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					Bulletin Board
November 13, 2009


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Hazard
Titanium Dioxide
2009/11/04


Titanium dioxide is a white powder or fine, needle-like crystals.
Naturally occurring titanium dioxide crystals usually contain small
amounts of impurities, which darken the colour. It is non-combustible.
Titanium dioxide is a possible cancer hazard - it may cause cancer,
based on animal information.
Titanium dioxide is used widely as a white pigment in liquid paints,
varnishes, lacquers, floor coverings (linoleum), printing inks, coatings for
paper and paperboard, plastics and elastomers, and in the rubber and
leather industries; as a pigment and filler for paper; as an opacifying
agent for coloured systems; and as a delusterant for a number of synthetic
fibres. Electrically conducting titanium dioxide pigments are applied to
fibres used in photosensitive papers for electrophotography and for the
production of antistatic plastics.


Titanium dioxide occurs naturally in 3 crystalline forms: anatase (CAS
No. 1317-70-0), brookite (specific CAS No. not assigned) and rutile (CAS
No. 1317-80-2). Rutile and anatase are produced industrially in large
quantities.
Titanium dioxide usually contains small amounts of aluminium, silica
(quartz), zinc, antimony and iron oxides. Sometimes it contains very
small amounts (in the parts per million concentration range) of metals
(e.g. iron, chromium, vanadium, niobium, and tantalum), and traces of
tin, chromium, and molybdenum compounds.


Acute Skin Health Effects
Titanium dioxide is a very mild irritant or non-irritant based on
human and animal information. Application of 0.1 mg titanium
dioxide powder in a non-occlusive chamber, once daily for 3 days to
intact or damaged skin, produced almost no irritation (scored 0-0.4/4)
in 5 volunteers.
Studies using sunscreen applications on volunteers showed that titanium
dioxide particles only penetrate the outermost layers of skin.


Acute Eye Heath Effects
Titanium dioxide is a very mild irritant or non-irritant based on
animal information. There may be slight irritancy as a ―foreign object‖,
based on its physical and chemical properties. Some tearing, blinking
and mild temporary pain may occur as particles are rinsed from the eye
by tears. No human information was located.


Acute Ingestion Health Effects
Titanium dioxide is not considered toxic if ingested. One historical case
of human ingestion of one pound of titanium dioxide was located. No
harmful effects were observed. Ingestion is not a typical route of
occupational exposure.


Chronic Health Effects
No conclusions can be drawn from the few studies that show respiratory
effects in titanium-dioxide exposed workers, because of concurrent
exposure to other substances that are well known to cause lung disease.
There was no association between titanium dioxide exposure and
increased mortality from any cause in a retrospective cohort mortality
study of 4241 titanium dioxide workers.


Chronic Respiratory Health Effects
A few human population studies or clinical studies involving
titanium-dioxide exposed workers have shown effects such as decreased
lung function, mild fibrosis, and thickening of the lining of the chest
cavity (pleural thickening). However, the workers in these studies were
also exposed to other substances including asbestos and/or silica, which
are well known to cause lung disease. Therefore, no conclusions can be
drawn.
In general, long-term exposures to high concentrations of dust may cause
increased mucous flow in the nose and respiratory system. This condition
usually disappears after exposure stops. Controversy exists as to the role
occupational exposure to dust has in the development of chronic
bronchitis (inflammation of the air passages into the lungs). Other factors
such as smoking and general air pollution are also important, but dust
exposure may contribute to this effect.
In animal studies, long-term inhalation exposure has caused persistent
adverse effects on the lungs (e.g. inflammation, fibrosis, changes to
alveolar cells), which are believed to result from dust overloading of the
lungs. Effects with ultrafine titanium dioxide occur at much lower
exposure concentrations than are required with the larger sized pigment
grade particles. The effects are more closely related to lung burden in
terms of the surface area rather than the mass of the particles.


Chronic Skin Health Effects
Titanium dioxide is not a skin sensitizer. Negative results were obtained
for 1% titanium dioxide in patch tests conducted on 38 orthodontist
patients. A negative result was obtained in an unconfirmed animal test.



Cancer Risk
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined
that titanium dioxide is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B)
based on inadequate evidence in humans and sufficient evidence in
experimental animals. This conclusion relates to long-term inhalation
exposure to high concentrations of pigmentary (powdered) or ultrafine
titanium dioxide.


Personal Protection


Respiratory Protection
If engineering controls and work practices are not effective in controlling
exposure to this material, then wear suitable personal protective
equipment including approved respiratory protection. Have appropriate
equipment available for use in emergencies such as spills or fire.
If respiratory protection is required, institute a complete respiratory
protection program including selection, fit testing, training, maintenance
and inspection. Refer to the CSA Standard Z94.4-02, ―Selection, Use,
and Care of Respirators,‖ available from the Canadian Standards
Association.


RESPIRATORY PROTECTION GUIDELINES:
NIOSH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TITANIUM DIOXIDE CONCENTRATIONS
IN AIR (3):
AT ANY DETECTABLE CONCENTRATION: Positive pressure,
full-facepiece SCBA; or positive pressure, full-facepiece SAR with an
auxiliary positive pressure SCBA.


ESCAPE: Full-facepiece, air-purifying respirator with an N100, R100,
or P100 filter; or escape-type SCBA.
NOTE: NIOSH has classified this material as a potential occupational
carcinogen, according to specific NIOSH criteria. This classification is
reflected in these recommendations for respiratory protection, which
specify that only the most reliable and protective respirators be worn at
any detectable concentration. NIOSH has changed their policy on
respiratory protection for possible carcinogens but not yet revised these
recommendations for respiratory protection. The requirements in
Canadian jurisdictions may vary.


Recommendations apply only to NIOSH approved respirators.
The respirator use limitations specified by the approving agency and the
manufacturer must be observed.
Air-purifying respirators do not protect against oxygen-deficient
atmospheres.
ABBREVIATIONS: SAR = supplied-air respirator; SCBA = self-contained
breathing apparatus. IDLH = Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health.


Eye/face Protection
Chemical safety goggles.


Skin Protection
Coveralls or long sleeves and pants to prevent accumulation of dust on
skin.


Protective Clothing
No specific guidelines are available. Contact chemical
manufacturer/supplier for advice. Most materials commonly used in
protective clothing are probably adequate. Physical strength of the
material is probably the main requirement.


Other Protection
Contaminated clothing should not be taken home. Launder before
re-wearing. Inform laundry personnel of contaminant‘s hazards.
It is good practice to not eat, drink or smoke in work areas.
Wash hands after handling this material. Maintain good housekeeping.


References
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (2007) Titanium
Dioxide retrieved on 4-11-2009 from
http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/titanium_dioxi
de/


Legislation
ASIA PACIFIC
Stockholm Convention Decision on Endosulfan
2009-10-22
At a recent meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review
Committee (POPRC) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic
Pollutants, it was agreed that the insecticide endosulfan satisfied the
criteria as a persistent organic pollutant. As a result of this decision, the
Secretariat of the Convention will now invite all Parties and observers to
provide technical comments and socio-economic information to enable
POPRC to evaluate possible control measures for endosulfan. The outcome
of this process will be the development of a risk management evaluation
that considers such matters as alternatives, assessments of the positive and
negative impacts of implementing possible control measures, waste and
disposal implications, access to information and public education, and
the status of control and monitoring capacity. This evaluation will be
developed and agreed by the next POPRC meeting in 2010. In 2011 a
Conference of the Parties (to the Convention) will consider this risk
management evaluation and decide whether to list endosulfan and
which control measure (ranging from restriction to elimination) is
appropriate. As Australia is a party to the Stockholm Convention, it
would be required to ratify any listing. Ratification of an elimination
decision would trigger a domestic process that may lead to the
de-registration of endosulfan in Australia. Any such action would occur
in 2012 at the earliest. The current POPRC decision was based on the
criteria listed in Annex D of the Convention, which indicates that
endosulfan is persistent, bio-accumulative, has the potential for long
range environmental transport and can create adverse human health or
environmental effects.


Currently, endosulfan is registered in Australia where its use is limited
and tightly regulated following a formal review in 2005. Its availability
in Australia relies on the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary
Medicines Authority (APVMA) being continually able to be satisfied that
such use satisfies key tests defined in s.34 of the Agricultural and
Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994. These tests relate to occupational
health and safety, human health, the environment and international
trade. Information from a range of feedback loops such as the National
Residues Survey, the Adverse Experience Reporting Program, and
monitoring through the States and Territories indicates that endosulfan
is being used safely in Australia. However, decisions by APVMA are
science-based. New information is being constantly considered. Recently,
the APVMA asked the Department of Environment Heritage and the Arts
(DEWHA) to review a range of new scientific studies regarding endosulfan.
A number of these relate to long-range environmental transport.
Recommendations from DEWHA on these studies are being sought by the
APVMA to determine if further regulatory action is warranted in
Australia. Any such action would occur independently of processes under
the Stockholm Convention although, of course, the ratification of a
Convention decision to eliminate the production and use of endosulfan
may automatically lead to de-registration and removal of endosulfan
products from the Australian marketplace.
APVMA, 18 October 2009 http://www.apvma.gov.au


India pledges to phase out HCFCs by 2030
2009-10-22
India has announced that by 2030, it will phase out
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and will seek international funding
and technology to meet the target. ―We are going to freeze the use of HCFCs
at 2009 levels by 2013. We are going to mitigate their use by 10 per cent
by 2015 as compared to 2009 levels and bring it to zero by 2030,‖
environment minister Jairam Ramesh said recently, in a move designed
to further underline India‘s commitment to addressing climate change
ahead of the crucial Copenhagen talks in December. The refrigerant gas,
used in air conditioners and refrigerators, is a powerful greenhouse gas
(GHG) and has also been blamed for depleting the ozone layer. Figures
from the ministry have demonstrated that since 2001, India‘s
consumption of HCFCs has more than tripled. It is expected to rise further
– reaching 27,103 tonnes in 2015, up from just 3,792 tonnes in 1994 –
as the nation‘s economic development and growing middle class leads to
rising demand for consumer, commercial and industrial products.
Ramesh admitted that the government is ―still clueless [as to] what
technology we will use and from where will we get funds to meet the
challenges‖ , adding that it will be seeking help from rich nations to
ensure the new targets are met. The announcement is seen as a
bargaining chip to be used at December‘s UN climate change talks, where
India is widely expected to ask for billions of dollars in international
assistance to fund projects to help curb its GHG emissions. Up until now,
the nation has received approximately $350m (£218m) from the $2bn
Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol,
which was set up in 1991 to provide technical and financial assistance
to developing countries to phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODS),
such as HCFCs. Signed in 1987 by 195 nations, the Montreal Protocol is
an international agreement to phase out ODS. India, which has signed
the treaty, hopes that a similar pact will transpire in Copenhagen,
―where developed nations give a commitment to provide funds‖, said
Ramesh. He noted that use of ODS such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
had been phased out on the subcontinent since August 2008, 17 months
ahead of the agreed schedule under its commitments to the multilateral
fund. However, the CFCs used in the manufacture of asthma inhalers are
still available in India, although the government is working on a plan to
eliminate their use by 2013.
Business Green, 8 October 2009 http://www.businessgreen.com
Yearly Chemical Review
2009-10-22
Recently, The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) in
New Zealand issued a Consultation on a review of the classifications of
up to 40 chemicals. The Yearly Chemical Review involves undertaking
modified reassessments of a number of chemicals each year. One of the
aims of the review is to update information on chemicals and add or
remove controls if required. In addition, the review will make
compliance easier by letting people know what‘s happening and how
they can be part of the process. This includes making submissions as
appropriate. Some of the chemicals to be reviewed this year have been
added to the list as a result of classification inquiries throughout the
year from users and businesses. Others have been added by staff at ERMA
New Zealand after receiving new information, particularly from overseas.
This years‘ review includes proposed classification changes to ethanol
and sodium carbonate. One of the intentions of the Yearly Chemical
Review is to align New Zealand chemical classifications with those
overseas. Knowing a review will occur at the same time each year will
also help industry take part in the process. More information on the
review can be found at the ERMA website.
ERMA, 9 October 2009 http://www.ermanz.govt.nz


AMERICA
Obama Supports Technology Mandate
2009-10-22
The Obama Administration has endorsed an industry-opposed provision
in anti-terrorism legislation that would give the federal government the
authority to order high-risk chemical facilities to switch to safer
manufacturing processes or to use less hazardous substances. ―The
Administration supports, where possible, using safer technology, such as
less toxic chemicals, to enhance the security of the nation‘s high-risk
chemical facilities,‖ said Rand Beers, a senior Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) official, in testimony before a House Energy & Commerce
subcommittee on 1 October. The proposed legislation, the Chemical
Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868), would permanently
reauthorise the current federal program for regulating security at
thousands of facilities across the U.S. where chemicals are made, used, or
stored. However, the new bill would also make several changes in the
existing regulations—the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, or
CFATS. Under H.R. 2868, facilities would be required to assess methods
for reducing the consequences of a terrorist attack, including whether
alternative chemicals, processes, or technologies are cost-effective and
feasible and would actually reduce risk. In addition, the bill provides
DHS with the authority to mandate that the riskiest facilities adopt a
so-called inherently safer technology (IST).


