Document Sample
080201-Bulletin.rtf Powered By Docstoc
					Bulletin Board
February 1, 2008

Contact us:
tel +61 3 9572 4700
fax +61 3 9572 4777
Emergency +61 3 9573 3112
70 Bambra Rd Caulfield North
Victoria 3161 Australia

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

Arthur’s Advice Line
Print a Double Column MSDS

In the Setup Screen, the MSDS CUSTOMISATION tab provides options for
altering the Default MSDS Layout. Select Double Column MSDS and click
on Save.
Next time you select an MSDS a double column version will be displayed.

Consolidated Lists
Galleria Chemica New & Updated Consolidated Lists

The following are some of the new database additions to Galleria Chemica
in the past quarter. You can contact us at Chemwatch if you wish to see the
entire list.

Korea (South) Toxic Chemicals Control Act - Chemicals not Relevant to Toxic
Nordic Ecolabelling - Chemical List
International Maritime Dangerous Goods Requirements (IMDG Code) -
Goods Forbidden for Transport
IMO IBC Code Chapter 17: Summary of minimum requirements
Norway Administrative norms for air contamination in the workplace
Russia Maximum Allowed Concentrations (PDK) of Harmful Substances in
the Air of Workplace Zone (Russian)
Germany Substances for which no MAK value can be established at present
French Synonyms
Australia Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons
(SUSDP) - Schedule 9
Australia Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons
(SUSDP) - Schedule 6
Australia Dangerous Goods Code (ADG Code) - Goods Too Dangerous To
Be Transported
Spain Occupational Exposure Limit for Chemical Agents
European Union - European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical
Substances (EINECS) (French)
Canada - Ontario Occupational Exposure Limits
Shipping Names (English)
ANZ Standard Electrical apparatus for explosive gas atmosphere: Table 2
- Gases or vapours for which Group IIB apparatus is required
ANZ Standard Electrical apparatus for explosive gas atmosphere: Table 1
- Gases or vapours for which Group IIA apparatus is required
Australia Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons
(SUSDP) - Schedule 5
ANZ Standard Electrical apparatus for explosive gas atmosphere: Table 3
- Gases or vapours for which group IIC apparatus is required
Japan Industrial Safety and Health Law (ISHL) - Mutagens / New Chemicals
Australia Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons
(SUSDP) - Schedule 8
UK Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs)
IMO IBC Code Provisioanl Categorization of Liquid Substances
Spain Occupational Exposure Limit for Chemical Agents (Spanish)
Japan Chemical Substances Control Law - Existing/New Chemical
European Union (EU) List of Dangerous Substances (Annex I) - up to the
29th ATP
Mineral Properties
Australia Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons
(SUSDP) - Schedule 7
Korea GHS Classifications (Korean)
IUCLID Flash Point Data
India Permissible Levels of Certain Chemical Substances in Work
European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous
Goods by Road (ADR 2007, Dutch)
European Union (EU) Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road - Dangerous
Goods List (French)
Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by
Rail - Table A: Dangerous Goods List (RID 2007) Prohibited & Restricted List
US Department of Transportation (DOT), Hazardous Material Table : Goods
Forbidden for Transport
US DOT Coast Guard Bulk Hazardous Materials - List of Flammable and
Combustible Bulk Liquid Cargoes
US Department of Transportation (DOT) Marine Pollutants - Appendix B
United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods
Model Regulations (English)
United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods
Model Regulations
Germany TRGS 900 - Limit Values for the Workplace Atmosphere (German)
Reproductive Toxicity Data
Canada - Alberta Occupational Exposure Limits
European Union - European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical
Substances (EINECS) (German)
China National Dangerous Wastes Name List (Chinese)
Russia Approximate Safe Levels of Concentration (OBUV) of Harmful
Substances in the Workplace Zone (Russian)
Canada Domestic Substances List (DSL)
Canada - Northwest Territories Occupational Exposure Limits (French)
US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) - Premanufacture Notice (PMN)
European Union (EU) List of Chemicals Qualifiying for PIC Notification
Canada Controlled Drugs and Substances Act Schedule IV
Australia Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS)
Korea (South) Existing Chemicals List (KECL)
Canada - British Columbia Occupational Exposure Limits
Australia Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons
(SUSDP) - Schedule 3
Australia Hazardous Substances
India Rules for Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous
Micro-organisms genetically engineered organisms and Cells
Australia Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons
(SUSDP) - Schedule 2
Australia Dangerous Goods Code (ADG Code) - Goods Too Dangerous To
Be Transported
United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods
Model Regulations (French)
France Threshold Limit Values for Occupational Exposure - VLE/VME
European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous
Goods by Road (ADR 2007, German)
Australia - Victoria Occupational Health and Safety Regulations - Schedule
9: Materials at Major Hazard Facilities (And Their Threshold Quantity) Table 2
US ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLV) - Notice of Intended Changes
European Union (EU) First List of Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit
Values (IOELVs) (Italian)
US Department of Transportation (DOT) List of Hazardous Substances and
Reportable Quantities - Radionuclides
European Union (EU) Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road - Dangerous
Goods List (German)
Spain List for carcinogenic and mutagenic substances with limit value
adopted (English)
US Department of Transportation (DOT) List of Hazardous Substances and
Reportable Quantities - Hazardous Substances Other Than Radionuclides
Ireland National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) Antidotes List
Australia Exposure Standards
New Zealand Land Transport Rule Dangerous Goods 2005 - Schedule 2
Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities and Consumer Commodities

Hazard Alert

Coumarin, chemical name 1,3 benzopyrone, is a phytochemical that occurs
naturally in several plants or can be synthesised. It is responsible for the
sweet smell of new mown hay and is usually described as having a vanilla-
like scent and flavour.

In plants, coumarin probably works as a pesticide. It is found in tonka
beans (coumaru in French), cinnamon, woodruff, sweet clover, bison grass,
lavender, strawberries, apricots and cherries.

[Note: some information in this section constitutes a spoiler for David Brin‟s
novel „Sundiver‟]
Coumarin has a number of uses:
Medically, it has been used as an anti-coagulant and to treat tumours and
oedema. It is also a potent rat poison. Due to its sweet scent and flavour,
it has been used in perfumes and cosmetics and extensively as a food
additive. However, coumarin itself has been banned as a food additive
in many countries, including the USA. In Europe the use of coumarin-
containing plant additives is limited to 2mg/kg of food. Natural additives
containing coumarin include cinnamon and woodruff, the later being also
used in alcoholic drinks such as maiwien.
Coumarin has a long history of use as an additive in tobacco products.
The film „The Insider‟ deals with the making public of the information that
coumarin was still being used in pipe tobacco after its use had been banned
in cigarettes.

Health Effects:
Coumarin has hepatotoxic effects. Relatively small quantities can cause
liver damage in sensitive individuals, although the effects are reversible
once coumarin intake is stopped. In mild cases it leads to an elevation of
liver enzymes in the blood, in severe cases to inflammation manifesting as
jaundice. In humans it is moderately toxic (LD50 ~275 - <300 mg/kg);
it is mainly metabolized to 7-hydroxycoumarin, which is of lower
In rodents, however, it is largely metabolized to 3,4-coumarin epoxide,
which causes internal haemorrhage and death, hence the use of
coumarin as rat poison. Feeding sweet clover hay
contaminated with molds has resulted in “bleeding disease” in
livestock. Molds metabolise coumarin to dicoumarol, which is similar
in structure to vitamin K. When consumed by livestock dicoumarol
acts as a vitamin K inhibitor and disrupts the blood clotting process.
Warfarin is a synthetic anti-coagulant derived from coumarin which is used
both medicinally and as a rodent poison.

The coumarin molecule absorbs ultra-violet radiation and re-emits it at lower
photon eneries in the blue end of the visible spectrum. Compared with
many other types of molecules, coumarins do so efficiently - most absorbed
photons are converted to visible light, not to infrared - and are thus used as
gain media in blue-green dye lasers. This “optical brightening” property also
makes coumarins and related compounds useful as whiteners for paper and
in laundry detergents.

In Europe, the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) - that is, the amount that can be
consumed over a lifetime without posing a threat to health - of coumarin has
been established as 0.1mg coumarin per kg bodyweight per day. Exceeding
this level for a short time only is not expected to be a threat to health. The
German Federal Institute for Risk Management (BfR) points out that, while
for the biscuits with the highest coumarin content (as cinnamon) supplied
to them, an adult would have to eat about 15 to exceed the TDI, an infant
would only have to eat about 3.
The BfR also notes the difficulty for consumers in distinguishing between
two types of cinnamon in powder form; Ceylon cinnamon contains only low
levels of coumarin and is considered safe by Institute‟s risk assessment.
However, cassia cinnamon has higher levels and eating large amounts of it
is not recommended. As cinnamon sticks, cassia cinnamon is a relatively
thick layer of rolled bark, while Ceylon cinnamon looks more like a cigarette
- several thin layers of bark rolled up with a comparatively compact cross-

In common with other fragrances, coumarin can trigger allergies in sensitive
individuals, who should consider avoiding perfumes and cosmetics in which
it is an additive. It can be absorbed through the skin, so cosmetics and
perfumes can contribute to the TDI.
The recommendation of the BfR is that products containing coumarin,
such as cinnamon-flavoured biscuits, teas and cereals, be consumed in


Asia Pacific

Secondary notifications assessed by the National
Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)
Under section 71(1) and 71(2) of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and
Assessment) Act 1989, requires the Director of NICNAS to maintain a list
of chemicals requiring secondary notification, and also a list of chemicals
that have but no longer require secondary notification. These lists must be
published once a year. The chemicals on these lists were originally notified
and assessed under either section 23 or 57 of the Act. Due to the availability
of new information that potentially impacted on the original assessment,
these chemicals subsequently required secondary notification under
section 65(1) or 64(2) of the Act. This enabled the original assessment to
be updated. The following table includes those chemicals that are currently
undergoing secondary notification assessment.
Chemical/Trade Name Original Secondary Company Name
Ref No Ref No
OLOA 270 NA/889 NA/889S Oronite Aust. P/L
Lanthanum Modified NA/899 NA/899S Integrated Mineral
Clay (Phoslock) Tech Ltd

The following table is a list of chemicals that have required past secondary
notification assessment
Chemical/Trade Name           Original Ref No.       Secondary Ref No.       Date

