070622-Bulletin.rtf by linxiaoqin

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									Bulletin Board
June 22, 2007

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Hazard Alert
Dichlorvos

Dichlorvos (2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate), or DDVP is a highly
volatile organophosphate, widely used as a fumigant to control household,
public health, and stored product insects. It is effective against mushroom
flies, aphids, spider mites, caterpillars, thrips, and whiteflies in greenhouse,
outdoor fruit, and vegetable crops, and also for the milling and grain handling
industries. Dichlorvos is used to treat a variety of parasitic worm infections
in dogs, livestock, and humans, and can be fed to livestock to control bot
fly larvae in the manure. It acts against insects as both a contact and a
stomach poison. It is available as an aerosol and soluble concentrate. It
is also used as a household pesticide, typically encountered in the form of
pet collars and “no-pest strips” of pesticide-impregnated plastic. The United
States Environmental Protection Agency first considered a ban on DDVP in
1981. Since then it has been close to being banned on several occasions,
but continues to be available; concerns are primarily over acute and chronic
toxicity, as there is no conclusive evidence of carcinogenicity to date. [1]
In the UK, the non-agricultural uses of dichlorvos as an amateur and professional
insecticide were reviewed by Health and Safety Executive in February (HSE)
1995(1). Agricultural uses together with environmental effects will be included in
a later review by the Ministry of Agriculture.

On a world-wide basis no country has banned dichlorvos, although there are
restrictions in Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam. [2]
Because of its high acute oral and dermal toxicity, its availability in developing
countries is a cause for concern. The Food and Agriculture Organisation
(FAO), the World Bank, GTZ (Germany) and ODA (UK) generally discourage
the procurement of such products. The accepted international guide to best
practice in the procurement of pesticides is set out in the FAO’s Provisional
Guidelines on Tender Procedures for the Procurement of Pesticides(12) which
state: “Pesticide formulations that fall into Class IA or IB ... usually have severe
restrictions in developed countries; in general they can only be used by specially
trained and certified applicators. Such pesticides should not be used by small
farmers or untrained and unprotected workers in developing countries”. [2]
Regulatory Status: The EPA has classified it as toxicity class I - highly toxic,
because it may cause cancer and there is only a small margin of safety for other
effects. Products containing dichlorvos must bear the Signal Words DANGER -
POISON. Dichlorvos is a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) and may be purchased
and used only by certified applicators. [3]

Toxicological Effects: [2]
Acute toxicity: Dichlorvos is highly toxic by inhalation, dermal absorption, and
ingestion. Because dichlorvos is volatile, inhalation is the most common route of
exposure. As with all organophosphates, dichlorvos is readily absorbed through
the skin. Acute illness from dichlorvos is limited to the effects of cholinesterase
inhibition. Compared to poisoning by other organophosphates, dichlorvos causes
a more rapid onset of symptoms, which is often followed by a similarly rapid
recovery. This occurs because dichlorvos is rapidly metabolized and eliminated
from the body. Persons with reduced lung function, convulsive disorders, liver
disorders, or recent exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors will be at increased risk
from exposure to dichlorvos. Alcoholic beverages may enhance the toxic effects
of dichlorvos. High environmental temperatures or exposure of dichlorvos to light
may enhance its toxicity [2,8]. Dichlorvos is mildly irritating to skin. Concentrates
of dichlorvos may cause burning sensations, or actual burns. Application of
1.67 mg/kg dichlorvos in rabbits’ eyes produced mild redness and swelling,
but no injury to the cornea. Symptoms of acute exposure to organophosphate
or cholinesterase-inhibiting compounds may include the following: numbness,
tingling sensations, incoordination, headache, dizziness, tremor, nausea,
abdominal cramps, sweating, blurred vision, difficulty breathing or respiratory
depression, slow heartbeat. Very high doses may result in unconsciousness,
incontinence, and convulsions or fatality. Some organophosphates may cause
delayed symptoms beginning 1 to 4 weeks after an acute exposure that may
or may not have produced immediate symptoms. In such cases, numbness,
tingling, weakness, and cramping may appear in the lower limbs and progress
to incoordination and paralysis. Improvement may occur over months or years,
but some residual impairment may remain. The oral LD50 for dichlorvos is 61 to
175 mg/kg in mice, 100 to 1090 mg/kg in dogs, 15 mg/kg in chickens, 25 to 80
mg/kg in rats, 157 mg/kg in pigs, and 11 to 12.5 mg/kg in rabbits [2,8,13]. The
dermal LD50 for dichlorvos is 70.4 to 250 mg/kg in rats, 206 mg/kg in mice, and
107 mg/kg in rabbits [2,8,13]. The 4-hour LC50 for dichlorvos is greater than 0.2
mg/L in rats.

Environmental Fate: [2]
Breakdown in soil and groundwater: Dichlorvos has low persistence
in soil. Half-lives of 7 days were measured on clay, sandy clay, and
loose sandy soil. In soil, dichlorvos is subject to hydrolysis and
biodegradation. Volatilization from moist soils is expected to be slow.
The pH of the media determines the rate of breakdown. Breakdown
is rapid in alkaline soils and water, but it is slow in acidic media. For
instance, at pH 9.1 the half-life of dichlorvos is about 4.5 hours. At
pH 1 (very acidic), the half-life is 50 hours. Dichlorvos does not adsorb
to soil particles and it is likely to contaminate groundwater . When
spilled on soil, dichlorvos leached into the ground with 18 to 20%
penetrating to a depth of 12 inches within 5 days.
- Breakdown in water: In water, dichlorvos remains in solution and
does not adsorb to sediments. It degrades primarily by hydrolysis,
with a half-life of approximately 4 days in lakes and rivers. This half-
life will vary from 20 to 80 hours between pH 4 and pH 9. Hydrolysis
is slow at pH 4 and rapid at pH 9. Biodegradation may occur under
acidic conditions, which slow hydrolysis, or where populations of
acclimated microorganisms exist, as in polluted waters. Volatilization from
water is slow. It has been estimated at 57 days from river water and over
400 days from ponds.
- Breakdown in vegetation: Except for cucumbers, roses, and some
chrysanthemums, plants tolerate dichlorvos very well.

Chronic toxicity: Repeated or prolonged exposure to organophosphates may
result in the same effects as acute exposure, including the delayed symptoms.
Other effects reported in workers repeatedly exposed include impaired memory
and concentration, disorientation, severe depressions, irritability, confusion,
headache, speech difficulties, delayed reaction times, nightmares, sleepwalking,
and drowsiness or insomnia. An influenza like condition with headache, nausea,
weakness, loss of appetite, and malaise has also been reported. Repeated,
small doses generally have no effect on treated animals. Doses of up to 4 mg/
kg of a slow release formulation, given to cows to reduce flies in their feces,
had no visibly adverse effects on the cows; but blood tests of these cows
indicated cholinesterase inhibition . Feeding studies indicate that a dosage of
dichlorvos very much larger than doses which inhibit cholinesterase are needed
to produce illness. Rats tolerated dietary doses as high as 62.5 mg/kg/day for
90 days with no visible signs of illness, while a dietary level of 0.25 mg/kg/day
for only 4 days produced a reduction in cholinesterase levels. Rats exposed
to air concentrations of 0.5 mg/L of dichlorvos over a 5-week period exhibited
significantly decreased cholinesterase activity in the plasma, red blood cells,
and brain. Dogs fed dietary doses of 1.6 or 12.5 mg/kg/day for 2 years showed
decreased red blood cell cholinesterase activity, increased liver weights, and
increased liver cell size occurred. Chronic exposure to dichlorvos will cause fluid
to build up in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Liver enlargement has occurred
in pigs maintained for long periods of time on high doses. Dichlorvos caused
adverse liver effects, and lung hemorrhages may occur at high doses in dogs. In
male rats, repeated high doses caused abnormalities in the tissues of the lungs,
heart, thyroid, liver, and kidneys.

Ventilation:
Do not inhale vapours. Use in well ventilated areas. In poorly ventilated areas,
mechanical extraction ventilation is recommended. Maintain vapour levels below
the recommended exposure standard.
Exposure Standards:
DICHLORVOS (62-73-7)
ES-TWA : 0.1 ppm (0.9 mg/m3)
WES-TWA : 0.1 ppm (0.9 mg/m3)
CARBON DIOXIDE (124-38-9)
ES-TWA : 5000 ppm (ACGIH; NIOSH; NOHSC)
ES-STEL : 30000 ppm (ACGIH; NIOSH; NOHSC)
WES-TWA : 5000 ppm (9000 mg/m3)
PPE :
Wear coveralls, safety glasses, safety boots and leather gloves. Where an
inhalation risk exists, wear Self Contained Breathing apparatus (SCBA) or an
airline respirator.
Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) or an Air-line respirator

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichlorvos
[2] http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/actives/dichlorv.htm
[3] http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/dichlorv.htm


Legislation

Asia Pacific

Information bulletin published on the classification of
large containers contaminated with prescribed waste
2007-06-04
The Victorian Environmental Protection Authority has released an
information bulletin on 11 April 2007, on the classification of large containers
contaminated with prescribed industrial waste. The bulletin provides
information on the management required for large containers under the
classification and outlines how EPA will implement this classification.
Enhesa Update, May 2007

Lead Compounds in Cosmetics- Call for Information
2007-06-04
Under section 48 of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment)
Act 1989 (the Act), the Director of the National Industrial Chemicals
Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) is seeking information on
cosmetic products containing lead compounds and any lead compounds
used in the manufacture of cosmetics. Due to the hazardous nature of
lead, these compounds used in cosmetics are of interest. The director is
seeking to obtain information on all cosmetic products that contain lead in
order to determine if any further regulatory action is required. The notice
is applicable to manufacturers, importers if lead compounds for use in
cosmetics and importers of cosmetic products containing lead compounds in
the 2005 and 2006 calendar years. In addition, anyone else with information
on these chemicals including users, past importers or manufacturers
are encouraged to provide information on the chemicals. The Director is
requesting the following information on the lead compounds manufactured
within Australia:
- Chemical name and CAS number of the lead compound;
- Quantities imported and/or manufactured in Australia in the calendar years
2005 and 2006 for use in cosmetics;
- Specific function of the lead compound in the cosmetic product, and
- Name of the cosmetic product/mixture the compound is used in.
The following information is required for imported cosmetic products/
mixtures containing lead compounds:
- Product/mixture name;
- Chemical name and CAS number of the lead compound present in the
product;
- Concentration of the chemical in the product/mixture;
- Specific use(s) of the product/mixture containing the chemical, and
- Quantities of the product/mixture imported and/or manufactured in Australia
in the calendar years 2005 and 2006. People providing information may
complete an application in accordance with section 50 of the Act, requesting
that some or all of the information provided be treated as exempt information.
A cosmetic product is defined as ‘A substance or preparation intended for
placement in contact with any external part of the human body, including
the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and the teeth; with a view to:
altering the odours of the body; or changing its appearance; or cleansing it;
or maintaining it in good condition; or perfuming it; or protecting it.’ Examples
of cosmetic products include, personal hygiene products, hair and skin care
products, face and nail care products and face paints. Currently one lead
compound has an assigned INCI name (Lead acetate).
NICNAS Chemical Gazette, May 2007
http://www.nicnas.gov.au/Publications/Chemical_Gazette

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other
Legislation Amendment Act 2007 enters into force
2007-06-04
The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation
Amendment Act 2007 received royal assent on 12 April 2007. The majority
of the amendments enter into force from this date. The new Act makes
changes to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC
Act) in relation to the scope of compensation payable for workplace injury or
disease at commonwealth workplaces and SRC Act licensees. In addition, it
outlines amendments to the Occupational Health & Safety Act 1991; making
it an offence to operate a major hazard facility without a license. The remaining
provisions on calculating compensation payable in superannuation entered
into force on 27 April 2007.
Enhesa Update, May 2007

