors were more frequent in
the exposed groups than in controls. The authors concluded that the results
indicate that the hygienic standard of the working environment plays a
large role in the susceptibility of nurses. These findings suggest that the
cytogenetic and immunological biomarkers used are appropriate to detect
early susceptibility to diseases. The Hungarian Nurse Study proved that the
use of safety measures could protect against occupational exposure at work
sites handling cytostatic drugs, anesthetic, and sterilizing gases.
Authors: Tompa, Anna; Jakab, Matyas; Biro, Anna; Magyar, Balazs; Fodor,
Zoltan; Klupp, Tibor; Major, Jeno
Full Source: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2006, 1076
(Living in a Chemical World), 635-648 (Eng)

Potential health effects of occupational chlorinated
solvent exposure
Previous studies have demonstrated that occupational exposure to
chlorinated aliphatic solvents (methanes, ethanes, and ethenes) is
associated with numerous adverse health effects, including central nervous
system, reproductive, liver, and kidney toxicity, and carcinogenicity. This
study reviews recent occupational epidemiological literature on the most
widely used solvents, methylene chloride, chloroform, trichloroethylene,
and tetrachloroethylene, and discusses other chlorinated aliphatics. Due to
the small study size, inability to control for confounding factors, particularly
smoking and mixed occupational exposures, and the lack of evidence
for a solid pathway from occupational exposure to biological evidence of
exposure, to precursors of health effects, and to health effects, the impact of
these studies has been reduced. International differences in exposure limits
may provide a “natural experiment” in the coming years if countries that have
lowered exposure limits subsequently experience decreased adverse health
effects among exposed workers. Such decreases could provide some
evidence that higher levels of adverse health effects were associated with
higher levels of solvent exposure. The author concludes that the definitive
studies remain to be done such as those on prospective biomarker
incorporating body burden of solvents as well as markers of effect.
Author: Ruder, Avima M.
Full Source: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2006, 1076
(Living in a Chemical World), 207-227 (Eng)

DNA damage in Pakistani pesticide-manufacturing
workers assayed using the comet assay
This study assesses the DNA damage in blood leukocytes from 29 Pakistani
pesticide-factory workers and 35 controls of similar age and smoking history.
The workers were exposed to various mixtures of organophosphates,
carbamates, and pyrethroids. DNA damage was measured with the single
cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) assay or Comet assay, using the mean comet
tail length (Ìm) as the DNA damage metric. The results showed a significant
increase in the length of comet tails in exposed worker than in the control
subjects. Of the possible confounding factors, smokers had significantly
longer mean comet tail lengths than nonsmokers and ex-smokers for both
the workers, while age had a minimal effect on DNA damage. The authors
conclude that these results indicate that occupational exposure to pesticides
causes DNA damage.
Authors: Bhalli, Javed A.; Khan, Q. M.; Nasim, A.
Full Source: Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 2006, 47(8), 587-
593 (Eng)

Study on effects of n-hexane on leukocyte chemotaxis in
shoe workers exposed to n-hexane
This study investigated the effects of n-hexane on leukocyte chemotaxis in
shoe workers exposed to n-hexane. The hexane was collected by activated
carbon and detected using thermal desorption-gas chromatography.
Leukocytes were extracted from venous blood in the off-duty workers.
Leukocyte chemotaxis was analyzed by measuring diffusivity on agarose
plates. Leukocyte chemotaxis was restrained in workers exposed to
n-hexane. With the concentrations of n-hexane increasing, leukocyte
chemotaxis reduced accordingly. When the concentration of n-hexane was
92.5 mg/m3, the distance of leukocyte chemotaxis was 1.08 (0.22mm),
and the rate of leukocyte chemotaxis was 28.1%. The authors concluded
that leukocyte chemotaxis might be an effective biomarker of n-hexane but
further studies are required to confirm this.
Authors: He, Jian; Ma, Zheng; Lai, Guan-chao
Full Source: Zhongguo Zhiye Yixue 2006, 33(2), 103-105 (Ch)

Public Health

A review of the federal government‟s health activities in
response to asbestos-contaminated ore found in Libby,
Vermiculite ore is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral widely used in
numerous products, such as insulation, lawn and garden products, and
fireproofing material. While most vermiculite ore and products do not pose
a health hazard, the vermiculite mined from Libby, MT was contaminated
with naturally occurring asbestos. Investigations by the federal Agency for
Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), documented a significant
number of asbestos-related deaths among Libby residents. In addition,
the ATSDR found that this contaminated ore was shipped to hundreds of
locations around the United States for processing. Although the mine at Libby
is now closed, studies have shown that people who worked in the Libby mine
or vermiculite-processing facilities may have been exposed too hazardous
levels of asbestos whilst the facilities were in operation. Furthermore, people
who lived or worked near these sites may have been exposed to asbestos if
they came into contact with contaminated vermiculite. Asbestos can cause
serious and life-threatening health conditions including asbestosis, lung
cancer, and mesothelioma. The ATSDR has initiated 10 activities to help
evaluate the potential health effects among Libby residents and populations
throughout the United States who might have been exposed to the asbestos-
contaminated ore found in Montana. These activities include conducting
environmental exposure evaluations, health statistics reviews, community
screenings, and disease-specific surveillance. This literature discusses the
follow up action taken by ATSDR and partnering state health departments.
Authors: Horton, Kevin; Kapil, Vikas; Larson, Theodore; Muravov, Oleg;
Melnikova, Natalia; Anderson, Barbara
Full Source: Inhalation Toxicology 2006, 18(12), 927-942 (Eng)