Triglycidylisocyanurate PEC No. 1 PEC No. 1S Feb 2001

HCFC-123 PEC No. 4 PEC No. 4S July 1999

Sodium ethyl xanthate PEC No. 5 PEC No. 5S Feb 2000

Z28 Polymer in Reactint NA/418 NA/418S Dec 2003

Red X64 NA/405 NA/4505S April 2003

C-1824 Nonanoic Acid NA/35 SN/1 April 1992

Potassium Salt NA/114 SN/2 Sept 19

Necon LO-80 NA/316 NA/562 Nov 1997

Polymer in Tersperse 4913 NA/431 NA/610 Oct 1998

Mortrace MP NA/580 SN/5 Jan 1999

Aero 6697 Promotor NA/221 SN/6 April 1999

Melio Tex SP 3948 NA/131 SN/7 Jan 2000

ChEster 304 NA/728 SN/8 Dec 2000

ChEster 306 NA/729 SN/9 Dec 2000

Habanolide NA/577 SN/10 Sept 2002
Prosoft TQ 1003 & NA/956 SN/11 April 2004

Rezosol 1095 Dye in Epson Inkjet Cartridge
LTD/1062 SN/13 July 2004

Polymer in E7581 NA/752 NA/752S Dec 2004

Arachidyl Glucoside LTD/1183 SN/17 June 2007

NICNAS Gazette, December 2007

1080 review for release in January 2008
The Australian pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) have
concluded their review of 1080. A detailed review report is now ready to
be released. However, the time taken to undertake additional regulatory
activity required to give effect to the review‟s recommendations, has meant
that the report and associated information will be released in mid January.
In the meantime, the key findings from the report have been released.
These include the effects on non-target animal populations; product labels;
control on the use of 1080; permit to allow further studies with higher rates
of bait laying. The review found that poisoning of non-target animals does
occur with 1080 baiting. However, when appropriate attention is paid to bait
density, placement, timing, substrate etc., impacts can be localised or limited
to individual animals and thus do not appear to result in significant adverse
effects on non-target animals at the population level. Careful attention to
the selection of bait material, the amount of 1080 in each bait, timing and
placement of baits combined with preliminary free feeding, can increase the
acceptance of poisoned baits by target animals. The 1080 product labels
current at the time of the commencement of the review did not contain
adequate information and instructions for use. Many labels did not contain
basic information such as specific target pests, 1080 dose rates, bait materials
and size, bait preparation, storage and transportation of baits, neighbour
notification about imminent baiting, minimum distance requirements for
bait placement or the requirement of signage in baiting locations. Specific
directions for use were often contained in a variety of documents issued by
individual State/Territory agencies. These State-based documents included
regulations, codes of practices, manuals or standard operating procedures.
While these supporting materials catered for the specific needs of local
jurisdictions, important information that they contained was not included on
approved product labels. Accordingly, the APVMA has amended and updated
all product labels and included comprehensive instructions for use. One of
the outcomes of the review is that the APVMA has specified a maximum
rate of 10 baits/km linear transect for the aerial baiting of wild dogs. In many
jurisdictions across Australia (including some parts of NSW) successful wild
dog control is achieved with 10 baits or fewer per kilometre.
Experience in these jurisdictions demonstrates that one bait every one
hundred metres of a transect along which dogs are expected to move is
more than adequate, when general dog population densities and their home
ranges are taken into account. An aerial baiting rate of 40 baits/km used in
some parts of NSW is based on tradition and practice, but does not appear
to be supported by any efficacy data from scientific trials. It has been noted
that the number of baits delivered during aerial baiting campaigns is often
arbitrarily decided and is almost certainly excessive, particularly in the larger
scale aerial operations in rangeland areas of the country. Rates between 4
to 10 baits per km are known to work effectively in controlling wild dogs and
the APVMA review concluded that the higher rates significantly exceed the
minimum effective rate. Accordingly, in the absence of any efficacy data
to the contrary, and in view of the fact that other jurisdictions (where the
terrain, eco systems and wild dog pressures are similar to those parts of
NSW where 40 baits have been used) achieve effective wild dog control with
10 or fewer baits per km, the APVMA has specified a maximum of 10 baits/
km transect on the labels of 1080 products for aerial baiting of wild dogs.
Some individual landholders, the NSW Farmers Association and some Rural
Lands Protection Boards have made recent representations to the APVMA
claiming that 10 baits/km is inadequate. When the Review findings report is
released, the APVMA will issue a temporary permit to allow continued use
of the 40 baits/km rate under specified circumstances. Scientific studies are
necessary to demonstrate if there really are conditions in certain areas of
NSW, which require more than 10 baits/km for effective wild dog control,
without significant adverse effects on any non-target animals and birds. The

NSW Department of Primary Industries has indicated to the APVMA that it
will seek funding to conduct the necessary research. Such research may
take up to three years to produce the data. The APVMA will continue the
transitional permit while the research is conducted and the results assessed.
Based on the research results, the APVMA will revise the label instructions
for baiting density if necessary.
APVMA, 21 December 2007

Current Activity on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Currently, the Office of Chemical Safety and the National Industrial Chemicals
Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) are constructing a report
on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). MCS describes a complex array of
symptoms where the underlying etiology remains ill defined. There are reports
linking MCS to a wide range of environmental agents (including chemicals)
and/or psychogenic factors. The symptoms experienced by individuals are
diverse and reported symptoms can in some cases be quite debilitating.
Further, diagnostic methods and treatments have yet to be agreed by
the medical profession. Given the uncertainty in relation to the cause(s),
diagnosis and range of effective treatment(s) of MCS, a number of studies
and enquiries on MCS have occurred, including in Australia. One consistent
finding of such investigations has been the identification of the need for
further research on MCS so as to enhance the understanding, prevention
and management of MCS. However, these calls for further research have
not specified priority areas for the research community. It is in this context
that the Office of Chemical Safety and NICNAS are compiling a scientific
report on MCS. The review report will aim to identify priority areas for further
study to inform and engage the clinical and scientific research community.
In addition, the review incorporates a report into current diagnosis and
clinical management strategies for MCS prepared by specialist medical
practitioners, and considers practical measures to improve the management
of MCS patients. The report will examine evidence regarding the mode of
action for chemical interactions within MCS, approaches to clinical diagnosis
of MCS, and clinical management strategies.
NICNAS, 21 December 2007


Possible Link between Bisphosphonates and Atrial
FDA has released a communication to healthcare professionals about a
possible association between bisphosphonate drugs, which are used to treat
osteoporosis, and atrial fibrillation. This issuance is part of FDA‟s commitment
to keep the public informed about ongoing safety reviews of drugs, even when
the evidence isn‟t conclusive. In this case, the communication is based on
two studies of women treated with the bisphosphonates Reclast (zoledronic
acid) and Fosamax (alendronate). They were reported in the May 3, 2007
issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. In both studies, more women
who received the bisphosphonates developed serious atrial fibrillation than
those who received placebos. There was no significant difference between
the two groups in the rate of non-serious fibrillation. FDA has reviewed
these studies, along with premarket studies and postmarketing reports on
bisphosphonate drugs, and at this point, it is not clear how the data on
serious atrial fibrillation should be interpreted. Because of this uncertainty,
FDA is not recommending that healthcare providers or patients change the
prescribing or use of these drugs at this time. Currently the FDA is undertaking
to collect additional data that will allow for an in-depth evaluation of the atrial
fibrillation issue for the entire class of bisphosphonates. As soon as the
evaluation is finished, which may take up to 12 months, FDA will inform the
public about the results and any new recommendations on prescribing or
using these drugs.
FDA Medwatch Update, December 2007

EPA Proposes Improved Method for Farm Animal Waste
The EPA has proposed a change to a rule that would provide an administrative
reporting exemption for air releases of hazardous substances - primarily
ammonia and hydrogen sulphide - from animal waste at farms. This
proposal could enable response authorities to better focus their attention
on hazardous substance releases that require emergency response,
and would also reduce reporting burdens on U.S. farms. Administrative
exemptions from particular notification requirements are authorised under
the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability
Act, also known as Superfund and the Emergency Planning and Community
Right-to-Know Act. Under Federal National Contingency Plan (NCP)
regulations, farms and other facilities are required to report any releases
of hazardous substances above an EPA-established level to the Coast
Guard National Response Centre and state and local emergency response
authorities. The new EPA proposal would eliminate these requirements
because it is unnecessary to respond to animal waste air releases at farms.
The rule would reduce the reporting burden on the regulated community
and allow emergency responders to instead focus on hazardous substance
releases that require response. Emergency response authorities must still
be notified when hazardous substances are released to the air, soil or water
from sources other than animal waste, such as ammonia tanks.
Occupational Hazards, 2 January 2008

AWWA to Address Lead and Copper Rule Revisions
The new revisions to the Lead and copper rule will be analysed and
discussed by experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and
water utilities. EPA announced the revisions and clarifications to the Lead
and Copper Rule (LCR) in late September. In some states, the revisions
may be in effect as soon as six months. In all cases, the revised rule will be
in effect within two years. The rule will affect consumer confidence reports,
public education information and compliance determinations. The discussion
will cover the specific changes, how states may regulate these changes and
necessary preparations required by utilities to meet the new requirements.
Water & Wastewater, 30 November 2007

New Studies on Anaemia Drugs‟ Risks
FDA is reviewing new data from two studies that provide further evidence of
the risks of anaemia drugs known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, or
ESAs. These two studies were not among the six described in the revised
labelling that was approved by FDA on 8 November 2007, which strengthened
warnings about ESAs in cancer patients. All eight studies together show
more rapid tumour growth or shortened survival for patients with breast, non-
small cell lung, head and neck, lymphoid or cervical cancers that received
ESAs, compared to those patients who did not receive the treatment.
“FDA is reviewing these data and may take additional action,” says Janet
Woodcock, M.D., FDA‟s Deputy Commissioner for Scientific and Medical
Programs, Chief Medical Officer, and Acting Director of the Centre for Drug
Evaluation and Research. “In the meantime,” she says, “FDA recommends
that health care providers review the risks and benefits of ESAs outlined
in the product label and discuss this information with their patients.” FDA
plans to discuss this new data and revisit the risks and benefits of using
ESAs in patients with chemotherapy-induced anaemia at a public advisory
committee meeting in the next few months. ESAs are a bioengineered
version of a natural protein made in the kidney that stimulates the bone
marrow to produce more red blood cells. FDA has approved the use of ESAs
for treating anaemia in patients with chronic kidney failure, cancer patients
whose anaemia is caused by chemotherapy, and those infected with the
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) whose anaemia is caused by the HIV
drug AZT (zidovudine). ESAs are also approved to reduce the number of
transfusions during and after major surgery. Recently FDA approved revised
boxed warnings and other safety-related product labelling changes for ESAs.
Furthermore, safety concerns regarding ESAs have been discussed during
advisory committee meetings in 2004 and 2007, and labelling was revised
in 1997, 2004 and 2005 to reflect new safety information.
FDA Consumer Update, 3 January 2008

Committee on Water Develops New ASTM Cyanide
Cyanide is routinely analysed in water samples, often to demonstrate
regulatory compliance. However, improper sample collection or pretreatment
can result in significant positive or negative bias, potentially resulting in
unnecessary permit violations or undetected cyanide releases into the
environment. Due to the importance and timeliness of these issues, ASTM
Subcommittee D19.06 on Methods for Analysis for Organic Substances
in Water has developed D 7365, Practice for Sampling, Preservation,
and Mitigating Interferences in Water Samples for Analysis of Cyanide.
Subcommittee D19.06 is under the jurisdiction of Committee D19 on Water.
John Sebroski, senior associate scientist, Bayer Material Science LLC
and chair of the D 7365 task group said that the new standard provides a
single, authoritative source for solutions to cyanide sampling and analysis
problems. The task group, consisting of representatives of instrument
vendors, industry and government, plans to reference the new standard in
all of the cyanide test methods under the jurisdiction of Committee D19 to
supersede previous guidance in this area. Prior to deciding to propose this
method in a formal rulemaking for adoption into 40 CFR Part 136, Guidelines
Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants, the Clean Water
Act methods group at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expects to
reference this standard on their methods Web page as a useful source of
Water & Wastewater, 6 December 2007

FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel to Review Preliminary
Interpretation of a Three-Year Atrazine Monitoring
From 4-7 December 2007, EPA presented to the FIFRA Scientific Advisory
Panel (SAP) its preliminary review and interpretation of the results of a
three-year atrazine monitoring program conducted in small streams and
creeks associated with corn and sorghum production. As a condition of
re-registration, atrazine registrants were required to develop a monitoring
program to determine the extent to which atrazine concentrations in streams
may be exceeding levels that could cause effects to aquatic communities. If
the thresholds were exceeded, then a watershed-based mitigation program
could be required. During this meeting, EPA asked the Panel to comment
on the Agency‟s approach and methodologies for interpreting the results of
this ecological monitoring program. Further information on EPA‟s regulatory
actions and risk assessments for atrazine are available through http://www.
EPA Pesticide Update, 30 November 2007

EPA Seeks Early Input on Standards for Airborne Lead
EPA is seeking early comments on policy options it is considering as it
reviews the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for lead. The
agency has released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR),
which is not a proposal, but a new part of the NAAQS review process
that offers an additional public comment period before the agency issues
a proposed rule. EPA is seeking broad public input on the policy options
under consideration as part of the lead NAAQS review. For example, the
ANPR seeks comment on available scientific information, on current lead
exposures for both airborne sources and other sources, and on a number of
lead monitoring issues. That input will help inform the agency as it develops
a proposed rule. EPA will accept comment on the ANPR for 30 days after
publication in the Federal Register. EPA is required by a consent decree to
issue a proposal regarding the lead standards by 1 May 2008, and to issue
a final rule by 1 September 2008.
Environmental Protection News, 7 December 2007


