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April 27, 2007

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Arthur’s Advice Line

The sections button on the left hand column in advanced mode is a great
way of breaking down an MSDS.
It allows uses to search for specific topics within the MSDS, saving the user
from searching manually with the scroll.
The system will automatically find the selected section within the MSDS and
scroll down to it.

Hazard Alert

Isoprene (C5H8) is a colorless liquid that is soluble in ethanol and diethylether
(Budavari 1996, HSDB 2000). Isoprene is highly flammable and is easily
ignited by heat, sparks, or flames. Vapors may form highly explosive mixtures
with air and may polymerize explosively when heated. It is highly reactive,
in the absence of inhibitors, isoprene forms peroxides upon air exposure
(HSDB 2000, Saltman 1985). [1]

Isoprene is formed naturally in animals and plants and is generally the
most common hydrocarbon found in the human body. The estimated
production rate of isoprene in the human body is 15 µmol/kg/h, equivalent
to approximately 17 mg/day for a 70 kg person. Isoprene is also common in
low concentrations in many foods. Isoprene is produced in the chloroplasts
of leaves of certain tree species through the DMAPP pathway; the enzyme
isoprene synthase is responsible for its biosynthesis. The amount of isoprene
released from isoprene-emitting vegetation depends on leaf mass, leaf area,
light (particularly photosynthetic photon flux density), and leaf temperature.
Thus, during the night, little isoprene is emitted from tree leaves while
daytime emissions are expected to be substantial (~5-20 mg/m2/h) during
hot and sunny days.[2]

“Air pollution comes from trees,” Ronald Reagan declared more than 20
years ago, soon after the start of his presidency. The remark earned him
widespread derision as proof of his ignorance of environmental issues. Even
his first press secretary, James Brady, teased him about it. Once when Air
Force One was flying over a forest he grabbed the President by the elbow
and, pointing down out of the window, said in alarm: “Look, Mr President:
killer trees!” [5]. But now new scientific research is showing that the former
Hollywood B-movie star was at least partially right all along. [5] With a global
biogenic production in the range of 350-500 Tg of carbon/year, isoprene has
a large impact on atmospheric processes and is thus an important compound
in the field of Atmospheric Chemistry. Isoprene affects the oxidative state of
large air masses, is an important precursor for ozone, a pollutant in the lower
atmosphere.[2] The scientists point out, however, Isoprene can only form
ozone when it combines with nitrogen oxides emitted from cars, industry
and power stations. [5]

It is most readily available industrially as a by-product of the thermal cracking
of naphtha or oil. About 95% of isoprene production is used to produce cis-
1,4-polyisoprene - a synthetic version of natural rubber.[2]
Polyisoprene is used in a wide variety of rubber applications including
medical equipment, baby bottle teats/nipples, toys, shoe soles, tyres, and
elastic films and threads for golf balls or textiles. It is also used in adhesives
and in paints and coatings. Butyl rubber has outstanding impermeability to
gases and is used, for example, in inner tubes. Styrene-isoprene-rubber is a
copolymer that is used in pressure sensitive adhesives.[3]

Isoprene is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on
sufficient evidence of tumor formation at multiple organ sites in multiple
species of experimental animals (Melnick et al. 1994, NTP 1995, 1997,
Placke et al. 1996). Inhalation exposure of mice to Isoprene vapors induced
increased incidences of neoplasm’s of thLung, liver, harderian gland, fore
stomach, hematopoietic system, and circulatory system. Inhalation exposure
of rats to isoprene vapors induced increased incidences of neoplasm’s of
the mammary gland, Kidney and testis.(IARC 1999). No adequate human
studies of the relationship between exposure to isoprene and human cancer
have been reported. IHL-RAT LC50 180000 mg m-3/4h[6].

Special safety requirement when working with the material are;
NO open flames, NO sparks, and NO smoking. Closed system, ventilation,
explosion-proof electrical equipment and lighting, required. Prevent build-
up of electrostatic charges (e.g., by grounding). Do NOT use compressed
air for filling, discharging, or handling. Protective gloves. Safety goggles.
The substance is harmful to aquatic organisms. [6]

Furthermore, isoprene forms secondary organic aerosols through photo
oxidation with OH radicals, which also have wide-ranging health effects,
particularly for the respiratory tract, and reduce visibility due to light scattering
effects. [2]
6. http://


Asia Pacific

Review of carbendazim and thiophanate-methyl
The APVMA has initiated its reconsideration of the approvals of the active
constituents carbendazim and thiophanate-methyl, the registrations of
products containing carbendazim or thiophanate-methyl, and the approvals
of all associated labels. Approvals of the active constituents carbendazim
and thiophanate-methyl are being reconsidered because of public health and
occupational health and safety concerns. Products containing carbendazim
and thiophanate-methyl and all associated labels are being reviewed
because of public health, occupational health and safety and residue
concerns. Carbendazim and thiophanate-methyl are evaluated together
because thiophanate-methyl rapidly converts mainly to carbendazim in
the environment. They share the same residue definition (carbendazim).
In addition, benomyl shares the same residue definition and was reviewed
by the APVMA in October 2003. During the review, the following aspects
of active constituent approvals, product registrations and label approvals
for carbendazim and thiophanate-methyl will be considered: *Toxicology:
including the potential risks following exposure of humans via the oral, dermal
and inhalational routes; and the potential for impairment of reproduction and
*Occupational health and safety, including: Risks arising from exposure
during handling and applications; re-entry exposure risks; and determination
of appropriate personal protective clothing requirements.
*Residues including: Residues in treated produce arising from application
of carbendazim in accordance with label instructions; and determination of
dietary exposure resulting from the consumption of produce treated with
carbendazim (both chronic and short-term).
In addition, the APVMA will consider whether the product labels carry
adequate instructions and warning statements. Such instructions include:
the circumstances in which the product should be used; how the product
should be used; the times when the product should be used; the frequency
of the use of the product; the withholding period after the use of the product;
the disposal of the product and its container; the safe handling of the
Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines News, 3 April 2007
South Australia: Environmental Protection (Used
Packaging Materials) Policy 2007 issued
The South Australian Government on 1 March 2007, issued the Environmental
Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Policy 2007. The Policy implements
the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure
made on 2 July 1999 by the National Environment Protection Council. The
goal of the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials)
Measure is to reduce environmental degradation arising from the disposal
of used packaging and conserve virgin materials by promoting waste
avoidance and the re-use and recycling of packaging materials. The Policy
expires on 30 June 2010.
Enhesa Update, March 2007

China to review food recall measures, says report
According to a new report, the Chinese ministry is set to review the country’s
current food recall practices in an attempt to adopt more stringent food
safety practices amidst the dynamic growth of processing in the country.
The ministry has organized a group of the country’s safety experts to assess
how best to deal with future cases of dangerous products entering the food
chain. This review comes as food and beverage producers face growing
pressure from consumers to ensure both the quality and safety of products
entering the food chain. It is expected that the new measures will aim to
ensure that food producers meet obligations in preventing contaminated
products from entering the market, while also minimising their effect on
consumers. In addition, the report added that without an official national
body to currently enact food recalls, companies may not be supplying the
relevant information needed to track dangerous products. This highlights
the difficulties facing authorities in ensuring the safety of food products.
Consumers in the country, who are increasingly concerned over the safety
of products they purchase, will welcome any new measures. A survey of
868 people in the southern province of Guangzhou last year found that
80 percent of those questioned were worried about the safety of food they
purchased. The survey by the Guangzhou public opinion research centre
during November found that more than 62 per cent of people believed
government agencies could work more closely and increase the frequency
of food inspection. Furthermore, consumers wanted the penalty for breaking
regulations to be increased. Food producers found guilty of selling poor
quality or unsafe products face fines of up to CNY30,000 but this merely
equals the cost of regular food testing.
Food Navigator, 5 April 2007

Persistent organic pollutants under control
On 26 January 2007, the South Korean National Assembly adopted the
Act on the Control of Persistent Organic Pollutants. The Act provides
an integrated framework to control persistent organic pollutants and to
implement the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
At this stage, the Toxic Chemicals Control Act, the Agricultural Chemical
Control Act and the Waste Management Act contain provisions controlling
persistent organic pollutants in part. Under the Stockholm Convention,
special measures are required to be implemented regarding the reduction
or elimination of emissions of POPs listed under Annexes A, B and C
released from stockpiles and waste. Concepts of Best Available Techniques
(BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP) are required to be further
developed by the Parties for this purpose.
Enhesa Update, March 2007
Draft Hazardous Substances (Storage and Disposal of

Polychlorinated Biphenyls) Notice 2007
The New Zealand Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA)
released the draft Hazardous Substances (Storage and Disposal of
Polychlorinated Biphenyls) Notice on 16 February 2007. The new notice
will come into force from 1 April 2007 and will remain current until 31
December 2016. It covers the handling, storage, transport and disposal of
non-exempt PCBs. The Notice is made pursuant to sections 25B and 66A of
the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 and forms part of
New Zealand’s obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent
Organic Pollutants (POPs).
Enhesa Update, March 2007


Comments Sought on Compliance Requirements Related
to Production of Plant-Incorporated Protectants
EPA is seeking public comment on amending the following existing regulations
to better tailor the requirements related to pesticide establishments and
production for plant-incorporated protectants (PIPs): Registration of
establishments where PIPs are produced (FIFRA section 7, and 40 CFR
167.20); reporting by registered production establishments (FIFRA section
7, and 40 CFR 167.85); record keeping and inspection authority (FIFRA
sections 8 and 9, and 40 CFR 169.2 and 169.3); labeling on PIP containers
(FIFRA section 2 and 40 CFR 156.10), experimental Use Permits for field
testing of unregistered PIPs (FIFRA section 5, and 40 CFR part 172);
production of unregistered PIPs for export (FIFRA section 17, and 40 CFR
168.65?168.85). Plant-incorporated protectants are pesticidal substances
that are intended to be produced and used in a living plant, the genetic
material necessary for the production of such a pesticidal substance, and
any inert ingredient contained in the plant, or the produce thereof. Since PIPs
have unique characteristics, the Agency is asking for input on amending the
current establishment and production regulations that were promulgated
for other types of pesticides so the regulations more specifically address
PIPs. In addition, EPA is facilitating comments through two public meetings
that are tentatively scheduled for May 2 in Chicago, Illinois and May 22
in Arlington, Virginia. A Federal Register notice with additional details on
the public meetings will be published shortly. EPA is asking for comments
regarding the completeness of the list, including any additional sections
of regulations not mentioned, or other characteristics of PIPs related to
production to best ensure compliance without imposing unnecessary
burdens. The data collected from this process will be used review these
regulations and developing its proposed rules. The public comments will be
received until 13 June 2007.
EPA Pesticides Update, 6 April 2007