Exposure data for personal care products: Hairspray,
spray perfume, liquid foundation, shampoo, body wash,
and solid antiperspirant
In order to conduct safety assessments, exposure information for cosmetic
and other personal care products and ingredients is required. Essential
information includes both the amount of product applied, and the frequency
of use. The aim of this study was to collect current data in order to assess
consumer use practices. Six widely used personal care product types were
investigated. Five of the products were cosmetics (spray perfume, hairspray,
liquid foundation, shampoo, body wash) and one product was a cosmetic/
over-the counter drug product (solid antiperspirant). Three hundred and sixty
women, ages 19-65 years, who regularly use the products of interest, were
recruited at 10 different geographic locations within the US. The number of
recruits was chosen to ensure a minimum of 3 hundred completed responses
per product type. Subjects were provided with a new container of the brand
of product they normally use and kept diaries and recorded detailed daily
usage information over a 2 week period. Weighed at the start and completion
of the study were recorded to determine the total amount of product used.
Statistical analyses of the data determined the summary distributions of
use patterns. The results showed that spray perfume followed by hairspray
had the highest mean and median application and also the highest mean
and median usage per day. Furthermore spray perfume and hairspray were
found to be applied more per day than the other products tested. The authors
conclude that this study provides current exposure information for commonly
used products, which will be useful for risk assessment purposes.
Authors: Loretz, Linda; Api, Anne Marie; Barraj, Leila; Burdick, Joel; Davis,
De Ann; Dressler, William; Gilberti, Enrico; Jarrett, Gwendolyn; Mann, Steve;
Laurie Pan, Y. H.; Re, Thomas; Renskers, Kevin; Scrafford, Carolyn; Vater,
Full Source: Food and Chemical Toxicology 2006, 44(12), 2008-2018 (Eng)

The impact of aerial application of organophosphates
on the cholinesterase levels of rural residents in the
Vaalharts district, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
A cluster of Guillaine-Barre syndrome cases in the Vaalharts region, South
Africa prompted an investigation of the impact of aerial organophosphate
spraying on cholinesterase levels of residents in the region. This study
investigated the cholinesterase levels among residents and workers in the
area and a control area. Standardized red blood cell cholinesterase levels
amongst participants were monitored before (round 1), during (round 2),
and after (round 3) the 1996/1997 aerial spraying season. Participants
were assigned environmental exposure categories based on the time since
(within 10 or 30 days) and distance from (on farm, on neighboring farm, <10
km from farm) aerial pesticide application. 342 participants were involved in
round 1, of whom 78% participated in round 2, 62% in round 3, and 56% in
all three rounds. The results showed an increase in cholinesterase levels in
round 2 and then a decrease in round 3. These results suggest a significant
association with environmental exposure (participants living on farm or
neighboring farm and <10 km from spraying area) allowing for confounding
factors including age, gender, alcohol dependence, and usual and recent
domestic and occupational pesticide use. The authors conclude that the
findings show a shift in cholinesterase levels associated with residence in
the spraying area, but in the direction opposite to that expected from the
spraying of pesticides. Seasonal fluctuations in ambient temperature during
the study may have influenced the results.
Authors: Dalvie, Mohamed A.; London, Leslie
Full Source: Environmental Research 2006, 102(3), 326-332 (Eng)