America

Canada bans Bioaccumulative Chemicals and Restricts
Another
2007-06-04
Several draft and final regulations were published by Environment Canada
in 2006, aiming at controlling chemicals that are dangerous to both
humans and the environment. These regulations included restrictions,
bans, and possible actions for 2-Methoxyethanol, Pentachlorobenzene,
Tetrachlorobenzene, Perfluorooctane sulfonate, Polybrominated diphenyl
ethers, and 2-Butoxyethanol. A final rule was then adopted by Environment
Canada on 29 November 2006, on regulations banning 2-Methoxyethanol
(2-ME), Pentachlorobenzene (QCB) and Tetrachlorobenzene (TeCB) by
adding them to Schedule 2, Parts 1 and 2 of the Prohibition of Certain Toxic
Substances Regulations. The regulations took effect in February 2007. In
an assessment of 2-ME published in the Canada Gazette on 3 August 2003,
it was concluded that 2-ME is harmful to human health due to reproductive
and teratogenic effects, but not harmful to the environment. Another
assessment published in the Canada Gazette on 3 April 2004 concluded that
QCB and TeCB are harmful to the environment by virtue of being persistent
and bioaccumulative, are toxic to soil-dwelling organisms, and can cause
chronic effects to soil-dwelling organisms. Furthermore, these chemicals
were added to the List of Toxic Substances, and are slated for “virtual
elimination” from the environment by their new ban. Two draft regulations
were introduced in the 16 December 2006 Canada Gazette prohibiting the
sale, manufacture and importation of Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), its
salts and products and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
From the screening studies performed on these chemical groups, Environment
Canada concluded that PFOS and PBDEs are currently still present in the
Canadian environment at levels that may have “immediate or long-term
harmful effects on the environment or its biological diversity” (Canada
Gazette, Vol.140, No. 50-December 16, 2006). PFOS may bioaccumulate
and biomagnify in the environment. The aim of restricting PFOS, is to keep
levels released to the environment as low as technically and economically
feasible. PFOS will be exempt when used in firefighting products; as fume
suppressants for chromium electroplating, chromium anodizing, and reverse
etching and plating applications; in the manufacture of semiconductors. PFOS
used in laboratories or for scientific research applications would be exempt
from the ban for five years. PBDE levels in animals have steadily increased
over time, leading to concern for biomagnification and bioaccumulation in
these chemicals as well. The goal for PBDE restriction is to eliminate three
forms of PBDEs from the environment all together, tetra-,penta- and hexa-
PBDEs. These PBDEs will be exempt in imported manufactured articles
and manufactured articles currently in use in Canada. While PBDEs are not
currently manufactured in Canada, they are imported from other countries
including the United States. Future projects by Environment Canada
include controlling imported. Environment Canada’s future projects include
examining the control of imported manufactured items. Final regulations
restricting 2-Butoxyethnaol in products for indoor use, were published in
Canada Gazette on 27 December 2006.
These final regulations become effective on 27 December 2008, for the
import and manufacture of products containing 2-Butoxyethanol, and on 27
December 2009, for the sale of such products. Due to 2-Butoxyethanol’s
ability to cause changes in blood chemistry, its presence in consumer
products is a concern. In March 2005 the chemical was added to Schedule 1
of the List of Toxic Substances, Schedule 1 of CEPA, 1999. The restrictions
aim to ensure that human exposure to 2-Butoxyethanol is not above certain
tolerable concentration levels. Since 2-Butoxyethanol is used in wide variety
of applications, the tolerable concentration levels are arranged by these
various applications, which may be found in Schedule 1 of the regulations,
and include percent (w/w) limits for uses such as automobile cleaners, rug
and carpet cleaners, aerosol paints and coatings, etc. For manufacturers
exceeding the Schedule 1 limits, permits must be submitted and approved.
Exemptions are allowed for products used for industrial use, which are not
sold to consumers. A specific agreement detailing that products containing
2-Butoxyethanol are used only industrial settings was developed to ensure
that those who are exempt from the regulations meet requirements of using
2-Butoxyethanol for industrial uses only.
ChemAdvisory Newsletter, April 2007
http://www.chemadvisor.com

EPA Posts Two New Issue Papers on Total Coliform Rule
2007-06-04
The EPA announced on 18 May 2007 that two additional issue papers were
available to inform stakeholders of areas of potential Total Coliform Rule
(TCR) revisions and distribution system requirements. The issue papers,
developed by EPA and the American Water Works Association (AWWA),
present available information on a range of issues related to the rule. This
document aims to review the available data, information and research
regarding issues relevant to the revision of the TCR, and where relevant,
identify areas in which additional research may be warranted. A range of
industry experts have reviewed the draft papers, completed in June 2006.
“The Effectiveness of Disinfectant Residuals in the Distribution System,” one
of the two papers EPA announced this month, reviews the efficacy of using
a disinfectant residual to ensure distribution system integrity. The document
provides an overview of secondary disinfectants and existing disinfectant
residual guidelines and requirements, as well a discussion of the three
main functions of secondary disinfection. In addition, information on the
future research needed to answer more definitively whether provision of
a disinfectant residual can meet these expectations is provided. According
to EPA, the primary purposes of the second paper, “Invalidation of Total
Coliform Positive Samples,” are to bring together pertinent information from
both research studies and system surveys, to prepare issues for discussion
on potential revisions to total-coliform sample invalidation procedures
and to compile unknowns regarding this issue. This paper identifies the
requirements of the TCR and EPA’s rationale for including them in the
rule. Furthermore, this document provides information from the states on
the approximate number of positive samples being invalidated and the
justifications for these invalidations, as well as the approximate percentages
of samples being invalidated by states due to laboratory determination
(along with the analytical methods associated with interferences). Issue
papers can be found at:
http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/regulation_revisions.
html#issuepapers
Water & Wastewater Products, 23 May 2007
http://www.wwp-online.com

Limits on pesticides mean higher costs
2007-06-04
In order to meet a court-ordered deadline, state regulators have proposed
new rules for cutting air pollution from chemicals used to kill pests, weeds
and diseases in some of the nation’s most productive farmland. This rule will
make California the first state to specify how and where several widely used
fumigants can be applied on fields statewide, said Glenn Brank, spokesman
for the state Department of Pesticide Regulation. Under the proposed
regulations, growers who use fumigants would be required to hire licensed
people to inject them. These requirements are expected to cost as much as
$40 million a year. The use of certain chemicals would be capped in areas
in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley with especially dirty air.
The directive, centers on fumigants - gases that fruit and vegetable growers
use to kill pests in the soil before planting. The chemicals have long been
blamed for being part of the state’s air-pollution problem because they cause
smog-forming gases when they evaporate from fields. Other industries,
such as oil refineries, automakers and paint manufacturers, have limits on
smog-making gases called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, but this
is the first time across-the-board limits were set for fumigant emissions,
Brank said. Under the new rules, farmers would be required to hire special
commercial applicators and to incorporate low-emission techniques such as
injecting the gases deeper into moist soil and covering fields with heavier
tarps. In addition, the restrictions set caps on how much of the chemicals
can be applied in the San Joaquin Valley, Ventura County and the Mojave
Desert area - three of the growing regions with the worst air pollution.
According to the State, in 2005, there was almost 36 million pounds of seven
fumigants used on California farms. If adopted, the new regulations would
reduce pesticide emissions by 30 percent to 40 percent, regulators said.
In 1997, the state pesticide agency promised to adopt a plan for reducing
fumigant emissions by 20 percent. However, the targets were not met,
leading to a lawsuit by several environmental in 2004, claiming the state
violated national health standards for smog. Ruling in that case last year,
a U.S. District Court judge in Sacramento made the voluntary reduction
goal mandatory. The state has appealed the court order, but the regulations
will go through with or without an appeal, Brank said. If the changes are
adopted as proposed, the requirements will cost growers $10 million to
$40 million a year, making it the most costly pesticide regulation in state
history, Brank said. The rules would hurt some growers more than others
because some rely more heavily on fumigants. The additional costs could
force the state’s strawberry growers - who provide about 88 percent of the
nation’s strawberries - to take one-third of their land out of production, said
Mary DeGroat, a spokeswoman for the 700-member California Strawberry
Commission. “Air, water, soil - that’s our livelihood,” DeGroat said. “We’ve
been trying our best to be responsible while still trying to make a living.”
Many carrot, tomato and grape farmers also use the chemicals and would
face high costs. Environmental groups objected to a provision that would
let chemical manufacturers monitor what they are supplying to the three
restricted regions and allow the head of the state pesticide agency to let
growers reduce emissions by methods besides the ones stipulated in the
proposed rules, he said.
LA Daily News, 18 May 2007
http://daily.new.com

Proposed Crop Grouping Rule Eases Regulatory Burden
and Opens Opportunities for Minor Crop Producers
2007-06-04
EPA has announced a proposal to revise its pesticide tolerance crop grouping
regulations, which allow the establishment of tolerances for multiple, related
crops based upon data from a representative set of crops. The proposed
revision, published in the Federal Register on 23 May 2007, would create a
new crop group for edible fungi (mushrooms), expand existing crop groups
by adding new commodities, establish new crop subgroups, and revise
the representative crops in some groups. These changes reflect the global
competition for new or ethnic commodities. It is expected that these revisions
will promote greater use of crop groupings for tolerance-setting purposes
and, in particular, to assist in retaining or making available pesticides for
minor crop uses. This proposal is based upon a petition submitted to EPA
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Inter-regional Research Project No.
4 (IR-4), along with the governments of Canada and Mexico, working with
over 180 crop, agrichemical, and regulatory experts representing more than
30 countries. This proposal is a burden-reducing regulation. The proposal is
open for public comment until 23 July 2007.
EPA Pesticides Update, 30 May 2007
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides

FDA: Changes to product labelling for Exjade
2007-06-04
Novartis has announced changes to the WARNINGS and ADVERSE
REACTIONS sections of the product labeling for Exjade, a drug used
to treat chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions (transfusional
hemosiderosis) in patients 2 years of age and older. Following post marketing
use of Exjade, there have been reported cases of acute renal failure, some
with a fatal outcome. Most of the fatalities occurred in patients with multiple
co-morbidities and who were in advanced stages of their hematological
disorders. Furthermore, there were post-marketing reports of cytopenias,
including agranulocytosis, neutropenia and thrombocytopenia in patients
treated with Exjade where some of the patients died. The relationship of
these episodes to treatment with Exjade is uncertain. Most of these patients
had preexisting hematologic disorders that are frequently associated with
bone marrow failure. Cases of leukocytoclastic vasculitis, urticaria, and
hypersensitivity reactions (including anaphylaxis and angioedema) have
also been reported. Patients at increased risk of complication should have
their serum creatinine monitored. These include patients with preexisting
renal conditions, the elderly, or those that have co-morbid conditions, or are
receiving medicinal products that depress renal function. In addition, blood
counts should be monitored regularly and treatment should be interrupted
in patients who develop unexplained cytopenia.
Medwatch Update, 22 May 2007

FDA: Recall of Shark Cartilage Capsules
2007-06-04
NBTY has announced a nationwide recall of 3 lots of Shark Cartilage Capsules
the company manufactured in 2004 and distributed to consumers through
mail and internet orders, and retail stores throughout the United States. The
product was recalled because of possible contamination with Salmonella,
an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young
children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea,
nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with
Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and
producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and
arthritis. Customers can return the product back to the place of purchase for
a full refund.
Medwatch Update, 17 May 2007

Europe

Parliament wants less chemicals in water
2007-06-04
On 22 May, the Parliament voted to substantially increase an existing list
of toxic substances governed by EU laws on water quality. In addition, the
Parliament voted to upgrade a number of these substances to a higher
category of toxicity, which would require member states to phase-ouut their
use entirely by 2015. Adopted in 2000, the EU Water Framework Directive
(WFD) was introduced to streamline the EU’s large body of water legislation
into one overarching strategy. In 2001, as part of the WFD, the Commission
adopted a list of 41 substances, including 33 “priority substances” and
eight other pollutants that are considered potentially hazardous to the
aquatic environment. Of the 33 priority substances, there is a further sub-
classification for “priority hazardous substances,” which must be phased-out
of use in member states in less than 20 years. In July 2006, the Commission
put forward a subsequent proposal laying out measures for dealing with
priority substances. In addition, the proposal upgraded several substances
from “priority” to “priority hazardous”. In total, the Commission lists 13
priority hazardous substances out of 33 priority substances in its proposal.
Upon the first reading of the proposal the Parliament voted to include an
additional 28 priority substances, nearly doubling the existing list of 33.
Parliament considers 22 of these 28 substances to be priority hazardous,
and it voted to upgrade a further ten substances on the existing list to priority
hazardous. Thus the Parliament is pushing for 61 priority substances, 45 of
which are to be priority hazardous. Furthermore, the Parliament is urging the
Commission to present a report by 2015 on implementation of the directive,
and to propose stricter measures in 2016 if progress is not satisfactory.
The Greens/EFA group voted largely in favour of the first reading, but regrets
“the adoption of several amendments in the plenary, which weakened
other elements of the proposal, particularly those that exclude pollutants in
sediments from being monitored”. Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND)
acknowledged positive the Parliament’s vote to increase the number of
chemicals on the list, but lamented that the body “yielded on several far-
reaching exemptions under industry pressure,” and were “dismayed that
MEPs granted far-reaching exemptions which might seriously undermine
the objective of the WFD.” Sebastian Schˆnauer of Bund also reacted to the
vote in reference to the WFD implementation, saying that: “Member States
are required to improve the state of inland waters by 2015 and by 2020 at
the latest, the marine environment must be virtually poison-free. But the
European Parliament is also introducing provisions for emissions restrictions
for certain polluters and for critical exemptions such as navigation.” Cefic,
the European Chemical Industry Council, welcomed the EP vote, stating
that the “European chemical industry is committed to the Water Framework
Directive (WFD) and to contribute to Europe’s water quality.” With respect
to substances, Cefic highlights that “the Commission is asked to ascertain
whether they are also Priority Hazardous Substances (PHS), the WFD
procedure stipulates that a scientific risk assessment of substances should
be the first step to perform when classifying substances. Clear, efficient
and practical rules that are followed by all parties are key for the industry to
deliver on water quality.”
Euractive News, 23 May 2007
http://www.euractiv.com/en

