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October 22, 2010

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Hazardous Substances Information System
Safe Work Australia has announced that it plans to update the
Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) online database to
reflect changes in Europe‘s 31st Adaptation to Technical Progress to
Directive 67/548/EEC. Note: the update will not include updated entries
for nickel compounds as these classifications are currently under
reconsideration and legal action in the European Union. A decision on
the inclusion of these entries in HSIS will be made once the outcome of
those deliberations is clear. The HSIS online database is an internet
resource that allows users to find information on substances that have
been classified in accordance with the Approved Criteria for Classifying
Hazardous Substances [NOHSC:1008(2004)] 3rd Edition and/or have
National Exposure Standards declared under the NOHSC Adopted
National Exposure Standards for Atmospheric Contaminants in the
Occupational Environment [NOHSC:1003(1995)]. The update comprised
of a total of 456 entries of which there are 92 amendments to existing
entries, 360 new entries and 4 deletions. SafeWork Australia anticipate
that all changes will be finalised by end of November 2010. to view a
list of schedule of changes for the HSIS database go to:
Safe Work Australia, 16 September 2010

Diabetes drug’s heart risk to be reviewed
The diabetes drug Avandia will be reviewed in Australia following its
withdrew from the European market by regulators. Avandia has been
linked to an increased risk of heart problems, which the drug company
behind it, GlaxoSmithKline, tried to cover up. According to the company
approximately 15,000 people in Australia use the drug. In a
co-ordinated announcement US and European drug regulators said the
drug would be restricted in the US and withdrawal in Europe. In July
GlaxoSmithKline took a $US2.3 billion liability charge for legal cases
involving Avandia and another medicine, Paxil. At the time the
Therapeutic Goods Administration said it would not withdraw Avandia
in Australia but has recently said it would review the European and US
decisions. Agnes Vitry, a senior research fellow at the University of South
Australia‘s medicines research centre, said that despite restrictions the
drug was still used too frequently in Australia. However, Richard O‘Brien,
the clinical dean of medicine at the University of Melbourne, said he
found the data on the risk of heart problems posed by Avandia
‗‘unconvincing‘‘. GlaxoSmithKline said the drug was an important option
for people with type 2 diabetes and it would continue to sell it in
The Age, 25 September 2010 http://www.theage.com.au

Side effects worse than the disease
Public health experts have called for an independent body to monitor
drug safety after it emerged that young children were more likely to end
up in hospital because of side effects from a flu vaccine than they were
from the disease itself. The analysis contradicts government safety advice
that the harm did not outweigh the risk and raises concerns about the
Therapeutic Goods Administration‘s assessment of the vaccine. More than
1000 adverse responses in children under five were reported to the TGA
by June this year, including nearly 100 instances of febrile convulsions,
a seizure which in a small number of cases has been associated with
long-term adverse health outcomes. The side effects were linked to one of
the three seasonal flu vaccines, Fluvax and Fluvax junior, from the drug
company CSL, but the TGA maintained despite that, that ―the overall
risk-benefit balance of both products remains positive‖. The
Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer claims the advice was intended to
indicate the drug should not be withdrawn from the market but said the
government would reassess it in light of the research. However, a study
published recently in the journal Eurosurveillance showed Fluvax might
have caused two to three hospital admissions due to seizure for every
admission from flu it prevented. The chief executive of the Public Health
Association of Australia, Michael Moore, said further examination of
risks was needed, at arm‘s length from the TGA. The government should
consider creating an independent centre. ―There is a concern … that the
TGA is the body that approves vaccines and is also the body that
determines what the risks and benefits are when concerns are raised,‖ he
said. Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases expert at the Australian
National University, said the vaccination program in children under five
did more harm than good. ―The TGA made that decision [about
risk-benefit] without any evidence to back it up.‖

Professor Collignon questioned the TGA‘s independence and transparency
because some of its advisers had worked for drug companies. The Chief
Medical Officer, Jim Bishop, said the risk-benefit claim indicated the
drug should not be withdrawn. The TGA had recommended other
vaccines besides Fluvax be used for children under five. He defended the
TGA‘s independence: ‗‘There is no evidence the TGA is obligated to drug
companies and they have a number of ways to make sure their advice is
independent,‘‘ he said. ‗‘I feel comfortable about our investigation [of the
vaccine, but] the fact of the matter is there is now new information
available and the regulator will take that into account‘‘. Heath Kelly, the
study leader and an honorary associate professor at the University of
Melbourne, said the government should check for vaccine side effects -
not wait for reports. In addition, there should be a national insurance
scheme to compensate people if they had a bad reaction. ―On very rare
occasions, things can go wrong in vaccination programs. The community
that recommended and promoted vaccination [should] provide support
for any child who suffers serious adverse consequences.‖ Robert Booy, an
infectious diseases expert at the Children‘s Hospital, Westmead, said that
while the rate of seizures was unacceptably high, it was important to
remember that continuing complications from them were extremely rare.
While this study indicated there would be more hospital admissions from
seizures than would be prevented by the vaccine, children tolerated the
other two vaccines well. A spokeswoman for CSL said: ―Extensive
investigations are ongoing with international collaborators‘‘. It supported
recommending that Fluvax should not be used in children under five
until it could be confident of preventing problems.
The Age, 18 September 2010 http://www.theage.com.au

Safe Work Australia to launch new website
On Thursday 7 October 2010 Safe Work Australia launched a new
website. The website address has remained the same:
Features of the new website include:
a new home page design
top news feature
national events calendar
online enquiry submission
an improved publication area of the site which includes publication
RSS news feed, and
a powerful search function
further information can be obtained by emailing
Safe Work Australia, September 2010

Mixed Fate For Avandia
U.S. and European regulatory authorities offered diverging opinions on
the future of GlaxoSmithKline‘s type-2 diabetes drug Avandia, which
has been linked to cardiovascular side effects. The Food & Drug
Administration said it would substantially limit use of the drug, and the
European Medicines Agency (EMA) made the more dramatic
recommendation to suspend marketing of the drug. FDA has imposed a
risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) on Avandia that will
severely restrict the number of patients on the drug. Under the REMS,
new patients can take Avandia only if they cannot control their glucose
levels using the panoply of other diabetes treatments on the market. Those
people currently taking Avandia will be able to remain on the drug. In
either case, patients will need to sign a statement saying they understand
the risks associated with the drug. Janet Woodcock, direct of FDA‘s Centre
for Drug Evaluation & Research, said in a conference call with reporters,
that roughly 600,000 people are currently taking Avandia, a population
she expects will shrink substantially under the new requirements.
According to FDA, there is ―substantial alignment‖ between U.S. and
European regulatory agencies on interpreting the Avandia data. EMA‘s
decision to withdraw the drug reflects the lack of monitoring tools at its
disposal. The dual regulatory announcements are the culmination of
several years of debate over the risks associated with Avandia. One of
FDA‘s own scientists first warned the agency of potential heart risks in
2006, but the issue didn‘t come to the public‘s attention until a year
later, when Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steven Nissen published an
analysis of dozens of clinical studies involving Avandia in the New
England Journal of Medicine. Nissen‘s meta-analysis found that patients
taking Avandia were 43% more likely to have a heart attack. Sales of
Avandia, which brought in $3 billion for GSK in 2006, have since
plummeted. In July, an FDA advisory panel convened to evaluate
subsequent studies of Avandia‘s cardiovascular risk. At the end of its
review, 12 of the 33 panellists said Avandia should be withdrawn from
the market, 10 voted to restrict its use, and the remainder suggested no
changes or a minor revision to its label. FDA said it decided to keep the
drug on the market because of scientific uncertainty about its
cardiovascular effects. A large, randomised clinical trial called RECORD
seemed to demonstrate that Avandia offered no more of a heart risk than
two standard diabetes treatments, metformin and sulfonylurea. But
questions over the design of the trial have prompted FDA to require GSK
to commission an independent review of patients‘ records to ensure that
no cardiovascular events were missed in the earlier analyses. ―We hope
that readjudication of the RECORD study will add more scientific
information and help inform us after it‘s complete,‖ Woodcock said.
Chemical & Engineering News, 23 September 2010

U.S. Senate prepares to modernise food safety legislation
Currently, the U.S Senate is reviewing S. 510, a food safety bill that
would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) significant powers of
oversight and regulation on the growing and production of food. And it
might be about time for this kind of reform. Not only have 85 food
recalls occurred in the U.S.—not to mention this summer‘s massive egg
recall as well as other salmonella- and listeria-based recalls—since the
House of Representatives passed a similar bill about a year ago, S. 510 is
the first large piece of legislation to address food safety in more than 70
years. In fact, currently the FDA doesn‘t even really have the power to
hold food growers and producers accountable when they do slip up. As
Chris Waldrop, director of the Consumer Federation of America‘s Food
Policy Institute, noted in a press release: ―Most Americans probably
assume that FDA inspects farms and food processing plants are inspected
regularly and that when problems arise, FDA can quickly order tainted
eggs or spinach off the market. In fact, neither of those assumptions is
true. The Senate food safety bill would give the FDA the authority it
needs to do its job.‖ Some of the features of the proposed legislation
Requiring producers to conduct hazard analyses and ensure preventive
controls are in place to address hazards.
A demand for well-documented record-keeping procedures; recall
procedures; distribution history records; supply chain compliance;
corrective and preventive actions; and many other control documents
Giving the FDA the new spending powers, the authority to immediately
close plants that pose a health risk, and the ability to initiate quick
recalls of suspected foods.
While many, including President Barack Obama and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture have lobbied to have the bill passed sooner
rather than later, it has not been without its opponents. Food safety
advocate Bill Marler says the bill doesn‘t go far enough and features too
many exemptions, including smaller farms and restaurants where food is
prepared and served directly to customers. Others argue the bill puts
small family farms at a disadvantage since they have to comply with the
same rigorous standards that affect larger industrial farms (who, small
producers are quick to note, are responsible for almost all recent food
recalls). However, all signs at this juncture indicate the bill will likely
be passed and made into law in short order, something that should
prompt food producers of any size to consider implementing
comprehensive food safety management systems. By being proactive and
addressing HACCP requirements (which are embedded into the bill in its
current state), businesses will be better prepared to adjust to this
long-overdue strengthening of food safety standards.
Environmental Expert, 18 September 2010

Proposed Regulation for Safer Consumer Products submitted to Office of
Administrative Law to begin state’s formal rulemaking process
The Department of Toxic Substances California (DTSC) has submitted the
Green Chemistry Proposed Regulation for Safer Consumer Products to the
state Office of Administrative Law to begin the official rulemaking
process. As one of the key components of the Green Chemistry Initiative,
these regulations set a process for prioritising chemicals of concern and
fostering the design of safer products sold in California. Committed to
open and transparent development of the green chemistry regulations,
DTSC completed a two-year unofficial process of stakeholder and public
involvement. After issuing the last draft regulation on 23 June 2010,
DTSC received 762 pages of comments from more than 90 stakeholders,
legislators and the public. The comments continued the widespread
support for pursuing the basic principles of the Green Chemistry
Initiative, and focused on a few remaining issues. In considering these
issues and potential changes to the draft regulation, DTSC consulted
scientists, alternative assessment professionals, and life cycle analyses
practitioners in academia, industry and private consulting firms. The
Proposed Regulation submitted to OAL includes changes made as a result
of that consultation. The proposed regulation is open for comment until 1
November 2010. For a copy of the proposed regulation, go to:
California Department of Toxic Substances Control, September 2010

EPA Will Propose Rule to Protect Waterways by Reducing Mercury from
Dental Offices / Existing technology is available to capture dental
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it
intends to propose a rule to reduce mercury waste from dental offices.
Dental amalgams, or fillings containing mercury, account for 3.7 tons of
mercury discharged from dental offices each year. The mercury waste
results when old mercury fillings are replaced with new ones. The
mercury in dental fillings is flushed into chair-side drains and enters
the wastewater systems, making its way into the environment through
discharges to rivers and lakes, incineration or land application of sewage
sludge. Mercury released through amalgam discharges can be easily
managed and prevented. EPA expects to propose a rule next year and
finalise it in 2012. Dental offices will be able to use existing technology
to meet the proposed requirements. Amalgam separators can separate out
95 percent of the mercury normally discharged to the local waste
treatment plant. The separator captures the mercury, which is then
recycled and reused. Until the rule is final, EPA encourages dental
offices to voluntarily install amalgam separators. Twelve states and
several municipalities already require the installation of amalgam
separators in dental offices. Approximately 50 percent of mercury
entering local waste treatment plants comes from dental amalgam waste.
Once deposited, certain microorganisms can change elemental mercury
into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish
and animals that eat fish. Fish and shellfish are the main sources of
methylmercury exposure to humans. Methylmercury can damage
children‘s developing brains and nervous systems even before they are
born. Further information can be found at:
water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/dental/index.cfm and
U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 27 September 2010