Chemicals agency finalises director, budget
The European chemicals agency has confirmed the appointment of Geert
Dancet as its executive director, appointed members of a key risk assessment
committee and approved the agency‟s budget and staffing levels for 2008. At
a meeting in Helsinki the management board of the agency (ECHA) formally
approved ex-European commission official Mr Dancet as the leader of the
agency for its first five years. Mr Dancet headed the commission‟s industry
directorate before joining the agency and his appointment led to complaints
from MEPs that he would be too close to the EU executive. The decision
was also controversial because the commission‟s shortlist of candidates
for the post contained only one other person. NGO campaign SpinWatch
quoted officials from France and Austria saying that management board
members had been “upset” at the restricted shortlist. One candidate
apparently removed from the shortlist at the last minute was Ethel Forsberg
of the Swedish chemical agency Kemi. “It is hard for me not to be aware
that Sweden is one of those member states whose chemical policy is quite
radical,” Mrs Forsberg said, according to the campaign group. “I don‟t know
if that was worrisome to someone if I was connected to such a chemical
policy.” Furthermore, the management board appointed 27 member state
representatives to ECHA‟s risk assessment committee. Members of the
socio-economic analysis committee will be appointed in February. The
number of staff will rise from 101 to 220 by the end of 2008. Meanwhile the
European Commission has released an IT tool to help migrate information
on chemicals held in Iuclid 4 database format to the Iuclid 5 application that
will be used in REACH. And the European chemicals bureau published a
reporting format to help firms share information on the quantitative structure-
activity relationships (Qsars) of substances.
ENDS Europe Daily, 17 December 2007

Possible Cyclic Siloxane Environmental Concern
Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane is a possible new environmental poison
causing concern Norway and the EU. Recent reports indicate that cyclic
Siloxanes are found in surprisingly high concentrations in cod from the inner
Oslofjord and in glaucous gulls from Bear Island (Norway). The Norway
environmental protection authorities have placed one Siloxane,
“Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane” on the list of substances whose emissions
should be reduced or halted in Norway. The EU will use the Norwegian results
in its risk assessment of two Siloxanes.
Norwegian Pollution Authority, 29 August 2007

EU deal reached on trade in dangerous chemicals
EU governments and MEPs have agreed on a revision of rules implementing
the UN‟s Rotterdam convention on prior informed consent (PIC) for trade in
dangerous chemicals. The agreement has been reached at first reading
and must still be approved by both the council of ministers and European
parliament. The deal was reached after the Portuguese EU presidency,
acting for governments, agreed to the parliament‟s demands to restrict the
conditions under which EU operators may export dangerous chemicals
without the prior consent of the receiving country. The European Commission
had proposed allowing chemical exports to proceed temporarily in cases
where destination countries fail to give explicit consent or refusal within a
certain period. Under the deal these temporary exports will now only be
possible if the chemical has been licensed, registered or authorised by the
destination country. Each temporary authorisation must be approved case-
by-case, and when the export is to a non-OECD country, the commission and
exporting member state must consider beforehand the possible health and
environmental impacts of the substance. Temporary export authorisations
will remain valid for only 12 months, at which point explicit consent from the
importing country will be required. The commission had proposed a validity
of two years. The deal confirms that the regulation will apply additionally to
articles containing dangerous chemicals. It also updates a separate list of
substances whose export is subject to a basic notification procedure, and
gives the parliament a veto over any changes to the regulation that are done
through the EU‟s comitology procedure. The parliament will adopt the deal
in January at its first plenary session of 2008. Once ministers rubber-stamp
the regulation it will become EU law.
ENDS Europe Daily, 17 December 2007

EU high-level chemical group gives first report
The European Commission has created a high-level advisory group to help
guide the EU‟s chemical industry through a period of rapid change. The
group made its first recommendations this week. The high-level group (HLG)
on chemicals said industry and government should strengthen innovation
networks, increase research and development spending, create new
professions - such as “product engineers” responsible for several aspects
of a chemical - and improve communications. The HLG‟s creation in June
coincided with the entry-into-force of the EU‟s new REACH chemical policy
ENDS Europe Daily, 20 December 2007

Janet’s Corner - Not Too Seriously!
The Challenge

A lawyer and a blonde are sitting next to each other on a long flight
from LA to NY. The lawyer leans over to her and asks if she would like
to play a fun game. The blonde just wants to take a nap, so she politely
declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.

The lawyer persists and explains that the game is really easy and a lot of
fun. He explains “I ask you a question, and if you don‟t know the answer,
you pay me $5, and visa-versa.” Again, she politely declines and tries to get
some sleep.

The lawyer, now somewhat agitated, says, “Okay, if you don‟t know the
answer you pay me $5, and if I don‟t know the answer, I will pay you $50!”
figuring that since she is a blonde that he will easily win the match. This
catches the blonde‟s attention and, figuring that there will be no end to this
torment unless she plays, agrees to the game.

The lawyer asks the first question. “What‟s the distance from the earth to the
moon?” The blonde doesn‟t say a word, reaches in to her purse, pulls out a
five-dollar bill and hands it to the lawyer.

Now, it‟s the blonde‟s turn. She asks the lawyer: “What goes up a hill with
three legs, and comes down with four?” The lawyer looks at her with a puzzled
look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references. He
taps into the Airphone with his modem and searches the Net and the Library
of Congress. Frustrated, he sends E-mails to all his coworkers and friends
he knows. All to no avail. After over an hour, he wakes the blonde and hands
her $50. The blonde politely takes the $50 and turns away to get back
to sleep.

The lawyer, who is more than a little miffed, wakes the blonde and asks,
“Well, so what is the answer!?” Without a word, the blonde reaches into her
purse, hands the lawyer $5, and goes back to sleep.

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


Bone sweet bone
While sweets can assist in weakening teeth, apparently sugars are the key
to making bone stronger. The extraordinary strength of bone depends on
the complex, precise way in which its organic and inorganic components
are ordered. Scientists have long believed that collagen and other proteins
directly control the structure of bone. However, now a new study has found that
sugary compounds are responsible instead. The specific sugars responsible
are polysaccharides known as glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans.
During the study, the researchers examined horse bones using nuclear
magnetic resonance imagining and found that polysaccharide help guide the
proper crystallisation of bone materials. Better understanding of how bone
forms will alter the way in which osteoporosis and osteoarthritis is treated
and it may also lead to new ways of creating synthetic bone. Furthermore,
this study may strengthen the rationale for over-the-counter joint and bone
pain remedies such as chondroiton, a glycoaminoglycan.
Scientific American Magazine, January 2008

Traffic still stunting children‟s brains
In removing lead from petrol, damage to children‟s mental development
was supposed to be prevented. However, a new study has found that traffic
fumes may still be impairing their learning - because of the soot particles it
contains. The researchers from Harvard University, led by Shakira Franco
Suglia, examined 200 children from the Boston area and found that scores on
verbal reasoning, visual learning and other tests were lower in those exposed
to more traffic fumes. The results demonstrated that IQ levels in children
from areas with greater traffic pollution was 3 points lower that in cleaner
areas, even after adjusting for socio-economic factors. Fraco Suglia says
that this puts the impact of soot on par with lead and other toxic substances
that damage the vrain development. As soot levels increase with the volume
of traffic, the researchers recognises that some other aspect of traffic may
be the cause. However, exhaust particles are believed to be the main culprit.
In animals it is known that particles from vehicle fumes can travel along the
olfactory nerve, from the nose to the brain. Once they have reached the
brain, the particles can damage the cells and cause inflammation of the
brain tissue. Previous studies in dogs from heavily polluted areas of Mexico
City, showed that their brains had damage similar to that seen in patients
with Alzheimer‟s disease.
New Scientist Magazine, 5 January 2008

Fresh hope for emergency blood substitutes
Following years of clinical failures and ethical controversy, 2008 could mark
a new era for artificial blood. HemoBioTech of Dallas, Texas claim to have
developed a blood substitute that is safer than its rival‟s products. The
company plans to test the new product in surgical patients later in the year.
Like many previous products, HemoTech is based on a form of oxygen-
carrying haemoglobin extracted from cow blood, in which the haemoglobin
molecules have been chemically bound together. This is necessary because
free haemoglobin is toxic and can cause blood vessels to constrict, which
results in restricted blood flow. However, in many of the previous trials of
blood substitutes, more deaths occurred among the patients that were
administered the blood substitute than in the controls who received saline.
This suggests that the problem with toxicity has not yet been overcome.
HemoTech claims that they have overcome this issue by binding the
haemoglobin molecules together with adenosine - a molecule that causes
blood vessels to dilate. The products was originally developed at Texas
Tech University and tested in 1991 in nine Zairian children with sickle cell
anaemia. When given as 25% of blood volume, the substitute made blood
vessels dilate, showed no kidney toxicity, caused no inflammation and even
stimulated production of new red blood cells, say Arthur Bollon, chairman of
HemoBioTech. Since this time, the company has conducted further animal
and lab studies to confirm these results. However, other researchers doubt
whether HemoTech will fare any better than its rivals. “ I don‟t consider
the trial in Zaire a recommendation,” said John Hess, director of the blood
bank at Maryland Medical Centre in Baltimore. “A lot of very bright people
have been over these humps before.” An example of this was in 1998 when
Baxter International of Deerfield, Illinios, abruptly stopped a multimillion-
dollar programme to develop a blood substitute called HemAssist following
trials in which 46 percent of recipients died, compared with 17 percent of
control subjects. More recent a trial by Northfield Laboratories of Evanston,
Illinios of their product - PolyHeme on an unconscious patient who could
not consent to the treatment resulted in controversy. Results of this trial are
expected to be published in the near future.
New Scientist Magazine, 5 January 2008

Wildfire ash can contain toxic mix
A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey has found that soil runoff from
residential wildfires can harm aquatic species. The study of ash and soil
samples from the wildfires in Southern California last November suggested
that metals in the ash may create health and environmental problems.
During the study, the researchers collected ash samples from 2 residential
areas and 26 other sites within the burned areas and analysis showed that
the samples contained caustic alkali materials and may have elevated
levels of metals, such as arsenic, lead, zinc, and copper. In addition, the
study showed that rainwater runoff from burned areas may adversely affect
ecosystems and surface drinking-water supplies. The researchers noted
that spikes may affect habitats that are critical for some aquatic species in
alkalinity as rainwater mixes with ash to form surface runoff. The research
was conducted as part of the USGS Southern California Multi-Hazards
Demonstration Project.
Environmental Science & Technology, 19 December 2007

Antibacterial acts as endocrine disrupter
According to a new study, a widely used antibacterial compound amplifies
natural hormone effects. Widely used for about 45 years in personal care
and cleaning products such as soaps, lotions, and sanitizing wipes, the
antibacterial compound triclocarban, exacerbates the effects of natural
testosterone. Other known endocrine disrupters are estrogenic, antiestrogenic,
antiandrogenic, or androgen mimics. In the new study, researchers from the
University of California Davis and Yale University exposed human cells and
live rats to either triclocarban or one of a few other polychlorinated diphenyl
urea compounds, either alone or with testosterone, at levels similar to those
that can occur in people. Triclocarban amplified the effects of testosterone,
which is present in men, women, and children. In vitro tests with human cells
showed that the interaction of triclocarban and testosterone was synergistic,
including a signalling increase of 45% in one test. In rats, the combination
showed additive effects of increased mass in several accessory sex organs.
Approximately 1 million pounds of triclocarban is produced annually for the
U.S. market. The antimicrobial is widespread in U.S. waterways and persists
in municipal sludge used for fertiliser. Little is known about the health effects
of long-term, multiple sources of exposure to the antibacterial compound and
its structural cousins, says study co-author Bill Lasley, associate director of
the Centre for Health and the Environment at the University of California
Davis. However, he and his colleagues say the new evidence suggests that
triclocarban and other structurally similar substances may be playing a role
in a wide range of reproductive and developmental disorders.
Environmental Science & Technology, 2 January 2007