New law would impose fees on non-compliant imports
2007-06-04
The introduction of new legislation in the UK, would allow regulators to
charge companies fees for additional costs incurred when imports of non-
animal origin do not comply with food and feed laws. The UK Food Safety
Authority (FSA) published a draft of the new regulations, which will replace
the Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2006. The new
regulations would require the UK and other EU member states to charge
such fees under new EU requirements. The law would puts the onus on
companies to ensure that their imports comply with food safety regulations
or face the extra charges. Once adopted, the changes would allow the FSA
to charge businesses for expenses arising from “additional official controls”,
according to the regulation. These checks are those carried out following
the detection of non-compliant foods and feed imports and “which exceed
the competent authority’s normal control activities”. For example such costs
would include those related to the detention or destruction of a shipment.
Under the law it would become an offence for an importer not to provide
adequate facilities for customs inspectors to carry out checks. In addition,
the FSA would be able to charge businesses any costs relating to any need
to seek assistance from other member states and the European Commission
in ensuring unsafe imports do not pose a public health problem. Costs
include administrative actions required to inform the Commission and other
member state regulators of a persistent problem. Such charges would apply
to cases of mislabelling, the FSA stated. Other costs include those incurred
by the Commission if it sends an inspection team to investigate such cases.
The Commission has said that liability to pay a charge under the provision
was likely to arise only in “serious or significant cases”, such as a major
dioxin contamination outbreak. The proposal is open for public comment
until 20 July 2007.
Food Quality News, 29 April 2007
http://www.foodqualitynews.com

The Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007
2007-06-04
The Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 have been
adopted and came into force from 1 March 2007, except for regulation 20(4)
which came into operation on 6 April 2007. Under the regulations, asbestos
covers the following fibrous silicates:
(a) asbestos actinolite, CAS No 77536-66-4(*);
(b) asbestos grunerite (amosite) CAS No 12172-73-5(*);
(c) asbestos anthophyllite, CAS No 77536-67-5(*);
(d) chrysotile, CAS No 12001-29-5;
(e) crocidolite, CAS NO 12001-28-4(*); and
(f) asbestos tremolite, CAS No 77536-68-6(*)
The purpose of the Northern Ireland Regulations is to revoke and replace
the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003, the
Asbestos Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1984 and the Asbestos
(Prohibitions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993 with a single set of
Regulations. They correspond to similar Regulations made in Great Britain
ie The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006/2739). The GB
Regulations were made on 12th October 2006 and came into force on the
13th November 2006. In addition the proposed Regulations will implement,
for Northern Ireland, Council Directive 2003/18/EC amending Council
Directive 83/477/EEC, concerning the protection of workers from the risks
related to exposure to asbestos at work.
HSENI News, 24 January 2007
http://www.hseni.gov.uk

International

WHO Calls for Smoking Ban at Work, Public Places
2007-06-04
The World Health organisation (WHO)has called for a global ban on
smoking at work and in enclosed public places with the release of its new
policy recommendations on protection from exposure to second-hand
tobacco smoke on 29 May 2007. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret
Chan said, “The evidence is clear: there is no safe level of exposure to
second-hand tobacco smoke.” “Many countries already have taken action.
I urge all countries that have not yet done so to take this immediate and
important step to protect the health of all by passing laws requiring all indoor
workplaces and public places to be 100-percent smoke-free.” WHO said that
approximately 200,000 workers die every year due to exposure to smoke
at work, while around 700 million children breathe air polluted by tobacco
smoke, particularly in the home. The costs of second-hand smoke are not
limited to the burden of disease, WHO states. In addition, exposure imposes
economic costs on people, businesses and society as a whole. These include
primarily direct and indirect medical costs, as well as productivity losses. In
addition, workplaces where smoking is permitted incur higher renovation
and cleaning costs, and increased risk of fire, and may experience higher
insurance premiums. Later this year, countries participating in the second
Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco
Control are expected to discuss guidelines for protection against exposure
to second-hand tobacco smoke.
Occupational Health & Safety, 29 May 2007
http://www.ohsonline.com
Janet’s Corner - Not Too Seriously!
Mixed Blessings

Two lawyers in the woods
There were these two lawyers walking through the woods talking, when all
of the sudden they come across a very hungry bear. So one of the lawyers
opens up his briefcase takes off his shoes and puts on tennis shoes. “You
actually think you are going to outrun that bear?”, says the other lawyer.
“No”, he says. “I only have to outrun you.”

Lazy?
The man told his doctor that he wasn’t able to do all the things around
the house that he used to do. The doctor started a long and thorough
examination, but finally found nothing wrong with the man.
When the examination was complete, he said, “Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell
me in plain English what is wrong with me.”
“Well, in plain English,” the doctor replied, “you’re just lazy.”
“Okay,” said the man. “Now give me the medical term so I can tell my
wife”.

Thoughts on marriage
When a woman steals your husband, there is no better revenge than to let
her keep him.

After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can’t
face each other, but still they stay together.

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad
one, you’ll become a philosopher. Socrates

I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.
Anonymous

First Guy (proudly): “My wife’s an angel!”
Second Guy: “You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.

funny-haha.com.uk


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


Gossip

ABC covers cancer screening
2007-06-05
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has acted upon independent
medical advice and is set to implement a breast-screening program for
women working at the Toowong studios. This action followed an investigation,
which found that the breast cancer rate at the studios was unusually high.
Although subsequent investigations have not been able to find the cause,
as a precaution, it was recommended that an early detection program be
established for all women who worked at the studios between 1996 and
2007. Dr Kerry McMahon’s protocol for breast cancer screening will be used.
This involves a breast MRI in addition to mammograms and ultrasounds.
The protocol said, “multiple studies have recently shown that breast MRI
is far more sensitive than mammography in detection of early breast
cancer, particularly in younger women who are more likely to have dense
fibrograndular tissue and for whom mammography may be less sensitive.”
The ABC will foot the bill for any expenses not paid for by Medicare.
National Safety Magazine, May 2007

NGA cancer cause unknown
2007-06-05
Initial investigations into a cluster of cancer cases at the National Gallery of
Australia (NGA) have failed to identify exposures high enough to be linked
with an increased risk of cancer. According to investigation of a reported
cluster of cancer cases, “The first stage of this investigation into a possible
cluster of cancers at the gallery has identified a number of potential exposures
to definite or suspected carcinogens. From the available evidence, none of
these exposures seems likely to have been high enough to have meaningfully
increased the risk of staff members, or members of the public, developing
cancer.” In addition, the findings reflect the results of a 2002 Health Services
Australia investigation. Despite these findings, the report recommends
that additional protections be implemented to protect staff from known or
possible carcinogens. The NGA has responded to these recommendations
by initiating the implementation of greater protective measures including
reduction of diesel fume exposure in the loading dock. Later this year stage
2 of the investigation will be conducted. This will involve an epidemiological
assessment of cancer rates among past and present employees.
National Safety Magazine, May 2007

High level of arsenic shuts off water
2007-06-05
According to new reports, water supplies in a town in western Victoria are
deemed unsuitable for human consumption as arsenic levels almost double
the accepted standard forced the State Government to act. The Health
Minister Bronwyn Pike, declared the supply to Murrayville to be “regulated
water”, in a move that effectively forces locals to drink rainwater or bottled
water. It has been confirmed by the Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water that
its supply has had high levels of arsenic for more than 18 months, with the
most recent levels indicating the presence of an average 0.013 milligrams
of arsenic in every litre of water. Guidelines state that water for human
consumption should carry no more than 0.007 milligrams of arsenic per
litre. The rule was issued in the Victorian Government Gazette under the
Safe Drinking Water Act of 2003. The Act specifies that the minister can
only make such a ruling if the water in question is likely to be “mistaken as
drinking water”. Assistant Director for Environmental Health, Jan Bowman,
said the move had come after significant work with GWM Water had failed
to consistently lower the levels. “We no longer feel they need further time
and we want to ensure the community is well informed about the quality
of the water,” she said. Ms Bowman said the levels did not pose an acute
short-term health risk, and GWM Water would be responsible for finding new
supplies for the town about 20 kilometres east of the SA border. It has about
350 residents, and a GWM Water spokeswoman said many already used
rainwater for consumption as the problems were known in the region.
The Age, 29 May 2007
http://www.theage.com.au

Harboring Hostility May Be Linked To Unhealthy Lungs
2007-06-05
According to a new study, young adults with a short temper or mean
disposition also tend to have compromised lung function. Researchers found
these results even after taking into account asthma and smoking as possible
causes of lung dysfunction. In the study, published in the journal Health
Psychology, by the American Psychological Association (APA), researchers
examined 4,629 Black and White 18-30 year olds from four metropolitan
areas (sampled from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in (Young)
Adults Study cohort (CARDIA), to determine whether the tendency to be
hostile went along with having decreased lung function in otherwise healthy
young adults. The results suggest that the more hostile one’s personality-
characterized by aggression or anger, for example-the lower levels one’s of
lung function even after controlling for age, height, socioeconomic status,
smoking status and presence of asthma. The researchers observed that
people with higher levels of general frustration showed statistically significant
reductions in pulmonary function for Black women, White women, and Black
men. The only marginally strong finding occurred among the White men
sampled. The authors speculate that people in lower status roles, Black
women, White women, and Black men, who display hostility (and may be
pushing against social expectations), elicit stronger social consequences
than White men, resulting in higher levels of internalized stress that can
make them sick.
More studies are needed in order to rule out if environmental toxins such as
air pollution may contribute to both higher hostility and lower lung function.
The researchers used the Cook-Medley Questionnaire, which is derived from
the items on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, to measure
hostility. Pulmonary function was measured while participants were standing
and wearing a nose clip, blowing into a machine to measure their lung capacity,
which can indicate upper airway obstruction. Benita Jackson, PhD, MPH of
Smith College said, “Recent research demonstrates that greater hostility
predicts lung function decline in older men. This is the first study of young
adults to offer a detailed examination of the inverse link between hostility
and pulmonary function.” “It’s remarkable to see reductions in lung function
during a time of life we think of as healthy for most people. Right now, we
can’t say if having a hostile personality causes lung function decline, though
we now know that these things happen together. More research is needed to
establish whether hostility is associated with change in pulmonary function
during young adulthood.” This research has implications for future research
exploring the possible influence of social status on personality functioning
and pulmonary health.
Science Daily, 4 June 2007
http://www.sciencedaily.com

Uni to study asbestos cancer link
2007-06-05
Researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA), are about
to undertake a study on the possible links between ovarian cancer and
asbestos. Professor Bill Musk from the UWA says most of the information
about asbestos-related diseases has been gathered from men, but the new
study will for the first time examine the impact of asbestos exposure on
women. The researchers says that the new study will build on previous
studies of workers in Wittenoom, WA as well as studies of asbestos-related
diseases in the general community. He added that women who lived in
Wittenoom already have higher rates of lung cancer and mesothelioma
than the state’s general female population. The new researcher will assist
in determining whether their rates of ovarian cancer have also increased.
“Wittenoom is a unique study in that people who were there who exposed
only to blue asbestos and not to other forms of asbestos, so we’re able to
look at the effects of pure crocidolite.” Professor Musk says the results of the
research could lead to more compensation claims. I’m sure if they develop
a disease that can be associated with their exposure to asbestos they will
be eligible for some compensation one way or another,” he said. “It’s part
of the Wittenoom studies to demonstrate which disease are related to the
exposure to asbestos and which would occur in any case.”
ABC News, 30 May 2007
http://www.abc.net.au/news