Increased glycophorin A somatic cell variant frequency in
arsenic-exposed patients of Guizhou, China
Exposure to arsenic through domestic burning arsenic-containing coal
causes various tumors in a population of Guizhou, China. This study
used the glycophorin A (GPA) assay, a human mutation assay detecting
somatic variation in erythrocytes expressing the MN blood type, to assess
genotoxicity of arsenic-exposed patients. Peripheral blood was collected
from 18 adult healthy subjects and 40 arsenic-exposed patients in heparin-
treated tubes. Erythrocytes were isolated, fixed in formalin, and immuno-
labeled with fluorescent antibodies against GPA, followed by flow cytometry
analysis. The results showed an increase in the variant frequency as arsenic
exposure. The total GPA variant frequency was increased approximately 5-
fold (34.7 in healthy subjects versus 185 in arsenosis patients). Furthermore,
the authors observed a significant increase in the variant frequency in skin
tumor-bearing patients. The relation between arsenic exposure history and
GPA variant frequency was less evident. The authors conclude that these
results demonstrate that arsenic exposure is associated with mutations at
the GPA locus, an effect exaggerated in patients bearing arsenic-induced
skin tumors. The variant frequency of GPA could be a useful biomarker for
arsenic exposure and arsenic carcinogenesis.
Authors: Zhang, X. J.; Chen, D. X.; Xu, H. H.; Zhao, M. L.; Fang, N.; Du, H.;
Zhou, Y. S.; Cheng, M. L.; Yuan, W.; Jiang, L.; Xiao, H.; Wa, Q. B.; Liu, L. M.;
Liu, J.; Waalkes, M. P.
Full Source: Toxicology Letters 2006, 167(1), 47-53 (Eng)

Particulate air pollution from bushfires: human exposure
and possible health effects
Studies have found that trace metals adsorbed onto airborne particles are
possible contributors to respiratory and/or cardiovascular inflammation. In
particular, the water-soluble metal content is considered a harmful component
of airborne particulate matter. In this study, trace metal characteristics of
airborne particulate matter, PM2.5, collected in Singapore from Feb. to
March 2005 were investigated with specific reference to their bioavailability.
During the sampling period, there were several bushfires in Singapore, which
contributed to sporadic increases in particulate air pollution, accompanied by
an acrid smell and asthma-related allergies. Aerosol samples were analyzed
for trace elements to determine their total concentrations and their water-
soluble fractions. The authors observed an increase in the concentration
of several water-soluble trace metals during bushfires versus their urban
background levels. To measure human exposure to particulate air pollution,
the daily respiratory uptake (DRU) of several trace metals was calculated
and compared for haze versus non-haze periods. Significantly higher DRU
values were detected for several metals (Zn, Cu, Fe) during bushfires. ESR
(ESR) measurements showed that particulate samples collected during
bush fires generated more toxic OH- than those in background air due to the
presence of more sol. Fe ions.
Authors: Karthikeyan, Sathrugnan; Balasubramanian, Rajasekhar; Iouri,
Full Source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 2006,
69(21), 1895-1908 (Eng)


Standard methods for beryllium sampling and analysis:
availabilities and needs
This article gives an overview of standardized methods for sampling and
analysis of beryllium in the workplace. The authors attempted to identify
needs for new or improved standard sampling protocols, sample preparation
techniques, analytical methods, and reference materials. Where applicable,
performance data are summarized for standardized methods that are either
published or are under development. These include not only ASTM and
ISO international standards, but also methods published by government
agencies in the USA and abroad. Significant gaps in standard methods
and requirements for reference materials remain. For example, consistent
practices are lacking for: (a) surface sampling of beryllium in dust; (b)
extraction of beryllium from surface dust samples prior to instrumental
analysis; and (c) reference materials containing beryllium oxide. An ultimate
goal is to provide standard methods, which will ensure comparability of data
obtained from different sites around the globe.
Authors: Ashley, Kevin; Brisson, Michael J.; Jahn, Steven D.
Full Source: ASTM Special Technical Publication 2006, STP 1473(Beryllium),
15-26 (Eng)

Colliery gas extraction device used to pump a part of gas
before mining
The title colliery gas extraction device includes a tubular gas extraction pipe
for inserting through the surface layer to above or into the coal layer, wherein
the pipe wall of the lower end of the gas extraction pipe has one or more
holes. The inventive device can be used for pumping a part of gas before
mining so as to reduce gas content of the coal layer and to ensure safety.
Authors: Li, Shoushan; Xu, Weijie; Wang, Yuzhong
Full Source: Faming Zhuanli Shenqing Gongkai Shuomingshu CN 1,847,619
(Cl. E21F7/00), 18 Oct 2006, Appl. 10,043,232, 12 Apr 2005; 7pp.(Ch).

Analysis of the effect of an external fire on the safety
operation of a power plant
The basic aim of this article is to examine the relevant features of an outdoor
fire event and its influence on the surrounding area. The work is based on
the analytical study of fire origin, its development and spread. The article
presents the brief background of the FDS computer program and the initial
and boundary conditions used in the mathematical model. In this analysis,
it is often necessary to carry out many repeat simulations of a hazardous
event and the computer run time becomes an important factor. Ideally, results
should be obtained with a dense computational grid but hardware resources
and excessive computational time can preclude this option. The response
is to reduce a grid distance but to ensure that results are only acceptable if
comparable to those obtained with a dense grid.
Authors: Vidmar, Peter; Petelin, Stojan
Full Source: Fire Safety Journal 2006, 41(6), 486-490 (Eng)

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