Bromate in Los Angeles Water
The City of Los Angeles must drain 600 million gallons of water, about a
day‟s supply, from two reservoirs after discovering high levels of bromate,
a suspected carcinogen. The bromate appears to have formed in sunlit
water when chlorine oxidised bromide from groundwater. The unexpected
chemistry is leading to changes in water-monitoring requirements at the
local and state levels and may affect nationwide policies. Some of the
bromate-contaminated water in Los Angeles‟ Silver Lake reservoir may be
used for emergency reserves, while the rest will be flushed to the Pacific
Ocean. Bromide often occurs naturally in water supplies and is commonly
oxidised to bromate during ozone disinfection of drinking water. Water
treatment plants that use ozone are therefore required to test for bromate
before releasing water to distribution systems. In the LA reservoirs, however,
bromate was produced spontaneously in post treatment water stored in
surface reservoirs. Neither state nor federal regulations require testing for
bromate in water supplies post treatment. The LA Department of Water &
Power (LADWP) learned of the problem from a laboratory conducting tests
for a commercial customer. Generally, water suppliers must keep bromate
levels to a maximum of 10 ppb on average over a year. But in October, the
city‟s Silver Lake reservoir had a bromate level of 68 ppb, while its Elysian
reservoir had 106 ppb. Pankaj Parekh, LADWP‟s director for water quality
compliance says that LADWP is still conducting studies on what happened
in the reservoirs, although experiments have confirmed that the critical
components are bromide, chlorine, sunlight, and probably dissolved oxygen.
Parekh notes that most of the literature on bromate formation focuses on
managing it in treatment plants or as part of desalination of ocean water.
“There is very sparse information available for the type of drinking-water
scenario facing us,” he says, adding that the department is rapidly developing
an appreciation for photochemistry. Parekh says that LADWP is unusual but
not unique in storing drinking water in open reservoirs. Such reservoirs are
more typically used to store raw water before disinfection. However, LADWP
serves a very large area, and the reservoirs play a critical role in maintaining
pressure in the system as demand fluctuates during the day. LADWP now
routinely tests for bromate in surface reservoirs of treated water. Rufus B.
Howell, chief of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Division
of Drinking Water & Environmental Management, wrote in a Nov. 30 letter
to LADWP that CDPH believes bromate monitoring “should be expanded
to cover certain additional facilities not utilising ozone disinfectant.” CDPH
has identified two other reservoirs with elevated bromate levels, both in
San Diego County. U.S. EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones says, “EPA is
working to understand the specific conditions that resulted in elevated levels
of bromate in the two reservoirs in the Los Angeles area.” If EPA determines
that the conditions could be replicated elsewhere, EPA will work with state
agencies and water utilities “to ensure that others avoid a similar situation,”
she adds.
Chemical & Engineering News, 24 December 2007

Dark chocolate „not so healthy‟
For people tucking into dark chocolate using the excuse it is good for you,
think again. A top medical journal has revealed that any health claims about
plain chocolate may be misleading. Plain chocolate is naturally rich in
flavanols, plant chemicals that are believed to protect the heart. However, an
editorial in the Lancet points out that many manufacturers remove flavanols
because of their bitter taste. Instead, many products may just be abundant
in fat and sugar - both of which are harmful to the heart and arteries, the
journal reported. In previous studies, researchers have suggested that
plain chocolate can help protect the heart, lower blood pressure and aid
tiredness. But the Lancet said: “Dark chocolate can be deceptive. “When
chocolate manufacturers make confectionery, the natural cocoa solids can
be darkened and the flavanols, which are bitter, removed, so even a dark-
looking chocolate can have no flavanol. “Consumers are also kept in the
dark about the flavanol content of chocolate because manufacturers rarely
label their products with this information.” In addition, the journal went on
to point out that even with flavanols present, chocolate-lovers should be
mindful of the other contents. “The devil in the dark chocolate is the fat,
sugar and calories it also contains. “To gain any health benefit, those who
eat a moderate amount of flavanol-rich dark chocolate will have to balance
the calories by reducing their intake of other foods - a tricky job for even the
most ardent calorie counter.
BBC News, 26 December 2007

Concerns about Bisphenol A Rise
Concerns regarding whether a chemical called Bisphenol A and whether it
is harmful to humans, are growing considering the fact that the chemical is
used to harden plastic in consumer products including baby bottles, food
containers, cling wrap, toys, CDs, sunglasses, and thousands of other
products. A number of independent researchers say tests on animals and
other research indicates that Bisphenol A can be toxic at very low doses. Last
month the panel investigating the chemical released a preliminary report
finding that Bisphenol A is of some concern for foetuses and small children.
However, they concluded that adults have almost nothing to worry about. Yet,
many researchers say that Bisphenol A, known as BPA, may cause a wide
range of health problems, including breast and prostate cancer, infertility,
diabetes, brain damage, even obesity. They have warned that the chemical
is especially toxic to babies and children. These scientists point to hundreds
of studies showing that Bisphenol A harms animals. They say problems
occur at exposure levels equivalent to those commonly seen in humans.
Several state legislatures, including those of California and Minnesota,
have considered, but not passed, bills limiting use of BPA. This year,
Prince Georges County Del. James W. Hubbard, a Democrat, introduced
a bill outlawing use of BPA in baby products, including toys and bottles.
The bill was voted down; Hubbard will try again in the January legislative
session. The controversy is part of a larger debate over how to measure
the risks posed by the thousands of industrial chemicals that have become
part of our lives over the past century - everything from plastics to Teflon to
formaldehyde. Many activists and researchers say government rules allow
industry to use potentially dangerous compounds without first ensuring the
chemicals‟ safety. In the U.S., industrial chemicals are regulated under the
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Passed in 1976, the law requires
companies to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for permission
to use new chemicals. But companies do not have to test for potential health
hazards, or provide any proof that the compound isn‟t hazardous. Since
this law was introduced, more than 82,000 chemicals have been registered
with the EPA; environmental health scientist Michael Wilson says only a few
thousand have received careful vetting. “The great majority of chemicals in
common use have not been adequately studied for their effects on human
health,” says Wilson, executive director of the Centre for Occupational and
Environmental Health at the University of California, Berkeley. “The big
picture is that there‟s a complete lack of basic public health information.”
But the chemical industry says the law is effective. “It‟s absolutely clear that
the EPA has the necessary regulatory authority to ensure that chemicals
are safe,” says Michael Walls, managing director of the American Chemistry
Council, the industry‟s trade group. “TSCA is a strong statutory framework
for chemical regulation.”
Enews 2.0, 24 December 2007

Farm women at greater risk of asthma
According to a recent study, farmwomen who are exposed to some commonly
used pesticides in farm work are at a greater risk of developing allergic
asthma. Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences said that though a large number of farmwomen are in contact with
pesticides, there‟s very little information about the potential risks. “Farm
women are an understudied occupational group. More than half the women
in our study applied pesticides, but there is very little known about the risks,”
said the study. During the study, the researchers assessed pesticide and
other occupational exposure risk factors for adult-onset asthma in more
than 25,000 farmwomen in North Carolina and Iowa. Self-reports of doctor-
diagnosed adult asthma was used to divide the women into groups of
allergic (atopic) or non-allergic (non-atopic) asthma based on a history of
eczema and/or hay fever. The researchers found that on average there was
a 50% increase in the prevalence of allergic asthma in all farmwomen who
applied or mixed pesticides. Surprisingly, even though the association with
pesticides was higher among women who grew up on farms, these women
still had a lower overall risk of having allergic asthma compared to those
who did not grow up on farms, due to a protective effect that remains poorly
understood. “Growing up on a farm is such a huge protective effect it‟s pretty
hard to overwhelm it. About 40 per cent of women who work on farms don‟t
report spending their childhoods there. It is likely that the association with
pesticides is masked in the general population due to a higher baseline rate
of asthma.” “Asthma is a very heterogeneous disease. This finding suggests
that some of the agricultural risk factors for allergic and non- allergic asthma
may differ.” Researchers say that this is the first study to examine pesticides
and asthma in farmwomen, and it points the way for future research to clarify
the relationship.
The International News, 2 January 2008

Trichloroethylene (TCE) Is A Risk Factor For
Parkinsonism, Study Shows
Pesticides and other neurotoxins can cause Parkinson‟s disease, the most
common neurodegenerative movement disorder caused by aging. According
to a new study, trichloroethylene (TCE) is a risk factor for Parkinsonism, a
group of nervous disorders with symptoms similar to Parkinson‟s disease.
TCE is a chemical widely used in industry that is also found in drinking
water, surface water and soil due to runoff from manufacturing sites where it
is used. While Don M. Gash and John T Slevin, of the University of Kentucky
in Lexington, KY, were conducting a clinical trial of 10 Parkinson‟s disease
patients, they found a patient who described long-term exposure to TCE,
which he suspected to be a risk factor in his disease. TCE has been identified
as an environmental contaminant in almost 60 percent of the Superfund
priority sites listed by the Environmental Protection Agency and there
has been increasing concern about its long-term effects. In addition, the
patient noted that some of his co-workers had also developed Parkinson‟s
disease, which led to the current study of this patient and two of his co-
workers diagnosed with Parkinson‟s disease who underwent neurological
evaluations to assess motor function. All of these individuals had at least
a 25 year history of occupational exposure to TCE, which included both
inhalation and exposure to it from submerging their unprotected arms
and forearms in a TCE vat or touching parts that had been cleaned in it.
134 former workers were mailed questionnaires regarding their signs of
Parkinson‟s disease, such as slowness of voluntary movement, stooped
posture and trouble with balance. Furthermore, the researchers conducted
studies in rats to determine how TCE affects the brain. They found that 14
former employees who reported three or more parkinsonian signs worked
close to the TCE source, were found to exhibit signs of parkinsonism when
they were examined and were significantly (up to 250 percent) slower in fine
motor hand movements than age-matched controls.
Clinical exams of 13 patients who reported no signs of Parkinsonism revealed
that they worked in the same areas as the symptomatic workers or further
from the TCE vat, they exhibited some mild features of the condition and their
fine motor movements were also significantly slower than controls, although
they were faster than the group with symptoms. Results from the rat studies
demonstrated that TCE exposure inhibited mitochondrial function (which in
humans is associated with a wide range of degenerative diseases) in the
substantia nigra, an area in the brain that produces dopamine and whose
destruction is associated with Parkinson‟s disease. Specifically, Complex 1,
an enzyme important in energy production, was significantly reduced in the
substantia nigra. Dopamine neurons in this area also showed degenerative
changes following TCE administration. The researchers acknowledge that
while the study was not a large-scale epidemiological investigation, the
results demonstrate a strong potential link between chronic TCE exposure
and Parkinsonism. “It will be important to follow the progression of movement
disorders in this cohort over the next decade to fully assess the long-term
health risks from trichloroethylene exposure,” they state. Although previous
studies identified pesticides as a risk factor for Parkinson‟s disease, the drug
MPTP was previously the only mitochondrial neurotoxin linked to the disease.
In conclusion, the researchers said, “Trichloroethylene is implicated as a
principal risk factor for parkinsonism based on its dopaminergic neurotoxicity
in animal models, the high levels of chronic dermal and inhalation exposure
to trichloroethylene by the three workers with Parkinson‟s disease, the
motor slowing and clinical manifestations of parkinsonism in co-workers
clustered around the trichloroethylene source, and the mounting evidence
of neurotoxic effects in other reports of chronic trichloroethylene exposure.”
Science Daily, 7 January 2008
Thousands of tons of organic food produced using toxic
According to figures recently released, thousands of tons of organic
vegetables sold in British shops in 2007 were produced using toxic chemical
pesticides. Many shoppers - who pay premium prices for “naturally” grown
veg - are unaware that any chemicals are allowed on any organic produce.
Under Soil Association rules, a small number of sprays are permitted.
However, it has emerged that increasing numbers of potato farmers
have been asking for special permission to use large amounts of copper
fungicide over the summer and autumn. According to new statistics, a third
of UK organic potato farmers were given permission to spray crops with
fungicides made with copper - a heavy metal that can cause liver disease.
The pesticide is one of a handful approved by the Soil Association - the
charity that certifies and promotes organic food. The association‟s website
describes it as toxic, while the EU is planning to ban it in the next few years
following concerns about its health effects. Farmers were forced to resort to
chemical sprays after one of the worst summers on record for potato blight
- the disease that caused the 19th century Irish famine. The Soil Association
said 30 per cent of its growers had applied for special permission to use the
fungicide while industry sources said organic farmers had bought “close to
record” amounts over the summer. Professor Tony Trewavas, an Edinburgh
University plant scientist and critic of organic food, said copper compounds
were 1,000 times more toxic than fungicides used on non-organic potatoes.
“It‟s not only poisonous for people, but also for wildlife,” said Prof Trewavas.
“The trouble is, organic farmers haven‟t got anything else to replace it.
Blight destroys the whole crop - it gets into the leaves and you end up with
nothing. Organic farmers cannot afford to lose a crop.” He added: “The Soil
Association makes a big play out of the fact that it is „natural‟ farming. “But
farming can never be „natural‟ - it is an unnatural thing to clear land of trees,
plant crops and then try to stop anything else eating them.”
Syngenta, the agribusiness company that makes pesticides and fertilisers,
confirmed that demand for copper sulphate pesticides from organic farmers
had “gone through the roof” this year. The problem hit the late potato crop,
harvested from September. Professor Lewis Smith, head of regulatory
science at Syngenta, said: “The impact of potato blight was devastating
across the country - although some areas suffered more. “Organic farmers
used significant amounts of copper sulphate to reduce the impact. Copper
sulphate is poisonous if you have enough of it. It can stay around in the
soil and you can end up with high concentrations.” The shortage of organic
potatoes meant that Israeli and Egyptian varieties are already being flown in
- despite the high carbon footprint, he added. Copper sulphate only works
as a preventative pesticide. If organic farms are struck by potato blight, they
are forced to remove all vegetation from the surface and the lift the potatoes
within a few days. Conventional farmers complain that organic neighbours
increase the spread of diseases like blight. Copper has been used for
hundreds of years. It is commonly applied to soil as a conditioner. People
need small levels in their diet. However, at high concentrations it can cause
liver, kidney and blood disease. The Soil Association said it was phasing
out copper sulphate - and that a growing number of organic farmers were
switching to blight-resistant strains. Last year, 58 farmers applied to the
Soil Association to use 2.2 tonnes of copper. This year, around 100 applied
for permission. The fungus Phytophthora infestans causes potato blight. It
spreads quickly in wet and humid conditions, and can destroy an entire field
of potatoes. The spores develop on the leaves and can then be washed into
the soil where they spread to neighbouring plants. They can also be carried
miles on the wind.
The Daily Mail, 1 January 2008