―This is a common-sense policy that will help make facilities reduce the
likelihood that they will become attractive terrorist targets,‖ said Rep.
Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). Martin J. Durbin, vice president of federal
affairs for the American Chemistry Council, which represents more than
130 chemical companies, told the subcommittee that giving DHS the
power to order process changes is unnecessary. The two-year-old CFATS
program ―has already demonstrated that it drives each facility to
consider all possible risk reduction options, including methods to reduce
consequences, or inherently safer approaches when developing a site
security program,‖ Durbin said. Testifying on behalf of the Society of
Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA), Stephen Poorman,
international environmental, health and safety manager for Fujifilm
Imaging Colorants, also argued against federally-mandated chemical
substitution, warning that such a move could ―legitimately ban products
that improve daily living,‖ such as the chemical raw materials used in
the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients. At a hearing before
the House Homeland Security Committee in June, DHS officials did not
take a position on the IST proposal, but did say the department would
need to hire additional experts if Congress adopts the mandate. DHS‘s
authority to regulate security at chemical facilities is set to expire at the
end of the month. House and Senate negotiators are working out
differences in fiscal 2010 appropriations bills for DHS that would
extend the authority for another year, giving Congress more time to work
out a permanent reauthorisation.
Chemical & Engineering News, 9 October 2009
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news


Canada moots ban on tributyltins
2009-10-22
On 3 October, the Canadian government published three separate Orders,
and accompanying regulatory impact analysis statements (RIASs) that
propose adding a number of substances to the list of toxic substances set
out in Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and
thus paving the way for the introduction of risk managment measures.
The substances are:
2-Propenamide, also known as acrylamide, which is largely used to
produce polymers such as polyacrylamide which is used as a binding,
thickening or mixing agent in grout, cement, water treatment, pesticide
formulations, cosmetics and food manufacturing.
Ethanol, 2-chloro-, phosphate (3:1), also known as TCEP, which is used
as a plasticiser and viscosity regulator in polyurethanes, polyester resins,
polyacrylates and other polymers.
Sulphuric acid, diethyl ester, also known as diethyl sulphate, which is
used in the preparation of dyes, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Sulphuric acid, dimethyl ester, or dimethyl sulphate, which has similar
uses to diethyl sulphate.
Benzenamine, N-phenyl-, reaction products with styrene and
2,4,4-trimethylpentene, or BNST, which is used in engine oil and
industrial lubricants.
Tributyltins and tetrabutyltins, which are used as stabilisers, mainly in
PVC but also in lubricating oils, hydrogen peroxide and polyolefins.
Furthermore, the Canadian government has announced that tributyltins
meet the criteria for virtual elimination. Mono- and di- methyltins,
butyltins and octyltins, as well as fluorotriphenyltin (triphenyltins) and
tetraphenyltin, were considered not to meet the criteria for listing in
Schedule 1. Products containing tributyltin and triphenyltin compounds
are banned in the EU from 1 July 2010 and similar bans come into
force on 1 January 2012 for products containing dibutyltins and certain
products containing doctyltins. In addition, the government issued an
Order that requires manufacturers or importers of some 500 chemical
substances to submit information on substance quantities, uses and
industry sectors involved by 30 March 2010. the information will be
used to update Canada‘s Domestic Substance List (DSL) and to inform
prioritisation of the substances and subsequent risk assessment and
management activities.
Chemical Watch, 8 October 2009 http://chemicalwatch.com/news
Growing number of states push electronics manufacturers to take
responsibility for e-waste
2009-10-22
Frustrated by inaction in Congress, a growing number of states are trying
to reduce the rising tide of junked TVs, computers and other electronics
that have become one of the nation‘s fastest-growing waste streams. To
date, 19 states have passed legislation requiring the recycling of old
electronics, which contain both precious metals and toxic pollutants and
are piling up in garages and closets — or worse, getting dumped overseas.
Thirteen other states are considering laws. However, as these state
measures take effect, the electronics industry is pushing back against
what it calls a hard-to-follow ―patchwork.‖ Two trade groups, the
Consumer Electronics Association and the Information Technology
Industry Council, are suing New York City over its recycling law, which
will make electronics manufacturers provide free collection of electronics
weighing more than 15 pounds. That includes ―orphan‖ waste made by
now-defunct manufacturers. The groups contend the law, which requires
detailed paper trails documenting their recycling, will cost their member
companies more than $200 million annually. Parker Brugge, the
Consumer Electronics Association‘s vice president of environmental
affairs and industry sustainability, said the states‘ laws burden
manufacturers with drafting state-specific recycling plans. His group
would prefer a national e-waste law that sets a uniform policy and
spreads the responsibility of recycling among companies, consumers and
local governments. Barbara Kyle, national coordinator of the Electronics
Takeback Coalition, a group that promotes e-waste recycling, thinks
manufacturers really want a national policy with less teeth than the
state laws. ―They talk about how much they want a federal bill, but
what they want is a weak federal bill. They don‘t want to have to do
what the state laws are making them do,‖ she said.
Several e-waste bills have been introduced in Congress over the years but
none has passed. Back in April, the EPA was authorised by the House to
award grants promoting e-waste recycling. As yet, the Senate has not
voted on it. In the meantime, the amount of e-waste continues to grow.


In 2007, Americans disposed of 2.25 million tons of TVs, computers, cell
phones, fax machines, printers and scanners. That‘s more than twice the
amount generated in 1999, according to the EPA. Less than a fifth of
e-waste overall is recycled, which allows for the copper, silver, gold and
other precious metals inside to be salvaged and resold. Landfills get many
of the rest of the discarded devices, which also have toxic hazards
lurking inside — from lead in TVs and computer monitors with
cathode-ray tubes to cadmium in rechargeable batteries. The EPA says
stringent landfill regulations keep those toxic materials from posing
significant threats to the nation‘s groundwater. But millions of tons of
e-waste are shipped each year to developing nations, where scrap yards
crush or burn components, exposing workers to dangerous fumes. Most of
the state e-waste laws make electronics manufacturers responsible for
collecting and recycling their discarded products at little or no cost to
consumers — who increasingly are being banned from setting electronics
out for regular trash pickups. Some of the laws specify how convenient
companies must make it for people to dispose of old electronics, while
others set collection goals companies have to meet. Companies are
generally given the flexibility to decide how they will reach those targets.
They can stage periodic collection events, for instance, or they can count
products collected by their own recycling programs or ones run by
municipalities and nonprofits. Approximately half the states require
electronics manufacturers to handle not only their own products but also
varying amounts of the ―orphan‖ devices that consumers drop off, said
Jason Linnell, executive director of the National Centre for Electronics
Recycling.


Only one state, California, makes consumers pay upfront for e-waste
recycling. Under its law, consumers must pay between $8 and $25 above
the price of TVs, computer monitors, laptop computers and portable DVD
players. Last year, California paid $96 million collected from that fee to
recyclers and collectors who handled about 218 million pounds of old
electronics, said Chris Peck, spokesman for the California Integrated
Waste Management Board. In April, Indiana became the latest state to pass
an e-waste law. It requires makers of TVs, monitors, and laptops to recycle
60 percent of the weight of the products they sell each year in Indiana.
Beginning next year, companies must register with the state, pay annual
fees and file reports detailing the devices they sold and how much
e-waste they funnelled into recycling programs. Companies face fines if
they don‘t meet the 60 percent goal. Minnesota‘s similar 2007 law led to
about 34 million pounds of electronics — some 6.5 pounds for each state
resident — being collected in its first year, said Garth Hickle, the product
stewardship team leader for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. One
2007 collection event at the Mall of America had to be cut short after
organisers were overwhelmed by people hauling in about 1 million
pounds of electronics that had been cluttering their homes. ―Some people
waited in line for two hours to drop off material,‖ Hickle said. ―That just
shows you that if the collection options are there, people are ready to get
rid of this stuff.‖
Chicago Tribune, 1 October 2009 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news


EUROPE
Request for a scientific opinion on a new UV- filter ETH50
2009-10-22
ETH 50 is a new notified substance to be used as an UV-filter in
sunscreen products. The first submission for this substance was received
from the applicant in November 2005. An addendum was received in
November 2006. During review of the substance, it became apparent that
it would be present in the form of nano-sized particles in the
formulation to which the consumer is exposed. Therefore, further tests
with this form of ETH50 were requested before the evaluation could be
completed. The current submission provides an updated dossier including
studies with the nano-sized form of
ETH50.
Europa – Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), 9 October
2009
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_sccs/docs/sccs_q_007.p
df


EU tightens limits on PPD and PTD in hair dyes
2009-10-22
According to new EU rules published in the official journal recently,
from 15 July 2010, more stringent limits on the use of chemicals PPD
and PTD in hair dyes will apply, to reduce the risk of skin allergies
among consumers. Member states must transpose the directive into
national law by 15 April next year. Maximum concentration limits will
be lowered to the levels deemed safe in safety files submitted by the
cosmetic industry as part of an ongoing impact assessment. Existing limits
must be reduced now as a precautionary measure because final decisions
made by the EU‘s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety ―might still
require a considerable amount of time‖, the Commission says. In 2006,
the EU banned 22 hair dye substances to increase safety.
ENDS Europe Daily, 14 October 2009 http://www.endseuropedaily.com


European Commission revises substances to be considered for pesticide
Directive
2009-10-22
The European Commission has issued a resubmission of applications for
inclusion of active substances not listed in Annex 1 of the plant
protection products marketing Directive. The revision updates a
submission issued earlier early October. For further details go to:
http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/protection/evaluation/resubmission_table_
rev08062009.pdf
Chemical Watch, 20 October 2009 http://chemicalwatch.com/news


WTO panel to rule on EU-US poultry dispute
2009-10-22
The United States has requested that the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
establish a panel to rule on the European Union‘s ban on imports of
chlorinated chicken. ―We regret that the United States has decided to ask
for a panel to be established in this case. We feel that litigation is not the
most appropriate way to deal with complex issues such as this one,‖ the
European Commission said in a statement reacting to the news on 8
October. ―However, since the US has chosen this path, we will defend our
food safety legislation, which does not discriminate against imported
products, ―the EU executive added. The EU poultry ban has been in place
since 1997, because US poultry producers use low-concentration chlorine
to wash chickens before selling them – a practice not permitted in the EU.
According to EU rules on hygiene and marketing of poultry,
slaughterhouses can only use water or other approved substances to rinse
meat products, in order to reduce their bacterial contamination. The
issue has been pinpointed as a top priority on the agenda of the
Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), which was established in April
2007 in a bid to reinvigorate EU-US economic relations. However, to date,
the two delegations have failed to resolve the chicken dispute in WTO
consultations. Last year, US Special Envoy to the EU Boyden Gray stressed
that the ban was not scientifically justified and argued that some EU
producers actually use the same process for exports. Gray admitted that
the loss of poultry exports to the EU is worth only ―a couple of hundred
million dollars,‖ a mere fraction of the annual €620 billion
transatlantic trade, but said the issue represents an ―important test‖ in
convincing sceptics that the TEC can work.
Euractiv, 9 October 2009 http://www.euractiv.com


REACH Update
ECHA rejects industry call for central SIEF IT platform
2009-10-30
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has rejected a suggestion that it
should set up a central IT facility to assist members of Substance
Information Exchange Fora (SIEFs) gather information for registration
dossiers. The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) proposed that
ECHA should establish an IT platform to process data within SIEFs in
order to help SMEs in particular meet the first registration deadline at
the end of November next year. The proposal has been forwarded to both
the European Commission and ECHA in the wake of a warning by CEFIC
that SIEFs are struggling to gather the necessary data and that many
companies may not be able to meet that deadline. The association
believes that the creation of a central IT facility operated by ECHA will
help ease the flow of information within SIEFs. ―It‘s an interesting idea,‖
says an ECHA official. ―But we feel that developing an IT platform would
not be the most productive use of our resources. We have already focused
on supporting SIEFs through providing guidance and support – which is
also in line with the REACH legislation. In particular, ECHA cannot
participate in discussions between potential registrants.‖ ECHA believe
that the number number of registrants needing to meet next year‘s
deadline will be much less than seemed likely earlier this year after the
higher than predicted level of pre-registrations in late 2008. ―(We are)
now assuming that many pre-registrants may not register at all and that
possibly less than 7%, around 9,200, of the almost 143,500
pre-registered substances will actually be registered by the November
deadline in 2010,‖ the official says. ―The number of registration dossiers
which will be submitted for these substances remains uncertain. Until
further information is received from lead registrants or industry
associations, ECHA is using these estimates, together with other
hypothetical scenarios, to plan for 2010.‖


CEFIC is concerned about the poor communications between hubs of
information within SIEFs, particularly those with a large number of
members and those containing many SMEs. ―Some potential registrants
are using their own IT system or those of consultancies for the sharing of
their data within SIEFs,‖ explained Alain Perroy, CEFIC‘s director
general. ―Others are using CEFIC‘s REACHLink system for data sharing
while others are working through the IT facilities set up by substance
consortia.‖ ―With such a diversity of IT platforms there is little hope of
members of SIEFs being able to come together with all their data,‖ he
continued. ―The only way to bring them together is to designate a central
platform for the task.‖ The registration deadlines were set by the EU as
part of the REACH legislation, he said. Now it was up to the EU
authorities to ensure that there were sufficient IT resources available to
ensure that these mandatory deadlines were met. ―ECHA has a system
within its REACH-IT computer platform for pre-registration and it has
another one for handling registrations,‖ Mr Perroy added. ―But ECHA
does not have an IT module to cover the mandatory obligations for data
sharing within the SIEFs. The lack of this central module is hampering
the operations of SIEFs.‖ The agency notes that although the
responsibility for making SIEFs work mainly rests with the companies, it
has been making ―considerable efforts‖ to assist with the formation of the
forums. Lead registrants have been encouraged to notify themselves to
ECHA so that the agency can give them targeted support. From 21 October,
more than 1,890 lead registrants had indicated their nomination to
ECHA. The official notes: ―Interestingly, we are also informed by industry
associations that lead registrants do not systematically inform us of their
activities and that, in reality, the level of industry preparation for
registration in 2010 is further advanced than these numbers suggest.‖
Chemical Watch, 23 October 2009 http://chemicalwatch.com/news


ECHA welcomes all stakeholders on      7 December 2009
2009-10-30
On 7 December 2009, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) organises
its third Stakeholders‘ Day at the Helsinki Exhibition and Convention
Centre, Finland. Up to 500 participants can attend. In addition, the Day
can be followed on the Internet either live via web streaming or following
the event. Participation is free of charge. The aim of the day is to
contribute to the development of a constructive relationship, transparency
and dialogue between ECHA and its stakeholders. As was the case with
the pervious days, the programme is divided into three sessions, each
followed by a Q&A:
Classification and labelling: ECHA will provide an update on the state of
play of the new CLP regulation and the C&L inventory that will be
established in 2011. In addition, industry will explain how companies
are preparing to fulfil their duties.
REACH enforcement: ECHA will explain the activities of the Forum for
Exchange of information on Enforcement. The European Commission and
a Member State representative will provide an overview of enforcement
across the EU and at national level.
Registration dossiers and compliance: ECHA experts and industry
representatives will update the audience on best practice in preparing a
registration dossier.
Registration can be completed via the Events section of the ECHA website.
The Stakeholders‘ Day is open to all but is particularly relevant for
organisations working with REACH and CLP, industry associations,
companies, public bodies, NGOs, third country representatives and the
media.
ECHA, 27 October http://echa.europa.eu


National REACH and CLP helpdesks form a common network – Help Net
2009-10-30
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has announced that a new,
joint network of REACH and CLP (Classification, Labelling and
Packaging) helpdesks has been created and is called Help Net. The
objectives of the network are: to provide consistent, harmonised answers
and the best possible advice to industry seeking to fulfil their obligations
under the REACH and CLP Regulations.
At the October 2009, the At REACH Helpdesk Correspondents‘ Network
(REHCORN) was expanded to also include the national CLP Helpdesks
and they merged to form a single network called Help Net. ECHA provides
the Secretariat for the network. A web-based IT application (Help Net
Exchange) will be used by the network to enable discussions and ensure
that consistent answers are given across Europe. A Help Net Steering
Group will consist of representatives of the national REACH and CLP
helpdesks of the 27 Member States, Norway, Iceland and ECHA. It will
meet on a regular basis to discuss issues of common interest, future
activities and the functioning of the Network. The European Commission
is an associated member of the network and the meetings of the Help Net
Steering Group are also attended by observers. The new Help Net Steering
Group replaces REHCORN which had been operational as the steering
body of the network of REACH helpdesks since April 2007. The Steering
Group can invite representatives from candidate countries or stakeholder
organisations who host an EU wide REACH or CLP helpdesk as observers.
Currently, six industry associations, along with Croatia and Turkey, are
observers of the Help Net Steering Group meetings.
ECHA, 27 October 2009 http://echa.europa.eu


REACH consortium announced for long-chain alcohols
2009-10-30
A new REACH registration consortium for long-chain alcohols (C6-C24)
has been announced. The group will specifically register: alcohols
C14-18, alcohols C10-16, docosan-1-ol, dodecan-1-ol, hexadecan-1-ol,
icosan-1-ol, octadecan-1-ol, tetracosanol, tetradecanol, alcohols C12-16,
alcohols C14-16, decan-1-ol, hexan-1-ol, nonan-1-ol, octan-1-ol,
alcohols C6-12, decanol (branched), decanol (branched and linear),
undecan-1-ol, alcohols C6-12, (Z)-octadec-9-enol, alcohols
C16-19-branched, pentadecan-1-ol.
Chemical Watch, 28 October 2009 http://chemicalwatch.com/news


Janet’s Corner – Not too seriously!
SIGNS
Awning Manufacturer‘s Door: ―Just a shade better.‖
Camouflage Store: ―Wise guise.‖
Chicken Incubator: ―Cheepers By The Dozen‖
Dormitory Bathtub: ―Don‘t forget your ring!‖
Elevator Door: ―This elevator is out of whack… more whack is on order.‖
Midget‘s Summer House: ―TOO LODGE‖
Minister‘s Bills: ―Due unto others.‖
Operating Room Entrance: ―May I Cut In?‖
Restaurant #4: ―Our tongue sandwiches speak for themselves.‖
Restaurant Menu (Texas): ―Remember the à la mode!‖
Scuba Diving Store: ―We carry a complete line of under ware.‖
Shoe Shine Stand: ―One shoe shined absolutely free.‖
Sports Car: ―The Keys Are on the Seat Next to the Doberman.‖
Tailor Shop (Kowloon): ―Customers giving orders will be swiftly
executed.‖
Towing Company #1: ―Call us at any hour. We‘re always on our tows.‖
Truck (on right rear): ―Pass on the right for that off-the-shoulder look.‖
Venetian Blind Dealer‘s Car: ―Watch Out! Blind Man Driving!‖
Waterbed Shop: ―Your vinyl resting place.‖
Weight-reduction Store: ―A word to the wides is sufficient.‖ and ―Stop!
Look! Lessen!‖
Wrestling Gym: ―Our sport gets a hold on you.‖
Wrigley Factory: ―Gum in.‖



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


Gossip
Farmers’ pesticides may not raise heart risks
2009-10-23
A new study has found that regular exposure to pesticides used
commonly on the farm does not appear to increase the risk of heart
attack. As part of the Agricultural Health Study, between 1993 and 1997,
researchers asked more than 54,000 male farmers what pesticides they
used regularly, how much time they spent using tractors and other farm
equipment, and whether they raised poultry or other livestock. Dr. Jane
A. Hoppin, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and colleagues surveyed
roughly 32,000 of these men 5 years later and discovered 839 non-fatal
heart attacks. In addition, the research team followed the entire study
population for almost 12 years on average and found that a total of 476
farmers died from heart attack. The researchers also considered
confounding factors that might increase heart attack risk, such as older
age, smoking and being overweight and found some suggestion of an
increased risk of heart attack with exposure to six specific pesticides,
although the link was not statistically significant. These pesticides were
the organochlorines aldrin and DDT, the herbicide 2,4,5-T, the
fumigant ethylene dibromide, and the fungicides maneb and ziram. In
comparison, five other pesticides - carbaryl, terbufos, imazethapyr,
pendimethalin, and petroleum oil - seemed to be associated with a
somewhat reduced risk of death from heart attack. However, none of the
49 pesticides were statistically associated with heart attack, nor did the
investigators note similar risk due to other farm-related ―exposures.‖ In
the new study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology,
Hoppin and colleagues point out that farmers commonly have heart
attack rates lower than those of the general population. The researchers
concluded that further investigations are required to confirm the
findings from the latest study and to assess short- and long-term
heart-related risks from exposure to pesticides.
Reuters Health, 21 October 2009 http://www.reutershealth.com


Genotype Determines Timing of PON1 Capability to Detoxify Pesticides
2009-10-23
Infants are extremely vulnerable to certain pesticide exposures because
they are still developing the ability to produce the enzyme
paraoxonase-1 (PON1), which detoxifies certain organophosphate
pesticides such as chlorpyrifos and diazinon. Research published in
2003 suggested that children may reach near-adult levels of PON1
activity by age 2 years. However, a new larger-scale study conducted
recently of participants in the Centre for Health Assessment in Mothers
and Children of Salinas cohort found that many children are still
ramping up PON1 levels until at least age 7 and that PON1 activity can
vary dramatically among children of the same age. Organophosphates
have been mainly banned from use around the home but are still widely
used in agriculture. These pesticides target the nervous systems of insects
and also affect the human nervous system. Previous studies by researchers
involved in the current study revealed associations between prenatal
exposure to organophosphate pesticides and increased reports of
developmental delays and disorders in children. Genetic variation in the
PON1 gene affects the type and quantity of the enzyme produced. A
single-nucleotide polymorphism at position 192 of the gene‘s coding
region changes the enzyme‘s configuration, affecting its overall and
pesticide-specific efficiency; the R allele (form) of the PON1192
polymorphism is more efficient than the Q allele at detoxifying
organophosphate metabolites. A single-nucleotide polymorphism at
position –108 of the gene‘s promoter region affects the amount of PON1
produced, such that persons with the C allele have higher levels of PON1
activity than persons with the T allele. During the recent study, the
researchers measured PON1 activity from birth to age 7 years in 458
Mexican-American children living in a heavily agricultural area. Blood
samples were taken at up to five time points (birth, 1 year, 2 years, 5
years, and 7 years) and analysed using three assays that measured PON1
quantity and efficiency. In addition, blood samples were genotyped for
PON1 variations. Researchers obtained a total of 1,143 samples, with
108 children providing samples at four or more time points. The results
showed that enzyme activity increased with age in all the children.
However, compared with other children, PON1 activity was higher at
birth and increased more quickly with age in children with the RR
PON1192 genotype or the CC PON1–108 genotype (found in 24% and
28% of the children, respectively), such that in some cases average levels
of activity against some pesticide metabolites were lower in children at
age 7 than they were in other children at age 2. Children with both the
RR and CC genotypes had the highest PON1 activity levels, and children
with both the QQ and TT genotypes had the lowest levels. The researchers
concluded that the findings from the study suggest that some children
may be vulnerable to the effects of organophosphate pesticides for longer
than previously thought. Therefore, the researchers recommended that
policy makers consider this new information to ensure standards for
pesticide exposures adequately protect young children.
Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2009 http://ehponline.org


What Is Killing South African Crocs?
2009-10-23
Carcasses of adult crocodiles do not usually signal the return of winter in
South Africa, but mass death seems to be becoming the harbinger of the
season. Rangers at the Kruger National Park have found Nile crocodiles
floating in the Olifants River or bloated and decaying along its banks.
Researchers are now trying to quickly determine the cause and worry
that the deaths might be signalling the presence of toxins or pathogens
that could threaten not only the croc population but also the livelihoods
of the people living near the river. The Olifants River runs several
hundred kilometres through three South African provinces and into
Mozambique. It supplies water to industrial agriculture operations that
send food to Europe and to the local rural communities, which also
depend on those waters for fishing and farming. The first sign of croc
trouble in the river came in the winter of 2008, when rangers collected
170 dead individuals, sometimes at a rate of 20 bodies a week. A survey
at the end of this May showed nearly 400 crocs living in the park‘s gorge,
down from at least 1,000 in 2008. So far, as of 7 August, rangers and
scientists have found 23 carcasses. Last year, following the dissection of
some of the dead crocodiles, researchers determined that some kind of
pansteatitis—an inflammation of adipose tissue—was killing the animals.
Specifically, their tails were swollen with the hardened, enlarged fat
deposits, which had stiffened and immobilised the crocodiles and left
them unable to hunt. Samples of the fat showed the deposits had oxidised
to bright yellow. The disease may not be limited to crocs. Scientists found
the same kinds of fat deposits in fish in the Olifants River. In addition,
in the river‘s gorge just upstream from Massingir Dam in Mozambique,
which also has seen croc declines, birds were absent, raising the
possibility that they, too, have succumbed to the same agent. However, the
cause of this illness remains unknown. In June a team of researchers, led
by Henk Bouwman of North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, in
South Africa reported test results from crocodile tissues at two European
chemistry meetings. ―Everything is there,‖ Bouwman says, referring to the
detection of DDT, PCBs, dioxins and brominated flame retardants, ―but
nothing is screaming, ‗it‘s me, it‘s me, it‘s me.‘ ‖ One possibility could be
related to dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria found upstream in the
catchment, which might be releasing toxins similar to those that cause
red tides in marine environments, says Peter Ashton, a water resources
specialist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South
Africa and the University of Pretoria.


―It never is a quick, easy solution‖ in which it takes one test to find a
culprit, explains Danny Govender, a disease ecologist for South African
National Parks. She notes that samples taken from live crocs in 2007
showed that the fat of some crocodiles was beginning to harden. Along
with Bouwman, she speculates that all these toxins, found below
harmful levels individually, could be acting together in a deadly brew.
Govender cites changes to the river‘s ecosystem that stem from
infrastructure outside the park, including hundreds of coal-mining
operations upstream, where crocodiles have disappeared almost
completely, and a dam downstream of the gorge. For the first time in the
two decades since it was built, the dam‘s reservoir was full last year,
slowing down the Olifants‘s flow through the crocodiles‘ gorge. Govender
wonders if the slowed water enabled toxins to build up along the
crocodiles‘ stretch of the river. Indeed, hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and
other compounds from river sediments probably caused massive fish
deaths in July, scientists have concluded, and crocs eating these
contaminated fish could have been affected. Even if researchers find the
culprits, the impacts could reach further than suspected. ―We really
underestimated [the number of dead] crocodiles from last year‘s count,‖
Govender adds, noting that their bodies could have been eaten by other
crocs or sunk to the bottom of the river. ―I suspect we‘re losing a lot of
breeding females,‖ whose carcasses are smaller and more easily scavenged.
If that is the case, she says, the gorge‘s crocodile population may not ever
recover, even if scientists can pinpoint the cause of the die-off. As for the
people who depend on the Olifants River, ―I don‘t know what to tell
them,‖ Bouwman says. His colleague Henrik Kylin of Swedish University
of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala wants to go into Mozambique to test
fish there, and possibly people, to see if the croc killer kills more than
just crocs.
Scientific American, October 2009 http://www.sciam.com


Children’s Blood Lead Levels Linked To Lower Test Scores
2009-10-23
According to the findings from a new study by researchers at Duke
University and North Carolina Central University, exposure to lead in
early childhood significantly contributes to lower performances on
end-of-grade (EOG) reading tests among minority and low-income
children. Lead author, Marie Lynn Miranda, director of the Children‘s
Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI) at Duke‘s Nicholas School of the
Environment said, ―We found a clear dose-response pattern between lead
exposure and test performance, with the effects becoming more
pronounced as you move from children at the high end to the low end of
the test-score curve.‖ ―Given the higher average lead exposure
experienced by African-American children in the United States, our
results show that lead does in fact explain part of the observed
achievement gap that blacks, children of low socioeconomic status and
other disadvantaged groups continue to exhibit in school performance in
the U.S. education system, compared to middle- and upper-class whites,‖
Miranda said. The new study, published recently online in the
peer-reviewed journal NeuroToxicology, found associations between
blood-lead levels from the North Carolina Childhood Lead Poisoning
Prevention Program surveillance registry and EOG reading test scores for
4th graders in all 100 of the state‘s counties. Researchers used innovative
methods, including the use of a statistical approach called quantile
regression, to measure the contribution of lead exposure to declining
levels in children‘s EOG scores. The results demonstrated that early
childhood exposure to lead, the family‘s poverty status and parental
education all account for test-score declines. On average, exposure to lead
accounts for between 7 percent and 16 percent of the decline with the
larger declines associated with higher blood-lead levels.


By comparison, they discovered the family‘s poverty status, as indicated
by enrolment in a free or reduced-price school lunch program, accounts
for 25 percent to 28 percent of EOG declines. Furthermore, parental
education accounts for the largest portion of the drop in test scores,
between 58 percent and 65 percent of the total. ―This demonstrates the
particular vulnerabilities of socioeconomically and environmentally
disadvantaged children,‖ said Miranda, an associate professor at the
Nicholas School and Duke Medical School‘s department of paediatrics.
―Children who experience these cumulative deficits are especially
disadvantaged when they enter the school system.‖ The analysis
indicated that children already at the low end of the test-score curve
were more greatly affected by lead exposure – the greater the exposure,
the greater the impact on their scores. However, downward shifts were
also documented in exposed children at the high end of the EOG curve.
This is important, the study noted, because EOG scores are used to place
students into advanced and intellectually gifted (AIG) programs at schools
across the United States. ―Our findings show that even low-level lead
exposure can push some children out of the score range that would make
them eligible for these special programs,‖ Miranda said. ―To the extent
that low-income and minority children are systematically exposed to
more lead, AIG programs become less economically and racially diverse.‖
Science Daily, 19 October 2009 http://www.sciencedaily.com


Swine Flu Characteristics Becoming More Evident
2009-10-23
As swine flu continues to rapidly spread around the world, we are now
gaining a better picture of the most serious cases, indicating that the
virus could pose a greater threat to some young, otherwise vibrant people.
The virus can cause life-threatening viral pneumonia much more
commonly than the typical flu, prompting the World Health
Organisation to recently warn hospitals to prepare for a possible wave of
very sick patients and to urge doctors to treat suspected cases quickly with
antiviral drugs. Experts stress that most people who get the H1N1 virus
either never get sick or recover easily. But some young adults, mainly
women, are falling seriously ill at an unexpectedly rapid pace and are
showing up in intensive care units and dying in unusually high
numbers, they say. Although why a minority of patients become so sick
remains a mystery, a new study has indicated that H1N1 is different
from typical seasonal flu viruses in crucial ways -- most notably in its
ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause viral pneumonia. ―It‘s
not like seasonal influenza,‖ Nikki Shindo of the World Health
Organisation said at the conclusion of a three-day meeting of more than
100 experts the WHO convened in Washington to review swine flu. ―It can
cause very severe disease in previously healthy young adults.‖ The WHO‘s
warning came as U.S. health officials reported that the number of states
reporting widespread flu activity was up to 41, including Maryland and
Virginia, and that the death toll among children had climbed to 86.
Maryland has reported 10 deaths and Virginia health officials say eight
people, including one child, have died. There have been no reports of
deaths among District residents. So far, the virus does not seem to sicken
or kill people more often than the typical flu. However, the pattern of
people getting seriously ill is far different than in typical flu seasons. The
elderly, who are usually most vulnerable, are generally spared; children,
teenagers, pregnant women and young adults are the most common
victims. Officials have been closely monitoring the virus for signs it has
mutated into a more dangerous form, and they have also been testing
animals for the virus because of fears that infected livestock could cause
more-lethal mutations.


Federal agriculture officials have said that pigs from the Minnesota State
Fair had tested positive for H1N1, which would make them the first
documented pig infections in the United States, if follow-up tests confirm
the results. But there are no signs that the pigs were sick or that the
animals had infected any humans. Children staying near the fair had
gotten the virus, but there was no sign they were infected by the pigs.
Seasonal flu viruses tend to infect primarily the upper respiratory system.
But recent animal studies and autopsies on about 100 swine flu victims
have shown that H1N1 infects both the upper respiratory tract, which
makes it relatively easy to transmit, and also the lungs, which is more
similar to the avian flu virus that has been circulating in Asia. ―It‘s like
the avian flu on steroids,‖ said Sherif Zaki, chief of Infectious Disease
Pathology at the CDC. He noted that unusually large concentrations of
the swine flu virus have been found in the lungs of victims: ―It really is
a new beast, so to speak.‖ Approximately a third of patients who required
intensive care had bacterial pneumonia, but H1N1‘s proclivity to infect
lung cells makes it more likely than seasonal flu to cause viral
pneumonia, which can lead to life-threatening lung damage.
―Remarkably different is this small subset of patients that presents very
severe viral pneumonia,‖ Shindo said. Although it remains unclear how
frequently the virus makes people seriously ill, recent reports from
Mexico, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand indicate
that perhaps 1 percent of patients who get infected require
hospitalisation. Between 12 to 30 percent of those hospitalised need
intensive care, and 15 to 40 percent of those in intensive care die. While
about two-thirds of U.S. patients who were hospitalised in the spring had
other medical conditions, the CDC reported recently that an analysis of
more than 1,400 hospitalised victims found perhaps half had no serious
health problems. About one-third of those around the world who have
died or became seriously ill from swine flu appear to have been
vulnerable because they had heart or lung disease, chronic kidney
problems, or other ailments that usually put people at risk. But others
had conditions that many may not immediately associate with frailness,
such as mild asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.
―Many of these people look just like you or me,‖ said Anand Kumar, an
associate professor of critical care and infectious disease at the University
of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, which was hit hard by the
pandemic‘s first wave last spring.


There appears to be no way to predict with certainty who may suffer
serious, life-threatening complications, since some victims have had no
other health problems. Although it has been well publicised that
pregnant women appear to be at increased risk, some evidence has started
to suggest that being female may itself be a risk factor, for reasons that
remain unclear. ―There‘s no question that women, and particularly
young women, are getting hit disproportionately,‖ said Kumar. He noted
that women tend to have more fat tissue, which can help stimulate a
dangerous inflammatory response to infections. In addition, some of those
who develop serious illness deteriorate soon after starting to feel ill. They
require oxygen masks, ventilator machines to pump oxygen into their
lungs to keep them alive, and drastic, often rarely used measures to try to
save them within days of the first fever, ache or cough. ―The rapidity of
it is striking,‖ said Andrew R. Davies, deputy director of intensive care at
Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Some of the cases in Australia
and New Zealand were so severe that doctors resorted to a much more
aggressive, less commonly used treatment known as extracorporeal
membrane oxygenation (ECMO). It involves siphoning patients‘ blood into
a machine to remove carbon dioxide and then infuse it with oxygen
before returning it to their bodies. ―It‘s quite an extreme form of
treatment,‖ said Steve Webb, a clinical associate professor at the Royal
Perth Hospital in Australia. Other doctors have tried administering
nitric oxide and putting patients in a bed that turns them upside down
to help their lungs work better. ―Our back was against the wall,‖ Murphy
said, adding that after the deaths of patients his hospital is working to
make ECMO available. ―It‘s very difficult to get this double-barrelled
message out that: ‗Yes, most cases are mild, but in a small percentage of
cases these cases are disastrous,‘ ― Vanderbilt University‘s William
Schaffner said. ―But the message is: Don‘t underestimate H1N1.‖
The Washington Post, 17 October 2009
http://www.washingtonpost.com


Bad eyesight linked to short life
2009-10-23
A recent study published in the October issue of Archives of
Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals has suggested that
visual problems that cannot be corrected are associated with increased
risk of death among individuals between the ages of 49 and 74, and all
visual impairments may be associated with the risk of death in older
adults. Visual impairment has been associated with a higher risk of
death as well as factors that may lead to increased death such as
unintentional injury, depression, lower body mass index (BMI), reduced
walking speeds, increased risk of falls, self-reported difficulty in
physical activity, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer, according
to background information in the article. ―Correction for these
‗confounders‘ has been found to attenuate the association between visual
impairment and mortality, but the mechanisms behind the association
between visual impairment and mortality remains to be determined.‖
During the new study, Michael J. Karpa, M.B.B.S., B.Sc., of Westmead
Millennium Institute, Sydney, Australia, and colleagues used data from
the Blue Mountains Eye Study, which examined visual impairment in
3,654 participants age 49 and older between 1992 and 1994 and after
five and ten years, to evaluate the relationship between visual
impairment and death risk among older individuals. They discovered
that at baseline, participants with noncorrectable visual impairment
were more likely to be female, age 75 and older and underweight. Those
with correctable visual impairment were more likely to be age 75 and
older, but had no difference in proportions of women or BMI. Thirteen
years after baseline, 1,273 participants had died. A higher risk of dying
was associated with noncorrectable visual impairment, with a stronger
association for participants younger than age 75. The analyses ―revealed
greater effects of noncorrectable visual impairment on mortality risk,
with both direct and indirect effects,‖ the authors write. ―Of mortality
risk markers examined, only disability in walking demonstrated a
significant indirect pathway for the link between visual impairment and
mortality.‖ ―In conclusion, this study reaffirms that visual impairment is
associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality,‖ the authors
write. ―Disability in walking may represent an important indirect
pathway to mortality for persons with visual impairment, and adjusting
for this factor in statistical analysis may over adjust for the indirect
effect of visual impairment on mortality risk. The impact of visual
impairment on mortality may in fact be greater than that reported from
previous studies that have used traditional statistical models.‖
Science Alert, 19 October 2009 http://www.sciencealert.com.au


Entrepeneur says he strikes oil with our garbage
2009-10-23
Like the alchemists who once tried to turn lead into gold, a green
entrepreneur says he has found a cost-effective method for turning plastic
trash into oil. During a recent visit to his new demonstration plant in
Maryland, Envion CEO Michael Han describes his process: Waste plastic
is shredded and melted and then processed in a way that separates the
petroleum from the rest of the ingredients. At one end of the machinery,
shredded plastic trash is dumped in a hopper and goes up a conveyor
belt into a ―reactor.‖ At the other end is a spaghetti of pipes and valves
and tanks. Han turns open a spigot on one of the pipes and produces a
liquid the colour of apple juice. It smells kind of like diesel, and Han
claims it‘s ready to be processed for any number of uses: fuelling cars,
diesel generators or even jets. However, not all of the ingredients in plastic
can be refined into petroleum. All the chemicals that were added when
the plastic was produced must be separated out and collected in a
sediment tank. That could be a problem, says Kert Davies, a researcher
with the environmental group Greenpeace. He has not visited the plant,
but after reading Envion‘s literature, he asked, ―what happens to the
additives and the metals and the other things?‖ Envion is hoping to find
asphalt makers who can use the sludge as an ingredient for paving after
the metals are filtered out. Otherwise, it can be dried by microwaving
and the dust sent to a landfill. ―Then you end up with a different
problem,‖ Davies said. ―Is that going to a hazardous waste landfill?‖ But
Han says that it‘s not hazardous, and most important, that the process
releases no gas into the air. ―You don‘t smell anything burning,‖ he said.
―We don‘t incinerate. We simply melt.‖ Han set up his demonstration at
the Montgomery County dump in Maryland. Amid bales of crushed
yogurt containers and plastic bottles, there seems to be little risk that he
will run out of trash to feed into his machine. Envion is pitching the
technology to sanitation departments, promising it will cut down on their
trash volume by consuming up to 10,000 tons of plastic per year while
producing some revenue as well. The plant could produce up to 60,000
barrels of oil a year, Han says, and although some of that oil is used to
keep the machinery running, the rest can be sold to an oil company for
profit. The plant cost $4 million to build, but Han says it can produce
oil for as little as $10 a barrel at a time when oil is selling for more
than $70 a barrel. Davies said that ―finding new oil to burn is not the
goal. The goal should be to burn less oil.‖ But Han said, ―if there‘s a way
that we can solve the problem of accumulation of waste plastic in our
country and at the same time turn it into a by-product that is cost
effective, then I think it‘s a win-win
CNN News, 19 October 2009 http://www.cnn.com/health


Green tea may cut the risk of dying from pneumonia
2009-10-23
In a new study from Japan, researchers have demonstrated that drinking
green tea continues to show health benefits, particularly among women.
According to Ikue Watanabe, from Tohoku University Graduate School of
Medicine in Sendai, Japan, drinking five or more cups a day cut the
risk by ―47 percent in Japanese women,‖ but not Japanese men.
Pneumonia risk seems to be reduced even by drinking small amounts of
green tea. Drinking as little as one cup or less of green tea per day was
associated with 41 percent less risk of dying from pneumonia among
Japanese women, the researchers discovered. The researchers say that the
findings ―support the possibility‖ that green tea contains compounds
capable of destroying or inhibiting the growth of viruses and
microorganisms. During the new study, Watanabe and colleagues assessed
how drinking green tea affected the risk of dying from pneumonia among
19,079 men and 21,493 women receiving National Health Insurance in
Japan. The study population ranged from 40 to 79 years old and had no
reported history of cancer, heart attack, stroke at the start of the study.
Through more than 12 years of follow up in about 85 percent of the
study group (6,033 were lost to follow-up), 406 study participants died
from pneumonia, the researchers report in the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition. They found benefits from drinking green tea in
women, but not in men, after allowing for age, physical function, and
smoking status, plus numerous other health and dietary factors
potentially associated with the risk for pneumonia. Watanabe believes
that ―green tea may have an effect on pneumonia in women in other
countries as well.‖ However, more research is required to confirm this, as
well as exactly what green tea compounds lessen pneumonia risk among
women.
Reuters Health, 13 October 2009 http://www.reutershealth.com
Mercury Levels In Children With Autism And Those Developing
Typically Are The Same, Study Finds
2009-10-23
A new large population-based study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND
Institute has reported that after adjusting for a number of factors,
typically developing children and children with autism have similar
levels of mercury in their blood streams. Mercury is a heavy metal found
in other studies to adversely affect the developing nervous system. The
study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, is
the most rigorous examination to date of blood-mercury levels in
children with autism. However, the researchers cautioned that the study
is not an examination of whether mercury plays a role in causing the
disorder. ―We looked at blood-mercury levels in children who had
autism and children who did not have autism,‖ said lead study author
Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an internationally known MIND Institute researcher
and professor of environmental and occupational health. ―The bottom
line is that blood-mercury levels in both populations were essentially
the same. However, this analysis did not address a causal role, because
we measured mercury after the diagnosis was made.‖ The research was
undertaken as part of the Northern California-based Childhood Autism
Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study, of which
Hertz-Picciotto is the principal researcher. The CHARGE Study is a large,
comprehensive, epidemiologic investigation designed to identify factors
associated with autism and discover clues to its origins. CHARGE study
participants include children between 24 and 60 months who are
diagnosed with autism, as well as children with other developmental
disorders and typically developing controls. The study investigated a wide
variety of sources of mercury in the participants‘ environments,
including fish consumption, personal-care products (such as nasal sprays
or earwax removal products, which may contain mercury) and the types
of vaccinations they received. In addition, the study examined whether
children who have dental fillings made of the silver-coloured
mercury-based amalgam and who grind their teeth or chew gum had
higher blood-mercury levels. In fact, those children who both chew gum
and have amalgams did have higher blood-mercury levels.


However, the consumption of fish — such as tuna and other ocean fish
and freshwater fish — was far and away the biggest and most significant
predictor of blood-mercury levels. Data on most possible sources of
mercury — fish consumption and dental amalgams –— were collected by
interviews with the study subjects‘ parents. Information on vaccines was
obtained from the child‘s vaccination and medical records. A few
children had recently had a vaccine containing mercury, and their
blood-mercury levels were not elevated. Of the 452 participants included
in the research, 249 were diagnosed with autism, 143 were developing
typically and 60 had other developmental delays, such as Down
syndrome. At the outset, the children with autism appeared to have
significantly lower blood-mercury levels than the typically developing
children. But children with autism tend to be picky eaters and, in this
study, ate less fish. When adjusted for their lower levels of fish
consumption, their blood-mercury concentrations were roughly the same
as those of children with typical development and very similar to those
found in a nationally representative sample of 1- to 5-year-old children.
Hertz-Picciotto said the CHARGE study is casting a wide net, addressing
an array of exposures that originate in the home or the broader
environment, as well as genes and gene expression. Because so little is
known about the causes of autism, the researchers plan to look at
everything from household products to medical treatments, diet and
supplements, and even infections. Additionally, they will explore
interactions among multiple factors. ―Just as autism is complex, with
great variation in severity and presentation, it is highly likely that its
causes will be found to be equally complex. It‘s time to abandon the idea
that a single ‗smoking gun‘ will emerge to explain why so many children
are developing autism. The evidence to date suggests that, without taking
account of both genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, the story
will remain incomplete. Few studies, however, are taking this kind of
multi-faceted approach,‖ Hertz-Picciotto said.
Science Daily, 19 October 2009 http://www.sciencedaily.com


Disinfection By-Products and Congenital Anomalies Evidence Still
Inconclusive
2009-10-23
Many observational studies have examined a possible link between
maternal exposure to mutagenic disinfection by-products (DBPs) in the
water supply and congenital anomalies in offspring. However, up until
now, literature reviews have shown the evidence to be inconclusive. Now
researchers have reviewed newer epidemiologic studies that include more
categories of anomalies, but again have found the evidence inconsistent.
They suggest several guidelines that would help future studies clarify this
issue. During the recent review, the authors analysed all published
epidemiologic studies that examined the association between congenital
anomalies and exposure to DBPs, which form when organic matter in
treated water reacts with chlorine disinfectant. The studies used a variety
of indices of exposure, including the use of chlorination, DBP
measurements in the public water supply, and information from
participants about activities such as drinking, showering, and bathing.
When three or more studies evaluated the same exposure index and the
same congenital anomalies, the authors performed a meta-analysis to
derive a summary risk estimate comparing high- and low-exposure
groups. When five or more studies investigated the relationship between
total trihalomethane (TTHM) concentration and a specific anomaly, the
authors conducted a meta-analysis to arrive at exposure–response
relative risk estimates per 10 µg/L TTHM. TTHM concentrations in local
water sources have often been used in epidemiologic studies as a proxy
for DBP exposure. These meta-analyses provide little evidence for an
association. For all congenital anomalies combined, a statistically
significant excess risk was found for high versus low exposure to
chlorinated water or to TTHM, but the analysis was based on a small
number of studies. Furthermore, the authors discovered a statistically
significant excess risk for ventricular septal defects, but that analysis
included only three studies, and there was little evidence of an
exposure–response relationship. In addition, the meta-analyses were
weakened by the fact that studies used very different exposure criteria.
For instance, among studies that measured TTHM, one defined low
exposure as lower than 60 µg per L water, whereas another defined high
exposure as higher than 20 µg/L. The authors note the need for studies
that consider the complex mixtures of DBPs to which people are exposed,
which can vary over time, by geographical area, and by route of
exposure. This includes conducting studies in places with water supplies
that have large amounts of specific DBPs, such as Barcelona, Spain, or
Perth, Australia, which have high levels of brominated DBPs.
Furthermore, showering, bathing, and swimming activities should be
examined in more detail because these activities may yield different
levels of exposure compared with drinking water exposure. The review
also calls for studies that focus on specific congenital anomalies for
which there is likely to be complete case diagnosis and reporting, in
addition to case–control studies that follow up on possible associations
with ventricular septal defects, which are particularly prone to
underreporting in registry-based studies.
Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2009 http://ehponline.org
Australia ‘can’t ignore toxic risk’
According to a leading Australian contaminant scientist Australians
need to avoid complacency about the ‗clean and green‘ image widely used
to market our food produce at home and overseas. Marking international
World Food Day on 16 October, Managing Director of the Cooperative
Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the
Environment (CRC CARE), Professor Ravi Naidu, said that despite
excellent food regulation and safeguards in Australia, we and other
citizens of industrialised countries face an unprecedented cocktail of
toxic substances in our daily lives. ‗Today the human body has to deal
with a complex array of chemicals arriving via our indoor and outdoor
air, in our water supplies, and as residual chemicals in our food supply‘,
Professor Naidu said. ‗At no time in its evolution has the human body
had such an onslaught of unfamiliar and toxic substances to deal with‘.
In addition, we are inventing new substances every week that can enter
our tissues and organs long before medical science can fully understand
what their future effect may be, he said. ‗For example, we simply don‘t
know enough about the rapidly increasing range of nanoparticles being
used in the manufacturing sector, or how they will behave in our bodies
or affect our health‘, Professor Naidu said. Nanoparticles are present
naturally in the environment, but we are also inventing lots of new ones.
Australian food producers have an enviable global reputation for being
clean and green, which helps us compete in international markets,
Professor Naidu said.    However, we are also heavy users of chemicals
and fertilisers - not to mention big consumers of fossil fuel per kilogram
of food produced. ‗We must avoid complacency about the ‗clean and
green‘ reputation of our foodstuffs‘, Professor Naidu said. ‗We may not be
quite so clean nor quite so green as we like to think‘, he said. ‗As well as
the new types of chemicals and materials, we need to keep educating
industries and consumers about the risks that existing common
contaminants represent to our soils and water and therefore our food.‘
The huge release of lead dust in Esperance in 2007, the long-term
fallout onto crops and grazing lands from smelters, the dust from exposed
mining operations blown long distances, and the leaching from
generations of poorly managed arsenic cattle and sheep dips, landfills,
petroleum tanks and other pollution sources are all common examples of
existing contamination, he said.
‗We know about these, and we can even get a bit blasé about them‘,
Professor Naidu said. ‗We need to remember that in the long term it is
more likely that science will discover precisely how these materials creep
into our food supplies and injure us than come up with easy and cheap
solutions to restore our damaged health‘, he warned. We need to remain
vigilant about the quality of the soils and water that produce our food
and what we add to them, whether on purpose or by accident, he said.
As well as home-grown problems, Australian consumers also face real
risks from imported foodstuffs that are poorly regulated in the country of
origin. The presence of mercury in some imported fish products is an
example. Some Asian vegetable imports may also be grown under
conditions that would not be acceptable in Australia. Professor Naidu
said that our growing cities are encroaching on what was once our most
productive market garden land, while freshwater supplies were shrinking
and energy costs escalating. Yet at the same time we were deliberately
increasing the Australian population at the fastest rate in the developed
world. ‗This is going to lead us into increasingly intense forms of food
production which carry with them extra risks of contamination from
chemicals and fertilisers‘, he said. An example is the risk of endocrine
disruptor chemicals entering our food chain when we irrigate with
recycled wastewater. ‗Whether we are talking about unknowingly growing
our vegies in backyards that used to be industrial land, or in soil
polluted by old waste from careless businesses, or about large areas of dry
or irrigated farmland, we cannot afford to relax measures that prevent
food contamination.‘ Professor Naidu said that rapid new sensors of toxic
metals being developed by his CRC could make a real contribution to
future food safety. ‗World Food Day ought to be a reminder to us all that
our own health, as well as our ability to earn revenue from food exports
to a hungry world, depends on the care we take to avoid contamination‘,
he said.
Science Alert, 15 October 2009 http://www.sciencealert.com.au


Battery Recycling Exacts a Heavy Toll
2009-10-23
Between November 2007 and March 2008, 18 children from a
neighbourhood of Dakar, Senegal, died from an aggressive central
nervous system disease. Experts from the World Health Organisation and
local health authorities were called in to investigate the deaths, but
cultural prohibitions pre-empted autopsies of the children. So the
researchers examined 32 of the children‘s siblings and 23 of the siblings‘
mothers along with 18 unrelated local children and 8 unrelated adults.
They concluded that the cause of death likely was encephalopathy
resulting from severe lead poisoning. The source of the lead, in turn, was
determined to be contamination resulting from the reclamation of used
lead-acid batteries, a lucrative business in developing countries that
often is performed in the open with few pollution controls. Since 1995,
local people had broken apart batteries from vehicles and appliances
and sorted the components in an open sandy area of the neighbourhood.
They sifted through the sand for scraps of valuable lead to sell, even
carrying sacks of contaminated sand into their homes. People were
probably exposed by inhaling and ingesting lead dust, with children
particularly exposed through hand-to-mouth activity and eating the
contaminated soil. The developing nervous system of children is
particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead. Blood lead
concentrations as low as 10 µg/dL are known to impair neurologic
development, resulting in permanent intellectual impairment. However,
recent evidence suggests there may be no safe threshold of exposure. Of the
50 children tested, blood lead levels ranged from 39.8 to 613.9 µg/dL.
Seventeen out of the 50 children demonstrated neuropsychiatric
symptoms including convulsions, irritability, and aggression, and 21
showed gastrointestinal symptoms such as anorexia and vomiting. Adult
blood lead levels ranged from 32.5 to 98.9 µg/dL, and their most
commonly reported symptom was gastrointestinal upset. Recycling activity
reportedly ended by March 2008 following a public awareness campaign,
and the neighbourhood soil was partially remediated. Nevertheless, lead
concentrations measured in the sandy work area after this time still
reached 209,000 mg/kg, and levels inside homes reached 14,000 mg/kg.
The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sets 400 mg/kg
as for the standard for lead in bare soil in children‘s play areas (there is
no comparable standard in Senegal). The lead poisoning in this study
was severe enough to catch the attention of health experts, but the global
incidence of lead poisoning from battery recycling is unknown. The
authors believe many cases go unaddressed in developing countries
because local authorities lack resources to recognise, diagnose, and
manage lead toxicity. However, they write, lead poisoning can be
prevented through measures such as public education and the
implementation and enforcement of lead recycling guidelines
Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2009 http://ehponline.org


’Toxic legacy’ seeps from melting Alpine glaciers
2009-10-23
A new study by Swiss researchers has revealed that Alpine glaciers
melting under the impact of climate change are releasing highly toxic
pollutants that had been absorbed by the ice for decades. In the study,
the published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the
researchers warn that it could have a ―dire environmental impact‖ on
―pristine mountain areas‖ as global warming accelerates. Much of the
pollution was dumped on Europe‘s biggest mountain range by
atmospheric currents from further afield, according to the researchers at
three Swiss scientific institutes. Their study of layers of sediment from an
Alpine lake formed by a hydroelectric dam built in central Switzerland
in 1953 revealed ―sharp‖ build-ups of now banned chemical
compounds from industry and farming, including dioxins and pesticides
like DDT. ―We can confirm with the help of these layers that, in the
1960s and 1970s, POPs (Persistant Organic Pollutants) were produced in
great quantities and were also deposited in this Alpine lake,‖ said one of
the authors, Christian Bogdal, of the Swiss Federal Laboratory for
Materials Testing and Research. However, while the concentration of
POPs fell after the 1970s as many of those compounds were banned, the
scientists found an unusual resurgence in more recent sediment from the
past 10 to 15 years. They concluded that the lake, the Oberaarsee, was
largely fed by water from a nearby melting glacier that was releasing
pollutants at a level comparable to when the compounds were still in use.
―At this stage our study indicates that accelerated glacier melting due to
global warming may also account for enhanced release of legacy organic
pollutants at historically high levels,‖ according to the full study.   One
of the scientists, Peter Schmid, said that their findings were replicated at
two other glacial lakes in the Swiss Alps. But another lake that was not
fed by glaciers did not show any increase in the compounds. The authors
said that that it was the first time that glaciers were demonstrated to be a
secondary source of such pollution. Production and use of POPs was
banned or restricted under an international treaty in 2001, although
several major industrialised nations such as the United States had started
to outlaw them in preceding decades. They are regarded as very durable
and carcinogenic, and in some instances can be absorbed through the
skin. Their release in an Alpine setting could lead to ―short but intense
pulses‖ of pollution in spring and summer, the scientists concluded. That
could affect drinking water in Alpine huts, the food chain through fish
from nearby lakes, irrigation facilities and even artificial snow on ski
slopes. The Alps are commonly known as the water tower of Europe, as
the source of major rivers such as the Rhine and Rhone. Schmid
cautioned that further research was required to determine the pathways
of the POPs in the Alps and how much they retained their toxicity.
Agence France-Presse, 14 October 2009
http://www.afp.com/afpcom/en/


Antioxidants may protect pilots from DNA damage
2009-10-23
According to the results from a recent study, increased intakes of
vitamins C and E and other antioxidants from the diet may protect
against DNA damage in people exposed to ionising radiation such as
pilots. Ionising radiation is radiation from both natural and man-made
sources which is energetic enough to create ions from atoms or molecules
by removing an electron. At high altitudes, like those achieved by
commercial jet airlines, ionising radiation increases because of exposure
to significantly higher levels of cosmic radiation than at ground level.
According to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of
Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), airline flight crew workers are exposed to
higher average doses than any other worker, including those in nuclear
power plants. The detrimental effects of this radiation exposure include
potential increased risk of DNA damage, which is considered an
important trigger in cancer development, according to scientists from the
US National Institutes of Health, the Harvard School of Public Health,
and the American Cancer Society. The new study, published in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reported that high intakes of a
combination of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin,
and lutein-zeaxanthin from food ―may protect against cumulative DNA
damage in ionizing radiation-exposed persons‖. Since antioxidants may
protect against DNA damage, the US-based researchers estimated the
dietary intakes of vitamins C and E and carotenoids in 82 male airline
pilots using a food frequency questionnaire, and compared this to the
frequency of chromosome translocations, used as a biological marker of
cumulative DNA damage. The results demonstrated that above the average
serving number of the vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables were
associated with a 39 per cent reduction in translocation frequency, while
citrus fruit and green leafy vegetables were associated with 36 and 41
per cent reductions, respectively. The strongest protective effects – a
reduction of 73 per cent – were observed for above average combined
intakes of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and
lutein-zeaxanthin from food, said the researchers. A recent review of the
epidemiological evidence by scientists at the Johannes
Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany reported that, despite
―consistently elevated risks‖ for breast cancer amongst female aircrew
members, and increased brain cancer among some pilots, overall cancer
occurrence and mortality was lower than in the general population.
―Ionising radiation is considered to contribute little if at all to the
elevated risks for cancers among aircrew, whereas excess ultraviolet
radiation is a probable cause of the increased melanoma risk,‖ wrote the
German reviewers in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry
Nutra Ingredients, 13 October 2009 http://www.nutraingredients.com


White wines ‘bad for the teeth’
2009-10-23
Enjoying a glass of white wine on a frequent basis can damage the teeth,
something many wine makers and tasters will know first-hand, experts
say. New Nutrition Research has found that this occurs due to the high
acidic content of the wine, which erodes enamel far more than red wine.
It is not the wine‘s vintage, origin or alcohol that are key but its pH and
duration of contact with the teeth. Eating cheese at the same time could
counter the effects, because it is rich in calcium, the German authors say.
It is the calcium in teeth that the wine attacks. During the study, the
researchers soaked adult teeth in white wine for a day and found that
there was a loss of both calcium and another mineral called phosphorus
to depths of up to 60 micrometers in the enamel surface, which the
researchers say is significant. Riesling wines tended to have the greatest
impact, having the lowest pH. A ―kinder‖ tooth choice would be a rich
red like a Rioja or a Pinot noir, the Johannes Gutenberg University team
found. Even if people brush their teeth after a night of drinking, over the
years repeated exposure could take its toll, say Brita Willershausen and
her colleagues. Indeed, excessive brushing might make matters worse and
lead to further loss of enamel. But they said: ―The tradition of enjoying
different cheeses for dessert, or in combination with drinking wine,
might have a beneficial effect on preventing dental erosion since cheeses
contain calcium in a high concentration.‖ This helps neutralise and
boost the remineralising power of saliva to halt the acid attack. But
eating strawberries while supping on your vino or mixing sparkling
whites with acid fruit juice to make a bucks fizz may spell trouble
because this only adds to the acid attack. Professor Damien Walmsley, of
the British Dental Association, said: ―The ability of acidic foods and
drinks to erode tooth enamel is well understood, and white wine is
recognised as being more erosive than red. ―But it‘s the way you consume
it that‘s all important. If you‘re going to have a glass of wine do so with
your meal and leave a break of at least 30 minutes afterwards before you
brush your teeth and go to bed. ―Consuming wine alongside food, rather
than on its own, means the saliva you produce as you chew helps to
neutralise its acidity and limits its erosive potential. ―And leaving time
before brushing teeth gives the enamel a chance to recover from the acid
attack and makes it less susceptible to being brushed away.‖
BBC News, 20 October 2009 http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health


Technical
ENVIRONMENTAL
Energy efficient ReCip decentralised wastewater treatment systems
2009-10-09
This paper provides a brief introduction to wastewater treatment followed
by detailed information regarding the development and deployment of
ReCip, energy efficient decentralised wastewater treatment system. ReCip
is a robust and scalable treatment that has great potential for treating
domestic, industrial and agricultural wastewater. The technology has
been used to treat sanitary wastewater, acid mine drainage, CAFO
wastewater, aquaculture wastewater, and food processing wastewater.
ReCip has also been used to remove explosives and nutrients from
contaminated ground water. ReCip systems can be operated using
gravel-only substrate, or augmented with various aquatic and terrestrial
plants. Pilot-scale ReCip systems have been operated with UV lights to
remove up to 99.9% of wastewater pathogens. The patented ReCip
technology is being marketed nationally and internationally via
licensing and confidentiality agreements respectively.
Author: Behrends, Leslie L.
Full Source: Nanotech Conference & Expo 2009: An Interdisciplinary
Integrative Forum on Nanotechnology, Biotechnology and Microtechnology,
Houston, TX, United States, May 3-7, 2009, Volume 2, 371-374, Eng


Interaction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 with leafy green produce
2009-10-09
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is a foodborne pathogen
responsible for human diarrheal disease. EHEC lives in the intestinal
tract of cattle and other farm and wild animals, which may be the
source of environmental contamination particularly of agricultural
fields. The goals of the present study were to investigate the
environmental conditions and surface structures that influence the
interaction of EHEC O157:H7 with baby spinach and lettuce leaves in
vitro.
Authors: Xicohtencatl-Cortes, Juan; Sanchez Chacon, Ethel; Saldana,
Zeus; Freer, Enrique; Giron, Jorge A.
Full Source: Journal of Food Protection 2009, 72(7), 1531-1537
(English)


MEDICAL
Heptachlor and o,p’-DDT effects on protein kinase activities associated
with human placenta particulate fractions
2009-10-09
Organochlorine pesticides have been detected in the placenta. The ability
of heptachlor (HC) and o,p‘-DDT to interfere with protein
phosphorylation was evaluated. In vitro incubations of cell-free
placental villi homogenates with a concentration range 1-100 íM were
performed. Endogenous substrate phosphorylation studies demonstrated
that slight but significant increase in 24-kDa band labelling was
produced in nuclear samples with 1, 10, and 100 íM HC and 100 íM
o,p‘-DDT. Exposition to 100 íM HC increased 85-kDa band labelling. In
mitochondrial fractions, 10 íM HC and o,p‘-DDT increased 24- and
65-kDa bands‘ labelling. These data indicate that both pesticides
affected protein kinase activities in particulate fraction. Nuclear
compartmentalisation of these compounds, insertion in membranes, and
chemical stress production may be associated to the observed effects, thus
suggesting deleterious consequences in signalling pathways.
Authors: Magnarelli, Gladis; Souza, Maria S.; Pechen de D‘Angelo, Ana
M.
Full Source: Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology 2009,
23(3), 185-192 (Eng)


The carcinogenic air pollutant 3 nitrobenzanthrone induces GC to TA
transversion mutations in human p53 sequences
2009-10-09
(3-NBA) is a potent mutagen and a suspected human carcinogen present
in particulate matter of diesel exhaust and ambient air pollution.
Employing an assay with human p53 knock-in (Hupki) murine
embryonic fibroblasts (HUFs), the author examined p53 mutations
induced by 3-NBA and its active metabolite,
N-hydroxy-3-aminobenzanthrone(N-OH-3-ABA). Twenty-nine
immortalised cultures(cell lines) from 89 HUF primary cultures exposed
at passage 1 for 5 days to 2 íM 3-NBA harboured 22 different mutations
in the human DNA-binding domain sequence of the Hupki p53 tumour
suppressor gene. The most frequently observed mutation was GC to TA
transversion (46%), corroborating previous mutation studies with 3-NBA,
and consistent with the presence of persistent 3-NBAguanosine adducts
found in DNA of exposed rodents. Six of the transversions found solely in
3-NBA-treated HUFs have not been detected thus far in untreated HUFs,
but have been found repeatedly in human lung tumours.
32P-post-labelling adduct analysis of DNA from HUF cells treated with 2
íM 3-NBA for 5 days showed a pattern similar to that found in vivo,
indicating the metabolic competence of HUF cells to metabolise 3-NBA to
electrophilic intermediates. Total DNA binding was 160 ( 56 per 107
normal nucleotides with N2-guanosine being the major adduct. This
indicates that the level of DNA adduct formation by the mutagen is
critical to obtain specific mutation spectra in the assay. Their results are
consistent with previous experiments in Muta Mouse and are compatible
with the possibility that diesel exhaust exposure contributes to mutation
load in humans and to lung cancer risk.
Authors: vom Brocke, Jochen; Krais, Annette; Whibley, Catherine;
Hollstein, Monica C.; Schmeiser, Heinz H.
Full Source: Mutagenesis 2009, 24(1), 17-23 (Eng)
Human cyt P450 mediated metabolic toxicity of
4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) evaluated
using electrochemiluminescent arrays
2009-10-09
Electrochemiluminescent (ECL) arrays containing polymer
([Ru(bpy)2(PVP)10]2+, PVP ) polyvinylpyridine), DNA, and selected
enzymes were employed to elucidate cytochrome (cyt) P 450 dependent
metabolism of the tobacco specific carcinogen,
4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1 butanone (NNK). Bioactivated
NNK metabolites formed upon H2O2- enzymic activation were captured
as DNA adducts and detected simultaneously from 36 spot arrays by
capturing and quantifying emitted ECL with an overhead CCD camera.
Cyt P 450/polyion films were also immobilised on 500 nm diameter
silica nanospheres for product analysis by LC-MS. Analysis of the
nanosphere film reaction media provided ECL array validation and
quantitation of the bioactivated NNK hydrolysis product
4-hydroxy-1-(3 pyridyl)-1-butanone (HPB) confirming production of
reactive metabolites in the films. Chemical screening in this fashion
allows rapid clarification of enzymes responsible for genotoxic activation
as well as offering insight into cyt P 450-related toxicity and
mechanisms.
Authors: Krishnan, Sadagopan; Hvastkovs, Eli G.; Bajrami, Besnik;
Schenkman, John B.; Rusling, James F.
Full Source: Molecular BioSystems 2009, 5(2), 163-169 (Eng)


Oestrogen receptor-â affects the prognosis of human malignant
mesothelioma
2009-10-09
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an asbestos-related neoplasm with
poor prognosis, refractory to current therapies, the incidence of which is
expected to increase in the next decades. Female gender was identified as
a positive prognostic factor among other clinical and biological prognostic
markers for malignant mesothelioma. The author‘s goal was to investigate
ERs expression in malignant mesothelioma and to assess whether their
expression correlates with prognosis. Immunohistochemical analysis
revealed intense nuclear ERâ staining in normal pleura that was
reduced in tumour tissues. Conversely, neither tumours nor normal
pleura stained positive for ERR. Multivariate analysis of 78 malignant
mesothelioma patients with pathologic stage, histologic type, therapy, sex,
and age at diagnosis indicated that ERâ expression is an independent
prognostic factor of better survival. Their data support the notion that
ERâ acting as a tumour suppressor is of high potential relevance to
prediction of disease progression and to therapeutic response of malignant
mesothelioma patients.
Authors: Pinton, Giulia; Brunelli, Elisa; Murer, Bruno; Puntoni,
Riccardo; Puntoni, Matteo; Fennell, Dean A.; Gaudino, Giovanni; Mutti,
Luciano; Moro, Laura
Full Source: Cancer Research 2009, 69(11), 4598-4604 (Eng)


In utero and acute exposure to benzene: Investigation of DNA
double-strand breaks and DNA recombination in mice
2009-10-09
Benzene, has been identified as a human leukemogen and early exposure
to environmental carcinogens such as benzene has been linked to
childhood leukaemia. In this study, the authors investigated the
induction of micronuclei, the formation of y-H2A.X as a marker of DNA
DSBs, and the induction of somatic DNA recombination events in
hematopoietic tissue from pKZ1 transgenic mice exposed acutely or in
utero to benzene. Adult male mice were treated with a single i.p.
injection of benzene, and timed-pregnant females were treated with
daily i.p. injections of 200 mg/kg or 400 mg/kg benzene through
gestational days 7-15. Acute exposure to 400 mg/kg benzene resulted in
a significant increase in the percentage of micronucleated cells in adult
male bone marrow cells and in foetal liver and postnatal day 9 bone
marrow cells of mice exposed in utero. Finally, no recombination events
were detected in adult pKZ1 mouse tissue; however, in postnatal day 9
pups, in utero exposure to 400 mg/kg benzene caused a trend towards
increasing recombination frequency although this did not reach
significance. Further investigations into different types of DNA damage
and repair pathways are warranted to fully elucidate the role of
genotoxic mechanisms in the aetiology of benzene-induced childhood
leukaemia.
Authors: Lau, Annette; Belanger, Christine Lea; Winn, Louise M.
Full Source: Mutation Research, Genetic Toxicology and Environmental
Mutagenesis 2009, 676(1-2), 74-82 (Eng)
OCCUPATIONAL
Control effect of occupational hazard in construction project of a
chemical factory about its functional paint
2009-10-18
This study identified the risk factors associated in the process of func-
tional paint and determined the degree to which it was hazardous to the
workers. The authors used the field investigation checklist, examination
and quantitative classification to assess the project. The main occupa-
tional risk factors in the construction project were detected, and the
maximum values of STEL for acetone, isopropanol, Et acetate, Me acrylate,
toluene and methanol were 51.7, 22.6, 61.3, 9.3, 78.8 and 21.4 mg/m3,
respectively. The value of dust was 3.64 times as the allowable limit, and
noise was 73.6 dB(A). Total dust concentrations in the positions of ad-
justing colours and mixing exceeded the national standard, and all the
other occupational hazard factors met the national standards. The au-
thors concluded that the occupational hazard in the project were com-
mon, and preventive measures are needed to be improved.
Authors: Xu, Zhi-ming; Xu, Jian-ying; Liu, Ren-ping; Wang, Sheng-li
Full Source: Zhongguo Weisheng Gongchengxue 2008, 7(5), 273-275,
278 (Ch)


Pre-evaluation of occupational hazards in construction project of the
gangue power plant
2009-10-18
This study identified and analysed identify the occupational risk factors
and degree to which workers face harm as a result of working in the
gangue power plant. In addition, a technical basis was provided for the
health administrative departments. Based on field investigation and
engineering analysis, analogy was performed to evaluate the findings.
The results indicated that the main occupational risk factors included
dust, toxic substances, noise and heat. In the analogical project, the
concentration of respirable dust in the workplace was 0.7-12.7 mg/m3,
and the qualified rate was 84.1%. The concentration of respirable dust of
trades was 0.3-2.2 mg/m3, and the qualified rate was 84.2%. The values
of toxic substances were lower than the occupational exposure limits.
Noise intensities were 63.0-100.7 dB (A), and the qualified rate was
94.8%. The noise intensities of trades were 63.8-84.3 dB (A), and pass
rate was 100%. WBGT indexes of the workplace were 26.2-31.5°C, which
belonged to high temperature. The authors concluded that dust and noise
were the main occupational risk factors in the project. The hazards can
be prevented and controlled, as long as the protective measures are
effectively taken, and the prevention and treatment of occupational
diseases are strengthened.
Authors: Guo, Zhi-xi; Li, Xiu-ping
Full Source: Zhongguo Weisheng Gongchengxue 2008, 7(5), 276-278
(Ch)


Control effect evaluation of occupational hazards in the coking plant
2009-10-18
This study identified, analysed and evaluated the risk factors of
occupational hazards in the coking plant. The field sanitary
investigation, occupational risk factors monitoring, and occupational
health examination were conducted. The items including the selection of
site, the arrangement and layout of the facilities, occupational disease
prevention and protection measures, and individual preventive articles
accorded with the requirements of national standards. The results showed
concentrations of coke oven emissions in the air of coking workplace, the
noise intensity from ramming or tamping machines and the temperatures
in the high-temperature operation post were 1.00-1.95 mg/m3, 88.8 dB
(A) and 31.0-37.6°C higher than those in national standards. The
concentrations (intensities) of risk factors in other posts accorded with the
national standards. The authors concluded that the findings from the
study suggest that it is basically effective for the construction project to
take preventive measures.
Authors: Ren, Jie; Sun, Li-qiang; Yu, Jian-bo; Jin, Bao-rong
Full Source: Zhongguo Weisheng Gongchengxue 2008, 7(5), 270-272
(Ch)


Identification and pre-evaluation of occupational hazards in modified
project of the antimony industry
2009-10-18
In this study, the authors analysed, identified and pre-evaluated the
occupational hazards in the modified project of mining, beneficiation
and smelting in the antimony industry. The assessment was conducted
using a combination of principle of analogies, engineering analysis and
comprehensive analysis. The results showed that the major occupational
risk factors were dusts such as antimony, antimony oxide, arsenic, lead,
selenium and copper, arsine, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, nitrogen
oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen
sulphide, silica dust, coal dust, slag, flying dust, lime, sodium sulphide,
coke oven volatile compounds, carbon disulphide, manganese, benzene,
toluene, xylene, gasoline, alcohol, noise, vibration, high temperature,
thermal radiation, optical radiation (UV), electromagnetic fields, ionising
radiation, high humidity, bad posture, visual fatigue, mental stress and
hypoxia. The results of analogy showed maximum of STEL for arsenide,
antimony, lead fume, dust and noise were 0.33, 0.83, 0.19 and 19.90
mg/m3, and 108 dB(A), respectively. The authors concluded that the
findings from this study indicate that planning building engineering is
a severe occupational hazard project. Most productive processes are
automated, and the hygienic protective facilities for occupational
hazards are effective and feasible.
Authors: Peng, Yan-qun; Zhang, Jian-zhong; He, Li-ping
Full Source: Zhongguo Weisheng Gongchengxue 2008, 7(5), 279-281,
283 (Ch)


Evaluation of occupational hazards in reformed project of the cement
production line
2009-10-18
This study evaluated the occupational hazards in the reformed project of
the cement production line. Analogy and quantitative analysis methods
were used. The results showed that the qualified rates of dust were 47.6%
and 65.4% before and after reform, they had no significant difference.
Dust concentrations in some operating points still exceeded national
standards after reforming, and the average dust concentration in cement
packaging room reached 22.5 mg/m3. Major occupational health
problems were not paid enough attention, and some important advices
were not adopted. The authors concluded that the results suggest that
construction units should confirm the goals of controlling occupational
hazards and implementing engineering measures. In addition,
occupational health professionals should be consulted if necessary.
Assessment organisations should provide practical guidance and advice,
and actively participate in the construction process.
Authors: Dai, Ying-jian; Man, Yi-xiao; Cui, Rui-hua; He, Jian
Full Source: Zhongguo Weisheng Gongchengxue 2008, 7(5), 287-288,
291 (Ch)


PUBLIC HEALTH
Assessment of human exposure to PCDD/F at contaminated sites compared
to background exposure
2009-10-18
This study used a multi-media fate- and exposure modelling approach
to enhance the understanding of the extent to which contaminated soil
can contribute to increments in human background exposure.
Preliminary results from a sensitivity analysis indicate that both Koc
and degradation rates in soil have a great influence when modelling the
total exposure of polychlorinated dibenzop-dioxin (PCDD)/dibenzofuran
(DF) to humans. The final results will allow relative comparison of total
intake and contributions from different exposure pathways from the
contaminated soil to the total background exposure from food
consumption.
Authors: Aaberg, A. A.; Tysklind, M.; Wiberg, K.; Hanberg, A.; Ask, I.;
MacLeod, M.
Full Source: Organohalogen Compounds [computer optical disk] 2006, 68,
1410-1413 (Eng)


Human subject considerations in environmental research: the University
of Michigan dioxin exposure study
2009-10-18
The risks, and the protection of human participants in future
environmental research studies in the University of Michigan Dioxin
Exposure Study (UMDES), are reported. The risks related to the interview
are stated to be minimal, as are the risks related to drawing blood.
Complicated issues arose from sampling and analyses of house dust and
soil from the yard, activities that involve no physical, psychological or
reputational risks to subjects.
Authors: Franzblau, A.; Nosowsky, R.; Garabrant, D.; Lepkowski, J.; Olson,
K.; Gillespie, B. W.; Adriaens, P.; Demond, A.; Churchill, S. J.
Full Source: Organohalogen Compounds [computer optical disk] 2006, 68,
1315-1318 (Eng)


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers levels in human samples from the Greek
population
2009-10-18
In this study, the authors used human samples such as serum/plasma
and breast milk to assess extent of human exposure to PBDEs. Several
studies have shown that the concentration of PBDEs in these samples is
increasing. During this study, the authors collected nine serum samples
from healthy women and ten serum samples from healthy men living in
Athens and analysed them for PBDE congeners 15, 28, 47, 99, 100, 153,
154, 183. The method detection limit was 0.05 ng/g lipid for all
congeners. PBDE 15 was not detected in any sample. PBDE congeners 47,
99, 100, 153 are all components of the pentaBDE common product. The
authors concluded that the total PBDE concentration measured in this
study is at the same level as those reported from USA.
Authors: Leondiadis, L.; Vassiliadou, I.; Costopoulou, D.; Papadopoulos, A.
Full Source: Organohalogen Compounds [computer optical disk] 2006, 68,
2159-2161 (Eng)


Levels of organohalogenated pollutants in human serum from Iassy,
Romania
2009-10-18
This study measured the levels of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs),
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated di-Ph ethers
(PBDEs) in serum samples from the general population of Iassy County,
Eastern Romania. The relationship between age, gender, place of main
residence and concentrations of various pollutants were also studied. The
authors found that compared to other Central and Eastern European
countries, the Romanian human serum samples contained higher levels
of the contaminants which suggest an ongoing exposure to pollutants that
officially are banned.
Authors: Dirtu, A. C.; Hanganu, E.; Dragan, D.; Mocanu, R.; Van Grieken,
R.; Neels, H.; Covaci, A.
Full Source: Organohalogen Compounds [computer optical disk] 2006, 68,
1589-1592 (Eng)


Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in human milk
from Switzerland since 1970
2009-10-18
In this study, the authors traced back the temporal trends of
hexachlorobenzene (HCB), hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH),
dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), dieldrin, heptachlor
exo-epoxide (HEPX), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in human
milk in Switzerland since 1970. the results show steady decreases of all
persistent chemicals since 1985.
Authors: P.; Zennegg, M.; Gujer, E.; Kuchen, A.
Full Source: Organohalogen Compounds [computer optical disk] 2006, 68,
1647-1648 (Eng)


SAFETY
The role of mass spectrometry for safety evaluation in the drug discovery
stage
2009-10-09
Recent advances in drug discovery technologies require a paradigm shift
in safety evaluation of drug candidates, especially with respect to their
toxicological contribution at the early stage of drug discovery. In this
context, new sciences and technologies should be implemented in the
field of safety evaluation, and the numerous applications of mass
spectrometry (MS) are thought to be one of the key approaches. In the
present review, we have summarised the usability of MS and its practical
applications in early safety evaluation.
Author: Yamamoto, Toshinori
Full Source: Journal of the Mass Spectrometry Society of Japan 2008,
56(3), 143-149 (Japan)


Safety of ganciclovir injection in the treatment of infectious
mononucleosis
2009-10-09
Objective: To study the safety and adverse effects of ganciclovir(GCV) in
the treatment of infectious mononucleosis induced by EB virus. Method:
138 cases of infectious mononucleosis were treated with GCV injection.
The influence of GCV on the blood and the liver/renal functions was
examined before and after the treatment. The adverse effects during the
treatment were observed and documented. Result: GCV had no evident
effect on the blood examination of the patients during the treatment, but
in a few cases, ALT could be elevated. Conclusion: GCV is an effective and
safe drug in the treatment of infectious mononucleosis.
Authors: Kan, Shuyue; Yu, Qingkun; Yang, Jianchun; Lu, Shanshan
Full Source: Yaowu Liuxingbingxue Zazhi 2008, 17(5), 285-286 (Ch)
NMR-Spectroscopy for Nontargeted Screening and Simultaneous
Quantification of Health-Relevant Compounds in Foods: The Example of
Melamine
2009-10-09
The recent melamine crisis in China has pointed out a serious deficiency
serious deficiency in current food control systems, namely, they
specifically focus on selected known compounds. This targeted approach
allowed the presence of melamine in milk products to be overlooked for a
considerable time. To avoid such crises in the future, the authors propose
that nontargeted screening methods need to be developed and applied. To
this end, NMR has an extraordinary potential that just started to be
recognised and exploited. Their research shows that from the very same
set of spectra, 1H NMR at 400 MHz can distinguish between
melamine-contaminated and melamine-free infant formulas and can
provide quantitative information by integration of individual lines after
identification. For contaminated Chinese infant formulas or candy,
identical results were obtained when comparing NMR with
SPE-LC/MS/MS.
Authors: Lachenmeier, Dirk W.; Humpfer, Eberhard; Fang, Fang; Schutz,
Birk; Dvortsak, Peter; Sproll, Constanze; Spraul, Manfred
Full Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2009, 57(16),
7194-7199 (Eng)

				
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