FDA proposes to relax labeling for irradiated products
A proposal by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will see the
revision of its labelling regulations for irradiated foods, suggesting some
irradiated foods could now be labeled as “pasteurized”. The proposed rule
was published in the Federal Register and aims to provide consumers
with “more useful” information than the current regulation. According to
the agency, it is using the term ‘material change’ to refer to a change in
the organoleptic, nutritional, or functional properties of a food, caused by
irradiation, that the consumer could not identify at the point of purchase in
the absence of appropriate labeling. Irradiation works by exposing foods to
ionizing radiation that kills insects, moulds and bacterium. The technology,
which can kill up to 99 per cent of pathogens, is seen by the industry as a
means of ensuring food safety. However public concerns over the health
effects of the technology has meant global food companies have had to
deal with a confusing thicket of legislation and restrictions when making and
marketing their products. Current requirements in the US, see all single-
ingredient irradiated foods sold in stores to be labeled as “treated with
irradiation” and to carry the ‘radura’ symbol. Under the new proposal, only
those irradiated foods in which the irradiation causes a material change in
the food, would bear the radura logo and the term “irradiated” or a derivative
thereof, in conjunction with a description of the change in the food. In addition,
FDA is proposing to permit a firm to use the term “pasteurized” in place of
“irradiated”, provided it notifies the agency that the irradiation process being
used meets the criteria specified for use of the term “pasteurized” in the
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The proposed rules are open for
public comment until 3 July 2007.
Food Navigator, 5 April 2007

OSHA Promises To Ramp Up Inspections
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced
that it will increase the number of staff trained to conduct process safety
inspections, as well as the number of inspections at U.S. refineries. The
agency says it will have trained about 280 staff members to perform
process safety management inspections by August of this year, 120 more
than the present number. In addition, the agency indicated it is setting up
a special program to inspect every refinery under its jurisdiction. OSHA’s
announcement was in response to a report and a hearing before the House
Committee on Education & Labor, where Carolyn W. Merritt, president of the
Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), strongly urged OSHA
to increase its emphasis on process safety at chemical plants and refineries,
rather than limiting its primary focus to inspections of facilities with high
personal injury rates. CSB found that OSHA conducted only nine thorough
and detailed “program quality verification” (PQV) inspections in targeted
industries between 1995 and 2005. None of these were in the refinery
sector. Over the same period, state agencies in 26 states that operate their
own workplace safety programs conducted 48 such inspections, including
six at refineries, CSB said. Several states with a high concentration of
petrochemical plants-among them Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas-rely
on OSHA enforcement. The report collated by the CSB was in response to
an investigation of a BP refinery accident in Texas City, Texas, that killed 15
workers two years ago. In the 20 years before the 2005 accident, this plant
faced only one detailed OSHA process safety management inspection,
despite 10 worker deaths over the same period. OSHA did conduct more
narrow inspections, but they lacked the thoroughness of a PQV inspection,
CSB said (C&EN, March 26, page 32).
Chemical & Engineering News, 27 March 2007

Companies Report Slight Rise In Toxics Releases
According to figures released by EPA on 22 March, nationwide, facilities
released 4.3 billion lb of chemicals that are listed on the Toxics Release
Inventory during 2005. This is slightly more than the 4.2 billion lb of TRI
substances released in 2004. Four industries accounted for three-quarters
of TRI chemicals released to air, water, or land during 2005. Metal mining
was first, with 27% of the total; electric utilities were second, with 25%;
chemical makers were next, with 12%; and primary metals production was
fourth, with 11%. EPA reports that chemical manufacturers reduced total
releases by 4% compared with 2004’s, to 542 million lb. In the meantime,
releases of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds fell to 85,509 g in 2005 from
111,453 g in 2004, according to TRI figures. The chemical industry, which
accounts for most reported releases of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds,
saw its releases of these substances decline 26% from 2004 to 2005,
dropping from 102,073 g to 75,656 g.
Chemical & Engineering News, 29 March 2007

Train, ship soot to be cut 90% by 2030
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has announced a proposal to
cut diesel soot from freight trains and marine vessels by 90% by 2030. This
proposal has won praise from environmental groups but has come under
attack from Southern California’s top air quality regulator. Under rules
announced by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, existing and new train
locomotives would have to meet increasingly tougher controls on emissions
of nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter. Both substances lodge deep
in people’s lungs and have been linked in numerous studies to respiratory
disease, cancer and other serious health problems. Johnson said the
regulations, which he would push to have completed by year’s end, would
result in thousands of saved lives and substantial healthcare cost savings
by 2030, while costing industry about $600 million. “By tackling the greatest
remaining source of diesel emissions, we’re keeping our nation’s clean-air
progress moving full steam ahead,” he said. “This will ensure that black
puff of smoke from diesel locomotives goes the way of the steam engine.”
However, Barry Wallerstein, South Coast Air Quality Management District
Executive Officer said the region was “being thrown table scraps” with rules
designed to benefit industry, which will allow thousands of Californians
to continue to die prematurely for decades. In addition, state air officials
questioned the lengthy phase-in, saying it would not help them meet
looming air-quality deadlines imposed by the EPA. “We are grateful...but we
are disappointed in their timing.
It makes it really hard for us to meet federal attainment requirements,” said
Mike Scheible, deputy executive officer of the state Air Resources Board.
William Wehrum, acting assistant administrator of the EPA’s office of air and
radiation, responded to that criticism by noting that existing engines that
are rebuilt would be required to reduce emissions as soon as next year,
and by 2010 at the latest. “Then our standards get increasingly stringent,
with the most stringent standards effective on all new engines as of 2015,”
he added. “We’re going to begin seeing improvements very quickly,
substantial improvements.” Wehrum and Johnson acknowledged that
because locomotives can last as long as 40 years, it could take until 2030
for the full benefits of the new rules to be seen. The EPA’s proposals did not
contain regulations on large diesel engines in ocean-going vessels. EPA
officials said they are trying to negotiate international standards for those
heavily polluting vessels, and are still studying whether national regulations
could legally be placed on foreign-flagged vessels entering American ports.
However, ferries, tugboats, yachts and marine auxiliary engines would be
covered under the new rules. Manufacturers and trade groups said that
the technology to meet these new requirements does not yet fully exist but
is being actively researched. They insisted they want further reductions
in emissions and said the 2030 timeline for final compliance would help.
“There are some concerns about whether the locomotive manufacturers
will be able to meet...the standards, but we are committed to working with
the locomotive builders and after-market manufacturers to do everything
practical to reduce locomotive emissions,” said Burlington Northern Santa
Fe spokeswoman Lena Kent.
But Wallerstein said that the technology does exist, and that the industry
groups were dragging their heels to save money at the expense of public
health. “In Europe they are putting particulate filters on locomotives today,”
he said, adding that the AQMD is funding demonstration programs of the
technology on commuter trains because the freight railroads “have delayed
and delayed and delayed.... this is a technology transfer, not the creation
of new technology.” Mark Davis, a spokesman for Union Pacific, said
the company is already replacing most of the “switcher” engines in Los
Angeles-area rail yards with a new technology using truck engines, but said
it would take years to develop new technology for long-haul locomotives.
Environmentalists who have fought for three years for the rules largely
cheered the news. Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, who
stood at Johnson’s side as he announced the regulation at Port Elizabeth
in New Jersey, said later, “It’s very good, it’s very strong, and it would take
an enormous amount of ... pollution out of the air. We were there to thank
Steve Johnson and the EPA for getting on the right track.” He said the lack
of regulations on marine vessels was “unfinished business” that must be
addressed. As for the AQMD’s concerns, he said, “well, it does take time for
the manufacturers to retool.” He said he thought most emissions reductions
would be achieved by 2015, before California has to meet EPA deadlines.
Others said they would keep a close eye on the proposals as they move
through public hearings and rewrites.” There are many details of this
proposal yet to be worked out - and we hope EPA can accelerate the pace
of cleanup - but this proposal is a giant step in the right direction,” said Frank
O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch in Washington, D.C.
LA Times, 3 March 2007

FDA: Third-party tampering resulting in misbranding of
Ziagen as Combivir
GlaxoSmithKline have announced an apparent third-party tampering that
resulted in the misbranding of Ziagen as Combivir and employed counterfeit
labels for Combivir Tablets. Both medications are used as part of combination
regimens to treat HIV+ infection. Two 60-count misbranded bottles of
Combivir Tablets contained 300 mg tablets of Ziagen. The counterfeit labels
identified are Lot No. 6ZP9760 with expiration dates of April 2010 and
April 2009. The incident appears to be isolated and limited in scope to one
pharmacy in California. The FDA has advised pharmacists to immediately
check the contents to ensure the bottles contain the correct medication. A
Letter to professional pharmacists contains photos of actual Combivir and
Ziagen Tablets. If a bottle contains anything other than Combivir Tablets,
pharmacists should notify the manufacturer.
Medwatch Update, 10 April 2007

FDA: Recall of griseofulvin
Ortho-McNeil has announced a nationwide recall of griseofulvin oral
suspension, a prescription medication used to treat ringworm and other
fungal infections. The recall was issued based on two reports of glass
fragments found in bottles of the liquid formulation. The recall is limited
to the liquid formulation of the medication and does not include any other
dosage form. Consumers in possession of the medication should contact
the pharmacy where they purchased the drug to determine if they have
the product that has been recalled and direct medical questions to their
healthcare professional.
Medwatch Update, 10 April 2007


Governments late on ship pollution rules
According to the European Union, only 3 of the EU’s 27 member states met a
31 March deadline to transpose into national laws and to start implementing
a 2005 directive on ship source pollution. The directive introduces criminal
sanctions for “intentional, reckless or seriously negligent” pollution from
ships occurring in internal waters, ports and territorial waters within 12
miles of the EU’s coastline. The sanctions go beyond what is required under
international law through the Marpol convention. The council’s framework
details the requirements and sets maximum penalties for polluters of five
years in prison and up to Ä1.5m in fines. Belgium, Germany and Sweden are
the only countries to have reported either fully or partially the transposition
of its draft legislation. An official said that the commission has been told that
the other member states have already transposed the directive into their
laws although they have not yet officially informed it. The commission has
stressed that it will leave “no stone unturned” to ensure that the directive is
implemented. “Gross negligence must be fought at all cost”, said transport
commissioner Jacques Barrot.
ENDS Europe Daily, 4 April 2007

States still backpedalling on water pollutants
According to the latest directive being discussed by ministers, Governments
are no closer to the European parliament in discussions on measures to
protect EU waters from the most dangerous pollutants. Member states
and MEPs are debating plans for EU-wide water quality standards for a
priority list of 33 pollutants, in a daughter directive proposed under the
water framework directive. A draft text of the law circulated by the German
presidency shows that governments are still planning to dilute the proposals.
In contrast, MEPs on the parliament’s environment committee have voted
to strengthen it compared with the European commission’s proposal. The
new council text softens the requirement for member states to meet the
new standards. Many governments want to make the standards optional.
A compromise could be binding standards, but with scope for occasional
breaches. Governments want to redesignate proposed “transitional areas
of exceedance”, where the standards would not apply, as “mixing zones”.
These are areas where pollutant sources are entering water bodies. A
requirement to progressively reduce the size of these zones by imposing
tighter controls through the EU integrated pollution prevention and control
(IPPC) directive has been removed. Instead the zones would simply have
to be “proportionate” in size. MEPs, meanwhile, want governments to be
obliged to eradicate the zones by 2018.
ENDS Europe Daily, 4 April 2007