September 11 Stress Increases Risk Of Heart Problems,
Study Suggests
A new study by researchers at the University of California Irvine has found
that the stress and fear in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks may be
making Americans sicker. For the first time, acute stress responses to the
attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon have been linked to a
53 percent increased incidence in cardiovascular ailments over three years
following 9/11. These findings persist even after considering health status
before 9/11, degree of exposure to the attacks, and risk factors such as
cholesterol problems, diabetes, smoking, and body weight. The results were
especially strong among individuals reporting ongoing worry about terrorism
after 9/11; these individuals were three to four times more likely to report a
doctor-diagnosed heart problem two to three years after the attacks. Alison
Holman, Professor in Nursing Science and lead researcher for the study said,
“Our study is the first to show that even among people who had no personal
connection to the victims, those who reported high levels of post-traumatic
stress symptoms in the days following the 9/11 attacks were more than twice as
likely to report being diagnosed by their doctors with cardiovascular ailments
like high blood pressure, heart problems and stroke up to three years later.”
“We must consider the potential public health impact of indirect exposure to
extreme stress since the majority of our respondents were exposed to the
attacks only by watching television,” said Roxane Cohen Silver, Professor of
Psychology and Social Behaviour and Medicine. “Our findings highlight the
possibility that acute stress reactions may indicate subsequent vulnerability
to potentially serious health problems.” During the study, the researchers
randomly recruited almost 2,000 adults from across the country. These
people completed a confidential survey in the days and months following
the September 11 attacks. Participants answered questions about acute
responses to the attacks, ongoing worries about terrorism (e.g., I worry
that an act of terrorism will personally affect me or someone in my family)
and physician-diagnosed health ailments. The majority of the respondents
reported watching the attacks on live television; one-third reported no live or
direct exposure to the attacks, and a few reported direct exposures to the
attacks. Follow-up surveys were conducted annually for three years. The
researchers then analysed the survey feedback regarding their physical and
mental health, worries about terrorism and lifetime exposure to traumatic
events, such as divorce or abuse. The study concludes that psychological
stress following the attacks led to an increase incidence of cardiovascular
ailments among adults who had no known pre-existing cardiac condition.
Science Daily, 8 January 2008

Ships are a major source of global warming pollutants
Scientists have said that ships are adding to global warming in a big way
because they are a major source of pollutants like carbon dioxide, nitrous
oxide and black carbon. A new report says that because of the fact that
ships remain unregulated by the authorities, their impact on global climate
goes unchecked. In addition, the report added even the Kyoto Protocol or
any other international treaty has been unable to limit these emissions. The
report largely lays blame on the global fleet of marine vessels for affecting
the global climate. It is estimated that this fleet releases between 600 and
900 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, an amount equivalent to
emissions from at least 130 million cars - about the number of cars operated
in the United States. In fact, by 2020, these emissions could double 2002
levels, and they could be triple those levels by 2030. Other disturbing facts
about the effects of the ships on climate are that a single container ship
emits more global warming pollution than 2,000 diesel trucks, and that
the ships contribute nearly 30% of the world‟s releases of nitrogen oxides.
Furthermore, black carbon or soot, another pollutant released by ships, can
warm the air hundreds of thousands of times more than the same amount of
carbon dioxide. This is quite alarming as black carbon may be responsible
for as much as 25% of observed global warming. The report lays stress
on formulating a plan of action to counter this situation caused by ships.
A positive step towards this plan is the sending of a petition by Friends
of the Earth and the Centre for Biological Diversity, Oceana, to the EPA
(Environmental Protection Agency) to regulate these emissions. According
to the report, ship pollution can be reduced considerably by controlling the
operation of marine vessels, including fuel type and vessel speed among
other solutions. These actions will help achieve the emissions reductions so
desperately needed to protect the oceans and marine ecosystems. (ANI), 1 January 2008

His parasite theory stirs a revolution
Joel Weinstock thinks lack of exposure to worms leads to a rise in immunological
diseases. It is another piece of evidence, which Weinstock - the chief of
gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts-New England Medical Centre -
has narrowed down to one chief suspect: the worms. Weinstock, specializes
in studying why immunological diseases - everything from hay fever and
asthma to diabetes and multiple sclerosis - are on the rise in developed
countries but remain relatively uncommon in undeveloped countries. He
believes these diseases, many of which were almost unheard of 100 years
ago, are because of changes in our environment, a lack of exposure to
something. And he thinks that something may be the worms. “We realized
that one thing people always had was intestinal worms,” he said. “But in the
mid-20th century we started de-worming children in developed countries.
So we‟ve developed a theory that perhaps de-worming was helping these
diseases.” His hypothesis, currently being tested in laboratory trials on how
parasitic worms, known as helminths, regulate response to disease, has
earned Weinstock the title of “Best and Brightest” from Esquire magazine,
which honoured him in its recent “Genius Issue.” The magazine hailed his
theory as a glimpse into a “brand-new scientific revolution, a paradigm shift in
the way we think about the human body.” The crux of that scientific revolution
is a bit of role reversal. The parasites that we have been told to avoid -
such as hookworm and pinworm - may be the good guys, while excessive
hygiene may be the bad guy. “I get about 5,000 e-mails a year from patients
all over the world asking what to do,” he said. “People know that something
isn‟t right. They keep their kids in the cleanest environments and they get
asthma. We get all of these things that were rare becoming common. And
a lot of it comes down to hygiene. Excessive hygiene can potentially lead
to disease.” The “hygiene hypothesis,” which was first proposed nearly two
decades ago, argues that aspects of cleanliness prevent the immune system
from programming itself to fight off disease. “The big question is what are
those aspects? We don‟t want to go back to the standards of the 1800s,”
Weinstock said. “Public hygiene and cleanliness are very good for us, but
removing ourselves entirely from our natural environment is bad for us. We
need to figure out the aspects of dirt and exposure that are good for us and
hopefully we can find a balance.” He said he hopes his research will soon
lead to helminths-based drug therapies and vaccines. “Will people be afraid
to take a worm pill?” he asked, acknowledging an obvious squeamishness. “I
don‟t think so.” And while he is cautious about advising any of his desperate
e-mailers until all of the facts are in, he is comfortable telling parents one
thing. “When people ask me what to do, I tell them to let their kids play in the
dirt,” he said. “And it‟s OK if they don‟t wash their hands every time.”
The Boston Globe, 31 December 2007

Healthy Smile May Promote A Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer of Americans, and while most
people are aware that lifestyle choices such as eating right, getting enough
exercise and quitting smoking can help prevent cardiovascular disease,
they may not know that by just brushing and flossing their teeth each day,
they might also be avoiding this potentially lethal condition. A new study
has suggested that periodontal patients whose bodies show evidence of a
reaction to the bacteria associated with periodontitis may have an increased
risk of developing cardiovascular disease. “Although there have been many
studies associating gum disease with heart disease, what we have not
known is exactly why this happens and under what circumstances,” said
JOP editor Kenneth Kornman, DDS, PhD. “The findings of this new analysis
of previously published studies suggest that the long-term effect of chronic
periodontitis, such as extended bacterial exposure, may be what ultimately
leads to cardiovascular disease.” Howard University researchers found 11
studies that had previously examined clinically diagnosed periodontal disease
and cardiovascular disease. Following analysis of the participants‟ level of
systemic bacterial exposure, specifically looking for the presence of the
bacteria associated with periodontal disease, as well as measuring various
biological indicators of bacterial exposure, the researchers identified that
individuals with periodontal disease whose biomarkers showed increased
bacterial exposure were more likely to develop coronary heart disease or
atherogenesis (plaque formation in the arteries). “While more research is
needed to better understand the connection between periodontal disease
and cardiovascular disease, this study suggests the importance of taking of
your teeth and gums and how that can help you take care of your heart,” said
Susan Karabin, DDS, President of the AAP. “With the number of people with
heart disease continuing to increase, it is important to understand that simple
activities like brushing and flossing twice a day, and regular visits to your
dental professional can help lower your risk of other health conditions.”
Science Daily, 8 January 2008