Investors voice support for US chemical policy reform
In the US over 50 investment managers have sent a letter to key members
of Congress endorsing the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 and the Toxic
Chemicals Safety Act of 2010. Coordinated by the Investor Environmental
Health Network (IEHN) and the American Sustainable Business Council
(ASBC), the letter was directed to the chairs and ranking members of the
House and Senate committees and subcommittees that will consider the
proposed legislation. The investors observe that the legislative proposals
aim to drive development and disclosure of information on chemical
hazards and this can especially assist companies eager to reduce their
―toxic footprint.‖ Because of TSCA‘s weaknesses, companies have
encountered major challenges in identifying the chemicals in their
products and supply chains and gathering information about the toxic
hazards of those substances, they add. To view a copy of the letter go to:
Chemical Watch, 28 September 2010 http://chemicalwatch.com/news

Parliament expands EU biocide authorisations
MEPs gathered in Strasbourg for the European Parliament plenary
session want to expand the amount of biocides that would be approved at
EU level under new rules, with most biocidal products eligible for such
authorisations after 2017. Companies putting new products on the
market need authorisation. The plan is to allow them to seek EU
approval for some biocides, rather than resorting to national authorities.
Industry groups say EU-wide authorisation should apply to all biocides.
MEPs deleted a provision that would have allowed the EU to charge
annual fees for authorisation. In addition, they shortened the timeline
for the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to evaluate a biocidal
product from nine months to three. The Green/EFA group abstained from
the vote, saying the centralisation of biocide decisions had been ―tailored
to the demands of the industrial lobby‖. Green MEPs added it would be
difficult for ECHA to handle such an increase in authorisations without
extra resources, a concern raised by the EU executive. The European
Commission had proposed that only new or ―low-risk‖ products would be
eligible for EU authorisation. The parliament‘s environment committee
had originally demanded such approvals for most biocides right away,
but in compromise amendments tabled at the recent meeting were
changed to 2017. MEPs approved an amendment allowing member states
to make minor adjustments to EU authorisations in certain circumstances.
Furthermore, they backed an amendment that would mandate the
labelling of products containing nanoparticles and ensure that
nanosubstances are subject to separate scientific evaluation. The
parliament‘s text also strengthens exclusion criteria used to ban the most
dangerous substances by adding environmental criteria and allowing
derogations only in extreme cases. MEPs had considered recommending
new restrictions on rat poison difenacoum, but a narrow majority rejected
this proposal. Member states have been less enthusiastic about EU-wide
authorisations. They are considering a 2020 deadline for increasing the
number of biocides undergoing this procedure. Some countries prefer to
see more substances authorised at national level. Speaking after the vote
German centre-right MEP Christa Klass, the parliament‘s rapporteur on
the issue, said she was ―fairly sure the council and the commission will
eventually come into line with us.‖ The Belgian presidency of the EU
hopes to reach a first reading agreement in the council in December.
ENDS Europe Daily, 22 September 2010

EU Commission agrees technical update of RoHS Directive
The European Commission has published its decision to amend the
Directive on Restriction of the use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in
Electrical and Electronic Equipment in the Official Journal. The
decision updates the Directive for the purposes of adapting it to scientific
and technical progress, specifically relating to exemptions for
applications containing lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium,
polybrominated biphenyls or polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
Chemical Watch, 27 September 2010 http://chemicalwatch.com/news

Time for a holistic approach to indoor air quality
It is estimated that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors.
In parallel, diseases like asthma and allergies are increasing. It is also
acknowledged that, from a scientific point of view, we still need to learn
more about the link between health impacts and these various pollutants.
What role can legislation play in this sensitive – and private – field?
Managing the sources of indoor pollution must be considered within a
wide policy that encompasses environmental, public health, housing,
energy and sustainable development legislation. On 23 and 24 September
2010 a conference takes place under the Belgian EU presidency, looking
closely at the part concerning products and consumption. The objective is
to prepare a statement of current technical and scientific knowledge, to
draw up an inventory of policies and initiatives relating to product
emissions associated with indoor air quality and to identify gaps in the
policies of the Union and of its Member States. Emphasis is placed in
particular on building materials, given that work is currently being
done in this field both at European level and in certain Member States.
The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) has made a major contribution
to this process. Early on scientific projects with various institutes across
Europe have been initiated in order to better understand the connection
between the different contributors to indoor air quality and health
effects. By contributing to the early identification of chemical allergens,
LRI aims to advance work on preventing, diagnosing and treating
respiratory health problems as well as developing a technique to improve
risk assessment for air pollutants.
CEFIC, September 2010 http://www.cefic.org

REACH Update
Explanatory Note: Confidentiality Obligations on REACH Dossier &
Notification of Information to EPA under US TSCA §8(e)
Companies involved in REACH process and operating in the US should
adopt due diligence measures and take care of protection of confidential
information when they deal at the same time with submission of
information to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
US TSCA duties
On one hand, Section 8(e) of the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
establishes important requirements on chemical manufacturers, importers,
processors, and distributors that operate in the US, for disclosure of
―substantial risk‖ information. In appropriate cases, that may trigger the
need to report information that has been exchanged via the REACH
process (in a consortium, in the SIEF, etc). Section 8(e) provides, ―Any
person who manufactures, processes, or distributes in commerce a
chemical substance or mixture and who obtains information which
reasonably supports the conclusion that such substance or mixture
presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment shall
immediately inform the Administrator [of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)] of such information unless such person has
actual knowledge that the Administrator has been adequately informed
of such information.‖ Guidance on the scope of the information which
EPA considers to be subject to this requirement is available at
http://www.epa.gov/oppt/tsca8e/index.html. This guidance provides
important details on what kinds of information trigger section 8(e)
reporting requirements. This requirement applies to entities in the U.S.
(including importers), not to exporters from the EU to the U.S. However, in
some cases where EU entities have knowledge of such information, their
U.S. affiliates may have that knowledge also. In addition, in some cases
EPA may infer that the U.S. affiliate has that knowledge, particularly
where the U.S. entity is the parent of the EU affiliate. In those cases, EPA
may consider that the U.S. affiliate is required to submit such
information to EPA. EPA requires information from studies to be
submitted within 30 calendar days of an individual capable of
appreciating the significance of the information receiving it. Typically,
submissions include only short summaries of the information, not
complete copies of studies. In some cases EPA may respond with a request
for additional information. EPA posts submissions under TSCA section
8(e) on its website. EPA has issued guidance that it will not accept
confidentiality claims for chemical identities in section 8(e) submissions
if the chemical identities appear on the public version of the TSCA
Inventory. EPA may accept confidentiality claims for other information,
such as submitter identity, where the submitter can justify such claims.
EPA will not accept confidentiality claims for the substantive
information in the section 8(e) submission. Accordingly, submitters
should prepare their submissions carefully.

REACH information and potential contractual arrangements
On the other hand, in the context of the REACH process, the same
companies may be subject to specific confidentiality obligations.
a) Consortium member and consortium agreement
When a company is a REACH consortium member and the information is
coming from the consortium members, that disclosure of information to
US authorities should respect at the same time the confidentiality
obligations agreed with the other consortium members via the terms of
the consortium agreement. In that regard, the terms of Cefic template
consortium agreement (art. IV, 1.a) states that when disclosure of
consortium data are required for legal and/or regulatory purposes,
disclosure shall only take place by the Members in a form (for example
short summaries where possible) reflecting the minimum information
required to be disclosed and the Member shall advise immediately the
other Members and the consortium manager in writing of any disclosure.
b) SIEF member and SIEF agreement
The same rules applies when a SIEF member is provided with some
confidential information by the Lead Registrant during the process of
dossier preparation (e.g. circulation of a draft dossier) or during the
process of data sharing in view of the submission of the dossier by the
SIEF member (e.g. in case of CSR to be submitted individually by each
co-registrant, the generic CSR prepared in the consortium is shared in
the SIEF). In case the SIEF member envisages submitting (part of) such
information to EPA, the confidentiality obligations set up according to
the contractual arrangements in place in the SIEF (e.g. SIEF agreement)
should prevail.

Balance between the 2 processes: recommendation
Companies shall have in place internal policies and effective procedures
to ensure the confidentiality of information to prevent any undue
disclosure. A member of a consortium/SIEF shall achieve the compliance
with its TSCA duties and take care at the same time of the protection of
the commercial interests at stake in the REACH process. In that sense, the
member of the consortium/SIEF should make all efforts to summarise and
shorten the information to be submitted to EPA and check the non-CBI
nature of the information. In consortia, given that part of the
information related to the registration dossier that is exchanged in
consortium is usually either owned by another consortium member or
co-owned by the consortium members, consortia should preferably have
also in place a collective process that goes further than the simple notice
before a TSCA notification by a consortium member to the other members.
In particular, it is recommended that the consortium members should
jointly approve that the regulatory conditions of a TSCA notification are
met and should review the content of the information to be submitted to

Risks to be prevented
a) Potential risks
Here some examples of risks that are related to a TSCA notification.
1. Publication of confidential information on the EPA website
The risk of potential issue occurs when the consortium member (or the
branch in US) submits to EPA some part or the full content of the (draft
of) registration dossier and/or the CSR prepared jointly within the
consortium. Therefore, confidential information would be made public
(in the case of the CSR, said information being never disseminated on
ECHA website).
2. Misuse of the information from the EPA website by SIEF members
A misuse by a SIEF member of the information published on EPA website
may directly alter the process of data and cost sharing on consortium
dossier in the SIEF and directly affect the sales of Letters of Access in the
3. Breach of non-disclosure contractual agreements
At the same time, when part of the published information is extracted
from studies owned by a data owner non-member of the consortium,
when there are confidentiality obligations in place according to a data
sharing agreement with said data owner, the publication of the
information may be considered as a material breach of such contract
(with potential withdrawal by the data owner of the permission to refer
granted in view of the REACH dossier).
b) Ex-post measures
In case a consortium member inadvertently provides confidential
information from the REACH registration dossier to EPA, he should
inform the other consortium members and should ask without undue
delay to EPA to withdraw the information. When that request is accepted
by EPA, in case alternative information is requested by the US
authorities, that consortium member should preferably consult the other
consortium members on the content of the information to be submitted in
replacement to EPA.
c) Misuse of information from EPA, infringement of REACH and
Depending on the extent of the information submitted to EPA, if some
SIEF member that has found out the information on EPA website, decides
to make a copy-paste into his IUCLID5 dossier and submits it to ECHA,
such dossier may be potentially complete but the registrant would not be
in compliance with REACH (potential breach of the requirement of
legitimate possession/permission to refer to full study reports- art 10 (a)
last indent REACH) and would infringe copyright protection.
Moreover, in this case, the information published on EPA website would
have been published without the consent of the (co-)owner(s) of the
information (=the Lead Registrant/consortium members) and any
implicit permission to refer from such publication cannot be implicitly
derived from the publication. The permission to refer to the dossier, as
required by REACH, should be explicitly provided via the purchase of a
Letter of Access to the Lead Registrant/consortium. Furthermore, the Lead
Registrant is able via REACH-IT to monitor the participation of each
co-registrant in the Joint Submission. In case undue information was
published on EPA website, special attention should be preferably paid
by the LR on the disclosure of the token number only to SIEF members
that have paid the Letter of Access, as the risk of misuse is higher due to
the availability of information on the EPA website.

Protective measures of REACH confidential information should be also
applicable in case a company is subject to similar duties of notification
in any other place all over the world.
CEFIC, 20 September 2010 http://www.cefic.org

ECHA to show leniency over REACH deadline
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has announced that companies
will be given more time to register their substances under the REACH
chemicals regulation in exceptional cases. REACH‘s first registration
deadline is 30 November. ECHA‘s announcement came in response to
general industry concern over the deadline, with many companies
fearing they may not submit their registration dossiers in time. ECHA
said it will show leniency in five exceptional circumstances. Registrants
must show they cannot meet the deadline because of circumstances
beyond their control. For example, a company would be given extra time
if there are problems with a lead registrant dossier submitted on behalf
of a group of companies. At a recent meeting in Brussels, downstream
users such as car and textile makers feared their suppliers may miss the
deadline, which means the substance they use would be banned as a
result. However, Erwin Annys of industry group Cefic said he believed
the majority of substances would be registered in time.
ENDS Europe Daily, 27 September 2010
Experts Workshop on non-test methods under REACH
On 23-24 September, ECHA held a Workshop entitled ―Dealing with the
uncertainty of non-test methods under REACH‖. An open science-based
debate on its practice on assessing predicted properties of substances
instead of using new animal test data with regulatory scientists from
European countries, USA, Australia, OECD, the European Commission,
industry and non-governmental organisations was conducted. Material
and presentations from the Workshop are available at:
ECHA, 27 September 2010 http://echa.europa.eu

ECHA to review the whole Guidance on Substance Identity
ECHA will issue an Updated Guidance on Substance Identity in 2011
after the first REACH registration deadline. This formal Guidance will
also replace the withdrawn Practical Guide 11. ECHA has a rolling
process of reviewing the Guidance that it provides for registrants and
other stakeholders. The Guidance on substance identification has now
reached the point where a review is due and the process will begin early
in 2011, after the first registration deadline.   ECHA produced a short
section on the evaluation of crystalline forms as part of Practical Guide
11 on substance identity. This was intended to provide more detailed
information to stakeholders on how ECHA will approach the evaluation
of different crystalline forms in registrations, within the framework
provided by the Guidance. However, Practical Guide 11 was withdrawn
because parts of it were open to misinterpretation. As a review of the
Guidance itself will now take place, ECHA has decided not to re-publish
the Practical Guide 11 but to await the outcome of the review before
deciding whether such detailed information is necessary and, if so, the
way it should be presented. Pending the review, stakeholders should refer
to the current Guidance. Further information can be found at:
ECHA, 29 September 2010 http://echa.europa.eu
Janet’s Corner – Not too seriously!
Grammatical sex
A businessman arriving in Boston for a convention found that his first
evening was free, and he decided to go find a good seafood restaurant that
served Scrod, a Massachusetts specialty. Getting into a taxi, he asked the
cab driver, Do you know where I can get Scrod around here? Sure, said
the cabdriver. I know a few places... but I can tell you it‘s not often I hear
someone use the third-person pluperfect indicative anymore!
Please note: articles for Janet‘s Corner are not original, and come from
various sources. Author‘s credits are supplied when available.