France bans phosphate in laundry detergents
In a bid to fight eutrophication of watercourses, France has banned the sale of
laundry detergents containing phosphates. The new decree published in the
national official journal bans all sales from 1 July. It does not cover industrial
laundry detergents and dishwasher tablets. Domestic laundry detergents
contribute to two per cent of phosphates levels in French urban wastewater
discharges. Several European countries have already introduced similar
restrictions. Meanwhile, Poland has announced that reducing phosphate
detergent run-off into the Baltic sea will be a priority during its two-year
chairmanship of the Helsinki marine protection commission (Helcom).
Poland assumed the role in January.
ENDS Europe Daily, 3 April 2007

Expansion proposed for Rotterdam chemicals list
A national committee of experts has recommended adding two new
substances to the list of chemicals subject to global trade restrictions under
the UN Rotterdam convention. The convention’s chemical review committee
agreed at a meeting in Rome that Rotterdam’s “prior informed consent” (PIC)
procedure should be extended to the pesticide endosulfan and the biocide
tributyl tin (TBT). The move would give countries the right to ban imports.
If the convention’s full ministerial meeting approves the recommendations,
the PIC watch list would grow to 41 chemicals. Currently, the list includes 11
industrial chemicals, 24 pesticides and four “severely hazardous pesticide
formulations”. The review committee said endosulfan, which is used
especially on cotton crops, poses “unacceptable” risks to farmers and the
environment. EU exports are already subject to prior consent. TBT, which
is used in anti-fouling paints for ship hulls, is toxic to fish, molluscs and
other organisms, especially in enclosed harbours, the committee said. Use
of the biocide is banned under EU laws. In addition, the committee began
reviewing the potential inclusion of four other chemicals: benzidine and its
salts, endrin, methamidophos and mirex. Recommendations will be made at
next year’s committee meeting and it will take at least another year before
governments make a decision. Behind these four substances are a further
160-plus chemicals awaiting consideration for inclusion in the convention.
None are likely to be regulated by Rotterdam soon since, as well as the
slow-moving review process, decision-making is prone to political delays.
Last year, governments failed for the second consecutive time to agree on
whether to apply PIC to white asbestos (chrysotile).
ENDS Europe Daily, 27 March 2007

Janet’s Corner - Not Too Seriously!
Oxymorons Pt 4

Definite maybe
Pretty ugly
Twelve-ounce pound cake
Diet ice cream
Rap music
Working vacation
Exact estimate
Religious tolerance
Freezer Burn
Honest Politician
Jumbo Shrimp
Loners Club
Postal Service

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


Study Raises Questions About Monochloramine’s
Effectiveness in Protecting Drinking Water
With security in mind, chlorination may traditional be more effective
than monochloramine treatment. This is the finding from a recent study
comparing the two common disinfectants used by municipal water systems.
Dan Kroll, chief scientist at Hach Homeland Security in Loveland, Colorado,
and lead researcher on the study said, “We have found something that
is not necessarily a surprise but has important implications. These are
considerations that water quality professionals should take into account
if they have switched or are considering switching to a monochloramine
disinfection system.” As part of a recent endeavor to develop a system for
online, continuous monitoring of drinking water distribution networks, Kroll
and his colleagues, in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
studied the interactions of various potential waterborne threat agents
(both biological and chemical) with different levels of either free chlorine or
monochloramine present. During the study, the researchers tested dozens
of potential hazards, such as pesticides, disease-causing bacteria and
chemical warfare agents. They discovered that not only is monochloramine
less reactive against a number of chemical threats, it also is slightly less
efficient than free chlorine, requiring more time to kill bacterial contaminants.
It has been known for a long time that monochloramine is a more stable
compound, and that is part of the reason it is becoming more popular as
an alternative to chlorine in municipal water systems, the researchers said.
Free chlorine has traditionally been the disinfectant of choice for municipal
water systems throughout the 20th century, but it has some drawbacks.
It can react with organic materials in drinking water to produce chlorine
byproducts. Some of these byproducts are considered carcinogenic and
EPA regulates their levels in drinking water. Due to its reactivity, treatment
with free chlorine can lead to rapid degradation of chemical threats and early
detection of contamination. As it reacts with a contaminant, chlorine levels
in the water drop. Many municipalities use chlorine levels as indicators of
possible contamination. Kroll and his colleagues said their study confirms
that monochloramine may have its drawbacks as well. “In the event of
contamination of the water supply after it leaves the treatment plant,
monochloramine has the potential as being not as effective as chlorine,
since there is little control over the contact time,” Kroll said. The research is
not suggesting that those systems that use monochloramine convert back to
chlorine. In stead he would like water quality professionals to recognize that
if they have a monochloramine system, they can no longer rely solely on a
sudden drop in disinfectant levels to alert them to a potential contaminant.
In addition, he recommends that where possible, some level of free chlorine
should be kept in the system. Furthermore, if a municipality has a free
chlorine-based system, provides water to a high-profile target such as a
military base and is considering the switch to monochloramine, operators
may want to consider other methods of controlling disinfection byproducts
to help comply with EPA regulations. “The findings in these studies have
significant repercussions as to the safety and security of our nations water
supplies,” Kroll said.
Water & Wastewater News, 9 March 2007

Red Tide Chokehold
Algal blooms known as Florida red tides are common in the Gulf of Mexico.
They are caused by overgrowth of the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. These
particular red tides release potent neurotoxins called brevetoxins. Recent
studies have helped to clarify the health effects of shoreline brevetoxin
aerosols, particularly for asthmatics and pregnant women. A team of
researchers from seven institutions published the papers, which were funded
by the NIEHS, the CDC, and the Florida Department of Health. Brevetoxin-
contaminated bivalves (such as clams and oysters)that are ingested cause
acute gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms. When brevetoxin aerosols
blow ashore, people may experience irritated eyes, coughing, and wheezing.
Symptoms generally subside in healthy people once they leave the beach
or enter air-conditioned buildings. Lora Fleming, an epidemiologist at the
University of Miami School of Medicine and Rosenstiel School of Marine
and Atmospheric Sciences said that asthmatics are more vulnerable to
red tide aerosols. During the study, her team measured aerosol brevetoxin
exposures and monitored symptoms in 97 asthmatics who visited Sarasota’s
Siesta Beach during two active K. brevis blooms and three lull periods. Lung
function was measured by spirometry before and after one-hour beach
outings. During blooms, all participants reported an increase in symptoms
(especially chest tightness) after beach exposure, and spirometry values
uniformly decreased.
When there was a lull in the K. brevis blooms, the researchers observed
no difference in symptoms or spirometry values. People with more severe
asthma showed greater changes in pre- and post-beach spirometry values
during red tide blooms, compared to those with mild/moderate asthma.
Fleming advises sensitive people to avoid beaches when K. brevis is
blooming and winds are blowing toward shore. Pregnant women should
also consider avoiding beaches during K. brevis blooms. Janet Benson,
an inhalation toxicologist at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute,
coordinated the first study ever of placental transfer of brevetoxins. During
the study the pregnant mice received a radioactive form of brevetoxin-3,
a major component of brevetoxin aerosols detected along beaches. The
toxin and its by-products were identified in fetuses and uterine and placental
tissues 48 hours later, as well as in the stomachs of nursing pups born to
brevetoxin-exposed mothers. “The doses given pregnant mice were high and
not representative of what humans are exposed to,” says Benson. Still, the
results suggest that pregnant or nursing women exposed to brevetoxins may
pass them to their fetuses or babies. Other animal experiments have found
that brevetoxins localize in the cerebellum, although the mechanism how
they affect the brain remains unclear. The researchers reported that when
mice inhaled brevetoxin-3 for two days, neuronal damage was observed
largely in the posterior cingulated/retrosplenial cortex, but no behavioral
changes occurred.
The findings add to accumulating evidence that inhaled brevetoxins disperse
to several body sites, though coauthor Daniel Baden, director of the Center
for Marine Science at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, says it’s
too early to extrapolate to humans. Baden, who has studied brevetoxins
since 1973, says Florida red tides are occurring more frequently and often
last for months. Although largely confined to the coastline along the Gulf
of Mexico, K. brevis can travel as far north as North Carolina. Onshore
concentrations of brevetoxin aerosols associated with reported respiratory
symptoms range from 0.5 to 108 ng/m3. However, Baden says, “As far as
we’re concerned, there is no dose that is low enough to not be of concern.”
People have reported experiencing symptoms associated with brevetoxin
exposure even when levels of the toxins were so low as to be undetectable
by sophisticated monitors. Scientists are currently investigating whether
changing ocean temperatures, currents, and weather patterns associated
with climate change may be affecting Florida red tides. “Climate change is a
concern, especially with recent blooms lasting longer, but we don’t have hard
data yet,” says Barbara Kirkpatrick, manager of the Environmental Health
Program at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. Her colleagues at the
Mote Marine Laboratory have placed different types of sensors in several
locations to monitor Florida red tide blooms and climate conditions. “It’s
going to take long-term data sets to make conclusions,” Kirkpatrick says.
Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2007

Toxic Legacy
In an ongoing study in New York City, researchers have found that prenatal
exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos damages children’s neurodevelopment
with negative impacts on cognition, motor skills, and possibly behavior. These
findings mirror animal studies of the chemical. EPA banned the chemical for
residential use in 2001, although concern persists, as children exposed prior
to the ban may experience lifelong consequences, and population exposure
continues through nonresidential uses. The study began in 1997 with the
aim of investigating the effects on neurocognitive development by exposure
to ambient and indoor pollutants. The study population comprises inner-city
minority women recruited during pregnancy and their children born between
February 1998 and May 2002; data collected include biological samples,
exposure assessments, maternal interviews, and developmental testing of
the children. Of 254 children who had reached their third birthday, those with
the highest prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure had significantly lower scores
on mental and motor indices and more problems associated with attention
deficits, hyperactivity, and pervasive developmental disorders. Effects were
most marked in motor development. Edward Levin, a professor of psychiatry
and psychological and brain sciences at Duke University said, “I’m not
surprised that they showed the motor effects as more robust, because at an
early age that’s mostly what one sees.” Development of language and other
cognitive skills comes later, as does the ability to control behavior. “It actually
follows in very well with the preclinical work identifying the developmental
neurotoxicity of chlorpyrifos,” Levin says.
Much of that work was conducted by Theodore Slotkin, a professor of
pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke, who characterizes the current
study as landmark. “There’s a large underpinning of animal research for
organophosphate pesticides, and particularly for chlorpyrifos, that points
to bad outcomes in terms of effects on brain development and behavior,”
he says. Extrapolating results from animal studies to human health can be
difficult, but this study pinpointed exposures and controlled for numerous
variables that generally confound epidemiologic study. Furthermore, he
added that the study confirms that all the animal findings that led to the
decision to ban use in the home turned out to be true. “In animal studies
[chlorpyrifos-induced] behavioral effects are not reversible. We don’t know in
children whether the kind of attention problems that appear to be associated
with chlorpyrifos exposure are treatable,” says lead author Virginia Rauh,
an associate professor of clinical population and family health at Columbia
University. The researchers will follow the children until they are 10 to 11
years old and possibly longer. “It’s important to continue,” says Rauh. “The
[current] ban is likely not sufficient. We don’t know that chlorpyrifos is safe
at any level.”
Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2007