Fresh health fears hit benzoate in soft drinks
2007-06-05
A new study has linked the use of the common preservative sodium
benzoate to cell damage. The preservative is widely used in soft drinks
and other foods. The researcher conducted by professor Peter Piper at
the University of Sheffield, prompted prominent UK politician Norman
Baker to call for an immediate inquiry into the safety of sodium benzoate in
foods. The study suggests that benzoate contributes to faster ageing and
degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. These findings increase the
pressure on soft drinks makers to find alternative ways to preserve their
products. However, Richard Laming, of the British Soft Drinks Association,
defended the industry’s continued use of sodium benzoate. “It is approved
for use by the Food Standards Agency and we follow the guidance of the
regulatory authorities.” He said sodium benzoate was the “most effective
preservative currently authorised”. It is used widely in soft drinks and was
included in 44 new food and drink products across the UK over the last year,
according to data from Mintel’s Global New Product Database. Yet despite
this, it is the third time in 12 months that the chemical, also known as E211 in
the EU, has been linked to health concerns. An investigation conducted by
BeverageDaily.com last year, found soft drinks industry leaders had known
the preservative may break down to form benzene, a potentially cancerous
chemical, in drinks also containing ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or citric acid.
More recently, studies have shown that sodium benzoate was one of seven
‘E-numbers’ again linked to behavioural problems in children. “We are feeding
very large amounts of preservatives like this to children. Is this a completely
safe practice? I think the question has to be put there,” said Professor Piper.
He said some children’s livers were “working overtime” to process amounts
of sodium benzoate entering their bodies. During the study, Piper tested
benzoate on yeast cells in his lab. He discovered the preservative spurred
an increase in production of oxygen radicals, or free radicals, which several
studies have linked to serious illnesses and ageing in general.
In his study, first completed in 1999, benzoate appeared to attack the ‘power
station’ of the cells, known as the mitochondria. They damaged its ability
prevent the oxygen leaks that create free radicals. Too much alcohol is
thought to inflict similar damage. While no research has been conducted
using human cells, the researcher used yeast cells because of their similarity
to human cells. “I suspect that it does not increase production of free radicals
so that levels are going up dramatically. And the body has very successful
systems for mopping up 99 per cent free radicals.” “But it is that one per cent
that could be the problem. Over the longer term, this is a major component of
why we age and why we progressively lose function.” Following the findings
from his study, professor Piper has called for new test on the safety of sodium
benzoate, taking into account a growing body of science on free radicals.
And he advised soft drinks firms to put more resources into alternative
preservation methods. “I understand industry concerns about shelf life,
but they have to ask - is this [sodium benzoate] completely necessary?”
After review the study, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) concluded
that its relevance to humans was “unclear”. Richard Laming, of the British
Soft Drinks Association, said: “The FSA has assured us that the apparent
concerns regarding sodium benzoate have already been investigated and
it sees no reason to change its view that sodium benzoate is safe.” New
industry guidance on benzene in drinks, published last summer, asks firms to
consider removing sodium benzoate from products where possible. Laming
said decisions to remove sodium benzoate stemmed from consumer demand
for products without the preservative, as well as other artificial additives, and
not from any safety concerns.
Nutra Ingredients, 29 May 2007
http://www.nutraingredients.com

Bus study finds idling worse than re-starting engines
2007-06-05
According to a new EPA study, school buses idling for more than three
minutes generate more pollution than stopping and re-starting the engine.
Turning the engine off cuts carbon monoxide, fine particles, nitrogen oxide,
and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. During the study, EPA examined
school bus exhaust levels when the buses were parked but engines kept
running and calculated the benefits from turning them off for various
periods and then restarting them. “Pollution from school buses has health
implications for everyone, especially asthmatic children,” said Alan J.
Steinberg, EPA Region 2 administrator. “This study shows in no uncertain
terms that allowing a bus to idle exposes children to more pollution and
shows that a very simple step - shutting off that engine - can really make a
difference.” EPA measured the pollution from six buses owned and operated
by the Katonah-Lewisboro School District of New York. The level of pollution
from buses that idled for more than three minutes was 66 percent higher in
fine particulate matter than pollution generated from shutting off the buses
and then re-starting them. Previous studies have shown that diesel exhaust
particulate matter can penetrate deeper into the lungs and pose serious
health risks. These include aggravating the symptoms of asthma and other
respiratory problems in healthy individuals. The Northeast has some of the
highest asthma rates in the nation, including childhood asthma rates near 12
percent in areas of New York City.
In the United States, 24 million children ride the school bus every day. On
average, students spend an hour and a half each weekday in a school bus.
Nationally, school buses drive more than 4 billion miles each year. Due to the
longevity of diesel engines, it is estimated that about one-third of all diesel
school buses now in service were built before 1990. Older buses are not
equipped with today’s pollution controls or safety features and are estimated
to emit as much as six times more pollution as the new buses that were built
starting in 2004, and as much as sixty times more pollution as buses that
meet the 2007 diesel standards. There are steps that school bus operators
can take now to reduce pollution levels including idling reduction programs,
anti-caravanning practices, ensuring proper maintenance of engines and
replacing and retrofitting older buses. EPA will keep working with both state
and local agencies, including school districts, to promote idling reduction
efforts and reduce air pollution. These and other projects are possible due
to collaborative efforts like the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, a partnership
of EPA and private, non-profit and government groups in New York, New
Jersey, Puerto Rico and the six New England states working together to
fight air pollution.
Environmental Protection News, 29 May 2007
http://www.eponline.com

One Large Popcorn, Hold the Diacetyl; OSHA Launches
NEP to Address Hazards
2007-06-05
A recent announcement by OSHA state that it is initiating a National Emphasis
Program (NEP) to address the hazards and control measures associated
with working in the microwave popcorn industry where butter flavorings
containing diacetyl are used. The NEP applies to all workplaces where
butter-flavored microwave popcorn is being manufactured. “We recognize
that there are potential occupational health hazards associated with butter
flavorings containing diacetyl,” said Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary
of labor for OSHA. “Under this program, OSHA will target inspection
resources to those workplaces where we anticipate the highest employee
exposures to these hazards.” The National Institute released an investigative
report on a microwave popcorn production facility for Occupational Safety
and Health (NIOSH), in January 2006. Several employees from this facility
were diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans--a severe obstructive lung
disease. Following a number of lung function tests and air sampling, NIOSH
determined that inhalation exposure to butter flavoring chemicals is a risk for
occupational lung disease. OSHA’s National Emphasis Program will provide
direction on inspection targeting and procedures, methods of controlling
the hazard, and compliance assistance. Occupational Health & Safety,
29 May 2007
http://www.ohsonline.com

Air pollution linked to hypertension, strokes
2007-06-05
A new study has found that air pollutants including nitrogen oxides cause high
blood pressure. The study is the first to link air pollutants with blood pressure,
though they have been frequently cited as a factor in chronic fatigue and
higher death rates overall. Researchers from Seoul National University’s
medical school including Prof. Hong Yun-chul, conducted the study involving
10,459 people who received medical treatment between 2001 and 2003.
The results showed that nitrogen dioxide and other fine particles found in
the air during summer, as well as ozone and nitrogen dioxide found in the
air during winter, all cause hypertension, or high blood pressure. According
to the research, titled, “Seasonal Variation of Effect of Air Pollution on Blood
Pressure,” an increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter in nitrogen dioxide
between July and September resulted in an average rise of 1.8 millimeters
of mercury (mmHg) in blood pressure. For the same amount of fine particles,
the corresponding figure was 0.5 mmHg. Between October and December,
an increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter in ozone and nitrogen dioxide
led to a rise of 0.5 mmHg in blood pressure. This showed that air pollutants
affect blood pressure more in summer than in winter, but that people are not
immune to their effects during colder months. “When air pollution reached
serious levels - over 40 micrograms per cubic meter - blood pressure rose
as much as 6-8 mmHg,” Dr. Hong said. “For older people, this could come
as a serious health problem.”
Statistics provided by the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
showed that 27.9 percent of South Koreans aged 30 and older and more
than half of those in their 50s and older suffer from high blood pressure.
Dr. Hong said he presumed that air pollutants affect the autonomic nervous
system of the human body and cause irregular heartbeats, which result
in high blood pressure. In a separate study, Dr. Hong said air pollutants
could raise the likelihood of senior people suffering stroke and asthma. The
report was based on 1999-2003 analyses of stroke and asthma patients in
the nation’s six major cities, including Seoul. Seniors are twice as likely to
develop strokes due to fine particles floating in the air. In particular, those
aged 65 or older are 47 times more likely to suffer a stroke due to carbon
monoxide than those under that age bracket. “Air pollutants cause or worsen
respiratory and cardiovascular diseases,” Hong said. “It is necessary to
find a cause and results for environment-related diseases as the nation’s
population begins aging.” In the meantime, the Environment Ministry has
commission Dr Hong’s team to conduct an analysis to determine how
environment-related diseases occur.
The Hankyoreh News, 30 May 2007
http://english.hani.co.kr
Pesticides ‘up Parkinson’s risk’
2007-06-05
A new study has revealed that exposure to pesticides could lead to an
increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. The findings showed that high levels
of exposure increased the risk by 39% and even low levels of exposure
increased the risk by 9%. However, the researchers from Aberdeen University,
stressed that the overall there was only a small risk of developing the
disease. In the UK, one person in 500 develops the incurable degenerative
brain disease, or a similar illness. This doesn’t prove that pesticides cause
Parkinson’s disease - but does add to the weight of evidence of an association.
Symptoms often include unsteadiness and tremor in the hands or arms,
often alongside difficulties with speech or movement. Previous studies have
found strong links between exposure to pesticides and some agricultural
workers showing higher rates of the illness. The Aberdeen study, reported in
the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, involved 959 cases
of Parkinsonism. All participants answered questioned about their lifetime
occupational and recreational exposure to a variety of chemicals, including
solvents, pesticides, iron, copper and manganese. Some have suggested
that the head injuries involved in boxing could be linked to Parkinson’s, so the
patients were also asked whether they had ever been knocked unconscious.
The study included more general questions about family health history and
tobacco use. The data from the questionnaires was then compared with that
collected from a group of people of similar age and sex who had not been
diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
They revealed that while having a family history of Parkinson’s was the
clearest risk factor for developing the disease, exposure to pesticides also
gave a clear increase. People who had been knocked out once were 35%
more at risk, while being knocked out on more than one occasion appeared
to increase the risk by two-and-a-half times. However, the researchers
acknowledged that it was impossible to tell from the results whether the
patients had been knocked out after falling as a result of their Parkinson’s.
Dr Finlay Dick, the lead researcher, said: “What we have shown in the study
is that with increasing risk to exposure to pesticides, the risk of Parkinson’s
Disease increases. “This doesn’t prove that pesticides cause Parkinson’s
disease - but does add to the weight of evidence of an association.”
‘Unsurprising’ A spokesman for the Parkinson’s Disease Society echoed
this: “The important finding from this study is confirmation that Parkinson’s
is not caused by any one factor, but instead a combination of genetic
susceptibility and environmental factors.” Georgina Downs, from the UK
Pesticides Campaign, which represents people in rural communities, said:
“Considering many pesticides are neurotoxic, then it isn’t surprising that study
after study has found associations with various chronic neurological and
neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. “This is highly significant
in relation to the long-term exposure of rural residents and communities
living near sprayed fields.”
BBC News, 29 May 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health

Poisoned toothpaste in Panama is believed to be from
china
2007-06-06
Customs officials in Panama have announced that diethylene glycol, a
poisonous ingredient in some antifreeze, has been detected in 6,000 tubes
of toothpaste, which appear to have originated in China. “Our preliminary
information is that it came from China, but we don’t know that with certainty
yet,” said Daniel Delgado Diamante, Panama’s director of customs. “We
are still checking all the possible imports to see if there could be other
shipments.” Some of the toothpaste, which arrived several months ago
in the free trade zone next to the Panama Canal, was re-exported to the
Dominican Republic in seven shipments, customs officials said. One brand
of the contaminated toothpaste has reportedly been found on supermarket
shelves in Australian and has since been recalled. Last year, Panamanian
government inadvertently mixed diethylene glycol into cold medicine,
resulting in the deaths of 100 people. Records show that in that episode
the poison, falsely labeled as glycerin, a harmless syrup, also originated in
China. Panamanian health officials said diethylene glycol had been found
in two brands of toothpaste, labeled in English as Excel and Mr. Cool. The
tubes contained diethylene glycol concentrations of between 1.7 percent
and 4.6 percent, said Luis MartÌnez, a prosecutor who is looking into the
shipments. Health officials say they do not believe the toothpaste is harmful,
because users spit it out after brushing, but they nonetheless took it out
of circulation. Mr. MartÌnez said at a news conference that the toothpaste
lacked the required health certificates and had entered the market mixed in
with products intended for animal consumption. He said laboratory tests had
found up to 4.6 percent diethylene glycol in tubes of Mr. Cool toothpaste.
The Excel brand had 2.5 percent. Miriam RodrÌguez, a spokeswoman for the
Health Ministry, said she was unaware of anyone becoming sick from using
the toothpaste. Doug Arbesfeld, a spokesman for the United States Food
and Drug Administration, said diethylene glycol was not approved for use in
toothpaste. Though the F.D.A. has no evidence that the tainted toothpaste
slipped into the United States, he added, “We are looking into the situation
in Panama.” Mr. Delgado, the director of Panamanian customs, said the
Dominican authorities had been notified to be on the lookout for the suspect
toothpaste. In Panama City, a consumer notified the pharmacy and drugs
section of the Health Ministry after seeing that diethylene glycol was listed as
an ingredient in toothpaste at a store. The ministry fined the store $25,000
and ordered it closed for not following proper procedures in putting products
up for sale. A recent report in the New York Times, told how a Chinese
factory not certified to make pharmaceutical ingredients had sold 46 barrels
of syrup containing diethylene glycol that had been falsely labeled as 99.5
percent pure glycerin. That syrup passed through several trading companies
before ending up in Panama, where it was mixed into 260,000 bottles of cold
medicine. At least 100 people died as a direct result, according to Dimas
Guevara, a Panamanian prosecutor who is leading the investigation into the
deaths. Over the years, counterfeiters have found it financially advantageous
to substitute diethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting syrup, for its chemical cousin
glycerin, which is usually much more expensive.
New York Times, 19 May 2007
http://www.nytimes.com
Bulletproof polythene is 40% stronger than Kevlar
2007-06-06
Researchers have found that polyethylene, a compound used in plastic bags
and sandwich boxes, in the form of dense, high-molecular-weight fibres, can
stop a bullet in its tracks. To date, no one has succeeded in making an ultra-
thin, concealable, easy-to-move-in bulletproof vest from it. Now, polymer
maker DSM of Heerlen, the Netherlands, is selling Dyneema SB61, a still
tougher - and secret - formulation of polyethylene fibre. Weight for weight,
it is 15 times stronger than steel and 40 per cent stronger than that other
staple of the bulletproof vest, Kevlar. American Body Armor of Los Angeles
is using the new fibre to make flexible, concealable vests just 5 millimetres
thick for US police forces. The vests are likely to find a ready market: a year
ago, the US Department of Justice banned police officers from using ultra-
lightweight vests based on a polymer called Zylon. Over time, water damage
can cause the Zylon polymer backbone to degrade, and some officers were
severely injured when they were shot. Their vests were not pierced, but
they were injured by the dent in the jacket protruding into their body. These
“backface” injuries are an increasing risk as vests get thinner, says ballistics
engineer Cindy Bir of Wayne State University in Detroit. In tests in which nine
human cadavers dressed in different makes of body armour were shot, eight
experienced backface injuries. In living patients, doctors often misinterpret
such wounds as entrance wounds and perform unnecessary exploratory
surgery, Bir says.
New Scientist, 2 June 2007
http://www.newscientist.com

Folic acid could protect against strokes
2007-06-06
According to a new study, folic acid supplements can reduce the risk of
stroke by up to 30%. The study consisted of a review of eight studies
involving almost 17,000 participants. These findings will provide further
evidence for B vitamin to be routinely added to flour or bread - to protect
against birth defects - in countries such as the UK where this is not already
practice. Some critics say that an increase in folic acid can mask a vitamin
B12 deficiency, which can be dangerous in the elderly. During the study,
Xiaobin Wang and colleagues at the Children’s Memorial Research Center
in Chicago, Illinois, combined existing data from trials looking at the vitamin’s
effect on cardiovascular disease. The studies, in which people aged around
60 received either placebo pills or daily folic acid supplements, followed
participants for between two to six years. Those taking supplements in the
trials received between 0.5 milligrams and 15 mg. Health officials in the US
recommend a daily intake of at least 0.4 milligrams of folic acid - about the
amount in a bowl of fortified cereal. Following the analysis, the researchers
found that taking any amount of folic acid lowered the risk of stroke by 18%.
Another analysis looking specifically at the effect in countries that do not
fortify grain with folic acid, such as Norway, China and Italy, found a 25%
drop in stroke among those taking the supplement.
When Wang analysed a subgroup of those who took the supplements for at
least three years, she found that folic acid reduced the risk of stroke by almost
30%. The researchers observed that even those receiving the smallest dose
of folic acid benefited just as much as those receiving the highest amounts.
Wang suggests this is because the body needs only a certain crucial amount
of the vitamin. “If you have a person who has never had a stroke before,
they may benefit,” says Cynthia Carlsson of the University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine in Madison, US, who was not involved in the study. She
cautions, however, that people with a history of cardiovascular disease
might want to steer clear of folic acid supplements, since previous studies
have suggested it may slightly elevate the risk of heart attack. At this stage
it remains unclear how folic acid protects against stroke. It is known that
the vitamin helps the body excrete homocysteine, a by-product of protein
breakdown that effects small blood vessels, and which has been linked to
heart disease and dementia.
New Scientist, 1 June 2007
http://www.newscientist.com

Ethanol ‘Leftover’ Has Weed-Fighting Potential
2007-06-06
Distiller’s dried grains (DDGs), co-products of converting corn into ethanol,
are usually fed to livestock. However, researchers have found that these
products have the potential to fight weed. These findings may lead to a
reduction in the use of herbicides. Research conducted at the National
Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) aims to identify new,
value-added uses for farm-based commodities like DDGs and help bring
them to commercial fruition by developing novel processing technologies.
During the study, plant physiologist Steve Vaughn and colleagues with the
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Peoria, Illinois have shown that
applying DDGs to soil as a surface mulch can not only suppress weeds, but
also bolster the growth of tomatoes and some turf grasses. In one study,
for example, Roma tomatoes in DDG-treated plots yielded 226 pounds,
versus 149 pounds from untreated control plots. Vaughn suggest that some
of these results are due to the increase of nitrogen, phosphorus and other
nutrients released by the DDG mulch as it decayed. Another study, using
various analytical methods, is aiming to identify, measure and monitor the
activity of the chemicals in the DDG mulch that may have kept chickweed,
annual rye and other weeds from germinating. NCAUR collaborator Mark
Berhow is conducting this research. Rick Boydston, an ARS collaborator at
Prosser, Washington, tested the mulch’s weed control in potted ornamentals,
including roses. He observed that DDGs worked best when applied to the
soil surface, because mixing them into the soil harmed both ornamentals
and weeds alike. On another front at Peoria, ARS chemist Rogers Harry
O’Kuru is examining DDGs for phytosterols, lecithin and other substances
with potential use as health-promoting food ingredients. The team’s efforts
to expand the market for DDGs are timely. In the Midwest, ethanol producers
generate 10 million tons of DDGs annually. Farmers buy most of it for about
$80 per ton and feed it to cows and other ruminants. However, the nation’s
increasing production of ethanol may create a DDG surplus that exceeds
the current demand, Vaughn notes.
Science Daily, 23 May 2004
http://www.sciencedaily.com
Asbestos study: High Amagasaki death toll
2007-06-06
According to an Environment Ministry survey, people living in Amagasaki,
Hyogo Prefecture, in Japan from 1950s through 1970s were 14 times more
likely to die from asbestos-related mesothelioma than the national average.
The survey demonstrated particularly high rates among women living
around factories that used asbestos, with the figure jumping to 69 times the
national average. These findings showed the strong likelihood that severe
health hazards stemming from the cancer-causing substance had spread
widely to areas outside the plants. These results may fuel calls for revisions
to the special measures law to compensate victims of asbestos. The
survey, conducted by the Environment Ministry in Osaka, Hyogo and Saga
prefectures, determined the scale of the asbestos related health hazards. The
results were announced during a panel meeting discussing the health effects
from asbestos, held in Tokyo. Iwao Uchiyama, professor of environmental
health at the Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University, chaired
the panel. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer of the lining of the chest and
abdomen caused by inhaling highly toxic asbestos. Approximately 180,000
people living in Amagasaki from 1955 to 1974 were survey. This was the
period in which asbestos particles were scattered from asbestos-related
plants. Amongst the data used for the survey, was information regarding 42
people who died from mesothelioma in the city from 2002 through 2004 as
well as data on people who died from the disease across the nation. The
survey showed that in Amagasaki, the mortality rate for men ranged from
3.3 times to 12.1 times the national average, depending on age groups.
The figure for women ranged from 10.4 times to 14.5 times the national
average.
The mortality rate for women living in the city’s Oda district, where Kubota
Corp.’s former Amagasaki plant and other asbestos-related facilities were
concentrated, was between 29.6 times and 68.6 times the national average.
The figure for men in the area ranged from 10.6 times and 21.1 times the
national average. This is the first government study to produce specific
figures on health hazards from asbestos. Further research will not be
conducted in Amagasaki, as the ministry says that the information available
is scant regarding the mesothelioma deaths. “It cannot be said that the
survey immediately showed that there is a higher risk of developing the
disease (by inhaling asbestos particles) through the general environment,” a
ministry official said. In addition to Amagasaki residents, the ministry’s survey
covered people living near asbestos-related facilities in the Sennan district
in southern Osaka Prefecture and Tosu in Saga Prefecture. In the three
areas, six people who could have inhaled asbestos particles in places other
than worksites showed signs of lung asbestosis. The Environment Ministry
will collect further information in Nara Prefecture, Yokohama’s Tsurumi Ward
and Hashima in Gifu Prefecture by the end of March next year. These are
the prefectures where asbestos-related facilities were located, the officials
said. However, Uchiyama believes it would be better to conduct a nationwide
survey. “About half of the population in Amagasaki has moved out of the city
since that period,” Uchiyama said. “They could develop mesothelioma in the
areas they eventually settled in.”
Asahi News, 30 May 2007
http://www.asahi.com

Low testosterone ‘death risk’
2007-06-06
A new study by U.S. researchers has found that low levels of testosterone
may increase the risk of death in men over the age of 50. The study involved
800 men over 50 and found that those with low levels of testosterone had
a 33% greater risk of death over an 18-year period than those with higher
levels. The results were presented at a meeting of the Endocrine Society
in Toronto. The researchers did not recommend taking supplements.
Experts warn there could be side effects and say men should keep active
to help maintain testosterone levels. The study participants, who were aged
between 50 and 91, have been taking part in a chronic disease study in
California since the 1970s. Levels of testosterone were classified as low if
they were at the lower limit of the normal range for young adult men. While
testosterone levels do decline with age, there is a wide variation in levels.
The study revealed that 29% of the men had low levels of the hormone. The
researchers accounted for confounding factors such as smoking, drinking,
physical activity level or pre-existing diseases such as diabetes or heart
disease. However, the researchers did note that men with lower testosterone
levels were three times more likely to have a cluster of risk factors associated
with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Collectively known as “metabolic
syndrome”, the risk factors include waist measurement over 40in, high levels
of cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
Dr Gail Laughlin, assistant professor in the Department of Family and
Preventive Medicine at the University of California, and the author of the
study says, “Our study strongly suggests that the association between
testosterone levels and death is not simply due to some acute illness”. She
added that lifestyle may determine testosterone levels and that it may be
possible to alter levels by lowering obesity. Co-author Professor Elizabeth
Barrett-Connor said it was not being recommended that men should go out
and buy testosterone supplements. “Maybe the decline in testosterone is
healthy and comes with older age,” she said. “Maybe the decline is bad and
associated with chronic diseases of ageing.”
‘Keep active’ Professor Richard Sharpe, from the MRC Human Reproductive
Sciences Unit in Edinburgh, said the results were particularly important
because studies had shown levels of testosterone in men of all ages were
falling. “The other important thing about this study is the association with
metabolic syndrome. Being obese lowers the available testosterone and
that makes you more obese so it’s a vicious cycle. “Testosterone gives you
a zing, if you have low testosterone it tends to make you less active.” He
said the use of testosterone supplements was a very contentious theory
because of potential side effects. “Instead you should adapt your lifestyle,
to keep your body in shape and make the best of your testosterone. “Men
assume they’re just getting older when they get a gut but keeping a good
body shape will help maintain your testosterone levels.”
BBC News, 5 June 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health

Cows can make skimmed milk, say scientists
2007-06-06
According to New Zealand researchers, cows could be bred to produce only
skimmed milk within the next five years. This may offer a new way of meeting
consumer demand for lower fat dairy. The researchers say that some of the
country’s cows contain genes that could be used to make them produce only
skimmed milk. According to the researchers from biotech firm - ViaLactia- A
first commercial herd “is likely by 2011”. It is reported that Fonterra, New
Zealand’s largest dairy co-operative, has already made milk from one of
the cows carrying the gene. Low fat dairy products have increased market
share in several western markets. In the UK, consumption of whole milk
has dropped 75 per cent in 20 years to roughly 50mls per person per week.
Consumption of semi-skimmed milk is double that and skimmed milk is even
higher, up at 150mls, according to Milk Development Council (MDC) figures.
In addition to cow capable of producing skimmed milk, the researchers
said they planned to breed cows that are able to produce milk that is ideal
for spreadable butter. They said one cow identified for this task, named
Marge, could produce milk very low in saturated fats, which should also
mean high levels of polyunsaturates and monounsaturates - seen as ‘good
fats’. Ed Komorowski, technical director at industry body Dairy UK, said
the findings were interesting but cautioned that “we have not really seen
any of the scientific detail”. He said a main advantage of cows producing
skimmed milk may be lower costs through less wastage. Producing whole
and semi-skimmed milk means there is more fat left over.” The advantage
for some companies is that they would not have any surplus cream, which
would minimise the need to dispose of this,” Komorowski said. However,
he warned that some firms wanted the cream for other products or to sell.
Cream income this month reached its highest level since October 2003, the
MDC said last week.
Nutra Ingredients, 30 May 2007
http://www.nutraingredients.com

Brain tumour link to pesticides
2007-06-06
New research suggests that agricultural workers exposed to high levels
of pesticides have an increased risk of brain tumours. The study, by
French researchers, indicates a possible higher risk among people who
used pesticides on houseplants. The findings showed that all agricultural
workers exposed to pesticides had a slightly elevated brain tumour risk. The
researchers observed that the risk more than doubled for those exposed to
the highest levels.
The risk of a type of central nervous system tumour known as a glioma
was particularly heightened among this group - more than three times the
risk in the general population. Gliomas are more common in men than
women, and the researchers hypothesize that part of the reason might be
that men are more often exposed to pesticides. However, the overall risk of
developing a brain tumour remained very low. Experts in the U.K say that
these results are inconclusive. They are based on an analysis of 221 cases
of brain tumours by the French Institute of Public Health, Epidemiology and
Development. The research was performed in the Bordeaux wine-growing
region, where 80% of all pesticides used are fungicides. The chemicals
are mixed and sprayed in a mist to protect vines from fungal attack. At this
stage, the researchers did not have enough information to identify which
types of pesticide were associated with the development of brain tumours.
In addition, the researchers found that the use of pesticides indoors for
houseplants seemed to be associated with a more than two-fold increase in
the risk of brain tumour.
However, the researchers did say that further studies were required to
confirm this association, again due to the lack of data regarding the types
pf pesticides used in these environments. Josephine Querido, science
information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “More research is needed
to confirm the observations made in this study as the results were based
on people’s recollection of pesticide exposure. “Brain tumours are relatively
rare and, although workers exposed to high levels of pesticides in industry
or farming may be at higher risk of certain cancers, current evidence
is inconclusive and any risks are likely to be very small.” Kathy Oliver,
secretary of the International Brain Tumour Alliance, said: “Our organisation
maintains contact with the world’s leading specialists in brain tumours and
unfortunately no single cause has yet been identified. “The French study
has identified an area warranting further investigation, however, we caution
that the results should not be exaggerated. “It is important to emphasise
that more research is required before people start throwing out their cans of
household pesticides.”
A spokesman for the Crop Protection Association said: “Pesticides are
some of the most thoroughly regulated chemicals in the world. “There is
no conclusive scientific evidence of a link between pesticides and brain
tumours. “This type of study does not demonstrate cause and effect, and the
authors themselves admit that they did not identify which pesticides were
used or the levels of exposure.”
BBC News, 4 June 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health

EPA Limits Implicated In Eye Infections
2007-06-06
According to a new study, the reduced use of disinfectants in drinking water
may lead to an increase in microbes and problems with contact lenses. The
study, to be released in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, links an EPA
restriction of drinking water disinfectants and disinfection by-products to a
recent rash of microorganism infections in contact lens wearers. Untreated,
the infections can cause blindness. A nationwide increase in acanthamoeba
keratitis-corneal infections by the protozoan Acanthamoeba-has led to a
recall of Advanced Medical Optics’ Complete MoisturePlus contact lens
solution. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
(CDC) connected less than 50% of investigated cases to the solution. A
team led by Charlotte Joslin, a professor of ophthalmology at the University
of Illinois, Chicago, believes the real source of infection lies elsewhere:
in drinking water regulations enacted in 1998 and implemented in 2002-
04. under the EPA Stage 1 Disinfectants/Disinfection By-products Rule,
water treatment systems are required to reduce post-treatment (residual)
amounts of the disinfectants chlorine, chloramines, and chlorine dioxide,
as well as the disinfection by-products chlorite, bromate, chloroacetic
and bromoacetic acids, and the trihalomethanes chloroform, bromoform,
bromodichloromethane, and dibromochloromethane. These measured were
adopted by the agency following studies linking the chemicals to reproductive
and developmental problems, as well as several forms of cancer. In 1998,
EPA said the rule would reduce exposure to these chemicals for at least 140
million people. A total of 138 cases of acanthamoeba keratitis were reported
to CDC between January 2005 and May 2007.
Joslin says the problem is that the changes to the disinfection process
for water may have lead to an increase in the number of microorganisms
in water, making it more likely for contact lens wearers to get infected
when they wear lenses in the shower or pool. Joslin and her colleagues
speculate that the lower residual levels of disinfectants may allow buildup
of bacteria- and algae-containing biofilms as water flows farther from the
point of disinfection. Such biofilms would provide food for Acanthamoeba.
Geographical distribution of acanthamoeba keratitis cases referred to the
University of Illinois ophthalmology department shows proportionately
more cases arising farther from water treatment plants. “Of course EPA
is concerned about something relating drinking water to adverse health
effects,” says Eric Burneson of EPA’s Office of Ground Water & Drinking
Water. However, “my understanding is that CDC has not seen an association
between the incidence of keratitis and the disinfection practices of the
public water systems” that serve infected patients. He notes that although
the Stage 1 rule set maximum disinfectant residual concentrations, there
are still minimum concentrations and other ways for water systems to
control biofilms in distribution systems. EPA neither regulates nor monitors
Acanthamoeba concentrations. In addition to this study, eye doctors have
observed an increase in corneal infections by Fusarium fungi. Of the cases
investigated by CDC, nearly all were connected to Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu
with MoistureLoc contact lens solution, which was recalled in April 2006. To
reduce all kinds of eye infections, CDC recommends that contact lens users
follow manufacturers’ directions for cleaning, use fresh cleaning solutions,
and remove lenses before showering or swimming.
Chemical & Engineering News, 4 June 2007
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news

Dredging may not eliminate contaminants
2007-06-06
The National Research Council announced that contaminated sediment in
rivers and bays from coast to coast pose an environmental hazard, and
while dredging reduces the sediment it doesn’t always solve the problem.
Unavoidably dredging leaves some contamination behind, and in some
cases further treatment is necessary, such as capping with a layer of
clean material, the council said. In addition, the dredging process itself can
release some contamination into the environment, said the council. During
the study, commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency, 26
environmental dredging projects in rivers, harbors, lakes and bays across
the country contaminated by industrial, agricultural and mining byproducts
were evaluated. The report stated that dredging is the most complex and
costly method of cleanup, but has the potential to permanently remove
contaminants from the environment. However, some contamination can be
left behind, particularly in places with debris such as boulders or cables, or
bedrock lying beneath the contaminated sediment - a situation for which
the public may have little tolerance. The study said such controversies can
increase with the size of the contaminated site and amount of work needed,
notable examples being the Hudson River, N.Y. and Fox River, Wis. The
presence or absence of such conditions should be a major consideration
in deciding whether to dredge at a site, said the committee. At some sites
capping the contamination with a layer of clean material may be necessary,
the report said. The report recommended that any decisions on dredging
should consider the impact of any chemicals that will be released in the
process and methods to be used to minimize this release. Following a
cleanup, environmental monitoring is necessary to evaluate the success of
the effort and such monitoring was inadequate at some locations, the report
said. It noted that the EPA should improve monitoring, making sure it is done
at all such sites and the data should be available to the public.
Seattlepi News, 5 June 2007
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com

Why C. Difficile Causes Disease - It’s Hungry
2007-06-06
In a new genetic study of why C. difficile causes disease, researchers have
concluded that the bacteria do it because they are starving. That just might
help them find a new treatment for what can sometimes be a very difficult
disease to treat. Abraham Sonenshein, professor at the Sackler School of
Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University and at Tufts University
School of Medicine said at the 107th General Meeting of the American
Society for Microbiology in May, “The genes responsible for toxin production
only seem to be expressed during periods of nutrient deprivation. This is
consistent with the view that most disease-causing bacteria express their
pathogenicity when they are hungry.” C. difficile bacteria are everywhere --
in soil, air, water, human and animal feces, and on most surfaces in hospital
wards. The bacteria don’t cause problems until they grow in abnormally
large numbers in the intestinal tract. This can happen when the benign
bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal tract are reduced such as when
people take antibiotics or other antimicrobial drugs. Then, C. difficile can
cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammations
of the colon. A new virulent strain of the bacteria was identified in 2002.
Recently, this strain was shown to be responsible for more than half of all
cases in a representative sampling in Quebec. The highly virulent strain has
a much higher toxin production which leads to more destructive and deadly
disease, says Vivian Loo of McGill University. Sonenshein is studying a five-
gene region of the bacterium’s chromosome known as the tcd locus. Two
of the genes code for the toxins the bacterium produces that cause disease
and a third gene codes for a protein that makes a hole in the organism’s cell
envelope to let the toxins out. The last two genes are of greatest interest to
Sonenshein and his colleague, Bruno Dupuy from the Institut Pasteur. One
codes for a protein, known as R, which is necessary for the expression of
the first three genes and the other codes for a protein called C that prevents
R from acting. A mutation in the C protein gene, leaving R unchecked, is
the cause of the hypervirulent strain. Sonenshein and his colleagues are
currently working to identify a protein that might shut down the gene that
codes for R. By identifying such a protein, Sonenshein hope to find a way
to change the appetite of the bacteria. “If we find a way to shut down toxin
production in the hypervirulent strain, we might have a new way to treat the
disease,” says Sonenshein.
Science Daily, 28 May 2007
http://www.sciencedaily.com


Environmental

Estimation of changes in human uptake of dioxins based
on chronological changes in Co-PCB concentrations in
sediment.
2007-05-30
This study was to discuss and estimate the changes in human uptake
of dioxins in Tokyo Bay basin as a consequence of the reducing of Co-
PCB emissions into the environment following the implementation of the
Law Concerning Special Measures for Promotion of Proper Treatment of
PCB Waste. Firstly, chronological decreases in Co-PCB concentrations in
sediment were estimated, considering the reducing of Co-PCB emission
using a multimedia environmental model. Secondly, Co-PCB concentrations
in fish in Tokyo Bay were estimated on the basis of the concentrations in
sediment and Biota Sediment Accumulation Factors (BSAF). Lastly, the total
daily intake (TDI) of Co-PCB, Dibenzo-p-dioxins and Dibenzofurans was
chronological projected considering the daily intakes of these chemicals
from fish based on previously estimated concentrations in fish in Tokyo Bay
and in other areas. The author concluded that the TDI in Tokyo Bay Basin in
2016, the target year of the PCB law, is estimated to be about 1pg-TEQ/(kg-
wt./day).
Author: Shishime, Tomohiro
Full Source: Mizu Kankyo Gakkaishi 2006,29(8), 477-482 (Japan)

Impact assessment of physicochemical and biological
characteristics of freshwater bodies at Varanasi under
biotic stress
2007-05-30
This research has been carried out in Varanasi district covering variety
of freshwater bodies for the assessment of input of physicochemical and
biological characteristics due to various activities of living organisms.
The physicochemical Characteristics show that the temperature, electric
conductance, total solids, alkalinity and hardness depend upon sewage
and effluents mixing. Their values increase due to addition of domestic
and industrial wastes discharged into the water bodies, whereas pH and
transparency show reverse trend. The chloride, nitrate, phosphate and
heavy metal contents also increase in the water bodies with the addition of
wastes and effluents.
The authors found that various biotic activities lead to the biological
magnification, eutrophication, increased toxicity, heavy metal accumulation
and ultimately encourage the growth of blooms and other weeds. So far
as biological characteristics are concerned, the biomass and productivity of
both phytoplanktons and macrophytes also increase with the biotic activities.
There is marked enrichment of nutrients and heavy metals in water bodies
as well as plants due to various anthropogenic pressures.
Authors: Ray, Bishwas; Singh, Priti; Singh, Abhay Narain
Full Source: Vijnana Parishad Anusandhan Patrika 2006, 49(4), 365-371


Medical

Changes of urinary microalbumin in patient with acute
organophosphorus pesticide poisoning
2007-05-30
This study investigated the change of urinary microalbumin in patients with
acute organophosphorus pesticide (AOPP) poisoning and its significance.
Rate scattering turbidimetry was employed to determine the content of
urinary microalbumin in 71 AOPP patients and 45 normal controls. In 71
AOPP patients, the content of urinary microalbumin was increased in 20
patients after AOPP poisoning, and it was positive along with the progression
of poisoning. In other 51 negative AOPP patients, urinary microalbumin was
also higher than that of the normal control.
The authors also found that urinary microalbumin had certain diagnostic
value on the kidney injury of AOPP patients.
Authors: Zhang, Guolin; Wang, Xiying; Yang, Yiming
Full Source: Zhonghua Laodong Weisheng Zhiyebing Zazhi 2005, 23(5),
374-375 (China)