Heat and smog linked to rise in heart attacks
New statistics from a Sydney hospital have found that warm weather, high
pollution and ozone levels may be responsible for a sudden increase in heart
attacks and severe chest pain. Surveillance data from St George Hospital
reveals a spike in the number of patients presenting to its emergency
department with cardiovascular complaints between April and May 2005.
Emergency visits for cardiovascular problems increased by 69 per cent in
the two-month outbreak, with 247 patients seen, compared with an average
of 146 for the same two months in the previous three years. Researcher
Robin Turner of the NSW Department of Health and colleagues compared
emergency department visits with weather and pollution factors - such
as temperature, solar radiation, pollution levels and ozone levels - to find
an explanation. Dr Turner said there was mounting evidence in Australia
and overseas that environmental factors could have adverse affects on
cardiovascular health. In a recent study conducted by U.S researchers,
cardiovascular death increased up to 8 per cent when temperatures rose
and ozone levels were at their highest. The higher temperatures increased
the risk of cardiovascular disease requiring urgent treatment by 27 per cent,
the analysis, published in the journal Environmental Health, showed. High
radiation levels increased the risk by 44 per cent and high ozone levels
by 13 per cent. The association between cardiovascular symptoms and
temperature, radiation and ozone levels was most likely due to photochemical
smog, a chemical reaction between sunlight and air pollutants. “Both solar
radiation and temperature are important catalysts in photochemical smog
reactions that produce ozone and other oxidants,” Dr Turner said. “Temp
and solar radiation were unseasonably high during the outbreak period.
The addition of drought and high atmospheric pressure provided favourable
conditions for atmospheric stagnation and ozone build-up.”
The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 January 2008

Emergency Responders At High Risk To Miss Work
Because Of Injuries
A new study has found that at any given time, almost 10 percent of the
emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics in the United States
miss work because of injuries and illnesses they suffered on the job. A study
examining how common these injuries are and tracking new cases of work-
related injuries and illnesses in these professionals also suggests that in
one year, an estimated 8.1 of every 100 emergency responders will suffer
an injury or illness forcing them to miss work. Compared to data compiled
by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the rate of injuries requiring work
absence among these first responders far exceeds the national average
of 1.3 per 100 lost-work injury cases reported in 2006. furthermore, the
researchers identified work-related and health conditions most likely to lead
to injuries, which included responding to a high volume of emergency calls,
working in bigger cities and having a history of back problems. Researchers
conducting the study say that knowing how common severe injuries are in
this population will help guide interventions designed to reduce the risks
of injury. “There is a relatively high incidence of lost-work injuries among
emergency medical services professionals, and those injuries are related to
the work they do. We may be able to target specific risks and make changes
to see if we can affect those injuries,” said first author Jonathan Studnek,
a Ph.D. candidate in epidemiology at Ohio State University. “The ultimate
goal is to find a way to reduce injuries. But first we have to understand
how big a problem it is.” During the study, Studnek and colleagues selected
data from the Longitudinal Emergency Medical Technician Attributes and
Demographics Study, an annual survey created in 1998 by the National
Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration to describe the characteristics of emergency medical
services workers in the United States. The researchers looked specifically
within the study at self-reported absence from work caused by work-
related injury or illness, and work-life characteristics associated with those
absences. They looked at a cross-sectional snapshot of injury and illness
among emergency workers and also watched for trends over time, between
1999 and 2005. Both types of analyses connected a high call volume and a
history of recent back problems to a higher likelihood of injury among EMTs
and paramedics. They identified about 900,000 certified emergency medical
services professionals responded to more than 17 million calls in 2005. The
most common injuries these professionals suffer are exposure to blood-
borne pathogens from needle sticks, musculoskeletal injuries associated
with lifting and moving patients, various wounds inflicted by violent patients,
and injuries caused by traffic accidents involving ambulances.
“There‟s no doubt many of these types of injuries occur among people
who often have to rely on their backs to do something that‟s not in their
best interest. They need to make something happen fast and can‟t wait
for help, so they put themselves into positions they shouldn‟t,” said John
“Mac” Crawford, assistant professor of environmental health sciences in
Ohio State „s College of Public Health and a co-author of the study. “The
public health implications go beyond these circumscribed professional
groups. Patient safety is at stake, and there are liability issues, as well.”
Along with the average 9.4 percent of injured or ill EMTs at any one time
among all participants examined, the researchers found the prevalence of
lost-work injuries was highest among those with a very high call volume
(22.3 percent) and back problems (21.0 percent). Very high call volume
was defined as 40 or more calls per week. The analysis of several years
of data produced similar results. While an estimated 8.1 per 100 of these
professionals experienced an on-the-job injury or illness per year, the rates
were much higher for those with very high call volume (18.9 per 100) and
self-reported back problems (12.5 per 100). In addition, those working in an
urban environment - a community with a population exceeding 25,000 - were
three times more likely to report an injury with missed work time than their
counterparts in rural communities. This research is part of a larger effort to
study the effectiveness and attitudes about the use of new devices that have
potential to reduce back injury, such as stretchers equipped with hydraulic
lift mechanisms and specialized chairs that ease the movement of patients
on stairs. The equipment designed for this purpose “has a high cost, but
it saves backs,” said Crawford, a registered nurse and a former EMT who
lost six weeks of work to a back injury when he was working full time as a
nurse. “Injury prevention pertains more to retention than to recruitment of
EMTs and paramedics. Once they‟ve devoted time to the profession, we
don‟t want them to leave because they became injured,” Studnek said.
Science daily, 8 January 2008

Air Pollution Shrinks Foetus Size, Study Suggests
According to a new study by Brisbane researchers, exposure to air pollution
significantly reduces foetus size during pregnancy. Queensland University
of Technology senior research fellow Dr Adrian Barnett said the study
compared the foetus sizes of more than 15,000 ultrasound scans in Brisbane
to air pollution levels within a 14km radius of the city. “The study found that
mothers with a higher exposure to air pollution had foetuses that were, on
average, smaller in terms of abdominal circumference, head circumference
and femur length,” Dr Barnett said. The 10-year study, which was undertaken
by Dr Barnett, Dr Craig Hansen (US Environmental Protection Agency)
and Dr Gary Pritchard (PacUser), has been published in the international
journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Dr Barnett, who is based at
QUT‟s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said the study looked
at foetuses between 13 and 26 weeks gestation. “To our knowledge this
is the first study of its kind as it uses ultrasound measurement as a direct
estimate of growth, rather than using birth weight as a delayed measure of
growth,” Dr Barnett said. “When analysing scans from women at different
distances to monitoring sites, we found that there was a negative relationship
between pollutants such as sulphur dioxide found in diesel emissions, and
ultrasound measurement. “If the pollution levels were high the size of the
foetus decreased significantly.” Dr Barnett said with research showing that
bigger babies were healthier in childhood and adulthood, foetus size during
pregnancy was important. “Birth weight is a major predictor of later health,
for example, bigger babies have been shown to have higher IQs in childhood
and lower risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood,” he said. “While some
people may think there is no air pollution in Brisbane because the air looks
so clean, you have to remember that most air pollutants are not visible to the
naked eye, people do have a very outdoor lifestyle, and homes are designed
to maximise airflow. “So although the actual levels of pollution are low our
exposure to whatever is out there is relatively high. “This is particularly a
problem for people who live near major roads.” Dr Barnett said it was wise
for pregnant women to try to reduce their exposure to air pollution, most of
which in Brisbane was caused by vehicles. “While we need to get more data
from individual mothers before we can be more certain about the effects
of air pollution on foetal development, we would recommend that where
possible pregnant women reduce their exposure to air pollution.”
Science Daily, 7 January 2008

Potentially Harmful Pesticides Found In All Human
Subjects Tested
A new study from researchers at the University of Granada‟s Department of
Radiology and Physical Medicine, in collaboration with the Escuela Andaluza
de Salud Publica, found that 100% of Spaniards analysed had at least one
kind of persistent organic compound (POC), substances internationally
classified as potentially harmful to human health, in their bodies. These
substances enter the body through food, water or even air. All of them tend
to accumulate in human adipose tissue and easily enter into the organism
through the aforementioned mediums. The study, led by professors Piedad
MartÌn Olmedo, Nicol·s Olea Serrano and Mariana F. Fern·ndez Cabrera
and designed by Juan Pedro Arrebola Moreno, measured the contamination
levels of some persistent organic compounds (POCs) in a sample of the adult
population from two areas, an urban one (Granada capital city) and a semi-
rural one (Motril), and intended to find the determining factors associated
with such levels: diet, lifestyle, activities or residence. A total of 387 adults,
from both sexes, were volunteers for surgeries in hospitals taking part in the
study (Santa Ana de Motril and San Cecilio de Granada hospital). Once the
volunteers had given consent, a sample of their human adipose tissue (fat)
was taken during surgery and they answered a questionnaire about their
place of residence, lifestyle, eating habits and activities throughout their life.
The samples were analysed and the researchers identified 6 different POC
concentration levels: DDE, a principal metabolite in DDT (a pesticide used
in Spain until the 80¥s); hexachlorobenzene, a compound used as fungicide
and currently released by industrial processes; PCB‟s: compounds related
to industrial processes; and Hexaclorociclohexano, used as an insecticide
and currently used in scabies and pediculosis treatment. The researchers
concluded that a 100% of subjects analysed had DDE in their bodies, a
substance banned in Spain, and other very frequent components such as
PCB-153 (present in 92% of people), HCB (91%), PCB-180 (90%), PCB-
138 (86%9) and HCH (84%). Juan Pedro Arrebola Moreno explains that
higher levels of toxic substances were detected in women compared to men
and in older volunteers compared to younger people, “possibly due to the
great persistence of these substances in the environment, which results in
their biomagnification in the food chain and in their bioaccumulation over
time”. The scientist added that there is another theory known as “Efecto
Cohorte” (Cohort effect) that explains the high quantities of these substances
in older people. According to this theory, those born in periods of higher
contamination suffered the consequences more than those born with the
current bans on such pesticides. In addition, the findings indicate that diet is
an important factor in POC concentration, as the ingestion of some aliments,
particularly those of animal origin and high fat content, triggers a greater
presence of these toxic substances in the human organism. Juan Pedro
Arrebola Moreno states, “There are few studies in Spain measuring POC
levels in wide samples of the population, which means that some compound
levels in the general population are unknown”. Consequently, this study
will improve the knowledge of such levels, and will identify those groups
at higher risk of exposure, which is the first step for subsequent follow-up
studies determining the cause-effect relations.
Science Daily, 6 January 2008

For health, add a little more sun
For years we have known that to avoid skin cancer we need to avoid going
out in the sun, or if we do, slap on the sunscreen or cover up. However, this
advice may need some reconsideration following a recent study suggesting
that the health benefits of vitamin D, which is produced by the skin when
it is exposed to sunshine, could justify a modest increase in the amount
of time we spend in the sun. “Since vitamin D has been shown to play a
protective role in a number of internal cancers and possibly a range of other
diseases, it is important to study the relative risks to determine whether
advice to avoid sun exposure may be causing more harm than good in some
populations,” said Richard Setlow, a biophysicist at the Brookhaven National
Laboratory in the US. During the study, the researcher showed that people
with higher levels of vitamin D were more likely to survive cancers such as
those of the colon, breast and lung. These results add to the already growing
body of evidence that a lack of vitamin D in our diets may mean people are
not getting the full benefits of the nutrient. Ed Yong, of Cancer Research
UK, said: “It‟s becoming increasingly clear that vitamin D does have some
benefits in terms of reducing people‟s risks of cancer. [But] the amount of
sun exposure it takes to produce enough vitamin D is always less than the
amount it takes to tan or burn.” Dr Setlow said an option might be to continue
using sunscreens but to increase vitamin D intake through foods such as
milk, fish, cod liver oil and some cereals. In a study published yesterday
in the journal Circulation, scientists at the Harvard Medical School found
a deficiency of vitamin D increased the risk of developing cardiovascular
The Age, 9 January 2008