A heavy-metal history
According to a new study of a lake in Peru, the sediments contain evidence
that pre-Incan cultures in the Morococha region of the Andes were smelting
copper and its alloys from ore as early as 1000 A.D, leaving behind traces of
metal pollution. Around 1450 A.D. when the Incas moved into the area, the
Andean people switched to silver. The authors say villagers probably ramped
up silver production to pay the heavy tribute taxes that Incas demanded in
the form of silver objects. About 80 years later, Spaniards came with more
advanced technologies. “Once the Spanish show up, atmospheric pollution
goes up 10-fold,” says Colin Cooke, the first author on the paper, who worked
on the project as a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. Airborne
metal pollution rains down on small lakes, ultimately leaving behind traces
in the bottom sediments. Archaeologists have recognized the extensive
use of silver by the Incas for some time, but no one had found evidence of
local smelting. That may be because archaeologists usually rely on finding
artifacts, Cooke says. During this study, the researchers investigated the
sediment, knowing that any metal artifacts in Peru “may have been looted or
melted down and sent to Spain” long ago.
Two coauthors of the paper, Mark Abbott of the University of Pittsburgh and
Alexander Wolfe of the University of Alberta (Canada), first found evidence
of pre-Incan silver smelting in the Bolivian Andes and reported the findings in
Science. Now that the team has found evidence of early metal use in Bolivia
and Peru, they plan a larger survey to learn more about how the technology
was spread throughout the New World. “These lakes are natural archives,
a book no one has thought to open,” says Earl Brooks, adjunct professor
of geology at George Mason University. Brooks has been studying lead at
a mining site in Bolivia and says that geological techniques could also help
reveal historic use of other metals of current concern, such as mercury and
arsenic. The findings “raise some potentially serious questions about effects
on these humans at the time,” says the University of Florida’s Mark Brenner,
who uses sediment cores to study environmental change. The high Andes
have a good environment for preserving biological specimens, he says,
adding that “it might be worth looking at metal levels in human remains” to
see how much people were exposed to.
Environmental Science & Technology, 4 April 2007

Estimating aerosolized contaminants from class B
A new study has identified an indirect way to estimate pathogen concentrations
in aerosols produced during the spreading of dewatered class B biosolids.
With the growing trend for farmers to spread solid waste from sewage
treatment plants onto their fields, people living in rural areas have begun
reporting sicknesses that could be related to the dispersal of these biosolids.
However, conclusively linking these events remains as difficult as measuring
the airborne particles coming from the sludge. A new method could eliminate
the need for complex aerosol measurements, making it easier to predict
the health impacts of applying biosolids on agricultural lands. During the
study, Jordan Peccia of Yale University and his colleagues at Arizona State
University monitored class B biosolids-less refined than the more processed
class A form, which contains no pathogens-from wastewater treatment plants
in Phoenix, Arizona, as they were being flung onto a field with a standard
side-slinging applicator. They tracked airborne particulate matter less than
10 micrometers in diameter (PM10) with stationary monitors under various
conditions and measured aerosol concentrations of U.S. EPA regulated
metals, three biosolids indicator bacteria, and endotoxin.
The team analysed the content of the bulk biosolids before application and
compared the results with the measured metals, pathogens, and other
components of interest in their captured aerosol samples.
The researchers found a direct correlation between the concentrations of
pathogens and other contaminants in aerosols and those measured in the
bulk biosolids. “This measurement framework allows for the estimation of
pathogen and toxin concentrations in aerosols, without the need for aerosols
measurement,” says Peccia. Aerosol recovery techniques are destructive and
notoriously difficult to carry out, particularly for pathogens. “These difficulties
are directly responsible for the paucity of pathogen information that we have
on the topic of biosolids bioaerosols,” adds Peccia. Aerosol recovery rates
reported in the literature are currently about 10%. The new research used a
“good experimental design and a novel way to figure out the distribution of
the [metals and other contaminants] over the area,” says the U.S. Geological
Survey’s Ed Furlong, who coauthored recent work looking at biosolids as a
source of emerging contaminants. “They’ve quantified what’s moving off-
site from the most common biosolids application technique using biosolids
from a single wastewater treatment process,” Furlong says. “These new
data will be very useful for modeling exposure of individuals residing next
to agricultural land where biosolids are applied,” says Rolf Halden of Johns
Hopkins University. “This study is of great importance, since billions of dry
pounds of biosolids are land-applied each year.”
Since the 1970s, EPA and wastewater plants have promoted, recycling of
biosolids in different forms-from almost liquid to muddy sludge. In 2003, EPA
asked the National Academies to weigh in on its limits for metals and other
contaminants in biosolids applied to agricultural lands. The panel found no
documented public-health effects and encouraged subsequent research to
fill data gaps on health effects as well as on risk assessment. Tracking by
states and other agencies was “shockingly lacking”, says Ellen Harrison,
who is the director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute, and served
on the National Academies panel. She says she “became convinced by all
the reports that [illness] is scientifically plausible” but that the monitoring and
methods to make the connection are lacking. The new research, Harrison
says, is interesting but possibly limited. “Sludge is not sludge is not sludge,”
she comments, implying that not all sludge is the same. She suggests
that the current study only applies to particular class B biosolids in certain
application settings. “I think it’s a good step, but I would be loathe to plug
into a risk assessment numbers from one sludge.” Peccia and colleagues
suggest instead that the correlations between bulk biosolids and aerosol
emissions “provide a more fundamental, bulk-biosolids-based approach”
that can be applied “to different land application scenarios and a broader
range of toxins and pathogens.”
Environmental Science & Technology, 4 April 2007

Probe Detects Hydrogen Peroxide
Following the discovery that hydrogen peroxide is a marker for oxidative
stress and damage as well as the possibility that it is a messenger in cell
signaling, there has been an increased interest in monitoring it in living cells.
However, H2O2 is difficult to monitor in live cells in real time because it is
so reactive and difficult to distinguish from other oxygen species. However,
researchers from the University of California have reported two new
boronate-based fluorophores-PG1 and PC1-for detecting H2O2 in living
cells. Christopher J. Chang, assistant chemistry professor and coworkers
conducted this study. Unlike diboronate-based probes, these molecules are
turned on when H2O2 removes the single boronate group, releasing the
fluorescent dye. Using PG1, the researchers measured H2O2 produced in
human epithelial cancer cells in response to epidermal growth factor. They
then showed that they could also detect H2O2 in live neurons from the
hippocampal region of the brain. Their findings suggest that the neurons
generate H2O2 through a pathway similar to the one used by cancer cells.
The researchers are currently studying the similarities and differences of
hydrogen peroxide signaling in various cell types.
Chemical & Engineering News, 5 April 2007

Arsenic In Chicken Feed May Pose Health Risks To
According to a news study, pets may not be the only ones that are
endangered by some food additives. An arsenic-based additive used in
chicken feed may pose health risks to humans who eat meat from chickens
that are raised on the feed. Roxarsone, the most common arsenic-based
additive used in chicken feed, is used to promote growth, kill parasites and
improve pigmentation of chicken meat. In its original form, roxarsone is
relatively benign. Although, certain anaerobic conditions found within live
chickens and on farms can convert the compound into more toxic forms
of inorganic arsenic. Arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung, skin, kidney
and colon cancer, while low-level exposures can lead to partial paralysis
and diabetes. According to the study, the use of roxarsone is increasing
becoming controversial, with a growing number of food suppliers ceasing
to use the compound, including the nation’s largest poultry producer, Tyson
Foods. Still, about 70 percent of the 9 billion broiler chickens produced
annually in the U.S. are fed a diet containing roxarsone, the article points
out. Complicating the issue is the fact that no one knows the exact amount
of arsenic found in chicken meat or ingested by consumers who frequently
eat chicken. “Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Department
of Agriculture has actually measured the level of arsenic in the poultry meat
that most people consume,” the article said. The National Chicken Council,
a trade association that represents the U.S. chicken industry, claims there is
“no reason to believe there are any human health hazards” associated with
the use of roxarsone.
Science Daily, 10 April 2007

Ethyl Carbamate in food, drink as dangerous as diesel
Product developers are beginning to look at the health risks associated
with ethyl carbamate, a naturally occurring substance in fermented food
and beverage products that is now classed as dangerous as acrylamide
and diesel fuel. Ethyl carbamate, a compound produced during yeast
fermentation has officially been classified by the World Health Organisation
(WHO) as a Group 2A carcinogen, ranking it alongside other substances
likely to cause cancer in humans. These also include acrylamide, arsenic,
anabolic steroids, mustard gas and diesel engine exhaust, said the WHO’s
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Ethyl carbamate is
a compound that can naturally occur in fermented foods and beverages,
such as spirits, wine, beer, bread, soy sauce and yoghurt. The compound is
formed during the fermentation process, distillation or during storage. Due
to the health risks surrounding the compound, manufacturers are searching
for ways to eliminate it from products. “Based on studies like this IARC re-
evaluation, the concern and awareness over the natural occurrence of and
exposure to ethyl carbamate in many common human diet items like wine and
spirits continues to increase,” said Geoff Lee, a product development director
for biotech firm, First Venture. He added that there was a “compelling market
need” to find ways of reducing ethyl carbamate contamination in a range of
products. In addition, concern is growing amongst regulatory authorities.
The European Food Safety Authority has called on member state regulators
to send in any data on levels of ethyl carbamate, and also cyanides, in foods
and beverages. First Venture, which specialises in yeast products, said it
had begun trials on a new method of minimising and even eliminating ethyl
carbamate from wine. The platform yeast technology, originally developed at
The University of British Columbia, “substantially reduces” formation of the
compound, the firm said. It added it had been “working actively with the wine
industry and international regulatory community”. The company has not yet
released further details on the technology.
Nutra Ingredients, 10 April 2007

Coffee users at lower risk for Parkinson’s - study
According to new research, people from families prone to Parkinson’s who
drink coffee or smoke are less likely to develop the disease. The study’s
findings reinforce earlier observations and offers potential paths to treatment.
The researchers do not believe that smoking and caffeine protect from
Parkinson’s, but say the information offers clues about how environment
works with genes to cause disease. Dr. William Scott of the University of
Miami School of medicine, who led the study, said the findings point clearly
to dopamine -- a message-carrying chemical in the brain that falls to low
levels in Parkinson’s. “Dopamine is important because both smoking and
drinking caffeine affect dopamine in the brain,” Scott said. Previous research
suggests that both smoking and drinking coffee seemed to reduce the risk of
Parkinson’s, but no one had tracked it in families prone to Parkinson’s. When
a disease runs in families, it suggests that certain genes are causing it. “We
need to consider these environmental associations while looking for genes
that are involved in Parkinson’s,” Scott said. Scott and his colleagues said
that during their study they analysed 356 Parkinson’s disease patients and
317 family members without the disease. “Based on this paper we find that
people who had Parkinson’s disease were 40 percent less likely to say that
they had ever smoked 100 cigarettes than their unaffected family members.
A similar reduction was seen in the likelihood with coffee,” Scott added. “It
seems that people with Parkinson’s are less likely to have done these things
over their lives -- to have smoked or to have consumed fairly large amounts
of caffeine.”
The researchers say they cannot yet say with certainty what effects coffee
and cigarettes may have on the brain. Mark Stacy of Duke University in
North Carolina, who worked on the study, said it remains possible that coffee
or cigarettes protect the brain. His colleagues added that it is likely that
something else is going on. Perhaps people who later develop Parkinson’s
respond differently to the effects of caffeine and cigarettes. “There is
this notion, and it makes a lot of sense, that folks who are going to have
Parkinson’s disease have lower levels of dopamine,” said Duke neurologist
Dr. Burton Scott, who also worked on the study. “Those with higher levels of
dopamine may be more likely to enjoy caffeine,” he added. The team is now
trying to identify m ore of the genes associated with Parkinson’s. “I wouldn’t
make any lifestyle changes based on this, but I’d also think that with drinking
my morning cup of coffee this morning that, hey there’s at least one good
thing that comes from this,” William Scott said. Parkinson’s disease is caused
when brain cells that produce dopamine die. The disease is progressive,
affecting about 1 percent of people older than 65. Symptoms start out with
shaking and can progress to paralysis. There is no cure, although a number
of drugs can make symptoms better for a time. Exposure to pesticides is
strongly linked with disease risk.
Reuters Alertnet, 10 April 2007

NIOSH Articles Deal With Pesticide Exposures in Retail
Employees, Farm Workers
A study recently published by NIOSH scientists provided findings and
recommendations on work-related pesticide exposures. The literature
reported the findings from a study conducted to describe the national
magnitude and characteristics of acute pesticide poisoning among workers
and customers in retail establishments. Analyses included retail employees
15 to 64 years of age and customers with acute pesticide poisoning identified
from the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks-
Pesticides and California Department of Pesticide Regulation from 1998 to
2004. Pesticide poisoning incidence rates and incidence rate ratios were
calculated. The researchers identified a total of 325 cases of acute pesticide
poisoning. Of these cases, 287 (88 percent) were retail employees and 38 (12
percent) were customers. Overall, retail employees had a significantly lower
acute pesticide poisoning incidence rate compared with non-agricultural,
non-retail employees. However, significantly elevated pesticide-poisoning
incidence rates were observed for four retail occupations (janitors, stock
handlers/baggers, bakery/deli clerks and shipping/receiving handlers). In
addition, workers employed in two retail industry sectors (farm supply stores
and hardware stores) had significantly elevated acute pesticide poisoning
incidence rates. The researchers made recommendations on strategic
measures to reduce the risk of these incidences.
During the study the researchers examined three incidences in 2004
and 2005 in Florida and North Carolina in which infants with birth defects
were born to farm workers who had recently worked in fields treated with
pesticides. In February 2005, three infants with congenital anomalies were
identified in Collier County, Fla., who were born within eight weeks of each
other and whose mothers worked for the same tomato grower. The mothers
worked on the grower’s Florida farms in 2004 before transferring to its North
Carolina farms. All three worked during the period of organogenesis in fields
recently treated with several pesticides. The Florida and North Carolina
farms were inspected by regulatory agencies, and in each state, a large
number of violations were identified and record fines were levied. Despite
the suggestive evidence, a causal link could not be established between
pesticide exposures and the birth defects in the three infants. Nonetheless,
the prenatal pesticide exposures experienced by the mother’s of the three
infants is cause for concern. Farm workers need greater protections against
pesticides. These include increased efforts to publicize and comply with
both EPA’s Worker Protection Standard and pesticide label requirements,
enhanced procedures to ensure pesticide applicator competency, and
recommendations to growers to adopt work practices to reduce pesticide
Occupational Health & Safety News, 9 April 2007

‘Safe’ heavy metals hit fish senses
Pollution far below the level seen as dangerous for aquatic life has
nevertheless dramatically altered animal behaviour in North American lakes.
Heavy metals are knocking out the sense of smell in organisms from bacteria
to fish. Even we may not be immune. Nathaniel Scholz, at the Northwest
Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues found that
salmon lose their sense of smell if there are even low levels of copper in
the water they are swimming in. The fish could die as a result, because
they cannot smell chemicals that would warn of a nearby predator. All over
the world, storm water run-off shuttles heavy metals such as copper and
zinc from industry, mines and built-up areas into natural watercourses. The
concentrations are generally low - too low for polluters to bother about, or so
many of them seem to have thought. “Now we’re going after [this] ‘So what?’
question,” says Scholz. Scholz’s team kept young coho salmon in tanks
with different concentrations of copper for 3 hours, then measured their
movements when a drop of salmon skin extract was added to the water.
In the wild, the skin would be a cue that a predator may have injured a fish
nearby. Unexposed salmon stopped swimming, sank to the bottom of the
tank and kept still - typical tactics for avoiding predators. But fish exposed
to concentrations of copper as low as 2 parts per billion (ppb) just stopped
for a few seconds, or merely slowed down, while fish exposed to 10 or more
ppb didn’t notice the cue at all.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has set the maximum safe level
of copper for aquatic life at 13 parts per billion, well above that needed
to wipe out the salmon’s ability to sense chemical cues. Yet Greg Pyle, at
Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario, Canada, has found chemosensory
problems at three levels of the food chain at or below 5 ppb, the limit set by
Ontario’s water quality standards. “The phenomenon is ubiquitous,” he says.
Leeches lost their ability to smell food, zooplankton were unable to evade
predators, and fathead minnows couldn’t recognise their eggs: the fish ate
them instead of protecting them. The contamination in these lakes is much
too weak to kill these organisms outright, Pyle says, yet their populations
are suffering. “Fathead minnows in Canadian lakes couldn’t recognise
their eggs: the fish ate them instead of protecting them.” Metals may have
the same effect in humans. The makers of the cold remedy Zicam, which
contains zinc, recently settled out of court for $12 million with people who
reported losing their sense of smell after spraying the product into their
noses. The company maintains the remedy is safe. Studies have not been
conducted to test whether zinc destroys human sensory abilities, but given
what’s happening in aquatic ecosystems, Pyle believes it could. “Don’t squirt
metals up your nose,” he says. “That would be my advice.”
New Scientist, 7 April 2007

Job Strain Linked to High Blood Pressure
According to a new study, workers reporting high levels of job strain had
higher blood pressure than workers who were under less strain. High job
strain is defined as high psychological demands combined with low control or
decision-making ability over one’s job and is associated with increased blood
pressure particularly among men. These effects are not only experienced
during the workday but also at home and during sleep, according to the
new research, led by Els Clays, M.Sc., of Ghent University in Belgium.
Using data collected from a large study of the health effects of job stress,
the researchers identified 89 middle-aged Belgian workers with high job
strain and a similar number of workers without high job strain. Both groups
underwent 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, in which their
blood pressure was measured at frequent intervals as they went through
their regular daily activities. The findings suggested that men with high job
strain had significantly higher blood pressure. Although blood pressures
were highest at work, workers with high job strain also had increased blood
pressure while they were at home and even when they were sleeping. On
average, blood pressure during the workday was 6.5/3.1 mm Hg higher
for the workers reporting high job strain. (Normal blood pressure is about
120/80 mm Hg.)
In addition, other risk factors were found to be high for workers with high job
strain, such as older age, increased body weight and smoking. However, the
relationship between job strain and blood pressure remained significant after
adjustment for these factors. The researchers said that detailed analysis
suggested that the rise in blood pressure was more strongly related to low
job control, or “decision latitude,” than to high job demands. Previously, high
job strain has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease,
particularly in men. According to the researchers, increased blood pressure
is one way in which high job strain might affect cardiovascular risk. “Based
on this and other studies, there is convincing evidence for consistent
associations between self-perceived job strain and ambulatory blood
pressure,” the researchers conclude. The researchers point out that on an
individual basis, the increases in blood pressure linked to high job strain may
not seem large. However, from a public health perspective, the increases
could be significant - especially since blood-pressure reductions of similar
magnitude can lead to substantial reductions in heart disease risk.
Occupational Hazards, 11 April 2007

ASSE Poll: Safety Community Ready for GHS
According to a new survey conducted by the American Society of Safety
Engineers (ASSE), implementing a globally harmonized system of
classification and labeling of chemicals (GHS) would be the next best step in
improving hazard communications systems. An audio conference revealed
that 98 percent of survey participants - comprised mostly of safety and
health professionals - voted “yes” when asked whether they see hazardous
communication systems improving as a result of GHS implementation. In
addition, 72 percent of poll voters said that their companies are in the process
of preparing for GHS and 88 percent said they thought that GHS would help
their companies streamline their hazard communication (HAZCOM) issues.
Other poll result included:
*72 percent said that their companies have a HAZCOM program with
international issues.
*52 percent said that their companies dedicate significant resources to
international issues.
*61 percent said that they have international safety, health and environmental
ASSE said that the survey’s results are indicative of the impact to the
safety and health community by GHS. “Hundreds of safety, health and
environmental professionals participated in the GHS call,” said Christopher
Gates, assistant administrator of the ASSE Management Practice Specialty.
“This clearly illustrates that GHS will be a critical issue for the profession
in the near future and has the potential to make a significant impact on
workplace safety and health when the system is fully implemented.” Jennifer
Silk, OSHA’s former deputy director of the Directorate of Standards and
Guidance, and Mary Frances Lowe of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs
were on the call and discussed how GHS would impact hazard communication
for manufacturers, importers, distributors and end users in all industries. In
addition, they discussed how GHS would change material safety data sheets
(MSDSs) and company HAZCOM programs and the impact GHS will have
on EHS professionals. According to ASSE, GHS - adopted by the United
Nations in 2003 with the goal of implementing it internationally by 2008 - is
intended to provide a comprehensive approach to: Defining health, physical
and environmental hazards of chemicals; creating classification processes
that use available data on chemicals for comparison with the defined hazard
criteria; communicating hazard information, as well as protective measures,
on labels and MSDSs. Proponents of GHS have been appealing to OSHA to
adopt the standard as soon as possible. This would mean that the agency
would have to make changes to the HAZCOM standard as well as its MSDS
Occupational Hazards, 9 April 2007

Scientists clinging to the wrong leech
Decades of medical research are being questioned following the discovery
that scientists may have been studying the wrong blood-sucking leech. At
least 115 chemical compounds have been developed from what researchers
thought was the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, with many being used
in drugs. However, genetic analysis has shown that the leech that led to the
discoveries may have been the species Hirudo verbana. This result could
potentially be disastrous for scientists and pharmaceutical companies,
because it suggests their research, new drugs and patents are based on the
false premise that the medicinal leech H. medicinalis was what was being
studied. It could be equally devastating for the leeches themselves, which
as H. medicinalis have legal protection, but as H. verbana have no defence
against being collected from the wild in hundreds of thousands. Leeches are
used in modern medicine mainly as a research tool, with scientists developing
drugs based on the chemicals in their bodies. Leeches were once used
traditionally and have made a return to the doctor’s armoury since the 1980s,
when it was realised they were useful after plastic and reconstructive surgery.
However, the results to the recent study have created doubt regarding the use
of the leeches in the US, because regulations there specify H. medicinalis
for medical use. The two species appear identical when dissected and show
only slight differences in coloration, even to an expert eye. But genetically,
a new study shows, there are marked differences. Yet while H. medicinalis
is generally regarded as the European medicinal leech, H. verbana and a
third species, Hirudo orientalis, also count as medicinal types. So despite
the regulatory, legal and bureaucratic confusion the DNA study may cause,
the finding that there is more than one leech with medicinal qualities raises
hopes of new benefits. Since the two have differences, it is possible that
new compounds and drugs could be developed as a result. Mark Siddall, of
the American Museum of Natural History, led the genetic analysis. He said
it raised questions over patents and the accuracy of research. “Beyond the
obvious need for reconsideration of decades of biomedical research on this
widely used model organism, these findings impact regulatory statutes and
raise concern for the conservation status of European medicinal leeches,”
the researchers conclude in their study.
The Australian News, 12 April 2007

Red meat raises breast cancer risk
According to researchers, eating even small amounts of red meat can
greatly increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. A new study found that
post-menopausal women who ate large amounts (more than 103 grams) of
processed meat a day could be 64 per cent more likely to suffer the disease,
while it was found as little as 57g of beef, pork or lamb a day showed an
effect. The results even indicated that younger women faced a slightly
raised risk if they ate red meat every day, according to the study. The study,
led by Professor Janet Cade of the University of Leeds, involved studying
the diets of 35,000 women aged between 35 and 69 for eight years. The
research states: “Women, both pre and post-menopausal, who consumed
the most meat had the highest risk of breast cancer. “Women generally
consuming most total meat, red and processed meat were at the highest
increased risk compared with non-meat consumers.” During the study the
subjects completed 217-item food questionnaires and were divided into
three groups depending on whether they were low, medium or high meat-
eaters. They were compared with women in the study who were vegetarian
and researchers also took into account smoking, weight, fruit and vegetable
intake, education, age and use of hormone replacement therapy. Professor
Cade said: “The findings are robust. Whatever we adjusted the data for we
could find an association. “Really, these results could apply to all women.
At home I have cut down on the amount of red meat we eat as a family a
week. “I am not suggesting that everyone should become a vegetarian, that
would be unrealistic, but the findings were strong and I think we should pay
attention to them.”
The Australian News, 4 April 2007

Wholegrain breakfasts linked to lower heart failure risk
Researchers from Harvard University have reported that eating a bowl of
wholegrain cereals every day could reduce the risk of heart failure by 27 per
cent. In an epidemiological study of 10,469 cereal-eating physicians taking
part in the Physicians’ Health Study, those who ate two to six servings of
wholegrain breakfast cereals reduced their risk of heart failure by 22 per
cent. The research adds to an already strong body of evidence linking the
consumption of wholegrain products to improvements in cardiovascular
health. “There are good and powerful arguments for eating a wholegrain
cereal for breakfast,” said lead author Luc Djoussé, from Brigham & Women’s
Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “The significant health benefits of
wholegrain cereal are not just for kids, but also for adults. A wholegrain, high-
fibre breakfast may lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol and prevent
heart attacks.” Increased attentions is being paid to whole grains, especially
in the US where the FDA permits foods containing at least 51 percent whole
grains by weight and are low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol to
carry a health claim linking them to a reduced risk of heart disease and
certain cancers. The term wholegrain is considered to be more consumer-
friendly than the term fibre, which leads some manufacturers to favour it on
product packaging since it is likely to strike more of a chord of recognition for
its healthy benefits. During the study, food frequency questionnaires were
used to assess the consumption of wholegrain and refined grain cereals and
related this to the incidence of heart failure from 1982 to 2006.
Of the 10,469 physicians (average age 53.7) who reporting cereal
consumption at baseline, 8,266 (79 per cent) ate wholegrain cereals
compared to 2,203 (21 per cent) who ate refined cereals. Djoussé and
Michael Gaziano calculated that eating seven or more servings per week
was associated with a 28 per cent reduction in the risk of heart failure,
while eating two to six servings per week was associated with a 22 per
cent risk reduction. Eating only one serving per week reduced the risk of
heart failure by 14 per cent, they said. Heart failure occurs when the heart
muscle becomes so weak that it can no longer pump blood around the body.
“The Physicians’ Health Study shows that even in a population with overall
healthy behaviour, it is possible to see less heart failure in those who eat a
wholegrain cereal breakfast,” said Djoussé. There are several limitations to
the study, including relying on self-reporting of food intake which is reliant
on the recall of the subjects. In this instance the researchers re-assessed
cereal consumption at regular intervals to control for potential changes in
cereal consumption. Further study is required to confirm these findings, with
mechanistic studies needed to elucidate exactly how the grains may offer
protection against heart failure.
Nutra Ingredients, 5 March 2007

Global Map of Malaria Risk
Scientists from the University of Oxford and the Kenya Medical Research
Institute have just completed the first data-gathering stage of the Malaria
Atlas Project, which will identify populations most at risk for malaria and
predict the disease’s impact. Malaria data have been gathered from more
than 3,000 communities in 79 countries. A final map will be generated using
data from satellites, censuses, and other sources, with statistical methods
filling in data gaps. Policy makers and funding agencies can utilize this
information to better target resources. The open-access project is described
in the December 2006 edition of PLoS Medicine.
Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2007

China Top CO2 Producer by 2010
A report released by the International Energy Agency in November 2006
estimates that China will overtake the United States as the largest producer
of carbon dioxide by 2010, a decade sooner than earlier studies projected. A
large percentage of the carbon dioxide emitted in the world comes from coal
consumption. Seventy percent of China’s energy comes from coal, which is
cheap and abundant in that country. China has stated it will try to limit coal
production to 2.6 billion metric tons by 2010, but experts say this goal will
probably not be met-the Chinese government is planning 500 new coal-fired
power plants to meet the nation’s energy demands.
Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2007

Protective masks often not worn properly - study
In a new study, U.S researchers have found that more than three-quarters of
people given protective facemasks put them on incorrectly. The researchers
said that the results to the study show confusion about using the breathing
aids in an emergency or pandemic. Experts from the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health tested 538 people in New Orleans who used a cup-shaped
facemask called the N95 respirator after Hurricane Katrina destroyed much
of the city in 2005. People were advised to use the masks -- designed to filter
out fine particles and germs -- when cleaning up flooded homes because of
mold, which can cause respiratory irritation. Only 24 percent put the masks
on right, the researchers reported. “Improper donning would promote the
entry of unfiltered air through leaks or gaps between the respirator and the
skin, compromising the protection offered,” said the researchers, led by the
CDC’s Kristin Cummings. N95 masks are recommended for use in dusty
places but also to avoid infection from tuberculosis and viruses such as the
H5N1 avian influenza virus.
But they must be carefully fitted using a metal bridge over the nose. “Errors
included nose clip not tightened (71 percent) and straps incorrectly placed
(52 percent); 22 percent put on the respirator upside down,” the researchers
wrote. Many experts are investigating the use of N95 masks to protect
people during an epidemic or pandemic of influenza. The H5N1 bird flu virus
is considered a likely culprit if it acquires the ability to pass easily among
humans. H5N1 mainly infects birds but has killed 170 of the 288 people
known to have been infected in 12 countries. “While uncertainty remains
about the level of protection needed against influenza and that offered by an
N95,” the researchers wrote, an improperly donned mask “will provide less
protection than a properly donned one.” Previous studies have suggested
that people have trouble using the masks properly, so training might be an
important part of distributing masks to fight disease, the researchers said.
Reuters Alertnet, 4 April 2007


Biomonitors of environmental pollution - an appraisal of
their effectiveness
Plants and animals, through their highly specific demands on environmental
resources, can be usefully employed for monitoring human impacts on the
environment, particularly pollution. This study investigated the Biomonitors
that are selected for their ability to respond to a particular pollutant and/or
to accumulate one or more particular elements or compounds. However,
biomonitoring, including bioassays, can be ineffectual in comparing
temporal and spatial differences in the environment due to the lack
of relevant baseline data and the adoption of a wide variety of field and
laboratory techniques. Furthermore, although species are hierarchical in
their susceptibility to a defined pollution burden, the latter may be composed
of two or more contaminants, as revealed by bioassays, and influenced by
several environmental factors which maybe acting synergistically. Therefore,
rigorous protocols need to be adopted for meaningful assessments of
environmental quality and of risk to human health and safety.
Authors: Seaward, Mark R. D.
Full Source: ECOpole’05, Ksiega Konferencyjna/Proceedings, 14th,
Jamrozowa Polana, Poland and Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic)

Specific activation of the human HSP70 promoter by
copper sulfate in mosaic transgenic zebrafish.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) play a central role in cell protection and repair upon
stresses, such as that caused by heat and heavy metals. CuSO4 inducibility
of a pHhsp70 construct expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein
(EGFP) gene under the control of the exogenous humanhsp70 promoter was
tested in transfected CHSE 214 cells and transgenic zebrafish (Danio rerio).
The authors developed a transient expression system, using mosaically
transgenic zebrafish, which allows rapid analysis of transgenic expression.
Transfected CHSE 214 cells, which had been exposed to 250 nM and 2.5
ÌM CuSO4 for up to 24h showed increased EGFP expression in a dose-
dependent manner. The 1.5ÌM CuSO4 caused stronger EGFP fluorescence
than the 1.0 ÌMCuSO4 in transgenic zebrafish. Most of the expression was
spotty and was detected in the gills, dorsal and ventral retina, myotubes
of the trunk, and skin epithelium. Transgenic zebrafish exposed to CuSO4
exhibited gross dysmorphogenesis, edema and trunk abnormalities, such
as spinal lordosis, in vertebral development 5 days after fertilization. This
transgenic zebrafish system was sensitive enough to detect CuSO4 at
doses below the median lethal concentration (the LC50 was calculated to
be 1.2 ÌM (95% confidence interval of 0.6-1.9ÌM)). The authors concluded
that zebrafish could be useful transgenicbiosensor systems for the detection
of xenobiotic toxicants in the environment.
Authors: Seok, Seung-Hyeok; Park, Jong-Hwan; Baek, Min-Won; Lee, Hui-
Young; Kim,Dong-Jae; Uhm, Hyung-Min; Hong, Jung-Joo; Na, Yi-Rang;
Jin,Bo-Hwan; Ryu, Doug-Young; Park, Jae-Hak
Full Source: Journal of Biotechnology2006, 126(3), 406-413 (Eng)


Analysis of human proteins that have an affinity to heavy
metals by metal-chelating column chromatography
To clarify the molecular basis of toxicities of industrial chemicals, the aim was
to develop appropriate methods whereby their cellular target molecules could
be directly identified. This study focused on target proteins of heavy metals,
and the method that was established to detect them using a combination
of metal-chelating column chromatogram and a subsequent analysis by
electrophoresis. Protein sample spared from HeLa cells were applied to
the Zn- or Cd-chelating column, and the bound proteins were analyzed by
SDS-polyacrylamidegel electrophoresis followed by either silver staining, or
fluorogram when using radiolabel protein samples. Among several protein
species trapped in the columns, a 36-kDa protein apparently has an affinity
to both Zn and Cd, indicating the possibility that Cd can exchange essential
Zn on this protein. The authors found out that the established method is
useful for the target protein screening and further analyses of separated
Authors: Otsuka, Fuminori; Komatsu-Okugaito, Miho; Koizumi, Shinji;
Ohsawa, Motoyasu
Full Source: Industrial Health 2006, 44(4), 674-678 (English)