Sub-chronic toxicity of low concentrations of industrial
volatile organic pollutants in vitro
2007-05-30
This research investigated the biological effects of sub-chronic exposure
to industrially important volatile organic solvents in vitro. Jurkat T cells
were exposed to toluene, n-hexane and Me Et ketone (MEK) individually
for 5 days and solvent exposure levels were confirmed by headspace gas
chromatogram A neuroblastoma cell line (SH-SY5Y) was exposed to toluene
for the same period. Following exposure, cells were harvested and toxicity
measured in terms of the following endpoints: membrane damage (LDH
leakage), perturbations in intracellular free Ca2+, changes in glutathione
redox status and dual-phosphorylation of MAP kinases ERK1/2, JNK and
p38. The results show that sub-chronic exposure to the volatile organic
solvents causes membrane damage, increased intracellular free calcium
and altered glutathione redox status in both cell lines. However, acute and
sub-chronic solvent exposure did not result in MAP kinase phosphorylation.
Toxicity of the solvents tested increased with hydrophobicity.
The authors found that the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-levels (LOAELs)
measured in vitro were close to blood solvent concentrations reported for
individuals exposed to the agents at levels at or below their individual
threshold limit values (TLVs).
Authors: McDermott, Catherine; Allshire, Ashley; van Pelt, Frank N. A. M.;
Heffron, James J. A.
Full source: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 2007, 219(1), 85-94
(English)

Probabilistic methods for the evaluation of potential
aggregate exposures associated with agricultural and
consumer uses of pesticides: a case study based on
carbaryl
2007-05-30
This chapter presents a case study illustrating probabilistic methods that can
be used in analyses of potential aggregate daily exposures to pesticides.
The methodology approach is illustrated for the agricultural and consumer
product uses of carbaryl in the United States. Carbaryl is a broad-spectrum
insecticide and was used in U.S. agriculture and for professional turf
management, professional ornamental production, and in various consumer
products for ornamentals, vegetable gardens, fruit and nut trees, lawns, and
pets. This carbaryl aggregate assessment case study presents methods that
can be used to estimate potential daily dietary and nondietary exposures
to adults and children. Probabilistic aggregate exposure analyses provide
a basis for investigating contributions from sources, considering variability
and uncertainty, and can also provide a more rigorous basis for informed
safety determinations.
Authors: Driver, Jeffrey H.; Ross, John H.; Pandian, M.; Lunchick, Curt;
Lantz, J.; Mihlan, G.; Young, B.
Full source: ACS Symposium Series 2007, 951(Assessing Exposures and
Reducing Risks to People from the Use of Pesticides), 225-266 (Eng)

Determination of Phenolic Metabolites of Polycyclic
Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Human Urine as Their
Pentafluorobenzyl Ether Derivatives Using Liquid
Chromatography- Tandem Mass Spectrometry
2007-05-30
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous environmental
contaminants, and a number of them are carcinogenic. The authors
developed a liquid chromatograph-tandem mass spectrometry method
for the determination of phenolic metabolites of naphthalene, fluorene,
phenanthrene, and pyrene in human urine. Following enzymic cleavage of the
glucuronide and sulfate conjugates, the phenolic metabolites are extended
from urine and converted to pentafluorobenzyl ethers. These derivatives
greatly enhance the sensitivity of detection by atmosphere pressure
chemical ionization in the negative ion mode. Lower limits of quantization
range from 0.01 to 0.5 ng/mL. Stable isotope-labeled internal standards
were synthesized or obtained com. Data on urinary excretion of several PAH
metabolites in urine of smokers and nonsmokers are presented.
Authors: Jacob, Peyton, III; Wilson, Margaret; Benowitz, Neal L.
Full source: Analytical Chemistry 2007, 79(2), 587-598 (Eng)

Determination of organochlorine pesticides and
polychlorinated biphenyls in human serum using
headspace solid-phase microextraction and gas
chromatography electron capture detection.
2007-05-30
A simple procedure for the determination of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs)
and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in human serum using headspace
solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) was developed. The analysis
was carried out by gas chromatograph(GC) equipped with an electron-
capture detector (ECD). A 27-4 Plackett-Burman reduced factorial design
for screening and a central composite design for optimizing the significant
variables were applied. A 100-PDMS fiber, 3/5 headspace ratio (3 mL in 5
mL vial), 85∞C extraction temperature, 50 min extraction time, and 1 mL of
acidic solution (pH 3) added to 1 mL of diluted serum (1:1) were chosen for
the best response in HS extraction mode.
The authors found that the detection limits were from 1 pg/mL (PCB 167)
to 52 pg/mL (HCH), the relative standard deviation for the procedure varied
from 3% (PCB 52) to 12% (PCB 189). The accuracy was checked by using
validated solid-phase extraction (SPE) procedure. The method that avoids
the use of clean-up steps and the hazardous solvents enabled reliable
determinations of the OCPs and the PCBs except for HCH. The method was
applied to the analysis of 33 human serum samples. The most abundant
target compd. was p-p’-DDE (range, 0.3-8.0 ng/mL; median value, 2.1 ng/
mL). Among the PCBs, the prevalent congeners were 138, 153, and 180.
Authors: Lopez, Raul; Goni, Fernando; Etxandia, Arsenio; Millan,
Esmeralda
Full source: Journal of Chromatography, B: Analytical Technologies in the
Biomedical and Life Sciences 2007, 846(1-2), 298-305 (Eng)


Occupational

Study on serum NSE level and serum MBP level in the
workers exposed to n-hexane
2007-06-04
This study investigated the effect of n-hexane exposure on serum level of
neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and the serum myelin basic protein (MBP).
37 N-hexane exposed workers and 49 non-exposed ones from a factory in
Zhongshan, Guangdong Province were recruited for the study. Serum MBP
and serum NSE levels were measured using ELISA. The results indicated
that serum NSE level in the exposed workers were higher than that of the
control subjects. In addition, The serum MBP level in the exposed workers
was higher than that in the controls. The authors concluded that the exposure
to n-hexane might induce the increase of serum NSE and MBP levels.
Authors: Su, Sheng-hua; Liu, Xinxia; Gan, De-xiu; Kuang, Hai-sha; Wei,
Qing; Xu, Lei; Xu, Famao
Full Source: Zhongguo Zhiye Yixue 2006, 33(1), 22-23, 26 (Ch)

Detection and analysis on NO, MDA and SOD in coal
workers with pneumoconiosis
2007-06-04
This study examined the significance of oxidative injury in occurrence
and development of pneumoconiosis in coal workers. The authors used
nitrate reductase, TBA and xanthine oxidase, to determine the content of
NO, MDA and SOD in serum of 50 patients suffering from coal worker’s
pneumoconiosis and 50 healthy controls. The results showed that there
was a higher concentration of NO and MDA in the pneumoconiosis patients
than in the control subjects. In addition, the authors observed that the
concentration of SOD was lower in the test subjects than in the control
subjects, and there were statistical significances between two groups. The
authors concluded that there is an abnormity of oxyradical reaction and
unbalance between oxidation/antioxidation state in the patients with coal
worker’s pneumoconiosis, which may be related to the occurrence and
development of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.
Authors: Wang, Na; Yao, Wu; Fu, Peng-yu; Niu, Ji-fei; Jiao, Jie
Full Source: Zhongguo Zhiye Yixue 2006, 33(1), 30-31 (Ch)

An investigation of occupational harm in
polyvinylchloride pipe industry of Shunde district from
1999 to 2003
2007-06-04
In order to provide evidence for the occupational hygiene in the industry,
this study investigated the status of occupational harm in Shunde PVC pipe
industry from 1999 to 2003. The main occupational harm factors including
lead dust and PVC dust were tested. The workers exposed to these main
occupational harm factors were examined. The results demonstrated that the
highest concentrations of lead dust and PVC dust, were in stirring workshop.
The concentrations of lead dust showed a descendent trend, but the
concentrations of PVC dust had no obvious change. In addition, it was observed
that the rates of occupational lead poisoning were decreasing. The authors
concluded that these results suggested that the occupational harm of lead
showed a weakening trend in this industry. To continue to reinforce the effective
control measure, more synthetical control measures should be implemented.
Authors: Zeng, Qing-min; Chen, Cai; Wu, Yong-quan; Deng, Yongyu; Yu,
Pei-qiong; Chen, Yu-hua
Full Source: Zhongguo Zhiye Yixue 2006, 33(1), 36-37 (Ch)

Study of the health effects of chromium rollers used in
cotton roller ginning industries and development of an
alternative ginning process
2007-06-04
This literature examines the hazards of chromium contamination and
pollution caused by the use of Chrome Composite Leather-Clad (CCLC)
rollers commonly used in cotton roller ginning industries and attempts to
eliminate the chromium contamination and pollution during the cotton ginning
process. The cotton roller ginning process is the mechanical separation of
cotton fibers from their seeds by one or more rollers to which fibers adhere
while the seeds are impeded and struck off or pulled loose. When the seed
cotton is ginned, due to persistent rubbing of CCLC rollers over the fixed
knives, the ginned lint cotton adsorbs about 143 to 1990 mg/kg (ppm) as
total chromium of trivalent and hexavalent forms and the cotton products
carry with it of about 17 to 250 mg/kg (ppm) of chromium, which according to
Indian Standards (MOEF-157, 1996) for yarn and fabrics, should not be more
than 0.1 mg/kg (ppm). Toxic effects are experienced as a result of prolonged
contact with airborne, solid or liquid chromium compounds, even in small
quantities because of their properties - carcinogenecity, mutagenecity and
corrosiveness. Traces of Cr (VI) are found even in analar grade trivalent
compounds and complications do arise due to reduction in nature of these
traces that affect the organic tissues of the body. In order to offset the effects
of the chromium contamination and pollution from cotton ginning industries,
chrome-free rubberized cotton fabric (RCF) rollers or eco-friendly rollers both
for laboratory and commercial studies have been designed, fabricated and
experimented on a special-built gin roller experimentation device (GRED)
and double roller (DR) gins. These rollers are covered with packing-type
roller covering material made from multiple layers of cotton fabric bonded
together with a rubber compound. The chrome-free RCF roller has been
demonstrated with reference to techno-commercial and eco-friendliness
in ginning industries. This pollution-free and chrome-free RCF rollers were
found successful in ginning out seed-cotton in an environment friendly way,
while maintaining high ginning rate potential, cotton technology parameters
of lint, yarn and fabric properties. The ginneries have been tested and found
better in all aspects with reference to cotton technology parameters, dye-
catching properties, physical and chemical properties. The authors suggest
that it could be successfully used as an improved alternative in cotton ginning
industries for the cleaner environment with benefits to society, industry
owners, traders, workers, employees and the Government.
Authors: Iyer, Gurumurthy Vijayan; Mastorakis, Nikos E.
Full Source: WSEAS Transactions on Environment and Development 2006,
2(4), 425-433 (Eng)

Effects of N, N-dimethylformamide reproductive
endocrine of male workers
2007-06-04
This study assessed the reproductive endocrine effects on male workers
exposed to N, N-dimethylformamide (DMF). During the study, air samples
were collected in different work sites and the internal exposure to DMF
was detected by measuring the concentration of DMF metabolite N-
methylformamide (NMF) in urine. Reproductive hormones (T, LH, FSH,
PRL) in serum from 100 male workers were measured by chemiluminescent
immunoassay (CLIA). Compared with low DMF exposure and the controls
group, the concentration of T in serum in high DMF exposure was significantly
increased. While the FSH levels in high DMF exposure groups were lower
than those in low DMF exposure group and the control groups. The authors
observed a dose-response relationship between DMF air concentration and
T level or the abnormal rate of T serum. When compared to the control
group, there was a significant decrease of the ratio of T/LH in both the high
and the low DMF exposure groups. The authors concluded that besides
altering FSH in serum of male workers, DMF can damage leydigs cells and
exhibits adverse effects on the LH-T axis
Authors: Zhang, Xing; Qian, Ya-ling; Sun, Xiao-lou; Wang, Ming-long; Zheng,
Bu-yun
Full Source: Zhongguo Zhiye Yixue 2005, 32(2), 10-12 (Ch)
Public Health

Impact of PCB and p,p’-DDE contaminants on human
sperm Y:X chromosome ratio: Studies in three European
populations and the Inuit population in Greenland
2007-06-04
Previous studies have suggested that persistent organohalogen pollutants
(POPs) may contribute to sex ratio changes in offspring of exposed
populations. This study investigated whether exposure to 2,2’,4,4’,5,5’-
hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB-153) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p’-
DDE) affects sperm Y:X chromosome distribution. Semen and blood was
obtained from 547 men from Sweden, Greenland, Poland (Warsaw), and
Ukraine (Kharkiv), with regionally different levels of POP. The samples
were then analysed for PCB-153 and p,p’-DDE levels. The proportion of
Y- and X-chromosome-bearing sperm in the semen samples was detected
by two-color fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis. The results showed
that Swedish and Greenlandic men had on average significantly higher
proportions of Y sperm (in both cohorts, 51.2%) and correspondingly
higher lipid-adjusted concentrations of PCB-153 (260ng/g and 350 ng/g,
respectively) compared with men from Warsaw (50.3% and 22 ng/g) and
Kharkiv (50.7% and 54 ng/g). In the Swedish cohort, there were significantly
positive log-transformed PCB-153 and log-transformed p,p’-DDE variables
associated with Y-chromosome fractions. On the contrary, in the Polish
cohort PCB-153 correlated negatively with the proportion of Y-bearing
fraction of spermatozoa. The authors concluded that the results indicate that
POP exposure might be involved in changing the proportion of ejaculated
Y-bearing spermatozoa in human populations. Intercountry differences,
with different exposure situations and doses, may contribute to varying Y:X
chromosome ratios.
Authors: Tiido, Tarmo; Rignell-Hydbom, Anna; Joensson, Bo A. G.;
Giwercman, Yvonne Lundberg; Pedersen, Henning S.; Wojtyniak, Bogdan;
Ludwicki, Jan K.; Lesovoy, Vladimir; Zvyezday, Valentyna; Spano, Marcello;
Manicardi, Gian-Carlo; Bizzaro, Davide; Bonefeld-Joergensen, Eva C.; Toft,
Gunnar; Bonde, Jens Peter; Rylander, Lars; Hagmar, Lars; Giwercman,
Aleksander; INUENDO
Full Source: Environmental Health Perspectives 2006, 114(5), 718-724
(Eng)

Lead toxicity in school children of highly traffic dense
area of Calcutta
2007-06-04
This study examined the effect of lead exposure on school children in
Calcutta, a highly urbanized and motorized city. Eighty school children
(Av. age 10-12 years) of 6th standard were recruited for this study. Among
them forty students were exposed to automobile exhaust for 5-6 h daily
for consecutive 4 years and were compared to another forty unexposed
school children of same age group of rural area. The results showed that the
blood lead level in the exposed children was elevated when compared to the
unexposed group. The intelligence quotient (I.Q.), Hb level an total count of
RBC were reduced significantly in exposed group compared to unexposed
group. The serum aldolase and glucose-6- phosphate dehydrogenase level
were significantly increased in exposed group. There was no significant
difference in total and differential WBC count in exposed group compared to
control group. The authors concluded that the results indicate that prolonged
exposure to automobile exhaust affects the mental status (I.Q.) of school
going children and they are prone to anemia, which might be due to lead
toxicity.
Authors: Chanda, S.; Islam, M. N.; Biswas, A.
Full Source: Pollution Research 2006, 25(2), 293-297 (Eng)

Body burdens of polychlorinated dibenzo-pdioxins,
dibenzofurans, and biphenyls and their relations to
estrogen metabolism in pregnant women
2007-06-04
Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs, dioxins), polychlorinated
dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are
environmental endocrine disruptors that have half-lives of 7-10 years in the
human body and have toxicities that probably include carcinogenesis. A
high ratio of 4-hydroxyl estradiol (4-OH-E2) to 2-hydroxyl estradiol (2-OH-
E2) has been suggested as a potential biomarker for estrogen-dependent
neoplasms. This study of maternal-fetal pairs, examined the relationship of
PCDD/PCDF and PCB exposure to levels of estrogen metabolites in the
sera of 50 pregnant women 25-34 years of age from central Taiwan. During
the study, the authors collected samples of maternal blood during the third
trimester, and the placenta was collected at delivery. 17 dioxin congeners,
12 dioxin-like PCBs, and 6 indicator PCBs in placenta were measured using
gas chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry. Liquid
chromatography tandem mass spectrometry was used to analyse the estrogen
metabolites in the maternal serum. There was a decrease in the ratio of
4-OH-E2:2-OHE2 with increasing exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzop-
dioxin by the general linear regression model. Serum levels of 4-OH-E2
increased with increasing concentrations of high-chlorinated PCDFs (i.e.,
1,2,3,4,6,7,8-hepta-CDF. Altered estrogen catabolism might be associated
with body burdens of PCDDs/PCDFs. The authors concluded that the results
suggest that exposure to PCDDs/PCDFs significantly affects estrogen
metabolism. Therefore, PCDD/PCDF exposure must be considered when
using the OH-E2 ratio as a breast cancer marker.
Authors: Wang, Shu-Li; Chang, Yu-Chen; Chao, How-Ran; Li, Chien-Ming;
Li, Lih-Ann; Lin, Long-Yau; Paepke, Olaf
Full Source: Environmental Health Perspectives 2006, 114(5), 740-745
(Eng)

Reduced intellectual development in children with
prenatal lead exposure
2007-06-04
Previous studies have suggested that low-level postnatal lead exposure
is associated with poor intellectual development in children. The effects
prenatal exposure are less well studied. This study examined whether
prenatal lead exposure would have a more powerful and lasting impact
on child development than postnatal exposure. Generalized linear mixed
models with random intercept and slope were used to analyze the pattern of
lead effect of the cohort from pregnancy through 10 years of age on child IQ
from 6 to 10 years. 175 children were recruited for the study, 150 of which
had complete data for all included covariates, attended the National Institute
of Perinatol. in Mexico City from 1987 through 2002. Wechsler Intelligence
Scale for Children-Revised, Spanish version, was used to measure IQ.
Blood lead (BPb) was measured by a reference laboratory of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) quality assurance program for BPb.
The results showed there was a geometric mean BPb during pregnancy of
8.0 µg/dL, from 1 through 5 years was 9.8 µg/dL, and from 6 through 10
years was 6.2 µg/dL. The authors found that IQ at 6-10 years decreased
significantly only with increasing natural-log third trimester BPb, controlling
for other BPb and covariates. The dose-response BPb-IQ function was log-
linear, not linear-linear. The authors concluded that lead exposure around
28 wk gestation is a critical period for later child intellectual development,
with lasting and possibly permanent effects. There was no evidence of
a threshold; the strongest lead effects on IQ occurred within the first few
micrograms of BPb. Relevance to clinical practice: Current CDC action limits
for children applied to pregnant women permit most lead-associated child IQ
decreases measured over the studied BPb range.
Authors: Schnaas, Lourdes; Rothenberg, Stephen J.; Flores, Maria-
Fernanda; Martinez, Sandra; Hernandez, Carmen; Osorio, Erica; Velasco,
Silvia Ruiz; Perroni, Estela
Full Source: Environmental Health Perspectives 2006, 114(5), 791-797
(Eng)

Impact of iron and steel industry and waste incinerators
on human exposure to dioxins, PCBs, and heavy metals:
results of a cross-sectional study in Belgium
2007-06-04
This study analysed the impact of 2 iron and steel manufacturing facilities
and 2 municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWI) in Wallonia, Belgium, on
exposure of residents to dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and
heavy metals. A total of 142 volunteers living around these facilities were
recruited and compared with 63 referents from a rural area with no industrial
pollution sources. The authors collected data about smoking and dietary
habits, anthropometric characteristics, residential history, and health status
via a self-administered questionnaire. Volunteers provided blood under
fasting conditions to evaluate the body burden of dioxins (17 polychlorinated
dibenzo-pdioxins/dibenzofurans [PCDD/F] congeners) and PCB; blood
and urine were also collected to determine Cd, Hg, and Pb. After adjusting
for covariates, Cd, Hg, and Pb concentrations in urine or blood were not
increased in subjects living near MSWI or sinter facilities versus the referents.
The serum dioxin and PCB concentrations in residents near sinter facilities
and the MSWI was similar to that of referents. Subjects living near the MSWI
in the rural area showed significantly higher serum dioxin concentrations and
co-planar PCB. Although age-adjusted dioxin concentrations in referents did
not vary with local animal fat consumption, dioxin concentrations in subjects
living near the incinerators correlated positively with their intake of local
animal fat, with almost a doubling in subjects with highest fat intake. The
authors concluded that the findings indicated dioxins and co-planar PCB
emitted by MSWI can accumulate in the body of residents who regularly
consume animal products of local origin.
Authors: Fierens, Sebastien; Mairesse, Helene; Heilier, Jean-Francois;
Focant, Jean-Francois; Eppe, Gauthier; De Pauw, Edwin; Bernard, Alfred
Full Source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 2007,
70(3-4), 222-226 (Eng)


Safety

Particle counting to assess mold in the atmosphere of
workplaces
2007-05-30
This study analyzed the statistical relationship between dust particle counts
and the concentration of molds in the air of sorting cabines of recycling
plants and biocompost plants in a series of investigations by the correlated
particle counting method (CPCM). The aim was to develop a simple, fast, and
inexpensive procedure, which is able to quantify molds in the atmosphere at
the workplace by dust particle counting. There is a nearly constant statistical
correlation between the concentration of certain particle fractions of the
inhalable dust and the number of airborne molds.
The CPCM allows to establish airborne mold concentrations by particle
measurements and helps to screen protection measures at the workplace
of sorting cabines of recycling plants. Long term trials in bio-compost plants
revealed huge variations of the concentrations of molds in the inhalable dust
fraction. These variations were regularly caused by poor process organization
when heterogeneously composed or strongly deteriorated materials, e.g.
because of long storage periods, were processed. The authored concluded
that improving work process organization by avoiding long storage times
of critical materials by immediate processing will reduce emissions and will
lead to more constant and predictable conditions. These improvements allow
a useful application of CPCM as a control measurement technique in bio-
compost plants, too.
Authors: Missel, Th.; Hartung, J.
Full source: Schriftenreihe der Bundesanstalt fuer Arbeitsschutz und
Arbeitsmedizin, Forschung 2005, Fb 1043, 1-84 (Germany)

Biological monitoring of benzene exposure during
maintenance work in crude oil cargo tanks
2007-05-30
This research investigated the association between the individual concentrations
of benzene in the breathing zone and the concentrations of benzene in the
blood and urine among workers maintaining crude oil cargo tanks. Benzene
exposure was measured during 3 consecutive 12-hour workdays among 13
tank workers and 9 unexposed referents (catering section). Blood and urine
samples were collected pre-shift on the first day, post-shift on the third day,
and pre-next shift on the following morning. The workers used half-mask
air-purifying respirators, but not all workers used these systematically. The
individual geometric mean benzene exposure in the breathing zone of tank
workers over 3 days was 0.15 ppm (range 0.01-0.62 ppm). The tank workers’
post-shift geometric mean benzene concentrations were 12.3 and 27.0 nmol/
L in blood and in urine, respectively vs. 0.7 nmol/L for both blood and urine
among the referents.
Benzene in the work atmosphere was highly correlated with the internal
concentration of benzene both in post-shift blood (r ) 0.87, P < 0.001)
and post-shift urine (r ) 0.90, P < 0.001), indicating that the varying use of
respirators did not explain much of the variability in absorbed benzene.
Despite low benzene exposure in this work atmosphere and the use of
personal protective equipment to a varying degree, the tank workers had a
significant uptake of benzene that correlated highly with benzene exposure.
The internal concentration of benzene was higher than expected considering
the measured individual benzene exposure, probably due to an extended
work schedule of 12 hour and phys. Strain during tank work. The authors
concluded that control measures should be improved for processes, which
impose a potential for increased absorption of benzene upon the workers.
Authors: Kirkeleit, Jorunn; Riise, Trond; Bratveit, Magne; Pekari, Kaija;
Mikkola, Jouni; Moen, Bente E.
Full source: Chemico-Biological Interactions 2006, 164(1-2), 60-67(Eng)

Safety analysis and risk identification for a tubular reactor
using the HAZOP methodology
2007-05-30
This article introduced a model approach to Hazard and Operability (HAZOP)
analysis, which is presented based on the mathematic modeling of a process
unit where both the steady state analysis, including the analysis of the
steady states multiplicity and stability, and the dynamic simulation are used.
Heterogeneous tubular reactor for the ethylene oxide producing from ethylene
and oxygen was chosen to identify potential hazards for real system. The
computer code DYNHAZ was developed consisting of a process simulator
and a generator of the HAZOP algorithm.
Authors: Labovsky, J.; Jelemensky, L’.; Markos, J.
Full source: Chemical Papers 2006, 60(6), 454-459 (Eng), Slovak

								
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