Suit Claims IBM Dumped Chemicals
More than 90 current and former residents who live near IBM‟s original
site in Endicott, N.Y., have filed suit against the computer maker alleging
it released millions of gallons of industrial chemicals into the environment,
threatening their health and lowering the value of residential and business
properties. They seek compensation for lost property value and personal
njuries, as well as punitive damages. IBM does not deny releases of volatile
organic compounds from the site, where it made typewriters, computer
systems, and integrated circuit boards between 1924 and 2002. However,
spokesman Michael Maloney says “this legal action has no basis in science
or law, and IBM will defend itself vigorously.” Attorneys for the claimants
say IBM released trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethane,
benzene, and trichlorotrifluoroethane into the ground and air. Over many
years, they claim, the solvents and cleaners formed “a plume of toxic
chemicals” that migrated through soils and groundwater, posing a health
hazard to people living and working downhill from the plant. The suit alleges
that fumes from the plume infiltrated homes and businesses and were
responsible for cases of kidney cancer and infant heart defects. Since 1979,
IBM says it has undertaken a groundwater remediation program, which
included the installation of hundreds of extraction and investigation wells.
The firm has also installed ventilation systems at more than 480 properties
in the area of its former plant. Since 2004, the firm has paid out $2.8 million
in compensation to eligible property owners under a program negotiated
with the New York State Attorney General‟s office. Four years ago, IBM
faced more than 200 suits from workers at its plants who alleged harm from
chemicals used to make computer chips. Maloney says a large number of
those suits were dropped after IBM won cases that went to trial. It settled
another suit, without disclosing the terms, brought on behalf of a 23-year-
old plaintiff who alleged that her birth defects were a consequence of her
mother‟s exposure to chemicals used in a New York semiconductor plant.
Maloney acknowledges that the technology giant has tried to negotiate a
settlement with the Endicott plaintiff attorneys but would not say why those
negotiations have not resulted in a settlement.
Chemical & Engineering News, 8 January 2008


Application of near-infrared microscopy (NIRM) for the
detection of meat and bone meals in animal feeds: A tool
for food and feed safety
This paper reports on the development and validation of a method for
detecting meat and bone meal (MBM) in compound feeds by near-IR
reflectance microscopy (NIRM) as an alternative in food and feed safety. A
FT-NIR instrument attached to a microscope was used to build up a spectral
library containing reference feed particles identified as plant or animal origin.
The spectral library sample set was used to develop various discriminant
models to classify spectra as MBM or plant material. The best discriminant
model was obtained using partial least squares (PLS) discriminant analysis
and standard normal variate and detrending (SNVD) and first derivative for
spectrum pretreatment.
Authors: de la Roza-Delgado, B.; Soldado, A.; Martinez-Fernandez, A.;
Vicente, F.; Garrido-Varo, A.; Perez-Marin, D.; de la Haba, M. J.; Guerrero-
Ginel, J. E.
Full Source: Food Chemistry 2007, 105(3), 1164-1170 (Eng)

The safety of whey protein concentrate derived from the
milk of cows immunized against Clostridium difficile
A whey protein concentrate prepared from the milk of cows that have been
immunized against Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and its toxins, is produced
for use as a medical food for the dietary management of patients with C.
difficile-associated diarrhoea (CDAD) to prevent a relapse of the infection.
Anti-CD WPC is supported by analytical data comparing the composition
of raw milk from immunized cows versus that from non-immunized cows,
and the composition of anti-CD WPC versus that of regular whey protein
concentrate. This study, which included adverse event monitoring, physical
examinations, and extensive haematological and biochemical assessments,
showed that anti-CD WPC is safe to consume by patients with CDAD.
Authors: Young, Karen W. H.; Munro, Ian C.; Taylor, Steve L.; Veldkamp,
Peter; van Dissel, Jaap T.
Full Source: Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2007, 47(3), 317-326


7H-dibenzo[c,g]carbazole metabolism by the mouse and
human CYP1 family of enzymes.
Found in tobacco smoke, fossil fuel and other organic combustion products,
7H-dibenzo-[c,g]carbazole (DBC) is a potent mouse lung carcinogen and
potential human carcinogen. The authors found that DBCDNA adduct
levels are significantly higher in aromatic hydrocarbon receptor null Ahr(-
/-) mice, suggesting that the induction of aromatic hydrocarbon receptor
(AHR)-regulated genes, such as those in the CYP1 family, decrease DBC
genotoxicity. DBC metabolism by the human CYP1 enzymes was examined
in vitro using Supersomes. These studies suggest that for non-pulmonary
routes of exposure low hepatic expression of CYP1A2 and CYP1A1,
together with high expression levels of lung CYP1B1 and CYP1A1, may
define a phenotype for high susceptibility to carcinogens such as DBC.
Authors: Shertzer, Howard G.; Genter, Mary B.; Talaska, Glenn; Curran,
Christine P.; Nebert, Daniel W.; Dalton, Timothy P.
Full Source: Carcinogenesis 2007, 28(6), 1371-1378 (Eng)

Exposure to Ethylene Oxide in Hospitals: Biological
Monitoring and Influence of Glutathione S-Transferase
and Epoxide Hydrolase Polymorphisms
Ethylene oxide is considered as a human carcinogen. This study aimed
at examining (a) whether the urinary excretion of a metabolite of ethylene
oxide, 2-hydroxyethyl mercapturic acid (HEMA), could be used for monitoring
occupational exposure and (b) whether glutathione S-transferase (GST) and
epoxide hydrolase genotypes influenced biological monitoring. Exposure to
ethylene oxide was measured by personal sampling, HEMA concentrations
were determined in three urine samples. On a group basis, exposure and a
non-null GSTT1 genotype increased the HEMA concentrations in the urine
sample collected.
Authors: Haufroid, Vincent; Merz, Brigitte; Hofmann, Annette; Tschopp,
Alois; Lison, Dominique; Hotz, Philippe.
Full Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2007, 16(4),
796-802 (Eng)

Palladium attenuates the pro-inflammatory interactions
of C5a, interleukin-8 and pneumolysin with human
The primary objective of this study was to investigate the effects of
cobalt, palladium, platinum and vanadium on the ability of the neutrophil
chemoattractants C5a and IL-8, as well as the pneumococcal toxin,
pneumolysin, to activate human neutrophils in vitro. Neutrophil activation
was determined using a fura-2/AM-based spectrofluorimetric procedure,
as well as by a chemotaxis assay using modified Boyden chambers.
These observations demonstrate that exposure to Pd2+ may compromise
innate host defences, a previously unrecognised potential health threat of
environmental and/or occupational exposure to a ubiquitous heavy metal.
Authors: Fickl, Heidi; Theron, Annette J.; Anderson, Ronald; Mitchell, T. J.;
Feldman, Charles
Full Source: Journal of Immunotoxicology 2007, 4(3), 247-252 (English)

Metabolite Profiles of Di-n-butyl Phthalate in Humans and
Di-Bu phthalate (DBP) is widely used in consumer products. The authors
studied the metabolic profiles of DBP in rats and humans to evaluate
the similarities between the 2 species and between different exposure
scenarios. In rats administered DBP by oral gavage, the authors identified
MBP and 3 urinary oxidative metabolites of DBP. The authors also identified
MBP, MHBP, and MCPP in the urine of 4 men exposed to DBP by taking a
prescription medication containing DBP, and MBP and MCPP in 94 adults
with no documented exposure to DBP. These results suggest that regardless
of species and exposure scenario, MBP, the major DBP metabolite, is an
optimal biomarker of exposure to DBP.
Authors: Silva, Manori J.; Samandar, Ella; Reidy, John A.; Hauser, Russ;
Needham, Larry L.; Calafat, Antonia M.
Full Source: Environmental Science & Technology 2007, 41(21), 7576-7580

Cadmium-induced apoptosis of hepatocytes is not
associated with death receptor-related caspase-
dependent pathways in the rat
The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of cell death of
Cd-induced hepatotoxicity in a rat model. Eighteen adult male rats were
injected daily with a dose of Cd acetate. After 1, 2 and 7 days rats were
euthanised and blood and liver tissues were sampled for analysis. The
results for the Cd-treated group of animals were compared to those from
12 control rats. These results suggest that Cd-induced liver cell apoptosis
in the rat, over a period of 7 days, may not be related to the death-receptor
pathway. Moreover, apoptosis is dose-dependent and associated with the
decrement of Bcl-2.
Authors: Li, Yong; Lim, Sung-Chul
Full Source: Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 2007, 24(3), 231-
238 (English)


Identification of an optimal selection method for a
cardiovascular high risk group in an occupational setting
- positioning of metabolic syndrome, deadly quartet, CHD risk
This study explored ways to effectively select a cardiovascular high-risk
group in an occupational setting. Periodic health examinations in a group of
2000 people being monitored for lifestyle related disorders, detected risks
associated with age, BMI, blood pressure, lipids, diabetes mellitus, smoke
and CHD (Coronary heart disease). A high risk cardiovascular group was
selected by 64 different methods using these factors. An epidemiological
index (Sensitivity/False positive rate/Positive predictive value) was also
reviewed for each selection method using IMT (Intima-media thickness) by
carotid artery echography as the gold standard. The results showed that
the sensitivity was 11.1%, false positive rate 9.9%, positive predictive value
82.6% for the deadly quartet. For metabolic syndrome the results were:
sensitivity 21.7%, false positive rate 21.4%, positive predictive value 65.4%.
The authors found that for CHD risk (more than 20%) the sensitivity was
37.3%, false positive rate 20.6%, positive predictive value 77.1%. As for
the deadly quartet, the sensitivity was extremely low, and was insufficient
to develop a cardiovascular high risk strategy, and metabolic syndrome
was inferior to the CHD risk judging from sensitivity/specificity/positive
predictive value. In conclusion, the authors suggested that it is necessary
for occupational staff to understand well and maintain the reasonable use
of characteristics from every selection method to detect the cardiovascular
high risk group.
Authors: Ito, Masato; Hanada, Hisashi; Dote, Tomotaro
Full Source: Shojinkai Igakushi 2007, 46(1), 29-35 (Japan)

Application of Bayesian statistics in benzene exposure
This study assessed the area concentration of volatile organic vapour
in workshops with Bayesian statistics and checked them with field
measurements. On the basis of historical area benzene concentrations in
a rubber factory, Bayesian statistics were used in conjunction with physical
models to estimate the area concentrations of different work stations. The
results were tested with the field measurements. The results indicated that the
three working stations with the highest assessed levels were slurry-making,
cloth-lining-assembling and slurry-applying. There were 7 work stations but
no significant difference was detected between concentrations estimated
using the Bayesian statistics and those of field measurements. Whereas
compared between historical and field measurement, there were only 4. the
authors concluded that the area concentrations of volatile organic vapour
assessed by Bayesian statistics were closer to the field measurements than
historical data.
Authors: He, Yong-hua; Fu, Hua
Full Source: Huanjing Yu Zhiye Yixue 2007, 24(1), 16-20 (Ch)

Relationship between chromosome aberration in
peripheral blood lymphocyte and hemogram for X-ray
This study investigated the relationship between chromosome aberration in
peripheral blood lymphocyte and hemogram for X-ray workers. 105 workers
who were exposed to X-ray with abnormal chromosome were selected as
study subjects and another 105 X-ray workers with normal chromosome
who matched with the cases in sex, age ((2 years), work place, and work
history ((1 yr) were also recruited as controls. The chromosome samples
were observed under the microscope and the hemogram was analysed by
F-820 analyser. Stata software was used to analyse the data. The results
indicated that the average white blood cell count in the case group was lower
than that of the control group, while the mean for monocyte was higher. The
authors observed a correlation between the rate of chromosome aberration
and monocyte. The abnormal rate of leukocyte in the case group was
significantly higher than that of the control group. The authors concluded
that there is a relationship between chromosome aberration and leukocyte,
i.e., the rate of abnormal leukocyte of workers with chromosome aberration
increased after long term exposed to X-ray. The blood system was more
severely harmed in X-ray worker with chromosome aberration. The rate of
chromosomal aberration was positively related to monocyte.
Authors: Fan, Xue-yun; Wang, Liang-qun; Yan, Jin-de; Wu, Xu-mei; Cao,
Yan; Li, Ru-li; Liu, Shu-xia; Rong, Dong-hua
Full Source: Huanjing Yu Zhiye Yixue 2007, 24(1), 74-76 (Ch)