Use of electrically enhanced aerosol plasma
spectroscopy for real-time characterization of beryllium
The best warning of human exposure to elevated toxic aerosol particles
is a monitor that can provide an ear-real-time alarm function. This article
introduced the field-portable system the authors have developed specifically
for monitoring beryllium particles in the air in near real-time. The prototype
monitor is installed on a two-shelf handcart that can be used in workplaces
involving beryllium extension machining, and parts fabrication. The
measurement involves no sample preparation and generates no analysis
waste. The operating principle of the monitor is electronically enhanced
laser-induced electric-plasma spectrometry assisted with aerosol-focusing
technology. Performance data of the monitor indicate a dynamic range
spanning over four orders of magnitude, and the monitor is capable of
detecting an airborne beryllium concentration of 0.05Ìg m-3. In reference,
the Department of Energy (DOE) standard for beryllium is 0.2 Ìg m-3 within
an 8-h av., while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard
for beryllium is 2 Ìg m-3. In addition, the monitor is capable of simultaneous
detection of multiple elements using an Echellette spectrometer if needed.
The capability of simultaneous detection provides a convenient means for
possible identification and possible quantification of multiple elements in
near real time.
Authors: Cheng, Meng-Dawn; Smithwick, Robert W., III; Hinton, Ray
Full Source: Special Technical Publication 2006, STP 1473(Beryllium), 81-
91(English) ASTM International

Massive strontium ferrite ingestion without acute toxicity
Ingestion of strontium ferrite is previously unreported. This study documented
and investigated absorption of strontium without acute toxicity. A 22 yr-
old schizophrenic man was brought to hospital after he was witnessed to
pulverize and ingest flexible adhesive magnets, which later were identified
as strontium ferrite. Other than auditory hallucinations his vital signs, physical
examination, ECG and routine laboratories were unremarkable. Abdominal
radiographs revealed diffuse radiopaque material. He was treated with whole
bowel irrigation with polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution(PEG-
ELS) until radiograph cleared. His initial blood and urine strontium levels
were 2900 Ìg/l and 15,000 Ìg/l, respectively (reference range for urine:<240
Ìg/l, occupational threshold 800 Ìg/l). A repeat urine level one week later was
370 Ìg/l. His hospital course was complicated by bacteremia secondary to a
thrombophlebitis at the site of the i.v. catheter, and the patient was treated
with i.v. and oral antibiotics. He remained otherwise asymptomatic and was
discharged to apsychiatric unit approx. 3 wk later. Although clearly absorbed,
strontium ferrite does not appear to produce acute toxicity. Delayed, and or
chronic toxicity cannot be excluded based on this report.
Authors: Kirrane, Barbara M.; Nelson, Lewis S.; Hoffman, Robert S.
Full Source: Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 2006, 99(5), 358-
359 (English)

Determination of pulmonary irritant threshold
concentrations of hexamethylene-1,6-diisocyanate (HDI)
prepolymers by bronchoalveolar lavage in acute rat
inhalation studies according to TRGS 430.
This study investigated and determined the pulmonary irritant threshold
concentrations of two hexamethylene-1,6-diisocyanate (HDI)-based
prepolymers (I: polymeric emulsfier modified and II: oligomeric
allophanatemodified) detected in acute inhalation studies according to
TRGS430 (Dangerous Substances Tech. Rule, isocyanates, Germany),
based on benchmark extrapolation of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF)
total protein. It was also investigated if the method is robust enough to be
transferred to an independent lab. BALF was analyzed for biochemical and
cytological markers indicative for injury of the bronchoalveolar region. The
exposure of rats to test substance I and II caused dose depended lung
irritation with BALF total protein concentration being the most sensitive
indicator of pulmonary effects. The extrapolated no observed adverse effect
level of test substance I was 1.1 mg/m3 and that of test substance II 2.3
mg/m3. The acute pulmonary irritant threshold concentrations were found
to be similar to those reported by Pauluhn, J. for HDI-homopolymers and
other HDI-based polyisocyanates, and were at least 30 times higher than
the MAK(occupational exposure limit) value for the HDI monomer (0.035mg/
m3). Thus the EBW (exposure assessment value) for these two HDI-based
prepolymers can be established at 10 times as MAK, i.e. at 0.35mg/m3.
Authors: Ma-Hock, L.; Gamer, A. O.; Deckardt, K.; Leibold, E.; van
Ravenzwaay, B.
Full Source: Food and Chemical Toxicology 2006, 45(2), 237-243 (English)

Screening of potentially toxic chalcogens in erythrocytes
This study was undertaken to screen the toxicity of a variety of chalcogens
using erythrocytes as a model of cell injury. The toxicity of these compounds
was evaluated via quantification of hemolysis and lipid peroxidation. The
present investigation shows that di-Ph ditelluride and Ph tellurides are toxic to
erythrocytes. The organoselenium compounds were not toxic toerythrocytes
even when tested at high concentrations and with a hematocrit of 45%. The
hemolytic effect of tellurides was not possibly correlated with thiobarbituric
acid-reactive substance (TBARS) production suggesting that lipid
peroxidation is not involved in the hemolysis provoked byorganotellurium
compounds. The authors also found that chalcogen compounds may be
toxic to human erythrocytes, depending on their structure.
Authors: Schiar, Viviane Patricia P.; dos Santos, Danubia B.; Luedtke, Diogo
S.; Vargas, Fabricio; Paixao, Marcio W.; Nogueira, Cristina W.; Zeni, Gilson;
Rocha, Joao Batista T.
Full Source: Toxicology in Vitro 2006, 21(1), 139-145 (English)


Occupational exposure to formaldehyde in the health
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified
formaldehyde as a carcinogenic material for humans and has thus initiated
a discussion about the occupational exposure to this material, which is
widespread in the health services. An evaluation of the information available
in the sector of accident insurance authorities regarding exposure to
formaldehyde in the health services allows the following statements: The
disinfection of large surfaces with formaldehyde content products regularly
results in air concentrations far above the discussed threshold values (0.1-
0.3 mL/m3). This applies also for manual, open instrument disinfection,
in particular large instruments, such as, for example, endoscopes and
room disinfection according to the German Tech. Rules for Hazardous
Substances (TRGS) 522. In addition, work in pathology and/or anatomy
areas is associated with high formaldehyde concentrations in the air, while
tasks with well controlled boundary conditions, such as, for example, the
sterilization or disinfection in automatic systems, as well as laboratory work
under exhaust systems, will be adequate to fall below the mentioned low
threshold values.
Authors: Eickmann, Udo; Thullner, Ingrid
Full Source: Umweltmedizin in Forschung und Praxis 2006, 11(6), 363-368

Health effects of metropolitan traffic-related air pollutants
on street vendors
This study evaluated the health effect of traffic related air pollutants in street
vendors. Data on the daily concentration of air pollutants were recorded
for 61 days and daily percentage of respiratory and other health symptoms
were calculated. The risk of developing adverse respiratory health effects
were estimated using an adjusted odds ratio for street vendors exposed
to multiple air pollutants, fine particulate (PM2.5), NO2, O3, CO, and total
volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), after controlling for confounding factors.
The authors found significant associations in the first model for eye irritation
and dizziness for PM2.5. The adjusted odds ratio of total VOCs was 1.381
for phlegm, 4.840 for chest tightness, and 1.429 for upper respiratory
symptoms, and the adjusted odds ratio for CO was 1.748 for a sore throat
and 1.880 for a cold and 1.655 for a cough. The second model showed
the effects of PM2.5, total VOCs, and CO were slightly lower. The authors
concluded that the study’s findings show the health effects of traffic-related
air pollutants on street vendors, and imply suggestions about how to reduce
exposure of street vendors.
Authors: Kongtip, P.; Thongsuk, W.; Yoosook, W.; Chantanakul, S.
Full Source: Atmospheric Environment 2006, 40(37), 7138-7145 (Eng)

Assessment of dermal exposure to benzene and toluene
in shoe manufacturing by activated carbon cloth patches
This study investigated the extent of dermal exposure to benzene and
toluene during shoe manufacturing, using activated carbon cloth (ACC)
patches. Measurement of the inhalation and dermal exposure were
simultaneously collected in 70 subjects on multiple days resulting in 113
observations. Assessment of the dermal exposure was conducted via the
ACC patches attached to likely exposed skin areas (e.g. the palm of the
hand and abdomen). A control patch at the chest and an organic vapor
monitor (OVM) were used to adjust the hand and abdomen patches for the
contribution from the air through passive absorption of benzene and toluene
on the ACC patches. Systemic exposure was assessed by quantification
of unmetabolized benzene (UBz) and toluene (UTol) in urine. Iterative
regression analyses between the control patch, OVM, and the dermal
patches showed that only a small percentage of the ACC patches at the
hand had likely benzene or toluene contamination. The positive patches for
the subjects performing the task of gluing then underwent further analysis.
The authors observed significant dermal exposure loading to the abdomen
for toluene only. No link was detected between having a positive hand or
abdomen ACC patch and UBz or UTol levels. In contrast a strong association
was found between air levels of benzene and toluene and their respective
urinary levels. The authors conclude that ACC patches are shown to be a
useful technique for quantifying the probability of dermal exposure to organic
solvents and to provide estimates of the potential contribution of the dermal
pathway to systemic exposure. By using ACC patches the study showed that
dermal exposure to benzene and toluene in a shoe manufacturing factory is
probably rare, and when it occurred exposures were relatively low and did
not significantly contribute to systemic exposure.
Authors: Vermeulen, Roel; Lan, Qing; Li, Guilan; Rappaport, Stephen M.;
Kim, Sungkyoon; van Wendel de Joode, Berna; Shen, Min; Bohong, Xu;
Smith, Martyn T.; Zhang, Luoping; Yin, Songnian; Rothman, Nathaniel
Full Source: Journal of Environmental Monitoring 2006, 8(11), 1143-1148

Evaluation of genetic damage in operating room
personnel exposed to anesthetic gases
This study evaluated the possible genotoxic effects of waste anesthetic
gases, using the chromosomal aberrations analysis and comet assay
to analyse peripheral blood lymphocytes in 45 operating room personnel
currently employed at a hospital in South India. In addition, the micronucleus
test was performed on buccal epithelial cells for all subjects. The exposed
group was matched by age, sex, alcohol consumption and smoking
habits with a group of 45 non-exposed subjects. There was a statistically
significant increase in DNA damage detected by the comet assay in the
exposed group. Chromosome aberrations and micronucleus frequencies
also increased significantly in the exposed subjects in comparison to the
controls. Following the analysis of variance, it was observed that there was a
significant effects to the DNA mean tail length caused by smoking, whereas
alcohol consumption, duration of exposure to anesthetic agents, age and
gender had no significant effect. All the confounding factors had significant
effect by the micronucleus test. However, smoking, alcohol consumption,
age, gender and years of exposure showed no significant effect by the
chromosome aberrations test. The authors concluded that the overall results
suggest that exposure to waste anesthetic gases has the potential to cause
changes in the human genome.
Authors: Chandrasekhar, M.; Rekhadevi, P. V.; Sailaja, N.; Rahman, M. F.;
Reddyi, J. P.; Mahboob M; Grover, Paramjit
Full Source: Mutagenesis 2006, 21(4), 249-254 (Eng)

Effects of work related confounders on the association
between silica exposure and lung cancer: a nested case-
control study among Chinese miners and pottery workers
The aim of this study was to investigate the role of silica in the causation of
lung cancer. In order to explore whether observed association between silica
exposure and lung cancer is confounded by exposure to other occupational
carcinogens, a case-control study among a cohort of male workers in 29
Chinese mines and factories was conducted as a follow up to an earlier study.
Five hundred and eleven lung cancer cases and 1,879 matched controls
were selected. Exposure to respirable silica as well as relevant occupational
confounders were quantified and assessed based on historical industrial
hygiene data. The relationship between exposure to silica and lung cancer
was analyzed by conditional logistic regression analysis adjusted for exposure
to arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), radon, and smoking.
The results showed that in a crude analysis adjusted for smoking only, a
significant trend of increasing risk of lung cancer with exposure to silica was
found for tin, iron/copper miners, and pottery workers. Following adjustments
made for relevant occupational confounders, no relationship between silica
and lung cancer could be detected. Instead, there is a significant association
between lung cancer mortality and cumulative exposure to inorganic arsenic
and carcinogenic PAHs. The authors concluded that these results no not
provide any evidence to show that exposure to silica causes lung cancer in
the absence of confounding factors.
Authors: Chen, Weihong; Bochmann, Frank; Sun, Yi
Full Source: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental
Health 2007, 80(4), 320-326 (Eng)

Public Health

Risk-based evaluation of the exposure of children to trace
elements in playgrounds in Madrid (Spain)
This study investigated the adverse health effects associated with trace
elements in the soil at playground in Madrid (Spain). Eighty samples of
sandy substrate were collected in Nov. 2002 and 2003, from 20 municipal
playgrounds in Madrid In each playground, two 500 g samples were
collected, dried at 45ºC for 48 h, sieved below 100 Ìm, acid digested and
analyzed by ICP-MS. Doses contacted through ingestion and inhalation and
the dose absorbed through the skin were calculated using USEPAs hourly
exposure parameters for children and the results of an in situ survey. The
toxicity values considered in this study were mostly taken from the US DoEs
RAIS compilation. The results indicated that the highest risk is associated
with ingestion of soil particles and that the trace element of most concern
is arsenic. The cancer risk value was found to be above the levels deemed
acceptable by most regulatory agencies. Regarding non-cancer effects,
exposure to playground substrate yields an aggregate Hazard Index of
0.28, below the threshold value of 1 (with As, again, as the largest single
contributor, followed by Pb, Cr, Al and Mn). Although the uncertainties
associated with the estimates of toxicity values and exposure factors should
be reduced before any definite conclusions regarding potential health
effects are drawn, risk assessment has proven to be a very useful tool to
identify the contaminants and exposure pathways of most concern in urban
Authors: De Miguel, E.; Iribarren, I.; Chacon, E.; Ordonez, A.; Charlesworth,
Full Source: Chemosphere 2007 (Pub. 2006), 66(3), 505-513 (Eng)

Risk and water quality assessment over view of river
Sitalakhya in Bangladesh
In terms of quality, the river water of the Sitalakhya is vulnerable to pollution
from untreated industrial effluents and municipal wastewater, runoff from
chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and oil and lube spillage in and around
the operation of river ports. This study compared the data for the physical -
chemical variables of the Sitalakhya River, namely temperature, transparency,
total dissolve solids, suspended solids, electrical condition, hardness, pH,
dissolve oxygen, BOD, COD, nitrate, ammonium and phosphate to those
received during the previous study. The present investigation was conducted
from 2001 to the present and the previous works were performed from 1980
- 2000. The results showed that there were significant differences between
the results from the current study and those from the previous study (at <0.05
level by DMRT) in the spatial (pollution source) and temporal (seasonal)
sources of variation affecting and consideration measures to be taken for
the safe aquatic lives as well as human health.
Authors: Alam, Mohammad Naushad; Elahi, Fazle; Didar-Ul-Alam, Md.
Full Source: Academic Open Internet Journal 2006, 19, No pp. given

Occupational and environmental human lead exposure in
This study reviews the data on assessment of exposure and adverse
effects due to enviroonmental and occupational lea exposure in Brazil.
Epidemiological investigations on children lead exposure around industrial
and mining areas have shown that lead contamination is an actual source
of concern. Lead in gasoline has been phasing out since the 1980s, and it
is now completely discontinued. The last lead mining and lead refining plant
was closed in 1995, leaving residual environmental lead contamination,
which has recently been investigated using a multidisciplinary approach.
Moreover, there are hundreds of small battery recycling plants and secondary
smelting facilities all over the country, which produce focal urban areas of
lead contamination. Current regulatory limits for workplace lead exposure
have shown to be inadequate as safety limits according to a few studies
carried out lately.
Authors: Paoliello, M. M. B.; De Capitani, E. M.
Full Source: Environmental Research 2007, 103(2), 288-297 (English)

Health effects associated with exposure to ambient air
The World Health Organization has identified ambient air pollution as a
high public health priority, based on estimates of air pollution-related death
and disability-adjusted life years derived in its Global Burden of Disease
initiative. The NERAM Colloquium Series on Health and Air Quality was
initiated to strengthen the linkage between scientists, policymakers, and
other stakeholders by reviewing the current state of science, identifying
policy-relevant gaps and uncertainties in the scientific evidence, and
proposing a path forward for research and policy to improve air quality and
public health. The objective of this study was to review the current state of
science addressing the impacts of air pollution on human health. It is one of
four background papers prepared for the 2003 NERAM/AirNet Conference
on Strategies for Clean Air and Health, the third meeting in the international
Colloquium Series. The review is based on the framework and findings of
the U.S. National Research Committee (NRC) on Research Priorities for
Airborne Particulate Matter and addresses key questions underlying air
quality risk management policy decisions.
Authors: Samet, Jonathan; Krewski, Daniel
Full Source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 2007,
70(3-4), 227-242 (Eng)

The World Trade Center Aftermath and its Effects on
Health: Understanding and Learning through Human-
Exposure Science
Human exposure science principles are important to identify and mitigate
environmental health problems since they permit acquisition of knowledge
to understand environmental health consequences of single and multi-
route contacts with toxicants. Although a relatively young field, human
exposure science is the study of human contact with chemical, physical, or
biological agents occurring in their environments. It advances knowledge of
mechanisms and dynamics or events causing or preventing adverse human
health outcomes (D. Barr, 2006). This being the case, it is important that it
is central to the mitigation of exposure during and after catastrophic events,
such as the World Trade Center (WTC) attack. Issues associated with
applying conventional environmental measurements to the WTC aftermath
as surrogates for exposure, how divergent exposure periods cascaded into
unusual adverse health observations, and the degree of follow-through and
lessons learned are discussed within the literature. In addition, exposure
caused by the events of 9/11; settled dust composition; exposure patterns;
health effects; implications are discussed. Future recommendations are also
Authors: Lioy, Paul J.; Pellizzari, Edo; Prezant, David
Full Source: Environmental Science & Technology 2006, 40(22), 6876-6885


Comparison of performance of three different types of
respiratory protection devices
This study compared the performance of three types of respiratory protection
during a simulated workplace test that measured both filter penetration and
face seal leakage. A panel of 25 test subjects with varying face sizes tested
15 models of elastomeric N95 respirators, 15 models of N95 filtering-face
piece respirators, and 6 models of surgical masks. Simulated workplace
testing was conducted using a TSI PORTACOUNT Plus model 8020, and
consisted of a series of seven exercises. Six simulated workplace tests were
performed with redoing of the respirator/mask occurring between each test.
The results of these tests produced a simulated workplace protection factor
(SWPF). The geometric mean (GM) and the 5th percentile values of the
SWPFs were computed by category of respiratory protec-CA SELECTS
PLUS using the six overall SWPF values. The level of protection provided by
each of the three respiratory protection types was compared. The GM and
5th percentile SWPF values without fit testing were used for the comparison,
as surgical masks were not intended to be fit tested. The GM values were 36
for elastomeric N95 respirators, 21 for N95 filtering-face piece respirators,
and 3 for surgical masks. An analysis of variance demonstrated a statistically
significant difference between all three. Elastomeric N95 respirators had
the highest 5th percentile SWPF of 7. N95 filtering-face piece respirators
and surgical masks had 5th percentile SWPFs of 3 and 1, respectively.
A Fisher Exact Test revealed that the 5th percentile SWPFs for all three
types of respiratory protection were statistically different. In addition, both
quality (Bitrex and saccharin) and quantity (N95-Companion) fit testing were
performed on the N95 filtering-and elastomeric face piece respirators. It
was found that passing a fit test generally improves the protection afforded
the wearer. Passing the Bitrex fittest resulted in 5th percentile SWPFs of
11.1 and 7.9 for elastomeric and filtering-facepiece respirators, respectively.
After passing the saccharin tests, the elastomeric respirators provided a
5th percentile of 11.7, and the filtering-facepiece respirators provided a 5th
percentile of 11.0. The 5th percentiles after passing the N95-Companion
were 13.0 for the elastomeric respirators and 20.5 for the filtering facepiece
respirators. The data supports fit testing as an essential element of a
complete respiratory protection program.
Authors: Lawrence, Robert B.; Duling, Matthew G.; Calvert, Catherine A.;
Coffey, Christopher C.
Full Source: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 2006,
3(9), 465-474 (Eng)

Contribution to the methodology for the development
of acute exposure threshold levels in case of accidental
chemical release
The ACUTEX (acute exposure) Project was a 3-yr research activity
funded by the 5th European Union Framework Program for Research and
Technology Development to develop methods, software, and technology
guidance document to establishing European Acute Toxicity Threshold
Levels (AETL) for accidental chemical releases. The method to derive
AETL was intended to speed up the harmonized implementation of Council
Directive96/82/EC known as the SEVESO II Directive to control major
accident hazards involving dangerous substances. This report described
particular contributions of ECETOC to the overall project: comparing
currently available methods in Europe and US; defining human health end-
points for target organs relevant for accidental chemical exposure; defining
different AETL levels; and proposing method aspects for using assessment
factors and time extrapolation to derive AETL.
Author: Anon.
Full Source: Technical Report - ECETOC 2006, (100), i-v, 1-216 (Eng)

Smoke detector
This article introduced a smoke detector that contains a control section
controlling a light source and a photo-detector mounted at an angle to one
another so that their optical axes lie in a plane of horizontal cross-section of
a section for controlling an optical device of smoke-controlling environment;
the optical axis of the light source is positioned outside the line of sight of the
photo-detector, and the point of intersection of the optical axes is positioned
inside the working space of the section. The light source and photo-detector
are positioned in hollow holders at an angle to one another, a section for
controlling the optical device of the smoke-controlling environment has a
bottom and a cover, while a working space of the section is formed by the
bottom and cover, and also by end surfaces of the holders positioned at an
angle to one another and by an internal surface of a side barrier formed by
1st and 2nd extended walls.
Authors: Vasil’eva, E. D.; Rubashkin, Yu. A.; Bel’nik, I. A.; Fadeev, A. Yu.
Full Source: Russ. RU 2,288,505 (Cl. G08B17/10), 27 Nov 2006, Appl.
2,005,108,485, 21 Mar 2005; 7pp. (Russ)

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