Methyl iodide
Methyl iodide is a replacement for methyl bromide, a pesticide that is
known to contribute to depletion of the ozone layer and is being phased
out under the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances. Methyl
iodide is an effective pesticide and ozone-friendly, but it is a known
mutagen, and it could cause cancer, nerve damage or fetal-development
problems among workers and people living near fumigated fields.
California is a major of purchaser of soil fumigants, which are largely
used for growing strawberries and tomatoes. The state has been
deliberating over methyl iodide for a year, weighing up different safety
evaluations. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved
the fumigant in October 2007, finding it safe for use. But a report by the
California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) concluded in 2009
that the compound posed ―significant health risks‖.

Assessment from the California DPR, saying ―in every instance where the
DPR findings differed from the US EPA risk assessment for methyl iodide,
this was attributable to a more insightful and scientifically rigorous
approach having been undertaken by the DPR‖. It concluded that
―adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not
impossible‖, and ―any anticipated scenario for … use of this agent would
result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have
a significant adverse impact on the public health‖. This led the
non-profit environmental law firm Earthjustice, based in Oakland,
California, to file a petition to the EPA, asking the agency to cancel its
national registration of methyl iodide.

Nevertheless, the DPR decided on 30th April that further restrictions
would make methyl iodide safe enough for use. These include requiring
site-specific licences, limiting exposure for workers and people living
nearby to one-half and one-fifth, respectively, of the EPA‘s regulatory
target levels, increasing buffer zones, and limiting the rate and extent to
which the fumigant can be used [1]

Methyl iodide has been proposed for registration as a fumigant pesticide,
primarily for use on strawberry fields. If registered, methyl iodide would
be applied at rates of 75-125 pounds per acre in the soil. Because it is
highly prone to surfacing and then drifting away from where it is
applied, the registration of this pesticide would put the health of
farmworkers and rural community members at risk.

Methyl iodide is used to induce cancer in laboratory animals for
scientific research and is so toxic that scientists take extensive
precautions when using the chemical.        These precautions include
wearing a ventilation hood and only handling it in very small
quantities, much lower than the amounts to be used for soil
fumigation.Methyl iodide is listed as a carcinogen under California‘s
Proposition 65 statute.
Methyl iodide affects the nervous system, the lungs, liver and kidneys,
and could be especially damaging to the developing brains of children
and foetuses. EPA‘s own evaluation indicates that methyl iodide is a
thyroid toxin and causes permanent neurological damage as well as fetal
harm including late-term miscarriages in experimental animals.

Methyl iodide is a known water pollutant. Soil fumigation with methyl
iodide poses a high risk of groundwater contamination. [2]

Methyl iodide is also used as an intermediate in the manufacture of
some pharmaceuticals and pesticides.      It is also used in methylation
processes and in the field of microscopy.

Health Effects
Sources and Potential Exposure
Individuals are most likely to be exposed to methyl iodide in the
workplace. Methyl iodide occurs naturally in the ocean as a product of
marine algae.

Health Hazard Information

Acute Effects
Massive acute inhalation exposure to methyl iodide has led to
pulmonary oedema.      Depression of the CNS, irritation of the lungs and
skin, and effects on the kidneys may result in acutely exposed humans.

Acute inhalation exposure of humans to methyl iodide has resulted in
nausea, vomiting, vertigo, ataxia, slurred speech, drowsiness, skin
blistering, and eye irritation.

Tests involving acute exposure of rats and mice have shown methyl
iodide to have moderate to high acute toxicity by inhalation, and high
acute toxicity by ingestion.

Chronic Effects (Noncancer)
Chronic inhalation exposure to methyl iodide may affect the CNS in
Prolonged dermal contact with methyl iodide may cause skin burns in
humans and animals.

EPA has not established a Reference Concentration (RfC) or a Reference
Dose (RfD) for methyl iodide.

Reproductive/Developmental Effects
No information is available on the reproductive or developmental effects
of methyl iodide in humans or animals.

Cancer Risk
No information is available on the carcinogenic effects of methyl iodide
in humans.
There is evidence that methyl iodide is carcinogenic in animals, with
lung tumours observed in studies of mice and rats.      In rats that received
subcutaneous injections, subcutaneous sarcomas and pulmonary
metastases were reported.    An increased incidence of lung tumours was
reported in mice exposed to high levels of methyl iodide by
intraperitoneal injection.

EPA has not classified methyl iodide for potential carcinogenicity. [3]

Personal Protection/Sanitation

Wear appropriate personal protective clothing to prevent skin contact. The
worker should immediately wash the skin when it becomes

Wear appropriate eye protection to prevent eye contact. Eyewash fountains
should be provided in areas where there is any possibility that workers
could be exposed to the substances; this is irrespective of the
recommendation involving the wearing of eye protection.

Work clothing that becomes wet or significantly contaminated should be
removed and replaced. No recommendation is made specifying the need
for the worker to change clothing after the workshift.
Facilities for quickly drenching the body should be provided within the
immediate work area for emergency use where there is a possibility of
exposure. [Note: It is intended that these facilities provide a sufficient
quantity or flow of water to quickly remove the substance from any body
areas likely to be exposed. The actual determination of what constitutes
an adequate quick drench facility depends on the specific circumstances.
In certain instances, a deluge shower should be readily available,
whereas in others, the availability of water from a sink or hose could be
considered adequate.] [3]

Naturenews (2010) Scientists fume over California‘s pesticide plans
retrieved from
on 2010-09-28
Californians for Pesticide Reform (2010) Methyl iodide background
retrieved from http://www.pesticidereform.org/article.php?id=342 on
Technology Transfer Network Air Toxics Web Site (2000) Methyl Iodide
(Iodomethane) Retrieved from
http://www.epa.gov/ttnatw01/hlthef/methylio.html on 2010-09-28

Childhood immune illnesses presage lifelong disease patterns
In a new study, researchers have suggested that the immune system may
underlie several, seemingly unrelated health problems, many of which
surface in childhood and precede others experienced across a lifetime.
The researchers have likened these early life immune dysfunctions to
canaries in a coal mine. Understanding these ―patterns of disease‖ could
help predict – and perhaps prevent – lifelong health problems, the
researchers explain. For example, ―entryway‖ childhood diseases
involving the immune system– such as asthma and type 1 diabetes – are
frequently triggered by prenatal exposures to chemicals, pharmaceuticals
and other environmental factors. Preventing the primary exposures and
treating the entryway conditions could decrease the ensuing lifetime risk
for cancer, heart disease and other problems that often follow. This shift
in thinking of immune-based diseases as a lifetime pattern, rather than
as isolated conditions, could transform research initiatives, health care
directions and safety testing priorities, the authors say. Many diseases
that begin in childhood – obesity, type 1 diabetes, asthma, autism,
allergies, psoriasis and celiac disease – result from underlying
dysfunction of the immune system. Often, environmental exposures can
trigger the conditions or make them worse. It is believed that as many as
25 percent of children in developed countries are affected by
immune-based diseases that have ties to environmental risk factors. The
immune system influences a wide range of health conditions because it is
the body‘s central defence against disease. As such, immune-related
proteins, cells, organs and tissues integrate and cooperate with each other
and with other systems to maintain health. In humans, the immune
system develops from conception until about 3.5 years of age. It continues
to mature thereafter. From the start, different types of immune cells are
dispersed to almost every tissue and organ in the body. These immune
cells act as sentries that respond to irregularities in organ integrity and
function throughout life. Like other body systems, the immune system is
particularly vulnerable to environmental toxicants during early
development, when the immune system forms and comes together. At this
stage, chemicals and drugs can induce small alterations in how
components of the young immune system develop and coordinate with
one another and other growing body systems. These small changes can
amplify into immune dysfunction.

Once the opportunity for normal development has passed, there is no
second chance. In other words, metabolic syndrome, autoimmune disease,
recurring inflammation and susceptibility to infections and allergies are
immune conditions that can be permanently programmed early in
development. They result from exaggerated, inappropriate or misdirected
immune responses. Furthermore, many immune diseases are associated
with other chronic health problems that develop through life. The risk of
these life threatening conditions increases in people who experienced
childhood immune problems. Childhood psoriasis is an example of an
autoimmune skin condition that develops when the immune system sends
out incorrect signals. In this case, the signals tell skin cells to speed up
the growth cycle, resulting in bumpy red patches covered with a silvery
white build-up of dead skin. In addition, psoriasis is associated with
other, more serious health conditions – such as obesity and diabetes,
heart disease, depression and anxiety, skin cancer and lymphoma. These
diseases are linked together by underlying immune dysfunction. During
the new study, the researchers used distinct examples gathered from
research studies, to make insightful connections among what is known
about early life exposures, childhood disease and adult disease risk. They
use these connections to develop an overarching perspective on
immune-based disease. This review builds upon a series of related papers
written by several of the authors. In the report, the authors explain
several examples of childhood diseases that are linked to environmental
exposures early in life and an increased risk for adult disease. The
disease patterns centre around four key immune system categories: allergy,
autoimmune, inflammation and infection. For example, childhood
asthma is an entryway disease caused or exacerbated by early exposure to
tobacco smoke, traffic exhaust and other pollutants. A person with
asthma is at increased risk for several seemingly unrelated conditions
during his or her life. These include skin allergies, ear infections,
increased respiratory infections, behavioural disorders, disorders
involving the sense of smell, obesity and lung cancer. But, in fact, all of
these later conditions share immune dysfunction as an underlying cause.
Similarly, environmental factors like the mother‘s diet, diet during
infancy and early childhood, or developmental exposure to tobacco
smoke are known causes of metabolic syndrome. The early signs of
metabolic syndrome – such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure,
obesity, elevated triglyceride levels or altered cholesterol – involve an
ongoing, low-grade immune response in the form of inflammation.
Inflammation occurs when immune cells and an increased blood supply
gather in tissue. People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk for
serious later life conditions like stroke, heart disease, type-2 diabetes or
chronic kidney disease.

The authors use these kinds of examples to make the case that
―significant illnesses such as asthma and type-1 diabetes are not only
the end result of environmental exposures interacting with genetic
background; they are the entryway into even larger environmentally
associated health concerns.‖ In this review, the authors provide evidence
that several significant human diseases are related to early life exposures
that negatively affect how the immune system develops and matures. This
negative impact sets up a lifelong trajectory of immune dysfunction and
increasing susceptibility to more serious diseases. Because allergies,
asthma and other immune-related diseases are on the rise, there is a
critical need to understand the causes and outcomes of immune
dysfunction. Based on their examples, the authors propose a ―pattern of
disease‖ hypothesis to explain the dramatic global rise in such chronic
and debilitating diseases. This major shift in how disease is perceived
may lead to better understanding, prevention and treatments. This type of
theoretical research is very valuable as it can push forward new ideas for
medicine and health care, ultimately identifying new research
directions and strategies for disease prevention. Historically, diseases
caused by immune dysfunction are viewed as separate conditions treated
by physicians with varied expertise. Patients would see a different
specialist for atherosclerosis, considered a cardiovascular condition;
asthma, a respiratory disease; celiac disease, a digestive malfunction;
psoriasis, a skin condition; and multiple sclerosis and dementia, brain
and nervous system disorders. The authors point out that an
immunologist in conjunction with the other medical experts might offer
a more holistic treatment for each of these conditions. Applying their
hypothesis of disease patterns, the authors conclude there are two
opportunities to break the lifelong disease cycle associated with immune
dysfunction. The first is prevention. Reducing developmental exposure to
environmental hazards could prevent entire patterns of disease.
Especially important is to protect pregnant women and children from
pollutants – a task that becomes more critical as water, air and soil are
increasingly contaminated through human activities. The second
opportunity involves interrupting the disease pattern after the childhood
entryway disease is diagnosed. Patients and their doctors could
predictively screen for conditions for which the patient has an increased
risk. The authors recommend that medical care should be directed at
both controlling the underlying immune dysfunction and managing the
immediate symptoms of the childhood condition. Currently, chemicals
and pharmaceutical drugs are not required to undergo testing for
developmental effects on the immune system. Rather, current testing
standards only check for effects that suppress – and not those that
stimulate – the immune system. Inappropriate immune stimulation can
lead to autoimmune diseases, dysregulated inflammation or allergic
disease. Given the importance of the developing immune system to
lifelong health and well-being, the authors strongly recommend that
developmental immune system toxicity testing become a priority in the
safety assessment of chemicals and drugs.
Environmental health News, 10 September 2010

Formaldehyde In Clothing
A law to revitalise the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
introduced a few years ago received a lot of attention because of its tough
requirements for toxic materials such as lead and phthalates in
children‘s products. However, another section of the law dealt with a less
visible issue that potentially affects a lot of people: the use of
formaldehyde on textiles. Used to make fabrics easy to care for,
formaldehyde resins can be found on a range of textiles. The presence of
the compound, which can cause an allergic reaction in some people, led
lawmakers to require as part of the 2008 Consumer Product Safety
Improvement Act that the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
perform a detailed study on the presence of and potential health risks
from the use of formaldehyde resins on clothing. In response, the
investigative agency of Congress reviewed the medical literature on
exposure to formaldehyde from clothing and had laboratory analyses
performed on a variety of textiles to get a handle on the concentrations of
formaldehyde in clothing today. The resulting report (GAO-10-875) was
released recently and found that formaldehyde levels in clothing appear
to be decreasing since studies were performed in the 1980s, but that
there is a small proportion of the U.S. population that does have allergic
reactions to formaldehyde resins on their clothes. The report does not
include any recommendations for actions—that was not part of the law‘s
directive. ―We completed our congressional mandate, and we believe that
it fills a data gap on what levels of formaldehyde may currently be
found in clothing,‖ says Christine Fishkin, deputy director of the GAO
Division of Natural Resources & Environment. ―We believe it is best to
put this information out there as we did, very factually, and let the
regulators, consumers, dermatologists, textiles industry, and others
interpret it and use it as they see fit.‖ The concerns regarding
formaldehyde in clothing are not new, and neither is the resins‘ use on
textiles. According to the GAO, formaldehyde resins have been used since
the 1920s to make fabrics easy to care for, particularly to reduce
wrinkling in cotton fabrics. CPSC did a study on possible health
problems from exposure to these resins as far back as 1973. Then, also at
the direction of Congress, CPSC reviewed the data on formaldehyde resins
on permanent-press fabrics and any resulting health effects. The agency
concluded at that time that the allergic reactions people were having to
formaldehyde on clothes did not ―affect a significant portion of the
population‖ and did not need to be regulated. In the 1980s, similar
analyses of formaldehyde in textiles were performed and a similar
conclusion was reached.
―There is no correlation between airborne levels of formaldehyde and
what is on the surface of the textile.‖

The new GAO research was conducted primarily at the urging of Senator
Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who introduced the relevant amendment to the 2008
bill. Casey repeated his concern about formaldehyde in textiles at an
April 2009 hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation
Committee‘s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety &
Insurance. ―The U.S. trails other nations in responding to the threats of
formaldehyde,‖ he told the committee. Several other countries ―have
adopted standards for formaldehyde use, particularly in textiles and
clothing. We need similar protection in the U.S.,‖ he said. However, the
GAO‘s review does not appear to support the call for U.S. regulations.
―While comprehensive data are not available, recent studies suggest that
formaldehyde levels in clothing are low and have declined over time,‖
the study concludes. Tests performed in those countries that have
formaldehyde standards and in the U.S., GAO reports, show that the
percentage of items with formaldehyde levels greater than 100 ppm has
fallen significantly over the past 25 years. In the textile industry, a
formaldehyde concentration of 100 ppm or less is considered low and is
thereby the level used as a benchmark in studies. In 1984, 67% of items
tested in government studies had levels greater than 100 ppm, but since
2003, GAO reports, less than 2% of items tested show this concentration of
formaldehyde. The decline, GAO says, was encouraged by tough
workplace exposure standards around the world and by voluntary textile
industry actions. In addition, the decline is a result of the apparel
industry‘s development of better resins for permanent-press fabrics.
Earlier resins, such as formaldehyde urea and melamine formaldehyde,
released much more formaldehyde during storage and use because they
are less chemically stable, according to GAO. Currently, dimethylol
dihydroxy ethylene urea and its derivatives are the most commonly used
resins, and these release very low levels of formaldehyde. The main
health concern related to formaldehyde in apparel is allergic contact
dermatitis, although GAO was not able to find definitive information on
just how much of a problem this is. GAO reports that studies have shown
that people have allergic skin reactions to formaldehyde, but there are no
clear data on just how many people might be sensitive. The number
appears to be quite small, however, with maybe 2% of the population
able to relate the skin condition eczema to formaldehyde exposure, GAO

Those in the apparel industry believed that the problem of allergic
contact dermatitis was resolved back in the 1980s. ―Basically, this has
not been a problem for years,‖ says Phillip Wakelyn, a fabric consultant
in Washington, D.C., who worked for many years in the apparel and
cotton industry. ―I have dealt with this issue since the Occupational
Safety & Health Administration was working on a standard for
formaldehyde in the early 1980s. And because we do not have a formal
standard for formaldehyde in clothes as do some other countries, people
worry that imports from some nations such as China could be a
problem.‖ According to the American Apparel & Footwear Association, a
national industry trade group, 13 countries have regulations for
formaldehyde in apparel and home textiles at some level. These countries
are Austria, China, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, the
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, and South Korea.
Wakelyn points out that the worry over formaldehyde in clothes may
come from recent reports on the potential risk of cancer from airborne
exposure to formaldehyde. ―The risk from formaldehyde from airborne
exposure is not the same‖ as the risk involved with clothes, he says.
Today, almost no formaldehyde is released into the air from treated
fabrics, and, Wakelyn says, very little is transferred from the fabric to
the skin. ―What is transferred reacts with the outer layers of the skin and
does not penetrate into the body.‖ Some of the public confusion may come
from the analytical tests used to measure formaldehyde in textiles. They
can give very high numbers relative to what people hear as the
acceptable values for airborne formaldehyde exposure. However, the
airborne levels and the textile concentrations are not comparable. The
OSHA workplace standard for formaldehyde in the air is 0.5 ppm
averaged over eight hours. The textile tests present much higher levels,
but they are measuring total formaldehyde in the material, in terms of
micrograms of formaldehyde per gram of material—not what is in the air
or what a person will be exposed to. One of these tests is approved by the
American Association of Textile Chemists & Colourists. It gives the highest
range of readings because, according to GAO, the AATCC test measures
total formaldehyde concentration from a material that is available for
contact exposure during extended storage and under hot and humid
¬conditions. However, the more commonly used method is the Japanese
Industrial Standard L 1041 test. This test is used for setting many
international formaldehyde standards and in most studies analysing
formaldehyde levels in textiles. GAO describes this as a simpler test that
measures only the amount of formaldehyde that could be released by
clothes that come into contact with the skin. Its values are somewhat
lower than the AATCC values. As an example to contrast the two common
tests, GAO had a pair of 100% cotton khaki slacks tested for
formaldehyde by both methods. The AATCC reading came back at 43.2
ppm, and the Japanese test came back at 23.7 ppm. These values are well
below the regulatory standards set for formaldehyde by all nations.

In the textile industry, a formaldehyde concentration of 100 ppm or less
is considered low. It‘s important for the public to keep in mind that ―the
tests measure the total amount of formaldehyde that is in the fabric,‖
Wakelyn says, and the results do not represent the amount that is
actually released into the environment. ―Studies done over the past 20
years show that you would need a concentration of about 300 ppm on
the fabric before dermatitis is likely to a problem,‖ he says. ―There is no
correlation between airborne levels of formaldehyde and what is on the
surface of the textile.‖ For its recent investigation, GAO had a total of 180
pieces of clothing and other textiles analysed for formaldehyde. The
formaldehyde levels found in almost all the samples were below the
standards other nations have set, and most of the results came back as
―nondetectable,‖ which is defined as concentrations lower than 20 ppm.
According to the report, the levels of formaldehyde in clothing depend
―largely on the variability in the way the manufacturing process is
conducted. For example, formaldehyde levels in fabric can vary among
the same type and make of clothing because of, among other things,
differences in the type of resin used and the ways it is applied.‖ The
amounts of formaldehyde released from the fabric will vary under
different conditions, especially under conditions of high heat and
humidity. ―We recognise that this information represents a snapshot in
time,‖ GAO‘s Fishkin says. ―It‘s the results from a set of samples taken at
one particular point, and there are many factors and situations that can
change the formaldehyde levels that may be in clothing at different
times.‖ The GAO report now goes to the members of the Commerce
Committees in the House and the Senate for their consideration. The low
concentrations of formaldehyde found will likely not result in any push
for legislation to regulate formaldehyde levels. And because the low levels
confirm earlier CPSC conclusions about the negligible health risks from
treated textiles, that agency will likely leave the issue alone as well.
Chemical & Engineering News, 6 September 2010

Lower lead levels in jewellery show legislation can make a difference
Following the implementation of new legislation in California,
consumers are seeing fewer pieces of lead-containing jewellery - both
cheap and expensive - in stores. A new study has found that litigation
and legislation work to reduce contaminants found in consumer products,
and thus, lower health risks to people who use them. Specifically,
researchers discovered that the percent of lead-containing jewellery in
California retail stores dropped following litigation and legislation that
took effect about three years ago. Only 4 percent of the jewellery tested
exceeded California‘s lead standards. This is a considerable drop from
the 50 percent mark that was estimated prior to the law. Surprisingly,
the intended market and the price did not matter. Lead was found in
children‘s and adult jewellery, as well as discount and high-end trinkets.
Lead is a well-characterised pollutant that can disrupt brain
development, memory and learning in young children. The U.S. Centres
for Disease Control has set blood lead guidelines for children at 10
micrograms per decilitre (µg/dL), but negative effects to the human brain
have been observed at lead levels as low as 2 µg/dL. Many experts believe
there is no safe level of exposure. While lead-based paint is the major
source of lead exposure for U.S. children, 30 percent of elevated blood
levels in children are due to other sources, including lead-containing
jewellery. Lead can pass from the jewellery to people through
hand-to-mouth contact, direct mouthing of the jewellery or swallowing
parts. In California, the new lead standards established in 2007 was set
at 600 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) and in adult jewellery at
varying levels starting in 2008. In addition, the federal government set
lead standards for children‘s jewellery in 2008 at the same level as
California‘s limit. In this study, the researchers from the non-profit
Centre for Environmental Health, purchased about 1,500 necklaces,
bracelets and other jewellery from 42 major retailers between 2008 and
2009. They screened each piece and its components for lead using an
x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyser and further analysed lead in the
jewellery that violated the standards. The results showed that more than
95 percent of the jewellery contained lead levels that were in line with
the new standards.

The other 5 percent exceeded the new lead level requirement, usually by
a significant amount. On average, levels ranged from 5 to 93 times higher
than the new standards. The majority of the 59 violations occurred in
adult jewellery. The researchers found only nine violations in jewellery
marketed to preteen/teens and one violation in children‘s jewellery
meant for kids under 6 years old. The most common violation was the
―lobster-claw‖ clasp, frequently used on necklaces and bracelets. The
lead-level violations occurred in jewellery purchased at both discount
retailers and retailers that sell expensive merchandise. Therefore,
consumers have no simple way to avoid purchasing jewellery with high
lead content, which underscores the importance of legislation and
enforcement to public health. During the study, the researchers did not
test jewellery before the new, lower standards were implemented. To
compare levels before and after, they used data collected from agencies in
California and other states. These estimates suggest that lead-containing
jewellery was extremely common, with up to 50 percent of items
containing high levels – more than 30,000 mg/kg of lead. The authors
conclude that litigation and legislation have been effective tools for
reducing the amount of jewellery with high lead content in California.
They will continue to monitor and test jewellery for another year with
the goal of completely eliminating lead in the products.
Environmental Health News, 14 September 2010

Diabetes risk may fall as magnesium intake climbs
The results of a new study have suggested that getting enough magnesium
in your diet could help prevent diabetes. People who consumed the most
magnesium in foods and from vitamin supplements were about half as
likely to develop diabetes over the next 20 years as people who took in
the least magnesium, Dr. Ka He of the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill and colleagues found. These latest findings may explain in
part why consuming whole grains, which are high in magnesium, is also
associated with lower diabetes risk. However, large clinical trials testing
the effects of magnesium on diabetes risk are needed to determine
whether a causal relationship truly exists, the researchers note in
Diabetes Care. It‘s plausible that magnesium could influence diabetes risk
because the mineral is needed for the proper functioning of several
enzymes that help the body process glucose, the researchers point out.
Studies of magnesium and diabetes risk have had conflicting results,
though. During the new study, the researchers investigated magnesium
intake and diabetes risk in 4,497 men and women 18 to 30 years old,
none of whom were diabetic at the study‘s outset. During a 20-year
follow-up period, 330 of the subjects developed diabetes. People with the
highest magnesium intake, who averaged about 200 milligrams of
magnesium for every 1,000 calories they consumed, were 47 percent less
likely to have developed diabetes during follow up than those with the
lowest intakes, who consumed about 100 milligrams of magnesium per
1,000 calories. In addition, the researchers discovered that as magnesium
intake rose, levels of several markers of inflammation decreased, as did
resistance to the effects of the key blood-sugar-regulating hormone
insulin. Higher blood levels of magnesium also were linked to a lower
degree of insulin resistance. ―Increasing magnesium intake may be
important for improving insulin sensitivity, reducing systemic
inflammation, and decreasing diabetes risk,‖ He and colleagues write.
―Further large-scale clinical trials are needed to establish causal
inference and elucidate the mechanisms behind this potential benefit.‖
Reuters Health, 24 September 2010 http://www.reuters.com/news/health

BPA and a common phthalate may contribute to obesity, predicts a cell
Two widely used chemicals are implicated in obesity after they reacted
with specially-made cells and influenced fat cell development and fat
storage – two underlying factors in weight gain. Chemicals that can
influence obesity may now be easier to identify, thanks to a new cell test
that can pinpoint the guilty compounds. Using the test, researchers
identified two common environmental chemicals – bisphenol A and
benzyl butyl phthalate – that can modulate the signals controlling the
number of fat cells produced and the uptake and storage of fats in those
cells. Both of these conditions – more fat cells and fatter cells – underlie
weight gain in people. Until now, there was no easy way to predict if a
chemical could alter cell function to cause obesity. The newly developed
cell line may be helpful for screening large numbers of environmental
chemicals that could be selected for future study or to identify
heavily-used chemicals that need stricter regulation. With obesity on the
rise around the world, some researchers and public health officials have
called it an epidemic. As a health issue, obesity can lead to a wide
variety of life threatening conditions, including diabetes and heart
disease. Most scientists and medical experts would agree that eating
habits and decreased exercise have contributed to this alarming trend.
However, chemicals in the environment can also induce obesity,
according to a growing body of research that implicates components of
plastics, pesticides and flame retardants. These chemicals are called
obesogens. During the new study, the authors tested for chemicals that
might influence weight gain. In order to undertake the testing the
researchers created an indicator cell containing a specific type of
molecule called a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR). A
chemical could be an obesogen if it binds to PPAR because PPAR
controls how cells use and store energy. Normally, PPAR signals cells to 1)
develop into a fat cell, 2) start storing fat and/or 3) stop breaking down
the fat it has already stored. Interactions between PPAR and the
chemicals were determined by measuring the amount of light that passed
through the indicator cells. The more light that passed through meant
the chemical may be an obesogen because it bound and activated the

Five environmental chemicals were tested with the indicator cells to
determine if they interacted with PPAR. They included the compounds
benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), dipropyl phthalate (DPP) and bisphenol
A (BPA); the poisonous herbicide dioxin (or TCDD); and a product of
cooking oil fumes, tt-DDE. These chemicals were chosen because humans
are widely exposed to them. In addition, they were also previously
identified as endocrine disruptors – chemicals that can alter the way the
body handles hormones, including hormones that control body weight.
Two of these chemicals, BPA and BBP, bound to PPAR and produced a
significant reaction, suggesting that they may be obesogens. The other
three did not bind PPAR. The next step was to determine if BBP and
BPA could actually change fat metabolism. Cells called 3T3-L1 cells –
which can become a fat cell under the right conditions – were exposed to
either BPA or BBP. After exposure, fat droplets started to accumulate in
the 3T3-L1 cells. This suggests that these chemicals can induce the
development of fat cells. BBP was used previously in children‘s toys and
continues to be used in flooring materials. Phthalate exposure has been
linked to a host of problems in exposed infants, including altered
development of the male reproductive tract, susceptibility to allergies and
asthma, changes in birth weight, and altered behaviours, including
hyperactivity. The European Union and the United States banned BBP
from children‘s products. BPA is found in a variety of consumer products,
including some polycarbonate baby bottles, most carbonless paper receipts
and the linings of food and beverage cans. Exposure to small amounts of
this chemical has been implicated in a large number of developmental
problems, including altered development of the brain and behaviours,
malformations of the male and female reproductive tract, and altered
metabolism and body weight. Regulations to limit its use in some
children‘s products are being considered in several U.S. states and limited
bans have passed in Minnesota, Connecticut and Canada.
Environmental Health News, 15 September 2010

Manganese in Drinking Water: Study Suggests Adverse Effects on
Children’s Intellectual Abilities
A team of researchers led by Maryse Bouchard, adjunct professor at the
Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology, Health, Environment
and Society (CINBIOSE) of the Université du Québec à Montréal and a
researcher at Sainte-Justine University Hospital, and Donna Mergler,
professor emerita in the Department of Biological Sciences and a member
of CINBIOSE, recently completed a study that indicated that children
exposed to high concentrations of manganese in drinking water
performed worse on tests of intellectual functioning than children with
lower exposures. The new study, published in the journal Environmental
Health Perspectives, is entitled ―Intellectual Impairment in School-Age
Children Exposed to Manganese from Drinking Water.‖ The neurotoxic
effects of manganese exposure in the workplace are well known. This
metal is naturally occurring in soil and in certain conditions is present
in groundwater. In several regions of Quebec and Canada and in other
parts of the world, the groundwater contains naturally high levels of
manganese. Does it pose a danger? What effect might it have on children‘s
health? This is the first study to focus on the potential risks of exposure
to manganese in drinking water in North America. The study, carried
out by researchers at the Université du Québec à Montréal, the Université
de Montréal and the École Polytechnique de Montréal, examined 362
Quebec children, between the ages of 6 and 13, living in homes supplied
by with groundwater (individual or public wells). For each child, the
researchers measured the concentration of manganese in tap water from
their home, as well as iron, copper, lead, zinc, arsenic, magnesium and
calcium. The amount of manganese from both tap water and food was
estimated from a questionnaire. Finally, each child was assessed with a
battery of tests assessing cognition, motor skills, and behaviour.

Lead author Maryse Bouchard explains, ―We found significant deficits in
the intelligence quotient (IQ) of children exposed to higher concentration
of manganese in drinking water. Yet, manganese concentrations were well
below current guidelines.‖ The average IQ of children whose tap water
was in the upper 20% of manganese concentration was 6 points below
children whose water contained little or no manganese. The analyses of
the association between manganese in tap water and children‘s IQ took
into account various factors such as family income, maternal intelligence,
maternal education, and the presence of other metals in the water. For
co-author Donna Mergler, ―This is a very marked effect; few
environmental contaminants have shown such a strong correlation with
intellectual ability.‖ The authors say that the amount of manganese
present in food showed no relationship to the children‘s IQ. Some of the
municipalities where the study was conducted have already installed a
filtration system that removes manganese from the water. According to
one of the other co-authors of the study, Benoit Barbeau, NSERC
Industrial Chair in Drinking Water at the École Polytechnique de
Montréal, ―A viable alternative solution is home use of filtering pitchers
that contain a mixture of resins and activated carbon. Such devices can
reduce the concentration of manganese by 60% to 100% depending on
filter use and the characteristics of the water.‖ In Quebec, where the
study was conducted, manganese is not on the list of inorganic substances
in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks
Regulation respecting the quality of drinking water. ―Because of the
common occurrence of this metal in drinking water and the observed
effects at low concentrations, we believe that national and international
guidelines for safe manganese in water should be revisited.‖ the authors
Science Daily, 23 September 2010 http://www.sciencedaily.com

Less is more for greener insecticide
In a new study, researchers in Argentina have developed a greener way to
make synthetic insecticides, mimicking chemicals that plants use
naturally to repel pests. No solvent and no corrosive acids. That‘s part of
the recipe for a new, less polluting method of making chemicals that kill
an important crop pest. Taking their inspiration from natural plant
chemicals called flavones, the authors of the new research developed a
way to make, compare, and test the insecticides, and used the
information to create a predictive computer model. The cleaner synthesis
was used to control fall armyworms, one of the main threats to corn crops
in many parts of the world. The new method avoids toxic solvents and
strong mineral acids that were needed in earlier processes. Instead, it
relies on a metal catalyst that works at low levels: one catalyst molecule
per 200 molecules of starting material. The catalyst could be easily
recovered at the end of the chemical reaction and recycled several times,
reducing waste. Flavones protect plants against a variety of bacteria and
insects. In addition, some flavones show beneficial effects in humans as
antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, antimicrobials and anticancer
agents. The researchers made synthetic flavones using the greener
technique and found that the chemicals were effective against the
armyworm larvae. Based on these findings, the researchers then created a
computer model to predict which natural flavones might be worth testing
as pesticides. They analysed the structures of more than a dozen plant
flavones and found two with characteristics in common with the
chemicals that worked against armyworms. One of the natural flavones,
luteolin, occurs naturally in the human diet, in carrots, peppers, celery,
and some spices. The other, apigenin, is common in citrus fruit, tea, and
a variety of vegetables. Both chemicals are often cited for their
therapeutic effects in humans. The next step is for the researchers to test
whether these two natural flavones do indeed kill insects, as predicted by
the model. While the natural flavones would probably have minimal
environmental impacts if applied as pesticides, the synthetic flavones
reported in the study were not tested for environmental persistence or
toxicity to organisms besides armyworms. Those experiments would
confirm whether the greener preparation leads to greener pesticides.
Environmental Health News, 23 September 2010

Ingredient in Soap Points Toward New Drugs for Infection That Affects
Two Billion
The antibacterial ingredient in some soaps, toothpastes, odour-fighting
socks, and even computer keyboards is directing researchers toward a
long-sought new treatment for a parasitic disease that affects almost two
billion people. The new study on how triclosan became the guiding light
for future development of drugs for toxoplasmosis was published in the
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. During the study, Rima McLeod and
colleagues point out that toxoplasmosis is one of the world‘s most common
parasitic infections, affecting about one-third of the world population,
including 80 percent of the population of Brazil. People can catch the
infection, spread by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), from
contact with faeces from infected cats, eating raw or undercooked meat,
and in other ways. Many have no symptoms because their immune
systems keep the infection under control and the parasite remains
inactive. But it can cause eye damage and other problems, even becoming
life threatening in individuals with immune systems weakened by
certain medications and diseases like HIV infection, which allow the
parasite to become active again, and in some persons without immune
compromise. Most current treatments have some potentially harmful side
effects and none of them attack the parasite in its inactive stage. The
scientists knew from past research that triclosan has a powerful effect in
blocking the action of a key enzyme that T. gondii uses to live. However,
triclosan cannot be used as a medication because it does not dissolve in
the blood. The scientists describe using triclosan‘s molecular structure as
the model for developing other potential medications, including some
that show promise as more effective treatments for the disease.
Science Daily, 23 September 2010 http://www.sciencedaily.com

Micro Air Vehicles May Someday Detect Environmental Hazards
In a new study, Dr. Robert Wood of Harvard University is leading the way
in what could become the next phase of high-performance micro air
vehicles for the Air Force. His basic research is on track to evolve into
robotic, insect-scale devices for monitoring and exploration of hazardous
environments, such as collapsed structures, caves and chemical spills.
―We are developing a suite of capabilities which we hope will lead to
MAVs that exceed the capabilities of existing small aircraft. The level of
autonomy and mobility we seek has not been achieved before using
robotic devices on the scale of insects,‖ Wood said. During the research,
Wood and his team are trying to determine how wing design can impact
performance for an insect-size, flapping-wing vehicle. In addition, their
insights will influence how such agile devices are built, powered, and
controlled. ―A big emphasis of our AFOSR program is the experimental
side of the work,‖ Wood said. ―We have unique capabilities to create, flap
and visualise wings at the scales and frequencies of actual insects.‖ The
researchers are constructing wings and moving them at high frequencies
recreating trajectories similar to those of an insect. Furthermore, they are
able to measure multiple force components, and they can observe fluid
flow around the wings flapping at more than 100 times per second.
Performing experiments at such a small scale presents significant
engineering challenges beyond the study of the structure-function
relationships for the wings. ―Our answer to the engineering challenges for
these experiments and vehicles is a unique fabrication technique we
have developed for creating wings, actuators, thorax and airframe at the
scale of actual insects and evaluating them in fluid conditions
appropriate for their scale,‖ he said. They are also performing
high-speed stereoscopic motion tracking, force measurements and flow
visualisation; the combination of which allows for a unique perspective
on what is going on with these complex systems.
Environmental Protection News, 16 September 2010

New Method of Chemical Analysis: Step Towards Personalised Medicine
In the future, even before the start of a particular treatment, physicians
will be able to establish how patient‘s blood binds a given medicine and
what dose should be applied in order to obtain the concentration in the
body that would be optimal for the treatment. A new simple method of
analysis of chemical reactions proceeding in solutions has been
developed in the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of
Sciences. Information on how strongly two dissolved substances react with
each other is very important in many fields, in particular in chemistry,
molecular biology, pharmacy and medicine. The new analytical
technique, developed at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the PAS
(IPC PAS), allows the inexpensive and reliable determination of stability
of complexes created as a result of reactions between chemical compounds
in solutions. What is interesting, the measurement involves very simple
physical phenomena and comes down to the examination of the flow of a
solution of two compounds in a long and thin tube -- a capillary. Every
angler knows that rivers flow fastest in the middle part of the stream,
and near the banks the current is always slower. A liquid flowing
through a capillary behaves in a similar way. If the flow is
non-turbulent (laminar), the layers of the fluid that are closest to the
centre of the capillary flow faster than the layers near the walls. ―This is
the fact that we use in our method, but the key are phenomena
connected with diffusion,‖ says PhD Anna Bielejewska from the IPC PAS.
In reality, particles of a liquid may move (diffuse) from a layer flowing
with a certain speed to another layer flowing with a different speed. If we
insert a substance into a capillary filled with the solution of another
substance, the diffusion rate will depend on how strongly the chemical
compounds of both solutions react with each other. If particles move
quickly between the layers, a detector will register a high and narrow
peak. The slower the particles diffuse between layers, the wider the peak.
―If we measure the width of the peaks before and after the introduction
of a complexing agent into the capillary, we can determine the diffusion
coefficients of a free substance and a complexed substance, and on this
basis calculate a binding constant. It provides information whether given
chemical substances bind with each other or not, and if yes, how
permanent the bond is,‖ explains PhD Bielejewska.

The device developed in the Institute of Physical Chemistry comprises a
pump which guarantees the stable flow of the liquid at 0.05 millilitre
per minute, an autosampler inserting a sample, a detector of visible and
ultraviolet radiation and a 0.25 mm diameter capillary, 25 m long,
wound around a small cylinder. The obtained results of measurement
agreed perfectly with the data collected by classical chromatographic
methods and figures cited in international scientific publications. In one
of the numerous tests conducted, the capillary was filled with the
solution of diluted blood plasma, which contains protein (albumin),
after which warfarin, an organic chemical compound used as an
anticoagulant, was injected. In this case the results of the experiment
were also correct. The new analytical technique, for which a patent
application has already been submitted, may be applied not only in
chemistry but also in medicine for the selection of doses of medicines
whose concentration in blood should be strictly determined. ―At present a
physician first prescribes a medicine to a patient, then takes a blood test
and, if something is wrong, changes the dose, checks again and this
procedure is repeated until it succeeds. Thanks to our method it will be
possible to take several millilitres of blood once before the treatment and
determine how strongly the blood binds a given medicine,‖ says
Bielejewska. A single analysis using this method lasts approximately half
an hour. After this time appropriate software would provide the
physician with a result in the form of a dose of medicine adapted to
specific features of a given patient‘s organism. ―We have developed a new,
efficient method for the analysis of chemical reaction equilibrium in
solutions, for which cheap and simple measurement equipment is
required. It is up to the industry whether the method becomes
widespread,‖ comments Prof. Robert Hotyst from the Institute of Physical
Chemistry of the PAS.
Science Daily, 22 September 2010 http://www.sciencedaily.com

Sweet news, chocolate may be good for the heart
According to the findings of a new study by U.S researchers, chocoholics
are less likely to have heart disease than those without a sweet tooth.
People who ate chocolate more than five times a week were 57 per cent
less likely to have coronary heart disease than those who never ate it,
according to the study of almost 5000 Americans. This was after taking
into account other factors such as overall energy and fruit and vegetable
intake, and family history of heart disease. People who ate chocolate less
frequently, between one and four times each week, were 26 per cent less
likely to have heart disease. ―Even smaller amounts of chocolate [with
few extra calories] may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health,‖
the study authors wrote in Clinical Nutrition. Jonathan Hodgson, a
research professor at the University of Western Australia, said the study
reflected a growing body of evidence linking antioxidants known as
flavonoids - found in cocoa - with lower risks of cardiovascular disease.
―These antioxidants are also found in fruits and vegetables, and
particularly in tea,‘‘ he said. ‗‘I think you need to be a little careful
promoting chocolate because the flavonoids may be beneficial but it also
has saturated fats which may be detrimental.‘‘ He said 20 to 30 grams of
chocolate three times each week would have little impact on a person‘s
energy and saturated fat intake, and has been linked with heart health.
But trials were needed before researchers could definitively say eating
chocolate would protect against heart disease. The national director of
healthy weight for the Heart Foundation, Susan Anderson, said she was
concerned people could be misled into thinking chocolate has health
benefits when it should be an occasional treat. ―The commercial
chocolate you buy on the supermarket shelves is fermented and roasted
and is not a very good source for antioxidants,‖ she said.
The Age, 22 September 2010 http://www.theage.com.au

Higher Than Predicted Human Exposure to the Toxic Chemical
Bisphenol A or BPA, New Study Indicates
The results of a new study have revealed that women, female monkeys
and female mice have major similarities when it comes to how bisphenol
A (BPA) is metabolised, and they have renewed their call for
governmental regulation when it comes to the oestrogen-like chemical
found in many everyday products. The new study, published online in
the journal Environmental Health Perspectives ties rodent data on the
health effects of BPA to predictions of human health effects from BPA
with the use of everyday household products. The study was authored by
researchers at the University of Missouri Division of Biological Sciences,
Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab (VMDL) and the department of
Biomedical Sciences, in collaboration with scientists at the University of
California-Davis and Washington State University. ―This study provides
convincing evidence that BPA is dangerous to our health at current levels
of human exposure,‖ said Fredrick vom Saal, Curators‘ professor of
biological sciences at the University of Missouri. ―The new results clearly
demonstrate that rodent data on the health effects of BPA are relevant to
predictions regarding the health effects of human exposure to BPA.
Further evidence of human harm should not be required for regulatory
action to reduce human exposure to BPA.‖ BPA is one of the world‘s
highest production-volume chemicals, with more than 8 billion pounds
made per year. It can be found in a wide variety of consumer products,
including hard plastic items such as baby bottles and food-storage
containers, the plastic lining of food and beverage cans, thermal paper
used for receipts, and dental sealants. The findings in the current study
suggest that human exposure to BPA is much higher than some prior
estimates and is likely to be from many still-unknown sources,
indicating the need for governmental agencies to require the chemical
industry to identify all products that contain BPA. Several states,
including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, New York and Oregon,
have passed bills to reduce exposure to BPA, and similar legislation is
pending in the U.S. Congress. ―For years, BPA manufacturers have argued
that BPA is safe and have denied the validity of more than 200 studies
that showed adverse health effects in animals due to exposure to very low
doses of BPA,‖ said Julia Taylor, lead author and associate research
professor at the University of Missouri. ―We know that BPA leaches out of
products that contain it, and that it acts like oestrogen in the body.‖
―We‘ve assumed we‘re getting BPA from the ingestion of contaminated
food and beverages,‖ said co-author Pat Hunt, a professor in the
Washington State University School of Molecular Biosciences. ―This
indicates there must be a lot of other ways in which we‘re exposed to this
chemical and we‘re probably exposed to much higher levels than we
have assumed.‖
Science Daily, 21 September 2010 http://www.sciencedaily.com

Asian Tiger Mosquitoes Roar Indoors
A new study from Penang Island, Malaysia, finds that the Asian tiger
mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is adapting to indoor environments, a factor
that could increase vector–host contacts and the population density of
the vector, thereby potentially increasing the diseases spread by this
vector. The study showed the indoor-adapted mosquitoes had a longer
lifespan and completed more reproductive cycles than outdoor-breeding
mosquitoes. Asian tiger mosquitoes spread dengue viruses, chikungunya,
yellow fever, and encephalitis viruses. These mosquitoes are linked to a
rare U.S. outbreak of dengue fever in May 2009
Environmental Health Perspectives, September 2010 http://ehponline.org
Asbestos is still with us: repeat call for a universal ban
All forms of asbestos are proven human carcinogens and cause malignant
mesothelioma, lung, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers, and may cause
gastrointestinal and other cancers. No exposure to asbestos is without risk,
and there is no safe threshold of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is now
banned in 52 countries. Nonetheless, a large number of countries still
use, import, and export asbestos products. And still today in many
countries that have banned other forms of asbestos, the so-called
―controlled use‖ of chrysotile asbestos continues to be permitted, an
exemption that has no basis in medical science but rather reflects the
political and economic influence of the asbestos mining and
manufacturing industry. To protect the health of all people in the world
the Collegium Ramazzini calls again on all countries of the world, to
join in the international endeavour to ban all forms of asbestos.
Author: Ramazzini, Collegium
Full Source: Hangug Hwangyeong Bogeon Haghoeji 2010, 36(2), 163-169

Influence of steel slag on the environment: determination of heavy metals
in soil
High level of heavy metals may cause chronic diseases. This work reports
on the metal contamination from steel slag accumulated during more
than 40 years in allotments and industrial areas in the southern part of
Madrid (Spain). Several slag and soil samples were collected in an area of
10 km2 and characterised by different conventional (XRD and XRF) and
not so common methods (ESEM, thermoluminescence and EDS-WDS). The
analysis reveals the presence of: (i) important amounts of Fe (43%), Mg
(26%), Cr (1.1%), Mn (4.6%), S (6.5%) in the form of Fe-rich slag phases
(wustite, magnetite), Si and Ca-rich phases (larnite, ghelenite), Cr
(chromite), Mn (bustamite) and graphite, (ii) traces of some other
contaminants such as Cr (7700 ppm), Zn (3500 ppm), Ba (3000 ppm),
Pb (700 ppm) or Cu (500 ppm) on pathway soil samples that come from
the steel slag, and (iii) Co (13 ppm), Pb (78 ppm) and V (54 ppm) in
farmland soil samples. Although the existing heavy metals content is not
appropriate for the current use, the extremely high metal contamination
of the surrounding areas is more worrying. The properties of the soil
farmlands (pH circa 7, 13% of clay, mainly illite, and 1-4% of organic
matter content) show suitable conditions for the retention of cationic
metals, but further studies on the mobilisation of these elements have to
be performed to determine the possibility of severe human health risks.
Authors: Garcia-Guinea, Javier; Correcher, Virgilio; Recio-Vazquez,
Lorena; Crespo-Feo, Elena; Gonzalez-Martin, Rafael; Tormo, Laura
Full Source: Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias 2010, 82(2),
267-277 (English)

Monoclonal antibodies against toluene diisocyanate haptenated proteins
from vapour-exposed mice
Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is an industrially important polymer
cross-linker used in the production of polyurethane. Workplace exposure
to TDI and other diisocyanates is reported to be a leading cause of low
molecular weight induced occupational asthma (OA). Currently there is
limited understanding of the pathogenesis of OA. Monoclonal antibodies
(MAbs) that recognise TDI bound proteins would be valuable
tools/reagents, both in exposure monitoring and in TDI-induced asthma
research. The study sought to develop TDI-specific MAbs for potential use
in the development of standardised immunoassays for exposure and
biomarker assessments. Mice were exposed 4 h/day for 12 consecutive
weekdays to 50 ppb, 2,4;2,6 TDI vapour (80/20 mixt.). Splenocytes were
isolated 24 hours after the last exposure for hybridoma production.
Hybridomas were screened in a solid-phase indirect ELISA (ELISA)
against a 2,4 TDI human serum albumin (2,4 TDI-HSA) protein
conjugate. Three hybridomas producing 2,4 TDI-HSA reactive IgM MAbs
were obtained. The properties of these MAbs (isotype and reactivity to
various protein-isocyanate conjugate epitopes) were characterised using
ELISA, dot blot, and Western blot analyses. Western blot analyses
demonstrated that some TDI conjugates form inter- and intra-molecular
links, resulting in multimers and a change in the electrophoretic
mobility of the conjugate. These antibodies may be useful tools for the
isolation of endogenous diisocyanate-modified proteins after natural or
experimental exposures and for characterisation of the toxicity of specific
Authors: Ruwona, Tinashe B.; Johnson, Victor J.; Schmechel, Detlef;
Simoyi, Reuben H.; Beezhold, Donald; Siegel, Paul D.
Full Source: Hybridoma 2010, 29(3), 221-229 (English)

Benzene exposure near the U.S. permissible limit is associated with sperm
Benzene is known to induce leukaemia and other blood disorders, as
well as aneuploidy, in both human blood cells and sperm at
exposures >10 ppm. Recent reports have identified health effects at
exposure levels <1 ppm, the permissible exposure limit (PEL; 8 h) set by
the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The study
investigated whether occupational exposures to benzene near 1 ppm
induce aneuploidy in sperm. The study used multicolour fluorescence in
situ hybridisation to measure the incidence of sperm with numerical
abnormalities of chromosomes X, Y, and 21 among 33 benzene-exposed
men and 33 unexposed men from Chinese factories. Individual exposures
were assessed using personal air monitoring and urinary concentrations
of benzene and trans, trans-muconic acid (E,E-MA). Air benzene
concentrations were not detectable in unexposed men; in exposed men,
concentrations ranged from below the detection limit to 24 ppm (median,
2.9 ppm), with 27% of exposed men (n ) 9) having concentrations of 1
ppm. Exposed men were categorised into low and high groups based on
urinary E,E-MA (median concentrations of 1.9 and 14.4 mg/L,
respectively; median air benzene of 1 and 7.7 ppm, respectively), and
aneuploidy frequencies were compared with those of unexposed men.
Sperm aneuploidy increased across low- and high exposed groups for
disomy X [incidence rate ratio (IRR) ) 2.0; 95% confidence interval (CI),
1.1-3.4; and IRR ) 2.8; 95% CI, 1.5-4.9, respectively], and for overall
hyperhaploidy for the three chromosomes investigated (IRR ) 1.6; 95% CI,
1.0-2.4; and IRR ) 2.3; 95% CI, 1.5-3.6, respectively). The study also
found elevated disomy X and hyperhaploidy in the nine men exposed to
1 ppm benzene compared with unexposed men (IRR ) 1.8; 95% CI,
1.1-3.0; and IRR ) 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1-3.9, respectively). Benzene appeared
to increase the frequencies of aneuploid sperm for chromosomes
associated with chromosomal abnormality syndromes in human offspring,
even in men whose air benzene exposure was at or below the U.S.
permissible exposure limit.
Authors: Xing, Caihong; Marchetti, Francesco; Li, Guilan; Weldon,
Rosana H.; Kurtovich, Elaine; Young, Suzanne; Schmid, Thomas E.;
Zhang, Luoping; Rappaport, Stephen; Waidyanatha, Suramya; Wyrobek,
Andrew J.; Eskenazi, Brenda.
Full Source: Environmental Health Perspectives 2010,118(6), 833-839

Clinical observation on recombinant human vascular endostatin
combined with XELOX regimen in the treatment of advanced stomach
The short-term effects and safety of recombinant human vascular
endostatin (endostar, YH- 16) combined with XELOX (oxaliplatin +
capecitabine) regimen for advanced stomach carcinoma were investigated
to explore the relationship between the serum level of vascular
endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the clinical outcome. Forty-two
patients with relapse of stage IV advanced stomach carcinoma were
randomly divided into two groups. The testing group received YH-16 plus
XELOX regimen, and the control group were given XELOX chemotherapy
only. All the patients received at least 2 cycles of chemotherapy. The
complete response rate (CR), partial response rate (PR), stable disease (SD),
and progressive disease (PD) were observed. The CR+PR was defined as
response rate (RR) and CR+PR+SD was defined as clinical benefit rate
(CBR). The quality of life (QOL) was evaluated and the serum VEGF level
of the two groups were measured before and after treatment. The RR was
40.0% in testing group and 22.7% in control group (P<0.05). The CBR was
75.0% in testing group and 59.1% in control group (P<0.05). The median
tumour to progression (TTP) time was 6.9 mo and 3.9 mo for testing group
and control group, respectively (P<0.05). The scores of QOL in the two
groups were both increased but the increasing rate was significantly
higher in testing group than that in control group (P<0.05). The level of
serum VEGF in the two groups was decreased significantly after treatment
and the decreasing degree was higher in testing group than that in
control group (P<0.05). There were no significant difference in the
incidence of mode-rate to severe adverse reaction between testing group
and control group. The rh-endostatin combined with XELOX regimen is
effective, safe, and well tolerated in the treatment of advanced stomach
carcinoma. It is worthy of extending its clinical application. VEGF may
be a good biomarker in predicting the efficacy of the chemotherapy
combined with anti-angiogenetic therapy.
Authors: Jiang, Fengshou; Wang, Gang; Sun, Yubei; Yao, Yiwei; Ji,
Chushu; Hu, Bing
Full Source: Zhongliu 2009, 29(8), 790-792 (Ch)

Efficacy of etanercept on ankylosing spondylitis
This paper aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of etanercept in
treatment of ankylosing spondylitis. Eighty-six patients were randomised
into experiment group and control group. Patients in experiment group
were treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and
etanercept (25 mg, twice/week, subcutaneous injection in the upper arm),
and those in control group were managed with NSAIDs and sulfasalazine.
Re-examinations were performed after treatment for 3 months, and the
prevalence of low back pain, time of morning stiffness, Bath ankylosing
spondylitis disease activity index(BASDAI), Bath ankylosing spondylitis
functional index(BASFI), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and
C-reactive protein (CRP) were analysed, and the prevalence of adverse
effects was observed. Compared with those at administration, the
prevalence of low back pain were significantly reduced; the time of
morning stiffness significantly decreased; BASDAI and BASFI were
significantly improved, and ESR and CRP significantly decreased 3
months after treatment in both groups. After treatment for three months,
the clinical parameters in experiment group were more favourable than
those in control group. There was no significant difference in the
prevalence of adverse effects between two groups. Etanercept has
favourable short-term therapeutic effects on ankylosing spondylitis with
minor adverse effects.
Authors: Zhao, Futao; Zhao, Hao; Wang, Yanling
Full source: Shanghai Jiaotong Daxue Xuebao, Yixueban 2009, 29(12),
1506-1508 (Ch)

Clinical study of controlled hypotension with magnesium sulphate
during functional endoscopic sinus surgery
Seventy-five patients arranged for selective functional endoscopic sinus
surgery under general anaesthesia, were randomly assigned into three
groups: control group, magnesium sulphate group and nitroglycerin group.
The patients of magnesium sulphate group received 10% magnesium
sulphate 40 mg/kg before the induction of anaesthesia, and then by
continuous infusion during the operation. The same volume of 5% glucose
was administered to the patients in control group. Constant infusion of
nitroglycerin was administered to the patients in nitroglycerin group.
The hemodynamic indexes, amount of bleeding, fluid intake, operation
time, recovery time, quality of surgery field, muscle relaxation and
adverse reaction were recorded. Concentration of Mg2+ in magnesium
sulphate group was compared before and after surgery. The patients in
the magnesium sulphate group maintained balanced heart rates during
the operation, while the heart rates of patients in control group and
nitroglycerin group increased significantly. The patients of magnesium
sulphate group had lower amount of bleeding and shorter operation time
compared with control group. The quality of surgery field in magnesium
sulphate group was significantly better than that in control group. Time
for 75% recovery of myokymia and recovery index in magnesium
sulphate group was higher than those in control group and nitroglycerin
group. No adverse reaction was observed in all groups. Magnesium
sulphate is effective and safe for controlled hypotension during
functional endoscopic sinus surgery.
Authors: Zhou, Weimin; Chen, Ximing; Hou, Ruijiao; Shen, Boxiong
Full Source: Shanghai Jiaotong Daxue Xuebao, Yixueban 2009, 29(12),
1502-1505 (Ch)

Concentration of serum superoxide dismutase and expression of serum
IL-2 and TNF-r in workers exposed to coke oven emission
The levels of the serum superoxide dismutase (SOD), interleukin-2 (IL-2)
and tumour necrosis factor-R (TNF-R) in workers exposed to coke oven
emission (COE) were detected. A total of 60 workers (20 at top, 20 at side
and 20 at bottom of the oven) were employed in the study, and 20
students and teachers were assigned as the control group. The levels of
serum SOD in workers‘ blood were measured with xanthosine oxidase
method and the levels of the serum IL-2, TNF-R with ELISA. The results
showed that the SOD activity, levels of IL-2 and TNF-R of workers at top
of the oven was (10.50(5.34) U/mL, (59.188(47.7) pg/mL, and
(59.188(47.7) pg/mL, respectively. The level of serum SOD activity of the
exposed group was significantly higher than that of the control group
(P<0.05). The levels of the serum IL-2 and TNF-R of the exposed group
were significantly decreased (P<0.05). The authors concluded that the
occupational exposure to coke oven emission resulted in increase of serum
SOD activity and decrease of serum IL-2 and TNF-R.
Authors: Pang, Mingzhen; Li, Fengping
Full Source: Zhongguo Gonggong Weisheng 2009, 25(12), 1453-1454

Assessment of control effect on occupational hazards in a new sodium
silicate project of a certain solely foreign-owned enterprise
In this study, the authors evaluated the control effects on occupational
hazards in a new sodium silicate project of a certain solely
foreign-owned enterprise. The results demonstrated that one site had
excess silica dust. In addition, the results of other physical factors and
toxicant tests were below the Occupational Exposure Limit for Hazardous
Agents in the Workplace. The authors concluded that these findings
indicate that the equipments for preventing and protecting occupational
hazards were basically efficient, but should be improved.
Authors: Li, Yibo; Song, Bin; Sun, Jinyan; Liu, Yanning
Full Source: Zhongguo Gongye Yixue Zazhi 2009, 22(6), 458-460 (Ch)

Study of lymphocytic binucleated micronucleus frequency of blood in
workers exposed to styrene
This study investigated the genetic damage of workers exposed to styrene.
Fifty four workers exposed to styrene and 25 control subjects were
examined by cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus test (CBMNT) to detect the
genotoxicity of styrene. The results show that lymphocytic binucleated
micronucleus frequencies in those high concentration styrene exposed
workers increased significantly compared with those of the controls. In
addition, the concentration increased as the working ages prolonged. The
authors concluded that styrene might have genotoxicity to exposed
workers, lymphocytic binucleated micronucleus frequency may be taken
as the sensitive biomarker of the genetic damage induced by styrene.
Authors: Jin, Huanrong; Zhao, Su; Wang, Hong; Yang, Yan-kai; Xie,
Full Source: Gongye Weisheng Yu Zhiyebing 2009, 35(5), 271-273 (Ch)

Occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and lung
cancer risk: a multicentre study in Europe
Lung cancer incidence in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is among the
highest in the world, and the role of occupational exposures has not been
adequately studied in these countries. This study investigated the
contribution of occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAH) to lung cancer in CEE. A case-control study was
conducted in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia
and Slovakia, as well as the United Kingdom (UK) between 1998 and
2002. Occupational and socio-demographic information was collected
through interviews from 2861 newly diagnosed lung cancer cases and
2936 population or hospital controls. Industrial hygiene experts in each
country evaluated exposure to 70 occupational agents, whereof 15
mixtures containing PAH. ORs of lung cancer were calculated after
adjusting for other occupational exposures and tobacco smoking. The
results showed OR for ever exposure to PAH in the CEE countries was
0.93 (95% CI 0.77 to 1.14). The ORs for the highest category of
cumulative exposure, duration of exposure and intensity of exposure
were 1.13 (95% CI 0.80 to 1.58), 1.02 (95% CI 0.66 to 1.57) and 1.11
(95% CI 0.60 to 2.05), respectively. The OR for ever PAH exposure in the
UK was 1.97 (95% CI 1.16 to 3.35). the authors concluded that based on
the results from this study, occupational PAH exposure does not appear to
substantially contribute to the burden of lung cancer in CEE. The
stronger effect observed in the UK may be due to high exposure levels and
a joint effect with asbestos.
Authors: Olsson, Ann C.; Fevotte, Joelle; Fletcher, Tony; Cassidy, Adrian;
‗t Mannetje, Andrea; Zaridze, David; Szeszenia-Dabrowska, Neonila;
Rudnai, Peter; Lissowska, Jolanta; Fabianova, Eleonora; Mates, Dana;
Bencko, Vladimir; Foretova, Lenka; Janout, Vladimir; Brennan, Paul;
Boffetta, Paolo
Full Source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2010, 67(2),
98-103 (Eng)

Research progress on status and control of occupational hazards in
decoration workers
In this study, the author reviewed the occupational hazards associated
with decoration work. Factor of occupation disease hazards including
chemical factors (such as formaldehyde, benzene and its derivatives,
ammonia, total VOCs), dust factors (including sawdust dust, cement dust,
sand dust, gypsum dust, ceramic dust, welding smoke dust, organic dust,
etc.), radioactive factors (including radon in stone-based decorative
materials, Zr compounds, and physical factors (including noise,
vibration, UV radiation) are discussed in this report. The author
analysed the effects of the harmful factors on health, and pointed out the
harmful factors resulted in pneumoconiosis, benzene poisoning, noise
deafness, occupational eye diseases, cancer, respirable disease. Finally,
control measurement were suggested including occupational hygiene
management, health education, hygienic engineering, personal
occupational hazard shield products, and decorative materials.
Author: Bo, Qi-bo
Full Source: Zhongguo Weisheng Gongchengxue 2009, 8(4), 249-250

Scientific evidences of third-hand smoke
Tobacco smoking and second-hand smoke exposure are linked to a
number of adverse health outcomes. Third-hand smoke, which is
considered to be the residual contamination of tobacco smoke that
remains after the cigarette is extinguished. In this study, the author
examined the residual tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke can be attached to
various surfaces and reemitted to air for a long period of time. The
dynamic process can allow third-hand exposure to tobacco smoke
without direct exposure to second-hand smoke. One critical evidence of
the third-hand smoke exposure was significantly high urinary cotinine
level in infants who did not have direct second-hand smoke exposure.
Potential exposure to new and more potent chemicals generated from
chemical reactions between residual tobacco smoke and ambient air
pollutants can get more attention. Considering toxicity and exposure
route, children are uniquely susceptible to third-hand smoke exposure.
The author concluded that this study provides strong background
information for third-hand smoke but warrants further research into the
Author: Lee, Kiyoung
Full Source: Hangug Hwangyeong Bogeon Haghoeji 2010, 36(2), 77-81

Levels of metabolites of organophosphate pesticides, phthalates, and
bisphenol A in pooled urine specimens from pregnant women
participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa)
Concerns about reproductive and developmental health risks of exposure
to organophosphate (OP) pesticides, phthalates, and bisphenol A (BPA)
among the general population are increasing. Six dialkyl phosphate
(DAP) metabolites, 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy), BPA, and
fourteen phthalate metabolites were measured in 10 pooled urine
samples representing 110 pregnant women who participated in the
Norwegian Mother and Child Birth Cohort (MoBa) study in 2004. Daily
intakes were estimated from urinary data and compared with reference
doses (RfDs) and daily tolerable intakes (TDIs). The results showed that
the MoBa women had a higher mean BPA concentrations (4.50 íg/L)
than the pregnant women in the Generation R Study (Generation R) in
the Netherlands and the National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey (NHANES) in the United States. The mean concentration of total
DAP metabolites (24.20 íg/L) in MoBa women was higher than that in
NHANES women but lower than that in Generation R women. The di-Et
phthalate metabolite mono-Et phthalate (MEP) was the dominant
phthalate metabolite in all three studies, with the mean concentrations
of greater than 300 íg/L. The MoBa and Generation R women had higher
mean concentrations of mono-Bu phthalate (MnBP) and mono-iso-Bu
phthalate (MiBP) than the NHANES women. The estimated average daily
intakes of BPA, chlorpyrifos/chlorpyrifos-Me and phthalates in MoBa
(and the other two studies) were below the RfDs and TDIs. The authors
concluded that the higher levels of metabolites in the MoBa participants
may have been from intake via pesticide residues in food
(organophosphates), consumption of canned food, especially fish/seafood
(BPA), and use of personal care products (selected phthalates).
Authors: Ye, Xibiao; Pierik, Frank H.; Angerer, Juergen; Meltzer, Helle
Margrete; Jaddoe, Vincent W. V.; Tiemeier, Henning; Hoppin, Jane A.;
Longnecker, Matthew P.
Full Source: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
2009, 212(5), 481-491 (Eng)

Fluoride and thyroid function in children in two villages in China
In this study, 82 children, aged 8-13 years old, from Wamiao village, a
severe endemic fluorosis area and 88 control subjects from Xinhuai
village, a nonendemic fluorosis area, were recruited. The results showed
that the prevalence of dental fluorosis (DF) was 85.37% in the subjects
from Wamiao and 6.82% in the subjects from Xinhuai respectively.
Drinking water fluoride (F-) in children‘s household shallow well
ranged from 0.62-4.00 mg/L in Wamiao and 0.23-0.76 mg/L in
Xinhuai. Serum total triiodothyronine (TT3), total thyronine (TT4), TSH
(TSH) were 1.47 ( 0.28 and 1.47 ( 0.33 ng/mL, 9.67 ( 1.76 and 9.22
( 2.54 íg/dL, 3.88 ( 2.15 and 2.54 ( 2.07 íIU/mL respectively. The
prevalence of DF, drinking water F-, serum TSH in Wamiao village was
significantly higher than that in Xinhuai village. As the children in
Wamiao village were divided into different subgroups according to their
severity of DF, serum TT3 and TSH showed significant difference in
different groups. The authors concluded that the results from this study
confirm that the high F- exposure can cause functional abnormalities of
thyroid, and the different severity degree of DF may be relation to
significant deviation in the serum levels of thyroid hormone.
Authors: Xiang, Quanyong; Chen, Liansheng; Liang, Youxin; Wu, Ming;
Chen, Bingheng
Full Source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences
[online computer file] 2009, 1(3), 054-059 (Eng)

Arsenic microdistribution and speciation in toenail clippings of children
living in a historic gold mining area
Arsenic is naturally associated with gold mineralisation and elevated in
some soils and mine waste around historical gold mining activity in
Victoria, Australia. To explore uptake, arsenic concentrations in
children‘s toenail clippings and household soils were measured, and the
microdistribution and speciation of arsenic in situ in toenail clipping
thin sections investigated using synchrotron-based X-ray microprobe
techniques. The ability to differentiate exogenous arsenic was explored by
investigating surface contamination on cleaned clippings using depth
profiling, and direct diffusion of arsenic into incubated clippings. Total
arsenic concentrations ranged from 0.15 to 2.1 íg/g (n ) 29) in clipping
samples and from 3.3 to 130 íg/g (n ) 22) in household soils, with
significant correlation between transformed arsenic concentrations
(Pearson‘s r ) 0.42, P ) 0.023) when household soil was treated as
independent. In clipping thin sections (n ) 2), X-ray fluorescence (XRF)
mapping showed discrete layering of arsenic consistent with nail
structure, and irregular arsenic incorporation along the nail growth axis.
Arsenic concentrations were heterogeneous at 10 x 10 ím microprobe spot
locations investigated (< 0.1 to 13.3 íg/g). X-ray absorption near-edge
structure (XANES) spectra suggested the presence of two distinct arsenic
species: a lower oxidation state species, possibly with mixed sulphur and
Me coordination (denoted AsIII(-S, -CH3)); and a higher oxidation state
species (denoted AsV (-O)). Depth profiling suggested that surface
contamination was unlikely (n) 4), and XRF and XANES analyses of thin
sections of clippings incubated in dry or wet mine waste, or untreated,
suggested direct diffusion of arsenic occurred under moist conditions. The
authors concluded that the results from this study suggest that arsenic in
soil contributes to some systemic absorption associated with periodic
exposures among children resident in areas of historic gold mining
activity in Victoria, Australia. Future studies are required to ascertain if
adverse health effects are associated with current levels of arsenic uptake.
Authors: Pearce, Dora C.; Dowling, Kim; Gerson, Andrea R.; Sim,
Malcolm R.; Sutton, Stephen R.; Newville, Matthew; Russell, Robert;
McOrist, Gordon
Full Source: Science of the Total Environment 2010, 408(12),
2590-2599 (Eng)

Low serum levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane
sulphonate (PFOS) and perfluorohexane sulphonate (PFHxS) in children
and adults from Afghanistan
Applications of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have led to a PFC
exposure of the general population worldwide. Most PFC human
biomonitoring data are available from developed countries. In the present
study, the authors report for the first time PFC levels in serum from
children and adults living in the low developed country of Afghanistan.
Among a health cooperation project the authors had the chance to collect
blood samples from 12 children (age 2.5-9 years) and 43 adults (age
20-65 years). Twenty-five participants were from Kabul and 30 lived in
a rural area. Drinking water samples were collected from 10 tap water
and 16 well water sources. PFC levels were detected using HPLC and
MS/MS detection after offline protein precipitation with acetonitrile.
PFOS could be quantified in all blood samples (limit of quantification,
LOQ: 0.1 íg/L). Median (range) was 1.2 íg/L (0.21-11.8 íg/L). Most PFOA
(n ) 43) and PFHxS levels (n ) 42) were below LOQ of 0.5 íg/L. Maximum
levels were 1.5 (PFOA) and 3.0 íg/L (PFHxS). All PFOS and PFOA
concentrations in drinking water were below LOQ (PFOA 0.03 íg/L and
PFOS 0.015 íg/L). the authors concluded that exposure to PFCs occurs in
Afghanistan but on a very low level.
Authors: Hemat, Hamayon; Wilhelm, Michael; Voelkel, Wolfgang; Mosch,
Christine; Fromme, Hermann; Wittsiepe, Juergen
Full Source: Science of the Total Environment 2010, 408(16),
3493-3495 (Eng)

Sterilising and disinfecting agent containing attapulgite clay and
chlorine dioxide
The agent is composed of acidified pasty attapulgite clay 20-65, chlorine
dioxide 0.01-10, nanosize titanium dioxide-silver antimicrobial agent
0.01-5, cocamidopropyl betaine 0.01-5 and deionised water 25-70wt%.
Title sterilising and disinfecting agent is prepared by (1) mixing all raw
materials in stirrer; (2) grinding in colloidal mill to obtain pasty
mixture with granule size of <0.015 mm; (3) high-speed stirring to
obtain semi-finished product; (4) vacuum degassing and canning to
obtain product. Acidified attapulgite clay is prepared by (1) selecting
attapulgite slurry containing attapulgite clay 15-35 and water 65-85%;
(2) stirring in the presence of 31% industrial HCl in stirrer, acidifying
for 1-3 days to obtain product with pH 6.0-7.5. The inventive product
has advantages of good adherence ability, convenience to use, less use
amount, long-lasting disinfection effect, safety, no residue, high
efficiency, no stimulation to human, no influence on animal growth; it
can be used for sterilisation, disinfection and deodorisation of livestock
and poultry farm and other sites.
Authors: Xu, Qinghua; Wang, Aoqian; Xu, Shengying
Full Source: Faming Zhuanli Shenqing Gongkai Shuomingshu CN
101744004 A 23 Jun 2010,5pp. (Chinese)

An improved high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass
spectrometric method to measure atrazine and its metabolites in human
The study reports an improved solid-phase extraction-high-performance
liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method with isotope
dilution quantification to measure seven atrazine metabolites in urine.
The metabolites measured were hydroxyatrazine (HA),
diaminochloroatrazine (DACT), desisopropylatrazine (DIA),
desethylatrazine (DEA), desethylatrazine mercapturate (DEAM), atrazine
mercapturate (ATZM), and atrazine (ATZ). Using off-line mixed-mode
reversed-phase/ cation-exchange solid-phase extraction dramatically
increased recovery and sensitivity by reducing the influence of matrix
components during separation and analysis. DACT extraction recovery
improved to greater than 80% while the other analytes had similar
extraction efficiencies as previously observed. Limits of detection were
lower than the previous method with relative standard deviations less
than 10%. The total runtime was shorter (18 min) than the previous
online method, thus it is suitable for large-scale sample analyses.
Throughput of the method was increased two-fold using the newer
Authors: Panuwet, Parinya; Restrepo, Paula A.; Magsumbol, Melina;
Jung, Kyung Y.; Montesano, M. Angela; Needham, Larry L.; Barr, Dana
Full Source: Journal of Chromatography, B: Analytical Technologies in
the Biomedical and Life Sciences 2010, 878(13-14), 957-962 (Eng)

Evaluation on Cytotoxicity and Genotoxicity of the Exfoliated Silicate
The concern about toxicity for nanosilicate platelets (NSP) derived from
natural montmorillonite clay is addressed. The NSP nanoclay was
isolated from polyamine-salt exfoliation of the layered silicate clay into
randomised individual plates, possessing multiple ionic charges on the
surface of silicate plates. The material had been previously shown to be
effective for antimicrobial and tendency for adhering onto the
biomaterial surface based on the direct observation by using scanning
electron microscope. The material safety on genotoxic effect was
investigated by using three different test systems: the Comet assay test on
Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells in vitro, micronucleus (MN) assay in
vivo and the Salmonella gene mutation assay on strain TA98, TA100,
TA102, TA1535 and TA1537. The Comet assay showed no DNA damage
after 24 h of incubation with NSP of 1000 íg/mL. The MN test indicated
no significant micronucleus induction in the CHO cells at the
concentrations tested. With all five strains of Salmonella typhimurium,
no mutations were found. Furthermore, cytotoxicity of the same material
was assayed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium
bromide (MTT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, showing a low
cytotoxicity on CHO cells below 1000 íg/mL after 12 h incubation period
and a dose-dependent effect after 24 h incubation. For feeding to rats,
the acute oral toxicity was shown a low LD (LD50) or greater than 5700
mg/kg body weight for both male and female Sprague-Dawley rats.
Overall, the study has demonstrated the safety of the NSP for potential
uses in biomedical areas.
Authors: Li, Pei-Ru; Wei, Jiun-Chiou; Chiu, Ying-Fang; Su, Hong-Lin;
Peng, Fu-Chuo; Lin, Jiang-Jen
Full Source: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2010, 2(6), 1608-1613

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