Popcorn-worker lung caused by corporate and regulatory
negligence: an avoidable tragedy
Diacetyl-containing butter flavour was identified as the cause of an outbreak
of bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) and other lung diseases in popcorn-plant
workers. Litigation documents show that the outbreak was both predictable
and preventable. Furthermore, the industry trade organisation was aware of
BO cases in workers at butter-flavouring and popcorn-manufacturing plants
but often failed to implement industrial hygiene improvements and actively
hid pertinent warning information. Due to weaknesses in the organisation
and mandates of regulatory bodies, organisations such as NIOSH, OSHA,
the FDA, particularly the “generally recognised as safe” (GRAS) system,
and the EPA failed to detect and prevent the outbreak, which highlights the
need for systemic changes in food-product regulation, including the need
for corporations to act responsibly, for stronger regulations with active
enforcement, for a restructuring of the GRAS system, and for criminal
penalties against corporations and professionals who knowingly hide
information relevant to worker protection.
Authors: Egilman, David; Mailloux, Caroline; Valentin, Claire
Full Source: International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
2007, 13(1), 85-98 (Eng)

Harmonisation and further development of models to
calculate airborne contaminant concentrations at the
Exposure models based on mass balances in homogeneous, well mixed zones
can be helpful in evaluating concentration measurements in workplace air.
They provide physical-based relationships between exposure determinants
and enable predictions of changes in exposure when determinants are
varied. This study showed that the equations for well-mixed 1-zone, 2-
zone and up to N-zone models can be reduced to a standardised form, the
relevant set of input variables of each zone can then be calculated from
the steady-state mass balances taken over the control volumes considered.
This simplifies models, since there is no need for a calculation of differential
equation systems in order to generate an analytical solution for all temporal
concentration profiles in the individual zones. In addition, this applies to the
modelling of particle concentrations if the above assumptions can be applied.
The authors conclude that all models discussed can be implemented and
calculated using spreadsheet programs.
Authors: Eickmann, U.; Liesche, A.; Wegscheider, W.
Full Source: Gefahrstoffe - Reinhaltung der Luft 2007, 67(4), 127-132

Public Health

Indoor environmental factors and adults asthma in
Ningxia, China: a case-control study
This paper determined the indoor environmental risk factors for adult‟s
asthma. A hospital based case-control study was conducted, which included
122 adult patients with asthma and 205 community controls to determine the
indoor environmental factors for adult asthma. Univariate and multivariate
unconditional Logistic regression was used to analyse the data. The results
to the univariate analysis showed that one-story house, newly decorated
house, short of breath hard in newly decorated house, drying the beddings
in the sun regularly, no leakage of smoke in kitchen, using coke for heating
and using firewood for cook. Results of the multivariate conditional logistic
regressive analysis showed that one-story house and newly decorated
house had significant negative correlation with asthma. In Ningxia province,
China, indoor environmental factors are related to adult asthma, one-story
house and newly decorated house may increase the risk of asthma, drying
the beddings in the sun regularly can decrease the risk of asthma.
Authors: Ding, Wen-qing; Li, Zheng-zhi; Pan, Xiao-chuan; Ge, Xia-hui
Full Source: Huanjing Yu Jiankang Zazhi 2007, 24(3), 149-150 (Ch)

Effects of traffic exhausts on children neurobehavioral
function in Quanzhou
This study investigated the effects affects of traffic exhausts on children‟s
neurobehavioral functions. The field study was conducted in Quanzhou,
Fujian Province, where two primary schools were chosen based on the
counts of passed by automobiles and the monitoring data of ambient air
pollutants. School B and school A were located in the high traffic exhausts
pollution area and the clear area respectively. Each school has the levels of
ambient air pollutants monitored. Neurobehavioral functions of pupils in the
3rd grade were scored by computer-administered neurobehavioral evaluation
system (NES-C3). The results demonstrated that the concentrations of
carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in school B campus were
significantly higher than those in school A. In addition, neurobehavioral
ability indexes (NAI) in continuous performance and visual simple reaction
time of pupils in school B were lower than those in school A after balancing
other factors. The authors concluded that these findings suggest that traffic
exhausts may induce the damage of children‟s neurobehavioral functions.
Authors: Wang, Shun-qin; Zhang, Jinliang; Wang, Sheng-chun; Zeng, Yi-
min; Zeng, Xiao-dong; Chen, Shu-yun
Full Source: Huanjing Yu Jiankang Zazhi 2007, 24(1), 12-15 (Ch)

Photographic assessment of fluorosis in children from
naturally fluoridated Kungsbacka and non-fluoridated
Halmstad, Sweden
This study assessed the levels of fluorosis and fluorosis of aesthetic concern
in children from a naturally fluoridated and a non-fluoridated area of Sweden.
In addition the relative contributions of fluoridated water, parental educational
level, and infant oral health-related behaviours were determined. A parental
questionnaire collected information concerning child F-supplement and
F-dentifrice usage histories, and socio-economic status. Photographic
examination of 1336 subjects (F ) 791; N-F ) 545) was undertaken. Fluorosis
was assessed (blind to F-exposure) in a random sample of 35 mm slides by
four dental and two lay “jurors” (with 10% random repeat-viewing for inter-
observer and intra-observer agreement). Four outcomes were assessed on
each slide: fluorosis at any level, fluorosis of aesthetic concern, acceptability
of appearance, and treatment needs. Ordinal logistic regression models were
used to determine significant determinants. The results showed that For
presence of fluorosis of aesthetic concern, the majority of jury agreements
(>3 of 6) were seen in only 2.3% (N-F) and 13.4% (F) pupils, albeit jurors
unanimously scored only 13 F and 2 N-F exposed children as having
aesthetically unacceptable fluorosed teeth. The over-riding significant factor
in terms of fluorosis of aesthetic concern was exposure to water fluoridation
in infancy in both unadjusted and adjusted models. The authors concluded
that the important factor in relation to fluorosis of aesthetic concern was
exposure to fluoridated water in infancy, and was not explained by age,
sex, level of parental education or early childhood oral health behaviours.
However, prevalence of this condition was relatively low. These findings
should inform policies on appropriate total fluoride exposure levels during
Authors: MacPherson, Lorna M. D.; Conway, David I.; Gilmour, W. Harper;
Petersson, Lars G.; Stephen, Kenneth W.
Full Source: Acta Odontologica Scandinavica 2007, 65(3), 149-155 (Eng)

Human hair as a potential biomonitor for assessing
persistent organic pollutants
This study explored human biomonitor of persistent organic pollutants
(POP) for public health risk assessment. Extractable organohalogens
(EOX), extractable persistent organohalogens (EPOX) and some selected
organochlorine pesticides (OCP) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in
children hair from urban and rural regions of Beijing, China, were measured
by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and gas chromatography-
electron capture detector (GC-ECD). The results demonstrated that about
96% of the total halogens existed as water-soluble polar compounds; about
25 to 50% of EOX were sulphuric acid-resistant EPOX; organochlorines
were the major fraction of the organohalogens; and 88 to 99.6% of
extractable persistent organochlorines (EPOCl) cannot be attributed to the
selected OCP and PCB. HCH, DDT and 2-5CB were the major contributors
to hair OCP and PCB. Further, ∂-HCH, p,p‟-DDE, p,p‟-DDT and PCB-52
were the predominant individuals of HCH, DDT and 2-5CB, respectively.
The concentration distributions of EPOCl, HCH, DDT and PCB in children
hair were generally in the order of urban > rural and girls > boys, except
for PCB congeners with random distributions between genders. Pearson
positive correlations between hair lipid and the detected parameters of hair
Á-HCH (p < 0.01), DDT (p< 0.01), EOCl (p < 0.05), as well as EPOCl (p <
0.05) were observed. Furthermore, the ratios of hair R/Á and p,p‟-DDE/p,p‟-
DDT suggested that fresh input of HCH and DDT might exist in Beijing area.
The authors concluded that hair can reflect body‟s integral exposure to POP
from endogenous and exogenous sources, which can be used as a potential
biomonitor in assessing POP exposure for public health purposes.
Authors: Zhang, Hong; Chai, Zhifang; Sun, Huibin
Full Source: Environment International 2007, 33(5), 685-693 (Eng)

Use of background inorganic arsenic exposures to
provide perspective on risk assessment results
Background exposures provide perspective for interpreting calculated
health risks associated with naturally occurring substances such as arsenic.
Using consumption data from USDA, published data on inorganic arsenic
in foods, and EPA data on arsenic in drinking water, background inorganic
arsenic intake from diet and water for children (ages 1-6 years) and all
ages of the U.S. population was modelled stochastically. Mean and 90th
percentile intakes for the U.S. population were 5.6 and 10.5 µg/day, assuming
nationwide compliance with the 10 µg/L U.S. drinking water standard. Intakes
for children were slightly lower (3.5 and 5.9 µg/day). Based on the current
EPA cancer slope factor for arsenic, estimated lifetime risks associated with
background diet and water at the mean and 90th percentile are 1 per 10,000
and 2 per 10,000, respectively. By comparison, reasonable maximum risks
for arsenic in soil at 20 (higher typical background level) and 100 mg/kg are
4 per 100,000 and 2 per 10,000, using EPA default exposure assumptions.
EPA reasonable maximum estimates of arsenic exposure from residential
use of treated wood are likewise within background intakes. The authors
conclude that these examples provide context on how predicted risks
compare to typical exposures within the U.S. population, thereby providing
perspective for risk communication and regulatory decision-making on
arsenic in the environment and in consumer products.
Authors: Tsuji, Joyce S.; Yost, Lisa J.; Barraj, Leila M.; Scrafford, Carolyn G.;
Mink, Pamela J.
Full Source: Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2007, 48(1), 59-68


The safety assessment of DNA vaccine encoding
lymphocystis disease virus
Lymphocystis Disease Virus disease is the first virosis, which is prevalent
cosmically in the cultured Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus. The
paper presents the safety validation results. The validation was based
on whether the DNA vaccine integrates with Paralichthys olivaceus
chromosomes and whether the Kanamycin-resistant gene of the vaccine
affects the resistant bacteria amounts and varieties inside as well as outside
of the Paralichthys olivaceus, both were determined by PCR measurement.
The DNA vaccine was proved to be safe for both the Paralichthys olivaceus
and the environment.
Authors: Zheng, Fengrong; Sun, Xiuqin; Liu, Hongzhan; Wu, Sheqi; Zhang,
Jinxing; Qu, Lingyun; Hong, Xuguang
Full Source: Gaojishu Tongxun 2006, 16(1), 106-110 (Ch)

Primary barriers: Biological safety cabinets, fume hoods,
and glove boxes
A review concerning hazards associated with work conducted in
microbiological and biomedical laboratories, focusing on types of primary
barriers to help minimize risks of working with those hazards, is given. Topics
discussed include: selection and use of primary barriers: risk assessment;
fume hoods and Class I and II biological safety cabinets; glove boxes and
Class III biological safety cabinets; certification of primary barriers; special
designs and modifications of primary barriers, primary barrier use; and
Authors: Stuart, David G.; Eagleson, David C.; Quint, Charles W., Jr.
Full Source: Biological Safety (4th Edition) 2006, 303-323 (Eng)
Decontamination and disinfection
A review concerning strategies to decontaminate laboratory surfaces, items,
and areas (spaces) to eliminate the possibility of transmitting infectious
agents to laboratory workers, the general public, and the environment
is given. Topics discussed include: environmentally-mediated infection
transmission; sterilization and disinfection principles microbiological
laboratory decontamination; large space decontamination surface
decontamination; special infectious agent issues and bio-terrorism; antibiotic-
resistant organisms and emerging pathogens; and transmissible spongiform
encephalopathy agents.
Authors: Favero, Martin S.; Arduino, Matthew J.
Full Source: Biological Safety (4th Edition) 2006, 373-381 (Eng)

Shared By: