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June 20, 2008

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Hazard Alert

1,4-Dioxane, often just called dioxane, is a clear, colorless heterocyclic
organic compound, which is a liquid at room temperature and pressure.
It has the molecular formula C4H8O2 and a boiling point of 101ºC. It is
commonly used as an aprotic solvent. 1,4-Dioxane has a weak smell similar
to that of diethyl ether. There are also two other less common isomeric
compounds, 1,2-dioxane and 1,3-dioxane. 1,2-Dioxane is a peroxide, which
forms naturally in old bottles of tetrahydrofuran.[1]

1,4-Dioxane was declared as a priority existing chemical (PEC) on
3rd May 1994 due to concerns over possible human carcinogenicity, itís
potential for widespread occupational and public exposure and high degree
of partitioning to, and persistence in, the aquatic environment. [2]
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH) has established a recommended exposure limit (REL)
for dioxane of 1 ppm (3.6 mg/m(3)) as a 30-minute ceiling. NIOSH
also considers dioxane a potential occupational carcinogen [NIOSH

1,4-Dioxane is primarily used in solvent applications for the manufacturing
sector; however, it is also found in fumigants and automotive coolant.
Additionally, the chemical is also used as a foaming agent and appears
as an accidental by product of the ethoxylation process in cosmetics
manufacturing. It may contaminate cosmetics and personal care products
such as deodorants, shampoos, toothpastes and mouthwashes. [1]
In Australia, 1,4-dioxane is used as a solvent in chemical synthesis, research
and analysis (mainly laboratory applications) and in adhesive products used
in celluloid film processing. During the period this assessment was underway,
1,4-dioxane was also used in optical lens manufacture as a surface coating
agent, however, due to its recent substitution (with other chemical(s)) by
the sole company notifying (to NICNAS) this use, uncertainty exists over
its continued use for this purpose. Until 1st January 1996, 1,4-dioxane
was used (in large quantities) as a stabiliser in 1,1,1-trichloroethane. 1,4-
Dioxane is also produced (in trace amounts) as an unwanted by-product in
the manufacture of ethoxylated chemicals, in particular surfactants. [2]

Signs and symptoms of exposure
1. Acute exposure: Acute exposure to dioxane results in irritation of
the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Persons exposed acutely may
develop headache, dizziness, and drowsiness, and may have
difficulty breathing. There can be nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite,
stomach pain, kidney failure, and liver damage [Sittig 1991; Genium
1989]. 2. Chronic exposure: Chronic dermal exposure may result in
irritation, dermatitis, eczema, drying, and cracking of the skin. Chronic,
low dose exposure to dioxane may damage the liver and kidneys [Sitting
1991; Clayton and Clayton 1982; Sax and Lewis 1989].[3]

Exposure sources and control methods [3]
The following operations may involve dioxane and lead to worker exposures
to this substance:
• The manufacture and transportation of dioxane
• Use as a solvent for fats, oils, ethyl cellulose, benzyl cellulose, cellulose
acetate, and other cellulose esters and ethers, dyes, paints, polyvinyl
polymers, varnishes, waxes, greases, natural and synthetic resins, and in
the pulping of wood
• Use in paint and varnish strippers and as a degreaser
• Use as a wetting and dispersing agent in textile processing, dye baths, and
stain and printing compositions
•* Use in manufacture of detergents, adhesives, fumigants, emulsions, and
cleaning preparations, and in manufacture of polishing compounds
• Use as a stabilizer for chlorinated solvents; in preparation of cosmetics and
deodorants; and in purification of drugs
• Use as a working fluid for scintillation counter samples; for radioimmunoassay
of glucagon; in molecular weight determinations; as a solvent to purify
organic compounds; and as a dehydrating agent of histological slides
Methods that are effective in controlling worker exposures to dioxane,
depending on the feasibility of implementation, are as follows:
• Process enclosure
• Local exhaust ventilation
• General dilution ventilation
• Personal protective equipment



Asia Pacific
Release of the Draft Australian Code for the Transport
of Explosives by Road and Rail, third edition, for Public
The Australian Forum of Explosives Regulators (AFER) have announced the
release of the draft Australian Code for the Transport of Explosives by Road
and Rail, Third Edition (Australian Explosives Code) for public comment.
“The Australian Explosives Code has been revised to update the technical
provisions and operational content, including the listing of explosives,” Mr
Wagner, AFER chairman said. “I encourage stakeholders to engage in this
public comment process and provide their feedback on the draft code. “The
purpose of the Australian Explosives Code is to regulate the land transport
of explosives by road and rail in Australia. It aims to ensure the safety of the
community from activities associated with the transport of explosives, largely
preventing and reducing the incidence of risks. “It is hoped that the revised
Australian Explosives Code will assist in enhancing the level of consistency
in its application across the jurisdictions. The amendments also address
industry‟s concerns as well as security matters relating to the transport of
“The revisions will more closely align the Australian Explosives Code
with the United Nations classification and labelling system, afforded by
the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods Model
Regulations, as well as the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous
Goods.” AFER endorsed the draft of the Australian Explosives Code for
public comment at a meeting on 28 February 2008. AFER is made up of
Commonwealth, State and Territory regulators as well as representatives
from other relevant government authorities and industry representatives.
Following the conclusion of the public comment period, AFER will consider
all submission received with a view of amending the draft code if necessary.
A draft of the code can be found at:
Australian Safety & Compensation Council, 26 March 2008

Guidance Note on the Interpretation of Exposure
Standards for Atmospheric Contaminants in the
Occupational Environment NOHSC 3008(1995) 3rd Edition
The Guidance Note on the Interpretation of Exposure Standards for Atmospheric
Contaminants in Occupational Environments [NOHSC:3008(1995)] has
been adopted as guidance note under Western Australian legislation. The
exposure standards detailed represent airborne concentrations of individual
chemical substances, which, according to current knowledge, should neither
impair the health of nor cause undue discomfort to nearly all workers.
Additionally, the exposure standards are believed to guard against narcosis
or irritation, which could precipitate industrial accidents. The guidance
material discusses the nature of substances that are covered under the
guidance; those substances whose use are prohibited; assumptions made
regarding workload consumption and exposure duration; what excursion
limits are and what requirements must be made to compensate for them;
how exposure to contaminants is monitored including biological monitoring;
requirements for odour thresholds; what simple asphyxiants are and what
the requirements for them are; effects exposure to contaminants has on the
skin; what sensitisers are and the effects they may have on workers; what
carcinogens are and what requirements are in place to protect workers; what
particulates are and requirements that are in place to protect health; what
mixtures of substances are and the effect they can have on the health of a
worker; explanation of refined petroleum solvent mixtures, fumes and gases
from welding and cutting processes and thermal decomposition products of
plastics; details of exposure to mineral oil additives.
Australian Safety & Compensation Council, 11 April 2008

Laser ban an „overreaction‟
Following new analysis, Australian scientists have attacked the federal
government ban on importing high-powered laser pointers as using a
“sledgehammer to crack a nut”. Vision experts say that using the lasers to
distract pilots would have to be good shots to make the beam temporarily
blind the pilot. The recent move has resulted in the ban on importing high-
powered laser pointers after a series of beams were shone at pilots including
an incident at Sydney Airport where four green lasers were pointed at six
aeroplanes for 15 minutes, which forced the planes to change their flight
paths. Professor Hans Bachor, president of the Australian Optical Society,
says the ban is an overreaction and researchers may be left to deal with
the bureaucracy if it proceeds. He urges the government to consult with
scientists over the issue. “It‟s like banning the kitchen knife because we have
people using the knives incorrectly,” says Bachor, director of the Australian
Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum-Atom Optics. Dr John
Greenhill, at the University of Tasmania‟s School of Maths and Physics,
says a ban could affect amateur astronomers who use laser pointers to help
align telescopes and in delivering public talks. He says lasers of about 3-4
milliwatts are used to point out stars in the night sky. However, Greenhill
says more powerful pointers are illegal and questions “how putting a ban on
something that is already illegal can help”. “The dangers of high-powered
lasers have been recognised for quite a while,” he says. “[The ban] is like
using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. There must be better ways of solving
the problem.”
A home affairs spokesperson says the government is yet to determine the
classes of laser pointers to be banned, but adds that they will be subject to
restrictions similar to those for guns and other weapons, with exemptions
available for legitimate use. Bachor says scientists would be concerned if
lasers were put on an equal footing with guns as a weapon and a large
bureaucracy for their use was created. Professor Michael Collins, at
Queensland University of Technology‟s School of Optometry, says pilots face
minimal danger from the lasers. But he says pilots landing at night would be
scanning for visual cues and may be attracted to a flash of light. The laser
beams could temporarily blind them if they looked directly at them, in the
same way that a flash on a camera can cause problems. The intensity of the
light will determine how long pilots take to recovery, he says. But that it “can
take up to minutes”. There are legitimate reasons for pointing lasers into the
night sky, says Professor Warrick Couch at Swinburne University‟s Centre for
Astrophysics and Supercomputing. He says research astronomers often do
this to create artificial stars and so correct for air turbulence. But he says such
lasers are already only used under clearance from aviation authorities and
any ban is unlikely to affect research astronomy. While Bachor is concerned
that scientists may face red tape if they want to buy lasers for legitimate
research, he says the wider community should have restricted access.
ABC News, 7 April 2008

China publishes draft regulation on food safety to solicit
public opinion
Recently, China‟s new draft food safety law was published on the national
website. The new law lays out penalties from fines to life in prison for makers
of substandard food. The public are now invited to make recommendations
and submissions on the draft published at the National People‟s Congress
(NPC) website, The draft law, covering food safety
evaluation, monitoring, recall and information release, was submitted to
the NPC Standing Committee in December last year for the first hearing.
According to the draft, producers of substandard food products face fines,
the confiscation of their incomes and revocation of production certificates.
In serious cases, they could face prison terms ranging from three years
to life. The public consultation period ends on 20 May. The NPC Standing
Committee will then consider any submissions. A schedule for its legislative
progress has yet to be set. In recent years, Chinese industries has come
under the spotlight of domestic and foreign consumers with concerns about
substandard products or tainted food, which sometimes led to international
disputes in addition to poisoning or even deaths. Food-related incidents,
in particular, included vegetables with pesticide residue, fish contaminated
with suspected carcinogens and eggs tainted with industrial dyes. This is
the first draft law made public by the 11th NPC since it held its first annual
session in March this year.
Xinhua News, 20 April 2008


US EPA launches CHAMP to rival REACH
Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator, has announced two new incentives
to support progress of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) initiative
agreed between the US, Canada and Mexico last year (CW European
Business Briefing October 2007). Johnson appeared at the GlobalChem
meeting organised by the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers
Association (SOCMA) and American Chemistry Council (ACC) in Baltimore,
and said he felt that SPP would prove more productive than REACH. “While
EPA supports the goals of REACH, we believe our targeted and strategic
approach to chemicals management will achieve more. Under SPP we
committed to work together to accelerate and strengthen the management
of chemicals,” he said. EPA has recently launched its SPP efforts under
the name Chemicals Assessment and Management Program (CHAMP),
aiming to build on its long-running HPV Challenge. The first initiative is a
plan to add an inorganic HPV program mirroring the existing HPV initiative.
The aim of the second initiative is to reset the Toxic Substances Control
Act (TSCA) inventory of chemicals to reflect substances actually used in
US commerce today. Some 83,000 substances currently appear on the list,
many of which are no longer used. Mr Johnson believes that it would be a
more useful resource if it were overhauled. He requested that the chemical
industry and others enter into a dialogue to ensure lessons learned from the
past are incorporated into the two initiatives. He wants these discussions to
be concluded by late Spring, so that the two programmes can commence
by the end of the summer. According to assistant EPA administrator James
Gulliford, the EPA wants to assess 400-500 inorganic HPV and MPV
chemicals produced in quantities greater than 25,000lbs or 11 tonnes per
year. Under SPP, some 6,750 organic HPV and MPV chemicals produced
in quantities greater than 25,000 lbs per year will undergo hazard, then
risk characterisation. This figure is revised downwards from 9,000 cited
when the SPP agreement was announced last August. Once the risks of
substances have been characterised, the substances will undergo risk-
based prioritisation (RBP) by 2012. The first set of RBP documents - for 19
HPV chemicals - has been published. These documents outline the hazard
and exposure information available and justifying whether the chemicals
is considered to be of low, medium or high priority. The APP approach has
been promoted by Mr Johnson globally, with visits to China and India last
year. He will also meet with Australian regulators shortly. The EPA, along with
Environment and Health Canada, also met with the European Commission
and the European Chemicals Agency last December. The EPA is keen for
the two regions to cooperate. The agency notes that those registering and
evaluating substances under REACH could benefit from Canada‟s work
on screening hazardous chemicals, while the data in REACH registrations
dossiers could help meet priority testing needs in North America. “We are
very alert to avoid duplication,” said Charlie Auer, director, office of pollution
prevention and toxics, EPA. “We want to lay the work alongside each other
highlighting opportunities to share information and where it is appropriate
to collaborate across the Atlantic.” Furthermore, EPA reported that Mexico
has made significant progress with its SPP commitments, notably in the
area of establishing an inventory. Through a Commission for Environmental
Cooperation‟s Sound Management of Chemicals working group, funding
has been agreed to support the development of the inventory and review
the country‟s existing legal authorities, among a number of other initiatives.
Chemical Watch, 18 March 2008

Toxicity Reexamined
According to critics of a new policy announced 10 April, federal agencies
facing cleanup liability will have more opportunities to influence-unduly
the EPA‟s assessment of health risks from exposures to pollutants. The
policy affects entries in EPA‟s Integrated Risk Information System, which
contains EPA‟s scientific judgment on the safe daily dose for more than
500 substances. Regulators from around the world rely on the database for
a variety of decisions that have big financial impacts, such as the degree
of cleanup a polluter must undertake at a contaminated site or how much
human exposure to a chemical is allowable. The EPA says that the changes
will allow the public and other agencies to have an earlier involvement in
chemical assessments and calls for “an even more rigorous scientific peer
review” of these documents. The new policy gives special treatment to
chemicals deemed “mission critical” by other federal agencies, such as the
military, NASA, or the Department of Energy. EPA says a mission-critical
chemical is “an integral component to the successful and safe conduct of
an agency‟s mission in any or all phases of its operations.” If it chooses,
a federal agency may take up to 18 months to conduct additional toxicity
testing on a substance it considers a mission-critical chemical. EPA would
delay completion of its risk review until it gets results of those studies.
For a mission-critical chemical, EPA will cooperate with other agencies to
determine the intensity of peer review and the type of scientists needed
for that appraisal. This includes a range of options from a contractor-led
peer review panel, which generally takes the shortest amount of time, to a
critique by EPA‟s Science Advisory Board, which may take several months.
The most intense reviews would be those by the National Academy of
Sciences, which can take longer than a year. Senator Barbara Boxer, who
chairs the Environment & Public Works Committee says, “These changes
to EPA‟s risk assessment program are devastating. “They put politics
before science by letting the White House and federal polluters derail EPA‟s
scientific assessment of toxic chemicals.” Jennifer Sass, a toxicologist with
the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the policy will bring the pace
at which EPA adds or updates entries in the database “close to a grinding
halt.” This is because of extra public comment periods EPA has added to
the assessment process and because federal polluters have a chance to
slow the process down by volunteering to do more research. Boxer says the
Government Accountability Office is investigating the process through which
EPA adds or updates entries to the chemical database. GAO, the research
arm of Congress, will be issuing a report on its findings soon, she adds. In
addition, Boxer said her committee will conduct an oversight hearing soon
on EPA‟s regulation of chemicals.
Chemical & Engineering News, 11 April 2008

Fairfax: OSHA Plans PSM Inspections for Chemical Plants
Richard Fairfax, director of OSHA enforcement programs, has announced
the agency intends to conduct a slew of complex process safety
management inspections at chemical plants. However, it is uncertain when
these inspections will commence. Originally, Fairfax said he planned to
launch the National Emphasis Program (NEP) for the chemical industry in
late summer or early fall of 2008, but now is unable to make the deadline
because his resources are tied up investigating the Imperial Sugar refinery
blast in Georgia, which resulted in the deaths of 12 workers and critically
injured 11 others. Approximately 28,000 chemical plants operate throughout
the country, and Fairfax said OSHA plans to randomly select facilities for
inspection. These inspections will be similar to the OSHA inspection program
for refineries, which began in June 2007. Although, details of the program
have not yet been finalised, Fairfax said compliance officers will focus on the
management and operation of chemical manufacturing processes. These
are the primary causes of large chemical accidents in the United States, he
said. In addition, Fairfax defended the NEPs, which have been criticised by
union and labor organisation leaders who they are not the sole solution in
addressing combustible dust, diacetyl and other hazards. These dissenters
maintain that NEPs do not fully address the dangers to workers, and that
standards would be more effective. He asserted that they do work and said
that developing a standard can take years and in the interim he can send his
team of compliance officers to investigate problems under an NEP. “If there
is a problem, I can get there a lot quicker than with a standard,” he said.
Finally, Fairfax explained that the information and data gathered during NEP
inspections also can help determine whether it is necessary to develop or
issue a standard.
Fairfax pointed out that under the OSHA refinery inspection program, the
agency so far has inspected 53 of the 81 refineries it plans to investigate,
and has issued 241 refinery violations. Eight-nine percent of those citations
were serious and 93 percent were serious, willful or repeat violations. The
average number of violations per refinery inspection was just over 12. By
contrast, the average number of violations across the country is three. During
the inspections, a variety of process safety management issues in virtually
all of the inspections were detected, as well as significant deficiencies in
process safety hazard analysis and process safety management record
keeping. According to Fairfax, the problem is not that refineries lack safety
and health awareness. Instead, safety priorities often go to the backburner,
as was the case with BP in Texas City, where a fatal blast killed 15 workers
and injured 180 others in March 2005. “Based on what we found at BP, I think
they got into more of a production mode and the requirements of process
safety management went to the back seat,” he said. “If you asked any safety
and health professional at any of the refineries, I bet they would be willing
to say that they are glad we are doing this [refinery emphasis program].
Furthermore, OSHA enforcement team faced criticism for not adequately
verifying injury and illness rates submitted by employers. Bob Whitmore,
a Department of Labor expert for OSHA record keeping litigation since the
mid-1980s, claimed the agency has turned a blind eye to underreporting
from companies in high hazard industries. These companies, he said,
submitted OSHA 300 logs with very low recordable injury and illness rates.
However, the OSHA Administrator defended the team, saying that they do
record checks in each of the roughly 39,000 inspections they complete each
year. He explained that “part of the job of a compliance officer is to evaluate
records, and they are required to look at 3 years worth of record keeping.”
He added that while he does notice record keeping violations, he isn‟t about
to issue citations for small mistakes. Fairfax advises employers in any
industry, should they have questions about the process safety management
standard, to turn to the NEP for refineries and observe the list of elements
OSHA addresses in every inspection. Fairfax says this list, which includes
20-25 items, represents “the key elements of process safety management.”
“It doesn‟t matter if you are chemical plant, refinery - the elements listed
there, if you are not doing those and doing them properly, those are the
ones that are going to cause problems,” he said. “We are more interested
in companies finding a problem and fixing it as opposed to waiting for us to
come in and issue citations.”
Occupational Hazards, 9 April 2008


Commission expands on WEEE law review options
According to a new European Commission consultation document recently
published, the scope of EU legislation on end-of-life electronic and electrical
equipment (EEE) could be expanded to cover all types of electrical goods.
The document is part of an ongoing review of the rules. The Commission
says draft revised legislation could appear in the autumn. The EU‟s WEEE
directive currently applies to ten product categories, including large and
small household appliances and consumer equipment. It excludes products
rated at over 1,000 volts AC or 1,500V DC. The Commission said that one
option under consideration is to “maximise the scope to all EEE (also above
1,000 volt AC or 1,500 volt DC) and to spare parts and components”. In
addition, the review could introduce changes to an existing annual waste
collection target of four kilograms per capita. This target does not reflect the
wide variation in EEE sales between member states and does not encourage
governments to strive for optimum collection rates, the Commission says.
Options under consideration include differentiated weight-based targets for
each member state, or variable collection targets expressed as a percentage
of products placed on the market. There may also be changes to current
mandatory targets for recovering and recycling collected WEEE, which may
be increased, says the Commission. This could involve simply increasing
current targets for different product categories, or could introduce new
material-based targets for WEEE-derived waste streams such as plastics
or minerals. Another possible change could be the introduction of a dual
legal base for the legislation. The current rules are based on the EU treaty‟s
“environmental protection” article 175, which allows member states to enact
stricter national laws if they choose. According to the Commission, there is
evidence that this has led to “non-optimal” implementation of the directive
and floats the possibility of shifting the legal base to article 95 for provisions
relating to the scope of the legislation, definitions and product requirements.
This would harmonise rules across EU states. The proposal is open for public
comment until 5 June. The Commission expects to publish the findings of
the review this autumn, alongside possible proposals to amend the WEEE
ENDS Europe Daily, 16 April 2008

EU SCHER slates CBS, sodium hypochlorite risk
Two environmental risk assessments carried out on rubber vulcanisation
agent CBS and in-situ on and offshore biocide sodium hypochlorite has been
criticised by the European Commission‟s Scientific Committee on Human
and Environmental Risks (SCHER). They have called for further information
before it can endorse the proposed risk classifications. However, it broadly
approves the approaches taken on assessing the human toxicity of chlorine,
the synthetic fragrance HHCB and the highly carcinogenic coal-tar pitch
Chemical Watch, 9 April 2008

Green groups slam MEPs backing of chemical
classification overhaul
The Parliament‟s environment committee‟s approval of a new law harmonising
EU chemical classification practices with international standards has been
criticised by environmentalists. They claim that the new law will fail to
protect consumers and workers from dangerous chemicals. The draft law,
which will revise EU rules on the classification, labelling and packing (CLP)
of dangerous chemicals, was approved by the committee with only minor
changes, despite demands from the Greens to extend chemical labelling
rules to some lower-hazard substances. Green and centre-left MEPs,
who were outvoted by 48 to 10, also failed to include a passage calling
for separate label requirements for persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic
substances. The environmental NGO ChemSec called the vote a “weak
show”, regretting that the main driving force appeared to be an “early deal
rather than a convincing result”. In addition, Catherine Ganzleben from
the European Environmental Bureau (EBB) expressed frustration with the
outcome, criticising MEPs‟ failure to set a high international standard for
implementing of the UN‟s Globally Harmonised System of Classification
and Labelling of Chemicals. On the contrary, Cefic, which represents the
European chemical industry, welcomed MEPs endorsement of the new law.
Cefic‟s Johan Breukelaar hailed the vote as a “step into the right direction”.
The law must still be approved by Parliament‟s full assembly and by member
states before coming into force. The rapporteur of the EPP group, MEP
Amalia Sartori, said she was “delighted” at the cross-party support for her
proposals. She said she hoped it may even be endorsed by the member
states before the summer. That would require MEPs to reach a compromise
with EU member states before June.
Euractive, 4 April 2008

EU SCHER on tetrachloroethylene, EGBE risk
The European Commission‟s Scientific Committee on Human and
Environmental Risks (SCHER) has published its comments on risk
assessment reports (RARs) for two solvents - tetrachloroethylene and
EGBE. The committee agreed with all the proposed conclusions for
tetrachloroethylene, which call for further measures to reduce risks through
occupational exposure and consumer exposure through coin-operated dry
cleaning machines. For EGBE, used as solvent in paints and coatings,
SCHER agrees with most proposals but says there is a need for further
measures to mitigate the risks from acute consumer exposure during
Chemical Watch, 9 April 2008

REACH update

First REACH candidate list by October
EU retailers and their suppliers could face demands for information on
product content of „substances of very high concern‟ (SVHC) from October
when the first list of such candidate substances for authorisation is scheduled
to be published.
Under the REACH Regulation, companies come under a duty to provide
information as soon as a list is available. They must respond to requests
within 45 days. NGOs have been raising consumer awareness of their
right to enquire about the presence of SVHCs in products and have been
urging companies to prepare now, as there will be little time once a list is
Speaking at the 2008 Helsinki International Congress on Chemical Safety,
Jack de Bruijn of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) confirmed that
Member States have been asked to submit the first dossiers on substances
considered to meet the criteria for authorisation by 8 June. It is understood
that 12 such dossiers have so far been received from Member States. The
Commission has so far not requested the Agency to prepare any.
The proposals will then be conformity checked before being made available
via ECHA‟s website for comment by other Member States, the Agency and
interested parties. These, and any responses to them, are then scheduled
to be considered by ECHA‟s Member States committee in early October
with a view to finalising the first list.
From this candidate list, ECHA will then apply the required procedures to
select substances for a first recommended priority list of substances to be
considered for inclusion in the Annex XIV list of authorised substances.
According to Mr de Bruijn, the first priority list is due to be published by the
end of this year. It will then be subject to public consultation from January
to April 2009 before a formal recommended priority list is presented to the
European Commission - as required by the Regulation - by 1 June 2009.
Bjorn Hansen of ECHA acknowledged that the first candidate list would
have a “high profile” and that the time frame to consider it is very short. He
said the Agency is therefore urging Member States to ensure that “the first
list is well founded, well argued and definitely not too long.”
A question mark hangs over subsequent versions of the candidate list,
however. Delegates at the conference said they were concerned at the
prospect of substances being added ad hoc, requiring them to maintain a
constant vigil. Agency officials indicated that this would also make it difficult
to plan their workloads but that it was for Member States to decide on the
future operation of the list.
Source: Chemical Watch 21-May-08

New guidance on „only representative‟ duties finally
A new guidance document on registration has been published including the
new interpretation of duties for only representatives. It confirms their need
to register substances per manufacturer. The guidance also contains new
advice on assigning registration numbers. The Guidance on registration can
be downloaded from
Source: Chemical Watch 27-May-08

REACH guidance on „substances in articles‟ published
Dissenting views of six Member States - Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
France, Germany and Sweden - concerning the interpretation of the 0.1
percent „substance of very high concern‟ notification concentration threshold
recorded at forefront of guidance and in stand-alone document.
The Guidance on substances in articles can be downloaded from
The Dissenting views document is available from
Source: Chemical Watch 27-May-08

REACH guidance on monomers and polymers updated
The only change in the updated guidance is the addition of a four page
detailed explanation of a special procedure allowing firms to update
registration dossiers for polymers that have already been notified under EU
Directive 67/548 on the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous
substances. These are considered as already registered under REACH and
companies should automatically receive a registration number for them by 1
December 2008. However, companies can decide to register the monomers
within them in any case, and will be required to do so if they move up to the
next production/import tonnage threshold.
The Updated guidance on monomers and polymers is available from
Source: Chemical Watch 29-May-08

REACH guidance on chemical safety assessment
On 29 May 2008 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published a
massive package of long-awaited guidance for industry on how to compile
information on the intrinsic properties of substances and to go from here to
carrying out data gap analyses, conducting chemical safety assessments
(CSAs), drawing up exposure scenarios and preparing chemical safety
reports (CSRs). The package comprises two parts: „Concise‟ documents
(parts A-G) giving an overview of requirements to help companies see where
they need more detail, and „reference‟ documents (R2-20) which provide
this detail. A set of flowcharts is available to help navigate the process. Last
week, ECHA noted that trade associations would play a vital role in helping
companies implement the guidance.
The REACH guidance on information requirements, CSA and CSRs are
available from:
Source: Chemical Watch 29-May-08

REACH test methods Regulation published
The test methods Regulation stipulating the non-animal tests that has been
approved for use to generate data for the REACH Regulation has been
formally adopted. It was published in the EU Official Journal on Saturday,
31 May 2008, just in time to meet the 1 June deadline stipulated for its
adoption under the REACH Regulation. The European Parliament came
close to vetoing the draft law over concerns that non-animal tests are not
being approved quickly enough by the European Commission. In May,
MEPs succeeded in squeezing last minute pledges to speed up the approval
The Test methods Regulation can be downloaded from:
Source: Chemical Watch 02-Jun-08

ECHA sets up guidance feedback process
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has set up an online feedback
form to allow users to let it know of any problems or comments with REACH
guidance. The Agency has said that it recognises that given the broad
application of REACH and the legislation‟s complexity, it will be necessary
to make changes to guidance as issues arise in future. It has set up a
stakeholder consultation mechanism to deal with this, allowing for a rapid
response where necessary.
The ECHA guidance feedback site is available on
Source: Chemical Watch 02-Jun-08

Janet's Corner - Not Too Seriously!
Classroom Dialogue
TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America.
MARIA: Here it is!
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?
CLASS: Maria!

TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables!

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell “crocodile?”
TEACHER: No, that‟s wrong
GLENN: Maybe it s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it!

TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it‟s H to O!

TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with “I.”
MILLIE: I is...
TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, “I am.”
MILLIE: All right... “I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.”

TEACHER: Can anybody give an example of COINCIDENCE?
TINO: Sir, my Mother and Father got married on the same day, same

TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father‟s cherry
tree, but also admitted doing it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father
didn‟t punish him?”
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand.

TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don‟t have to, my Mom is a good cook.

TEACHER: Clyde, your composition on “My Dog” is exactly the same as
your brother‟s. Did you copy his?
CLYDE: No, teacher, it‟s the same dog!

TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when
people are no longer interested?
HAROLD: A teacher

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


PFOS alters immune response at very low exposure
According to a new study, researchers have revealed that PFOS affects
the immune-system responses in lab mice at levels reportedly found in
the general human population. The researcher believes that perfluorinated
compounds previously in stain repellents may be affecting the human immune
system. After studying mice orally exposed to perfluorooctane sulfonate
(PFOS) daily for 28 days, the researchers observed that the animals‟
immune systems were affected at much lower levels than ever reported.
During the study, Margie Peden-Adams, with the Department of Medicine/
Paediatrics and the Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Science Centre
at the Medical University of South Carolina, and colleagues exposed adult
male and female mice to levels of PFOS similar to those found in the
general human population. Recently, the Centres for Disease Control and
Prevention‟s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
data has provided details of these environmentally relevant levels. NHANES
provides a snapshot of the health, nutrition, and contaminant exposure of
the U.S. population. The results to the new study support the hypothesis
“that some people today could be immunocompromised because of PFOS
exposure,” says co-author Jennifer Keller, a researcher with the Hollings
Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C. PFOS is no longer being produced.
In 2002, 3M phased out production. However, it still remains a persistent,
global contaminant. Many studies have documented the accumulation of
PFOS and other perfluorinated compounds, such as perfluorooctanoic acid
(PFOA), in wildlife and in humans. Although several studies have shown
immune suppression in response to PFOA, until now there have been no
published experiments, which study PFOS‟s immune-system effects, Keller
says. During the study, Peden-Adams and colleagues exposed B6C3F1
mice to PFOS orally via a tube daily, with a maximal total administered dose
(TAD) of 5 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). Following the conclusion of the
trial the animals had no overt signs of toxicity, but the scientists observed
immunotoxic responses. Activity by natural killer cells, a particular type of
white blood cell that attacks tumour and virally infected cells, significantly
increased (by about 2-fold) in the male mice exposed to PFOS. “Until further
studies are done, it is not known if this type of modulation of natural killer
cells may be helpful,” explains co-author Deborah Keil, with the University
of Nevada Las Vegas.
At the same time, suppression of the plaque-forming cell (PFC) response,
an immune-system activity that indicates that antibodies are attacking and
destroying an antigen, occurred in both genders at low exposure levels (0.05
and 0.5 mg/kg TAD for males and females, respectively) when compared with
the control mice. However, a more important finding was that T-independent
antibody production was suppressed, Peden-Adams says. The ability of the
B-cell to make antibody without aid from T-helper cells was affected. Knowing
this is critical to determining how PFOS decreases antibody production
and what the risk may be to humans and wildlife, Peden-Adams notes.
“Low-level exposure to PFOS may also affect the immune development
during pregnancy,” says Keil. Other research by the group found that the
PFC response is impaired in adult mice that were only exposed to PFOS
prenatally. “As foetal development is a sensitive time period, it is important
to examine any long-lasting effects perfluorinated chemicals may cause
during this period,” Keil says. When the immune system is suppressed,
adult animals and humans are more susceptible to disease, Keller says.
A 2006 study (Environ. Sci. Technol. 40, 4943-4948) by Kurunthachalam
Kannan, with the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at SUNY,
the University at Albany, examined the livers of 80 adult female sea otters
off the coast of California. The results showed that concentrations of both
PFOA and PFOS were significantly higher in the infected animals compared
with levels in the healthy sea otters. Further work with mice and fence
lizards is also “suggestive of immune suppression by PFOS,” Kannan adds.
How the immune reaction occurs and its mode and mechanisms of action
remain unclear, Kannan and Peden-Adams say. “Mice may be extremely
sensitive to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors-alpha (PPARa)
agonists like PFOS,” Peden-Adams says, “and if the mechanism in any way
is due to PPARa, then the health impact on humans may not be a big deal.”
This is why further research is needed to understand how the changes are
occurring. Bob Luebke, an immunotoxicologist with the U.S. EPA, says
the researchers‟ results are “particularly compelling because they found
significant suppression of antibody production at serum concentrations
similar to those reported in humans.” Kannan agrees: “The good thing
about the study is that the exposure doses used are relevant and the serum
PFOS concentrations measured are within the ranges found in human
Environmental Science & Technology, 16 April 2008

Formaldehyde exposure linked with ALS in U.S. study
According to the findings of a new study by U.S researchers, exposure
to the widely used chemical formaldehyde may raise one‟s risk of getting
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig‟s disease. The study,
examining a possible association between ALS and 12 types of chemicals
turned up the link, which researchers said needs to be confirmed in other
studies. Although no significant link was detected between ALS and most
chemicals, including pesticides and herbicides, the researchers found
people who had been regularly exposed to formaldehyde were 34 percent
more likely to develop ALS. “We really went into it interested in the pesticide
and herbicide question,” said Marc Weisskopf, a researcher at the Harvard
School of Public Health who presented his findings at a meeting of the
American Academy of Neurology in Chicago. “It has not been previously
looked at in ALS,” he said. During the study, the researchers examined more
than 1,100 people enrolled in a cancer prevention study who died of ALS.
Each person was interviewed regarding their exposure to formaldehyde
and other chemicals in 1982, and then followed for 15 years. Weisskopf
said certain jobs seemed to have a much higher risk. They included
beautician, pharmacist, mortician, chemist, lab technician, dentist, fireman,
photographer, printer, nurse, doctor and veterinarian. “People in those jobs
had about a 30 percent higher rate of ALS,” he said. Weisskopf said the
finding could still just be chance, but he did find that the more exposure to
the chemical people reported, the more likely they were to develop ALS,
which strengthened the association. “Ideally, we would like to see people
start looking at this and see whether the finding holds up in other settings,”
Weisskopf said. Formaldehyde is used in the production of particleboard and
other wood products, permanent press fabrics, glues and household products
such as cosmetics and shampoo. In addition, it is used to preserve tissue in
laboratories and mortuaries, and as a disinfectant. In 1987, it was classified
as a probable human carcinogen at high exposure levels. ALS progressively
kills nerve cells that control muscle movements known as motor neurons in
the brain and spinal cord. It is sometimes called Lou Gehrig‟s disease for
taking the life of the famous New York Yankees baseball player in 1941.
Approximately 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS
each year, according to the ALS Association.
Reuters, 16 April 2008

Emissions Foil Flower Pollination
Floral fragrances waft far and wide in clean air, but polluted air is another
story. Emissions from sources such as cars and power plants are destroying
the perfumed chemical trails that direct pollinators to flowers. According
to a new study by researchers at the University of Virginia, this sort of
environmental interference might contribute to a recently observed reduction
in pollinating insects such as bees(Atmos. Environ. 2008, 42, 2336). During
the study, environmental sciences professor Jose D. Fuentes and graduate
students Quinn S. McFrederick and James C. Kathilankal created a model
to assess what happens in the wind when linalool, fl-myrcene, and fl-
ocimene-volatile hydrocarbon compounds and common flower scents-meet
atmospheric pollutants such as ozone and hydroxyl and nitrate radicals. The
researchers based the model on the snapdragon, a flower whose aroma
cocktail includes all three compounds, and found that the scents degraded
quickly with distance from the source. Prior to the 1880s, insects could
detect scents up to a few kilometres away, but under today‟s more polluted
conditions, the researchers found that insects can‟t detect scents farther
than 200 meters away. That could become a big problem for the survival of
pollinators and isolated flower patches, the scientists warn.
Chemical & Engineering News, 16 April 2008

Safer, Easier System For Remote Explosive Detection
New technology developed by researchers at the University of Michigan
may make detecting roadside bombs easier. The study, led by chemistry
professor Theodore Goodson III, saw the development of materials that sniff
out TNT and give off signals that can be detected remotely---from a moving
Humvee, for example. The materials under study are large macromolecules
made up of smaller active parts (chromophores), put together in a branching
pattern. When TNT vapour contacts the material, “the TNT gets caught in
the branches, as if in a sieve,” said Goodson, who has a joint appointment
in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Normally,
these materials emit light (fluoresce) when their molecules are excited
with pulses of infrared light. However, even the slightest trace of TNT
quenches that fluorescence. The sensors only cost $10 each to make. The
research envisions a system on which sensors are positioned along the
roadside and in other important locations. Passing military vehicles would
be equipped with lasers to shoot infrared light at the sensors to excite the
fluorescence and a specially designed light-collection system to detect the
sensors‟ response. Any sensors that don‟t fluoresce would be tip-offs to
possible locations of roadside bombs. Goodson‟s remote detection scheme
relies on highly sensitive, low-cost, battery-free, thin film sensors requiring
no electronic equipment or excitation source at the sites where they are
installed. In contrast, conventional chemical TNT sensors for explosive
detection have no remote capability and must be used in close proximity
to the suspicious site, increasing the danger for military personnel. Using
infrared light to excite the remote sensors minimises light scattering, allows
for greater penetration through the atmosphere, and is safe to soldiers‟
eyes. Furthermore, the research team are working on laser-based methods
for directly detecting TNT, with no sensors on site.
Science Daily, 13 April 2008

Wine May Protect Against Dementia, Study Suggests
Results from a new study by researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at
University of Gothenburg in Sweden, suggest that there may be constituents
in wine that protect against dementia. The findings are based on 1,458
women who were included in the so-called Population Study of Women
from 1968. When examined by a physician, they were asked to report how
often they drank wine, beer, and liquor by selecting from seven categories
on a scale from „never‟ to „daily.‟ The researchers were unaware of how
much they drank on each occasion, or how correct the estimates were. For
each beverage the women reported having drunk more than once a month,
they were classified as a consumer of that particular beverage. Thirty-four
years after the first study, 162 women had been diagnosed with dementia.
The results show that among those women who reported that they drank
wine a considerably lower proportion suffered from dementia, whereas this
correlation was not found among those who had reported that they regularly
drank beer or liquor. “The group that had the lowest proportion of dementia
were those who had reported that the only alcohol they drank was wine,”
says Professor Lauren Lissner, who directs the study in collaboration with
Professor Ingmar Skoog, both with the Sahgrenska Academy. Nevertheless,
the researchers were reluctant to make any recommendations regarding
whether a woman should begin to drink wine, continue to drink wine, or
increase their consumption. The researchers say that it is important to point
out that these findings cannot be generalised for men, who have a different
pattern of drinking. “We have to be very cautious when we interpret these
results, since we can‟t see in this type of population study what is cause
and what is effect. There may be other factors in women who drink wine
that provide them with protection against dementia, factors that we can‟t
measure. But the correlation found is a strong one and can‟t be explained by
other factors that we can measure, such as education, BMI, and smoking,”
says Lauren Lissner. In the last few decades the drinking habits of Swedish
women has changed, the researchers note. Today‟s women drink more wine
and liquor, but less beer, than earlier generations did. The study shows,
for example, that fewer than 20 percent of middle-aged women drank wine
every week in the late 1960s. Today more than half of all women of that
age report that they drink wine every week. “These findings, in combination
with the fact that women today drink more wine than 40 years ago, show
that it is important to continue to do research on this correlation. Future
research for the team will focus on studying the effect of more specific types
of dementia, such as Alzheimer‟s disease. Other research methods will be
needed in order to see what role wine and other alcoholic beverages play in
the development of dementia,” says Lauren Lissner.
Science Daily, 13 April 2008

Tests at „cancer cluster‟ fire station
Environmental testing is being conducted at a fire station in far north
Queensland following a cancer cluster scare. A Queensland Health report
has confirmed a cancer cluster at Atherton fire station, where there have
been three cases of brain cancer, one of colon cancer, and one of prostate
cancer. Two of the affected personnel have died. Recently, Emergency
Services Minister Neil Roberts told state parliament the Australian Radiation
Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency had sent a team to Atherton to test
specifically for any forms of ionising radiation. “Ionising radiation and family
history are two of the key known causes of brain cancer,” Mr Roberts said. “I
reiterate that this environmental testing is the second step in a comprehensive
process to ensure that we obtain all the information we need to act in the best
interests of fire fighters and their families.” Mr Roberts said when radiation
testing was complete, a team from the State Government‟s Safety In Mines
Testing and Research Station would conduct other environmental testing on
the station, a residence next door and the site.
Melbourne Herald Sun, 17 April 2008

Rosemary preservative extends shelf life of baked goods
According to the manufacturer - Vitiva, a natural preservative can help extend
the shelf-life of baked products as well as maintain fresh flavour profile.
The ingredient, Inolens 12, is part of the companies existing Inolens line of
rosemary extracts that have been marketed so far for use in applications
such as confectionery and edible oils. Now. the Slovenian company say
that it has conducted in-house tests using the ingredient in baked goods
- including bread, cookies and cereal - and found that in these applications
the preservative could help extend shelf-life by up to 30 percent. Vitiva
product manager Dushka Dimitrijevic says that this figure can vary greatly in
different products. “It has the potential to prolong freshness, but it‟s difficult
to quantify as there are so many different applications. The best thing to do
is to conduct tests,” she said. According to Vitiva, one of the main benefits
of the ingredient is that it can help reduce rancidity that develops in high-fat
products, or in fortified baked goods. “Rancidity and oxidation of fortified
bakery products are common problems due to the high fat content inherent
in whole-grain flour, nuts, seeds, oat flakes, vegetable oils and butter fat,
as well as the omega-3 fats frequently used today for increasing nutrition
values,” explained the firm. “All are highly prone to rancidity. High fat content
and storage temperature can cause changes in organoleptical characteristics
of the final product as well, impacting flavour, aroma and appearance.” The
ingredient is particularly suited for artisanal baked goods, that tend to have
a very short shelf life as they usually contain high fat levels, or are fortified
with seeds, said Dimitrijevic Furthermore, manufacturers of artisanal baked
goods may try to avoid using artificial preservatives, which means that the
products lose their fresh taste and mouth feel after just a few days, she
said. Inolens 12 is a powder and can be readily blended with other dry
ingredients in a bakery application, such as sugar, flour or powdered milk,
said the company. According to Dimitrijevic, Inolens is considered a natural
ingredient, as it is derived from rosemary using a food-grade solvent. The
extract is also deodorized, which means that it does not carry over any off-
taste into products. In Europe and the US it can be labelled as „spice extract‟
or „natural flavour‟. The ingredient can also be found in Australia.
Nutra Ingredients, 15 April 2008

Hundreds at risk in NT cancer scare
Resulting from Commonwealth emergency intervension, hundred of people
in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory have been
exposed to high levels of the potential carcinogen formaldehyde. Twenty-six
people involved in the intervention continued to live in 16 converted shipping
containers containing the formaldehyde, despite health concerns being
raised about them five months ago. Numerous other people, including police
and indigenous residents, also used the Chinese-built containers under the
controversial $1.5 billion intervention. Recent advice by the NT‟s assistant
police commissioner said all police involved with the intervention were to
sleep in their “swags” rather than their accommodation units, to avoid any
possible exposure to formaldehyde. Royal Wolf Trading (Australia) Pty
Ltd provided the containers as temporary accommodation for intervention
personnel, mostly from government departments. Robert Allan, Royal Wolf‟s
chief executive, said the company told the Government two weeks ago that
industrial chemists had identified high levels of formaldehyde in a sample
batch of the containers, which were custom-built in China. A detailed report
of the findings has been sent to the taskforce.
Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has ordered intervention
taskforce commander Dave Chalmers to report on what action was taken
after staff using the containers complained of headaches, sore eyes and
other health problems. She ordered 17 containers to be abandoned,
forcing some staff to leave communities because there was no alternative
accommodation. As a result the Federal Government have announced a
home building program in NT Aboriginal communities, costing $547 million
over four years. Under the program, 750 new houses will be built in 73
indigenous communities and some urban areas. Another 230 new houses
will replace existing houses and more than 2500 houses will be upgraded.
Ms Macklin described the high levels of formaldehyde as serious. The health
and safety of affected staff and families was her top priority, she said. The
International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified formaldehyde
as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. NT Assistant Commissioner
Grahame Kelly said: “While our advice is that the potential risk is specific
to accommodation units, we will test all the units that make up our police
stations to ensure there is no risk.” Officers should sleep in their swags “until
further advised”.
Commissioner Kelly said formaldehyde was contained in glues used in the
containers. “When the containers are closed up and begin to heat up the
glues commence to emit fumes including the formaldehyde,” he said.
The Age, 12 April 2008

Survey: Auto Industry Views Environmental Issues as Top
DuPont and the Society of the Automotive Industry (SAE) recently conducted
a survey, which for the first time in 14 years, environmental concerns outrank
cost reduction to top the list of challenges facing the automotive industry.
More than half of the surveyed automotive designers and engineers said
environmental factors, such as fuel economy, emissions or clean air
regulations, are the industry‟s biggest challenges. In comparison, only 32
percent cited cost as the top concern. Chris Murphy, Dupont Automotive
Americas director said, “While cost reduction remains very important, the
automotive industry‟s emphasis is on the environment and the demands that
puts on innovation.” “In the results, environmental considerations are driving
system and vehicle design and development and are a differentiator in the
consumer marketplace.” The survey covered a variety of issues including
solutions to help the industry meet efficiency regulations, consumer
concerns, advances in materials, fuels of the future and more. The survey
revealed that 54 percent of respondents acknowledged that fuel-efficient
vehicles with reduced environmental impact are important to consumers.
Forty-one percent said enhanced safety is important to consumers, while
37 percent of survey participants responded that consumers want improved
comfort and convenience. For the fifth consecutive year, respondents
predicted that alternatively powered vehicles would have the greatest
impact on the industry. Fifteen percent, meanwhile, cited safety features as
having the biggest impact, while 16 percent selected electrical/electronic
advances. New fuel regulations call for an industry-wide fleet average of 35
miles per gallon by 2020, and when weighing possible solutions, half of the
respondents view diesel engine technology as a key focus. Forty-six percent
selected hybrid-electric and 42 percent chose lightweight materials as major
factors to help meet these regulations.
Approximately one quarter of survey respondents said optimising diesel
and hybrid-electric engines would dominate engineers‟ work for the next
10 years. And within that time, 27 percent predicted vehicles would run on
bio-based diesel. Twenty percent considered that petroleum-based diesel
would dominate, while another 20 percent selected E85 and only 18 percent
of respondents selected gasoline. Advanced composites are poised to grow
over the next decade years, respondents said, with 26 percent citing bio-
based, renewable materials as growing the most. And while 91 percent said
cost reduction is still a top material selection, 82 percent of respondents
chose material weight reduction as the top criteria. This represents a 66-
percent increase from last year. “Automotive designers and engineers are
working with suppliers like DuPont to address these issues and to design
and develop cost-effective, fuel-efficient vehicles with reduced environmental
impact,” Murphy said. In order to support these efforts, Dupont is working to
develop high-performance, bio-based materials and biofuels made in whole
or in part from renewable agricultural feedstocks such as corn, soybeans,
sugar cane and wheat. In addition, Dupont develops new technology
solutions and material families, including nano-metal/plastic hybrids that
offer the strength and stiffness of metal combined with the design flexibility
and lightweight benefits of high-performance thermoplastics. This material
reduces the weight of structural automotive components to therefore improve
fuel economy and reduce emissions.
Occupational Hazards, 14 April 2008>

China faces invasion of alien species
During the 1990s, many animals, insects and plants have hitched rides
from China into the U.S via shipments containing wood. However, a new
study by Chinese researchers has found that the tide is now turning. Beijing
is battling the North American fall webworm, which is destroying the 2008
Olympics host city‟s ornamental trees and hundreds of other plant species.
Brazilian piranha, adopted as exotic pets, escape to China‟s waterways. And
growing demand for ornamental plants has led to an uptick in new nurseries;
as a result, imported Canada goldenrod has spread to 20 provinces in
China in the past decade alone. The researchers have reported that the
invading plants and animals may be forerunners of a larger onslaught that
could threaten China‟s tens of thousands of native species. Many of the
explosions in alien populations have occurred in the past three decades
even for plants or insects originally introduced in the 1930s, the authors
find. They used official state data as well as references from the scientific
literature to determine the timing of the introductions and infestations by
non-native species. The country‟s rapid economic growth has increased
transport of species and has fuelled deforestation, desertification, and other
drastic ecosystem shifts that have opened niches for newcomers. Nitrogen
and phosphorus fertiliser runoff has encouraged growth of aquatic invasive
species such as alligator weed and water hyacinth, which regularly clog
canals during flooding seasons. Internal construction projects may transport
these previously unknown pests farther into China‟s interior. The researchers
say that these invaders could flourish in the wake of ecological disturbances
from construction of the East-West Gas Pipeline Project or travel the newly
built railroad to relatively pristine Tibet
Environmental Science & Technology, 16 April 2008
Mapping fluoride and arsenic hot spots
A collaboration between geochemists and statisticians has resulted in the
development of a map of the presence of naturally occurring fluoride and
arsenic on a global scale. Though far from perfect, the new probability maps
have the potential to provide red flags on contaminated drinking-water
sources, particularly in developing countries where on-the-ground data are
lacking. In high enough quantities, arsenic and fluoride can have detrimental
effects on humans. Over decades, chronic arsenic exposure triggers skin
diseases, liver damage, and skin and lung cancer. Groundwater with levels
of arsenic above the 10 micrograms per litre guideline from the World Health
Organization has created such health problems in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and
other places with geologically similar terrain (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2007, 41,
2074). Fluoride, which may prevent dental decay at levels below 1 milligram
per litre (mg/L), is added to drinking water supplies in many developed
countries to protect people‟s teeth. However, in larger quantities, fluoride
can cause discoloured or malformed teeth, bone diseases, neurological
effects, and other health problems. A recent assessment by the National
Research Council suggested that daily maximum exposure guidelines, set
by the U.S. EPA at 4 mg/L, should be revisited. In order to assist in the
prediction of where they could sink wells to avoid groundwater with naturally
high fluoride and arsenic concentrations, the Water Resource Quality
group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
(Eawag), led by Annette Johnson gathered as much information as they
could find on rock types, fault zones, topography, precipitation, soil pH, and
other pertinent characteristics across the planet. The researchers then put
together the information into geographic information system (GIS) models
that used proxies for the presence of fluoride and arsenic from geologic
sources. Geology, evapotranspiration, and soil pH were key elements of
the modelling. The team delineated eight “process regions” for fluoride
according to climate and rock types. For arsenic, the team divided the world
into “reducing” and “high-pH/oxidizing” regions, reflecting processes that
mobilize arsenic, based on soil pH and water pathways. The researchers
then relied on stepwise regression and fuzzy-logic equations, which are part
of neural networks, to model the elements‟ concentrations. They tested the
model results with a small amount of real-world data.
For some places, such as the East African Rift Valley and Senegal, where
the volcanic terrain and faults heavily influence fluoride levels in the
groundwater, the models were quite accurate. However, truly validating the
predictions requires additional field-testing, the team members emphasise.
“The distinction between oxidizing and reducing aquifers on the basis of
surface parameters-that‟s novel” for arsenic, says Lex van Geen of the
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. “It‟s pretty
amazing to me that they can describe about two-thirds of the variance in the
data just from surface parameters.” Still, he says, the third dimension poses
a problem for taking into account what happens to arsenic in wells deeper
than 20-30 meters. “Subsurface geology is critically important,” comments
George Breit of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Values that describe
soil or rock types at the surface could be masking subsurface water flow
and deep geologic sources. But getting those data is extremely difficult,
especially on a global scale. The global-scale modelling, particularly for
fluoride, “may be a very good first cut, but it missed some things,” Breit adds.
For example, EPA and USGS data show elevated fluoride concentrations in
the southeastern U.S. and high arsenic levels in New England groundwater-
but neither hot spot is predicted by the new maps. However, Breit says, the
new results are a “demonstration of the coming power” of GIS methods and
particularly of neural networks, a statistical method still in its early stages. “I
don‟t see it as a final product,” says Johnson, whose team plans to evaluate
the models with on-the-ground observations in places such as China, Kenya,
and the U.S., all of which have different settings and data resources. In
addition, the researcher and her colleagues remain adamant that modelling
cannot replace direct tests of a water source for fluoride and arsenic levels.
Noting that groundwater used for drinking must always be tested, Donna
Myers, chief of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program,
says that “the ability to predict [levels in] areas that are unsampled [is] an
improvement over knowing nothing at all.” Naturally occurring fluoride has
been overshadowed in the U.S. by other elements of concern in groundwater,
such as arsenic, radon, or uranium, she notes. With more detail, predictive
maps “would provide much more information that would be useful to EPA” for
policy and planning purposes, as well as to nongovernmental organizations
that may eventually reap the benefits of having such data available to them
on the ground
Environmental Science & Technology, 16 April 2008

Mid-life high cholesterol raises Alzheimer‟s risk
A new study has suggested that high cholesterol levels in your 40s may
raise the chance of developing Alzheimer‟s disease decades later. The
study underscores the importance of health factors in middle age on risk for
the brain ailment. The study examined 9,752 people in northern California
and found that those with high cholesterol levels between ages 40 and 45
were about 50 percent more likely than those with low cholesterol levels to
later develop Alzheimer‟s disease. “Alzheimer‟s disease does not happen
overnight,” Dr. Alina Solomon of the University of Kuopio in Finland, who
helped lead the study, said. “Alzheimer‟s disease has a very long preclinical
phase -- a silent phase -- when you don‟t see any signs of the disease, but
the disease is there. The pathological changes in the brain can sometimes
develop over decades.”
Alzheimer‟s disease is the most common form of dementia among older
people, and researchers have been working to understand its causes and
risk factors. The results from the latest study follow those of another study
that showed having a big belly in middle age may greatly increase one‟s
risk of later developing Alzheimer‟s disease or another form of dementia.
Rachel Whitmer of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland,
California who led that study also was involved in the new one on cholesterol
levels. “Cholesterol is just one piece of the puzzle. There are other risk
factors like hypertension and obesity. The more risk factors you have, the
higher the risk gets,” Solomon said. The researcher said that previous
studies had examined the issue of high cholesterol levels in middle age as
a risk factor for later development of dementia, but did not focus specifically
on Alzheimer‟s disease. During the new study, subjects underwent detailed
health evaluations between 1964 and 1973 when they were ages 40 to 45,
including blood cholesterol measurements. The researchers then looked at
the cholesterol measurements of the 504 people in the study who developed
Alzheimer‟s disease decades later. High levels of cholesterol -- a waxy, fat-
like substance that occurs naturally in the body -- in the blood can raise
one‟s risk of heart disease. Physical inactivity, obesity and a fatty diet can
contribute to high cholesterol. “The association between cholesterol and
cardiovascular disease is well known. What we know now is that minding
heart health may protect your brain as well,” Solomon said. Exercise and
eating more fruits and vegetables can lower cholesterol, and there are
cholesterol-lowering drugs as well.
Reuters, 16 April 2008

Arsenic speciation varies with type of rice
According to new studies, U.S. rice contains more methylated arsenic, a less
toxic form of the metal, than rice from Europe and Asia does. Rice can be
grouped into two types, depending on the form of arsenic in the grain, says
Yamily Zavala, a research associate in John Duxbury‟s laboratory at Cornell
University. During the two studies, the researchers report that as arsenic
levels rise, U.S. rice contains more methylated arsenic, the less toxic form,
whereas rice grown in Europe and Asia contains the more toxic, inorganic
arsenic. Zavala observed a trend in her data from a market-basket study
of U.S. rice. When rice contained low levels of arsenic, the dominant form
was inorganic arsenite. As arsenic concentrations increased, the dominant
form became dimethyl arsinic acid (DMA). Finding the results interesting,
the researcher examined the literature and saw the same pattern in other
studies of U.S. rice. Indeed, rice researcher Andrew Meharg of the University
of Aberdeen (U.K.) and collaborators noted previously that the amount of
DMA is dependent on the rice cultivar and that DMA is the predominant
arsenic species in U.S. rice (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2005, 39 [15], 5531-
5540). However, when Zavala and Duxbury examined worldwide speciation
data, they discovered a second rice population-one dominated by inorganic
arsenic, even in rice with high arsenic levels. They grouped all rice into two
types: inorganic arsenic-type and DMA-type. The researchers suggest that
it is likely that DMA-type rice transforms arsenic by methylation, as do bent
grass, humans, and microbes. When inorganic arsenic is present in the
soil solution, the roots take it up preferentially, says Duxbury, who thinks it
unlikely that DMA-type plants take up substantial quantities of DMA or MMA
(monomethylarsonic acid) from soil. The finding of arsenic in U.S.-grown
rice has caused a dispute between Meharg and the USA Rice Federation.
New studies may provoke more controversy as Meharg reports on levels of
inorganic arsenic in rice milk and baby-food rice purchased in the U.K.
In a previous study, Meharg and co-workers reported higher levels of arsenic
in rice from the south central U.S. than in rice from California (Environ. Sci.
Technol. 2007, 41 [7], 2075-2076; 2178-2183). They hypothesised that
arsenic in south central U.S. rice may have originated from pesticides in
soil previously used to grow cotton. Zavala and Duxbury confirmed these
results, finding especially high arsenic levels in rice from one Texas supplier.
During the study, the researchers analysed rice obtained from several
different countries and combined their data with literature values to yield
what they label a global “normal” range of 0.08-0.20 milligrams per kilogram
(mg/kg) arsenic for rice. Because of the higher arsenic levels in rice from
Texas, the mean for U.S. rice was 0.198 mg/kg, identical to the mean for
European rice and substantially higher than that for Asian rice (0.07 mg/kg).
USA Rice Federation spokesperson David Coia says that the papers by
Zavala et al. “bring much-needed balance to the discussion by considering
speciation. That U.S. rice may be safer than rice from Asia and Europe is a
message we hope resonates clearly from these publications.” “It‟s important
to remember that arsenic is a ubiquitous element in soils and is found in
all grains worldwide,” emphasizes Coia. “U.S. rice remains a safe and
wholesome commodity and a highly valued product in markets worldwide,”
he adds. Rice breeder Steven Linscombe of Louisiana State University
agrees with Coia. “This research has verified that arsenic levels vary in
rice, depending upon environmental conditions such as soil, irrigation water,
growing conditions, and specific variety. Most importantly, this research has
confirmed that while arsenic is detectable at very low levels in U.S.-produced
rice, it is of a form and at such low levels that it presents no health risks.”
If some rice can methylate arsenic, can that ability be transferred to other
rice varieties through conventional plant breeding or genetic techniques,
asks Duxbury. He suggests that the best way to answer this question is by
collaborating with rice producers and breeders. “The DMA rice type could
have come from breeding programs where rice has been selected based on
its resistance to straighthead disorder, which causes yield reduction due to
blank florets. It could be possible that the new resistant cultivars were able
to metabolise arsenic as a detoxification pathway and accumulate it in the
grain without affecting grain filling,” explains Zavala. U.S. rice breeders have
been breeding for resistance to straighthead for more than 30 years, says
Environmental Science & Technology, 16 April 2008

Hormone levels linked to financial market performance
A new study by a British researcher suggests that finance desk jockeys with
high levels of testosterone are more likely to have a profitable day. However,
the findings are not as simple as that. Some of the global financial downturn
may be due to another hormone, cortisol, which researchers believe may be
clouding the judgement of some of the people in charge. During the study,
John Coates from Cambridge University sampled the naturally occurring
steroid levels of 17 traders at a big bank in the city of London. He discovered
that the more testosterone a trader had in the morning, the more money they
made for their bank. The researcher said what was really surprising is that
the good traders, the ones whose trading performance was most responsive
to these fluctuations in their testosterone, they were quietly sitting there,
you didn‟t even notice them. They were poker faced, tight-lipped and got
angry less than a normal person. On average, the more testosterone there
is present in the morning the better the result for the day. If the researcher
was to provide any recommendations so far, he suggests having more
women and older men on the trading room floor, but he says his study does
point to one explanation for the recent turmoil on financial markets. Cortisol
is a stress hormone. It responds really strongly if you put an animal or a
human in a situation of uncertainty, novelty or uncontrollability and as you
can image, that sort of defines a trader‟s life. Now as volatility goes up in
the market, uncertainty goes up and so cortisol levels were following the
volatility of the market very closely. The big hypothesis is that extreme levels
of testosterone exaggerate financial market bubbles and extreme levels of
cortisol exaggerate a financial market crash.
ABC News, 16 April 2008

Low radon levels may reduce lung cancer risk
According to the results from a new study, radon levels typically found in
homes in the United States do not raise the risk of lung cancer. In fact, at
low levels, radon may actually reduce the risk. These results represent a
substantial departure from the risk model upon which regulatory policy for
low-dose radon exposure is based, Dr. Richard E. Thompson, from Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues
report in the journal Health Physics. During the new study, the researchers
examined 200 patients with lung cancer and 397 similar subjects without
cancer. All participants belonged to the same health care maintenance
organisation in Worcester, Massachusetts and had lived in a radon-testable
residence for at least 10 years. Radon levels were determined on the basis
of year-long measurements with detectors that were placed in multiple
locations according to time spent in various parts of the house. Subjects
were categorised into one of nine smoking categories based on how long and
how much they smoked. The findings indicated a “hormetic” effect, a term
used to describe a generally beneficial effect seen with exposure to a toxin
at low doses. In other words, low levels of radon exposure were associated
with a reduced risk of lung cancer. The authors suggest that at low doses,
radiation may help repair damaged DNA, a key factor that promotes cancer.
The researchers observed that for levels of radon exceeding 4 pico Curies
per liter (pCi/L), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends
measures should be taken to reduce exposure, such as installing a radon
venting system and sealing cracks in the house foundation. “Nothing in our
study contradicts the 4 pCi/L standard, but of the participants in the Worcester
study, 93 percent had an estimated exposure below 4 pCi/L,” Thompson
said. “Any potential decreased risk of lung cancer as compared to zero
exposure that showed any trends toward statistical significance occurred
below about 3.4 pCi/L.” “We have been asked to contribute our data to the
world-wide „pooling‟ study that is in the initial stages of development,” he
added. “I think that the invitation to participate in this international study is
an indication that the data are being taken seriously by other scientists, and
have met the stringent requirements necessary to be included in this type
of analysis.”
Reuters, 17 April 2008

Workplace clashes ruin sleep
According to new research, people in search of a good night‟s sleep should
avoid clashes with colleagues or the boss. Working long hours, nights or
weekends has no impact on how you sleep, but being hassled at work could
ruin a sleep, according to a decade-long study by the University of Michigan.
Over those ten years, about half of the 2300 US workers survey experienced
problems sleeping. University of Michigan sociologist Sarah Burgard said
survey respondents who felt upset at work frequently or had conflicts with
other workers were about 1.7 times more likely to have sleeping problems.
Those with children under the age of three were more than twice as likely to
lose sleep, the research found. In addition, the researchers said those who
worked long hours without getting “hassled” seemed to have slept normally.
“For many workers, psychological stress has replaced physical hazards,” Dr
Burgard said. “Physical strain at work tends to create physical fatigue and
leads to restorative sleep, but psychological strain has the opposite effect.”
She said that with the amount of time a spent at work and sleeping, people
should be aware that the quality of both could be connected. “Together, work
and sleep take up about two-thirds of every weekday.”
Melbourne Herald Sun, 18 April 2008


Survey of Total and Inorganic Arsenic Contentin Blue
Mussels (Mytilus edulis L.) from Norwegian Fiords:
Revelation of Unusual High Levels of Inorganic Arsenic
The present study reports the findings of unusual high levels of inorganic
arsenic in samples of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis L.). This research analysed
a total of 175-pooled samples of blue mussels from various locations along
the Norwegian coastline for their content of total arsenic and inorganic
arsenic. Total arsenic was detected using inductively coupled plasma mass
spectrometry (ICPMS) following microwave assisted acidic digestion of the
samples. Inorganic arsenic was detected using an anion-exchange HPLC-
ICPMS method following microwave assisted alkaline solubilisation of the
samples. The findings of samples with concentrations of inorganic arsenic
above 0.53 mg kg-1 ww were restricted to sampling sites from 2 counties,
Sogn and Fjordane and Hordaland, whereas samples from the rest of the
country showed lower inorganic arsenic concentrations. Consumption of
a meal containing 200 g of the blue mussels with the highest content of
inorganic arsenic would for a 70 kg person lead to a 10% excess of the
provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI) value for inorganic arsenic of 15
µg kg-1 of body wt. week-1.
Authors: Sloth, Jens J.; Julshamn, Kare
Full Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2008, 56(4), 1269-
1273 (Norway)
Method of determining crystalline silica in dust from
processes for producing ceramic coatings
The authors aimed at describing and validating the environmental
evaluation methodology conforming to the occupational hygiene practice
for the determination of the presence of respiratory crystallised silica dust
from processing raw materials in the fabrication of ceramic coatings. A
characterization of the raw materials employed and above-mentioned dust
was presented. The methods for environmental evaluation of the crystallised
silica, involving the principles of capturing the dust and analysed XRD method,
were described in detail. Those methods enabled establishing the levels of
exposure to the crystallised silica dust and lay out the necessary measures
of its control in working environment. The results of the methodology were
in compliance with the occupational exposure limits prescribed by the Brazil
legislation for the safe operation in ceramic coating fabrication enterprises.
Authors: Lima, Maria Margarida Teixeira Moreira; Camarini, Gladis
Full Source: Ceramica Industrial (Sao Paulo, Brazil) 2006, 11(4), 21-27


Application of validated method for determination of
selected polychlorinated biphenyls in human adipose
tissue samples
This research employed validation method to determine PCBs in human
female adipose tissue and in different tissue samples (brain, kidney, liver
and adipose tissue) collected from five donors from the Wielkopolska region,
Poland. The contents of 15 PCB congeners have been determined in the
tissues (brain, kidney, liver and adipose tissue) of 5 donors aged 18-78. The
highest PCB concentrations have been found in the adipose tissue, in which
the total of 15 congeners occur in the amount 78-591 ng/g tissues, and in
the liver tissue in the amt. 16-94 ng/g tissue. In 16 samples of adipose tissue
taken from women aged 25-36, 4 PCB congeners (PCB 105, 138, 150 and
180) were determined. The mean content of the total of these congeners
has been 41 ng/g tissue. The authors found that the result is lower than the
concentration of analogous PCB in the tissues collected from women from
the other European countries, which well correlates with the low content of
PCB in the food produced in Poland.
Author: Szafran-Urbaniak, Barbara
Full Source: Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 2008, 25(2), 131-
135 (Poland)

Analysis of phenoxyacetic acid herbicides as biomarkers
in human urine using liquid chromatography/ triple
quadrupole mass spectrometry
In this study a method using liquid chromatogram/triple quadrupole mass
spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) is described for the analysis of 4-chloro-2-
methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA), and its metabolite
4-chloro-2-hydroxymethylphenoxyacetic acid (HMCPA), 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic
(2,4-D), and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) in human urine.
The urine samples were treated by acid hydrolysis to degrade possible
conjugations. The sample preparation was performed using solid-phase
extension. Analysis was carried out using selected reaction monitoring
(SRM) in the negative ion mode. Quantification of the phenoxyacetic acids
was performed using [2H3]-labelled MCPA and 2,4-D as internal standards..
The metabolites in urine were found to be stable during storage at -20∞C.
To validate the phenoxyacetic acids as biomarkers of exposure, the method
was applied in a human experimental oral exposure to MCPA, 2,4-D and
2,4,5- T. Two healthy volunteers received 200 µg of each phenoxyacetic
acid in a single oral dose followed by urine sampling for 72 h postexposure.
After exposure, between 90 and 101% of the dose was recovered in the
urine. In the female subject, 23%, and in the male subject 17%, of MCPA
was excreted as HMCPA.
Authors: Lindh, Christian H.; Littorin, Margareta; Amilon, Aasa; Joensson
Full Source: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 2008, 22(2),

Binding and Hydrolysis of Soman by Human Serum
In this research, four methods were used to monitor the reaction of albumin
with soman: progressive inhibition of the aryl acylamidase activity of albumin,
the release of fluoride ion from soman, 31P NMR, and mass spectrometry.
Inhibition (phosphonylation) was slow with a bimolecular rate consisting of
15(3 M-1 min-1. MALDI-TOF and tandem mass spectrometry of the soman-
albumin adduct showed that albumin was phosphonylated on tyrosine
411. No secondary dealkylation of the adduct (aging) occurred. Covalent
docking simulations and 31P NMR experiments showed that albumin has no
enantiomeric preference for the four stereoisomers of soman. Though the
concentration of albumin in plasma is very high (about 0.6 mM), its reactivity
with soman (phosphonylation and phosphotriesterase activity) is too slow
to play a major role in detoxification of the highly toxic organophosphorus
compound soman. The authors found that increasing the bimolecular
rate consisting of albumin for organophosphates is a protein engineering
challenge that could lead to a new class of bioscavengers to be used
against poisoning by nerve agents. Soman-albumin adducts detected by
mass spectrometry could be useful for the diagnosis of soman exposure.
Authors: Li, Bin; Nachon, Florian; Froment, Marie- Therese; Verdier, Laurent;
Debouzy, Jean-Claude; Brasme, Bernardo; Gillon, Emilie; Schopfer,
Lawrence M.; Lockridge, Oksana; Masson, Patrick
Full Source: Chemical Research in Toxicology 2008, 21(2), 421-431

Percutaneous Exposure to VX: Clinical Signs, Effects on
Brain Acetylcholine Levels and EEG.
This study investigated central and peripheral effects of percutaneous
VX intoxication were investigated in hairless guinea pigs. Although onset
times of clinical signs varied considerably, the relative onset times of signs
of poisoning were shown to have a predictive value for survival time. All
animals showed elevation of brain choline (Ch) levels. Only two of six
animals demonstrated seizure activity on EEG, which was accompanied by
acetylcholine (ACh) accumulation. The non-seizing animals displayed only
marginal increases of ACh levels, but significant changes in all EEG bands.
Acetylcholinesterase activity was highly inhibited in brain and diaphragm.
The increases in Ch levels and EEG effects observed in non-seizing animals
probably reflected those of ischemia induced by peripheral effects leading
to cardiorespiratory compromise. The authors concluded that clinical signs
mainly serve as indicators for the onset and maintenance of treatment in
subsequent studies.
Authors: Joosen, Marloes J. A.; Schans, Marcel J.; Helden, Herman P. M
Full Source: Neurochemical Research 2008, 33(2), 308-317

Induction of multiple granulomas in the liver with severe
hepatocyte damage by montan wax, a natural food
additive, in a 90-day toxicity study in F344 rats.
Montan wax is a mineral wax extracted from lignite type coal. The authors
performed a 90-day toxicity study in Fisher 344 (F344) rats. Groups of 10
males and 10 females were given the material at dose levels of 0 (Group 1),
0.56 (Group 2), 1.67 (Group 3), or 5% (Group 4) in the diet for 90 days. On
hematonic examination, Hb, Ht, MCV and MCH were significantly decreased
and WBC was significantly increased in all treated rats. On serum biochemical
examination, AST and ALT were found to be elevated more than four fold in
all treated groups as to the respectively control group values in both sexes.
Furthermore, relative organ weights for the liver, spleen, lung and kidneys
were increased in all treated groups of both sexes. Histopathological
examination revealed diffuse multiple granulomas in the livers with severe
hepatocyte damage and lymphocytic infiltration. Granulomatous lesions
were also apparent in the mesenteric lymph nodes in all treated males and
females. These findings clearly demonstrate that montan wax, at doses
of more than 0.56% in the diet, induces multiple granulomas with severe
inflammation in the liver.
Authors: Ikeda, Mico; Yamakawa, Keiko; Saoo, Kousuke; Matsuda, Yoko;
Hosokawa, Kyoko; Takeuchi, Hijiri; Li, Jia-Qing; Zeng, Yu; Yokohira,
Masanao; Imaida, Katsumi
Full Source: Food and Chemical Toxicology 2008, 46(2), 654-661 (Japan)


Association of the NQO1, MPO, and XRCC1
Polymorphisms and Chromosome Damage Among
Workers at a Petroleum Refinery
Exposure to benzene is an occupational hazard in the petroleum refining
industry. This study analysed the effect of genetic polymorphisms in the
NQO1 (rs1800566), MPO (rs2333227), and XRCC1 (rs25487) genes on
benzene-induced chromosome abnormalities. 108 benzene-exposed and
33 office workers were recruited for the study. The results showed that the
mean benzene exposure for exposed workers was 0.51 ppm for full-shift
workers; the time-weighted average was 0.004-4.25 ppm. The benzene
exposed workers had a significantly higher frequency of micronuclei (MN)
and chromosome aberrations (CA) than unexposed controls. Exposed
workers with the T/T genotype for NQO1 exhibited significant 1.9-fold (95%
confidence interval [CI] ) 1.5-2.3) and 2.6-fold (95% CI ) 1.7-3.9) increases
in MN and CA frequency, respectively, versus controls with C/C and C/T
genotypes, after adjusting for age, smoking status, and alcohol intake. Among
exposed workers, subjects with the combination of MPO G/G and XRCC1
Arg/Gln or Gln/Gln exhibited a significantly higher CA frequency compared
to those with MPO G/A or A/A and XRCC1 Arg/Arg genotype combinations.
The authors concluded that the findings indicate that genotoxicity induced
by a chronic benzene exposure was modulated by genes involved in DNA
repair and benzene metabolic pathways.
Authors: Kim, Yang Jee; Choi, Jun Yeol; Paek, Domyung; Chung, Hai Won
Full Source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 2008,
71(5), 333-341 (Eng)

Elevated Serum Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers
and Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Associated with
Lymphocytic Micronuclei in Chinese Workers from an E-
Waste Dismantling Site
This study examined elevated serum polybrominated diphenyl ethers and
thyroid-stimulating hormone associated with lymphocytic micronuclei in
Chinese workers from an E-Waste dismantling site. Forty-nine subjects from
a village close to an electronic waste (e-waste) site (exposed group) and
another 50 from a village away from the e-waste site (control group) were
recruited for the study. The results showed that the serum polybrominated
di-Ph ether concentrations, TSH concentrations, and micro-nucleated
binucleated cell frequency were significantly higher in the exposed compared
to the control group (158 ng/g; range, 18-436 ng/g and p <0.05 1.15 µIU/mL;
range, 0.48-2.09; and p < 0.01; and 0∂; range, 0-5∂; and p <0.01, resp.).
In addition, a history of working with e-waste was found to be significantly
associated with increased Mned BNC frequency (odds ratio (OR), 38.85;
95% confidence interval (CI)) 1-1358.71, p ) 0.044), independent of years
of local residence, a perceived risk factor. No association between PBDE
exposure and oxidative DNA damage was observed. The authors concluded
that the results indicate PBDE exposure at this e-waste site may effect TSH
concentrations and genetoxic damage among workers, but this must be
validated in large studies.
Authors: Yuan, Jing; Chen, Lan; Chen, Duohong; Guo, Huan; Bi, Xinhui;
Ju, Ying; Jiang, Pu; Shi, Jibin; Yu, Zhiqiang; Yang, Jin; Li, Liping; Jiang, Qi;
Sheng, Guoying; Fu, Jiamo; Wu, Tangchun; Chen, Xuemin
Full Source: Environmental Science & Technology 2008, 42(6), 2195-2200
Cutaneous Penetration of Bisphenol A in Pig Skin
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disruptor with weak estrogenic activity,
used in epoxy resin and polycarbonate plastic. Human exposure may occur
by contamination from food or food-contact material and by occupational
scenarios. Occupational health hazards may be associated with allergic
contact dermatitis (ACD) secondary to BPA exposure. Most ACD occurs in
workers handling BPA products, such as plastic-product workers, and those
exposed to epoxy adhesive tapes, foams, and dental products. This study
examined in vitro cutaneous penetration of BPA through pig skin, using a
Franz cell. After 2, 5, and 10 h of exposure, total BPA skin content was 3,
6.9, and 11.4% of the applied dose, respectively. BPA remained essentially
on the skin surface and penetration mainly accumulated in the dermis.
The authors concluded that as the pig skin model is a reliable predictor of
percutaneous penetration in humans, these findings may be reassuring for
workers in contact with BPA-based products.
Authors: Kaddar, Nisrin; Harthe, Catherine; Dechaud, Henri; Mappus,
Elizabeth; Pugeat, Michel
Full Source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 2008,
71(8), 471-473 (English)

Manipulated data in Shell‟s benzene historical exposure
In 1983, in the face of mounting evidence of excess leukaemia among
workers at Shell Oil‟s Wood River (IL) and Deer Park (TX) petroleum
refineries, Shell initiated the Benzene Historical Exposure Study (BHES).
Shell‟s prior research had implicated occupational exposure to benzene
as the source of the excess leukaemia. The BHES report submission,
which ultimately found no link between exposure and the excess morbidity,
coincided with OSHA‟s planned hearings over a new regulatory standard
for benzene. In the following two decades, Shell published several studies
based on or expanding the BHES data, all of which concluded that the excess
of leukaemia was unrelated to benzene. In reviewing the raw data on which
Shell and its consultants relied, the authors found that Shell manipulated
and omitted data in order to reach conclusions that exculpated it from liability
and helped delay stricter benzene regulation.
Authors: Egilman, David; Kol, Lerin; Hegg, Lea Anne; Bohme, Susanna
Full Source: International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
2007, 13(2), 222-232 (Eng)

Indoor air quality and health in offices and other non-
industrial working environments
In the last three decades there has been a transformation in indoor
environments - in particular in office blocks , which has been associated
with complaints from workers of discomfort, malaise and even diseases
termed Building Related Illnesses (BRI). This is classified as specific (e.g.
Legionnaire disease, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonia) or non-specific
(e.g. the Sick Building Syndrome). This study reviewed data from international
public health organisations, epidemiological, clinical and experimental
studies and congress proceedings from 1990 to 2006 on the topic of indoor
air quality and health in modern, non-industrial workplaces. Studies focused
on ventilation, temperature, and air humidity and specific pollutants such
as VOCs, particles asbestos fibres, environmental tobacco smoke, radon
and biological agents. Now microclimate parameters can be measured
and many indoor air pollutant levels as well as their effects on health; also
indications of threshold and guideline values for some of these and make a
preventive assessment for toxic emissions from construction and furnishing
materials can be formulated. A stepwise, multi-disciplinary approach - with
the specialist in occupational medicine playing a major role - is most suitable
for dealing with BRI and the effects of poor indoor air quality on health.
The authors conclude that better criteria are required to study emission of
substances into the indoor environment, adequacy of ventilation, additive
or synergistic effects of mixtures of chemicals and toxicity of microorganism
decomposition products. Objective clinical tests to assess the effects of
indoor pollutants on health and indexes for Indoor Environmental Quality in
assessing buildings need to be improved.
Authors: Abbritti, G.; Muzi, G.
Full Source: Medicina del Lavoro 2006, 97(2), 410-417 (Eng)

Public Health

Health benefits from reducing indoor air pollution from
household solid fuel use in China - Three abatement
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), indoor air pollution (IAP)
from the use of solid fuels in households in the developing world is responsible
for more than 1.6 million premature deaths each year, whereof 0.42 million
occur in China alone. In this study, the authors argue that the methodology
applied by WHO- the so-called fuel-based approach - underestimates the
health effects, and suggest an alternative method. Combining exposure-
response functions and current mortality and morbidity rates, the burden of
disease of IAP in China and the impacts of three abatement scenarios were
estimated. Using linear exposure-response functions, it was determined that
3.5 [0.8-14.7 95% CI] million people die prematurely due to IAP in China
each year. The central estimate constitutes 47% of all deaths in China. We
find that modest changes in the use of cooking fuels in rural households
might have a large health impact, reducing annual mortality by 0.63 [0.1-
3. 2 95% CI] million. If the indoor air quality (IAQ) standard set by the
Chinese government (150 µg PM10/m3) was met in all households, then it
is estimated that 0.9 [0.2-4.8] million premature deaths would be prevented
in urban areas and 2.8 [0.7-12.4] million in rural areas. However, in urban
areas this would require improvements to the outdoor air quality in addition to
a complete fuel switch to clean fuels in households. It is estimated that a fuel
switch in urban China could prevent 0.7 [0.2-4.8] million premature deaths.
The methodology for exposure assessment applied here is probably more
realistic than the fuel-based approach; however, the use of linear exposure-
response relationships most likely tends to overestimate the effects. The
authors conclude that the discrepancies between the study results and the
WHO estimates is probably also explained by our use of “all-cause mortality”
which includes important causes of death like cardiovascular diseases,
conditions known to be closely associated with exposure to particulate
pollution, whereas the WHO estimates are limited to respiratory diseases.
Authors: Mestl, Heidi Elizabeth Staff; Aunan, Kristin; Seip, Hans Martin
Full Source: Environment International 2007, 33(6), 831-840 (Eng)

Characterisation of fine particulate matter in Ohio: Indoor,
outdoor, and personal exposures
This study evaluated the ambient, indoor, and personal PM2.5 concentrations
based on an exhaustive study of PM2.5 performed in Ohio, USA from 1999
to 2000. Locations in Columbus, Ohio, one in an urban corridor and the
other in a suburban area were involved. A third rural location in Athens,
Ohio, was also established. At all 3 locations, elementary schools were
utilised to determine outdoor, indoor, and personal PM2.5 concentrations
for fourth and fifth grade students using filter-based measurements. Three
groups of 30 students each were used for personal sampling at each school.
In addition, continuous ambient PM2.5 mass concentrations were measured
with tapered element oscillating microbalances. At all 3 sites, personal
and indoor PM2.5 concentrations exceeded outdoor levels. This trend is
consistent on all week days and most evident in the spring as compared to
fall and winter. The results indicated that the ambient PM2.5 concentrations
were similar among the 3 sites, suggesting the existence of a common
regional source influence. At all the 3 sites, larger variations were found in
personal and indoor PM2.5 than ambient levels. The strongest correlations
were found between indoor and personal concentrations, indicating that
personal PM2.5 exposures were significantly affected by indoor PM2.5 than
by ambient PM2.5. This was further confirmed by the indoor to outdoor (I/
O) ratios of PM2.5 concentrations, which were greater when school was in
session than non-school days when the students were absent.
Authors: Crist, Kevin C.; Liu, Bian; Kim, Myoungwoo; Deshpande, Seemantini
R.; John, Kuruvilla
Full Source: Environmental Research 2008, 106(1), 62-71 (Eng)

Intra-urban variability of air pollution in Windsor, Ontario.
Measurement and modelliing for human exposure
There are many difficulties associated with accurately determining exposure
to air pollution for large populations. Large, long-term cohort studies have
typically relied upon data from central monitoring stations. This approach
has generally been adequate when populations span large areas or diverse
cities. However, when the effects of intraurban differences in exposure are
being studied, the use of these existing central sites are likely to be inadequate
for representing spatial variability that exists within an urban area. As part
of the Border Air Quality Strategy (BAQS), an international agreement
between the governments of Canada and the United States, a number of air
health effects studies are being undertaken by Health Canada and the US
EPA. Health Canada‟s research largely focuses on the chronic exposure of
elementary school children to air pollution. The exposure characterisation
for this population to a variety of air pollutants was assessed using land-use
regression (LUR) models. This approach was applied in several cities to
NO2, as an assumed traffic exposure marker. However, the models have
largely been developed from limited periods of saturation monitoring data
and often only represent 1 or 2 seasons. Two key questions from these
previous efforts, which are examined are: (i) if NO2 is a traffic marker, what
other pollutants, potentially traffic related, might it actually represent and (ii)
how well is the within city spatial variability of NO2 and other traffic-related
pollutants, characterised by a single saturation monitoring campaign. Data
for the models developed during this study came from a network of 54
monitoring sites situated across Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The pollutants
studied were NO2, SO2, and volatile organic compounds, which were
measured in all 4 seasons by deploying passive samplers for 2-wk periods.
Correlations among these pollutants were calculated to assess what other
pollutants NO2 might represent, and correlations across seasons for a
given pollutant were detected to assess how much the within-city spatial
pattern varies with time. LUR models were then developed for NO2, SO2,
benzene, and toluene. A multiple regression model including proximity to
the Ambassador Bridge (the main Canada-US border crossing point), and
proximity to highways and major roads, predicted NO2 concentrations with
an R2 ) 0.77. The SO2 model predictors included distance to the Ambassador
Bridge, dwelling density within 1500 m, and Detroit based SO2 emitters
within 3000 m resulting in a model with an R2 ) 0.69. Benzene and toluene
LUR models included traffic predictors as well as point source emitters
resulting in R 2 ) 0.73 and 0.46, respectively. Between season pollutant
correlations were all significant although actual concentrations for each site
varied by season. The authors concluded that these findings suggest that if
one season were to be selected to represent the annual concentrations for a
specific site this may lead to a potential under or overestimation in exposure,
which could be significant for health research. All pollutants had strong inter-
pollutant correlations suggesting that NO2 could represent SO2, benzene,
and toluene.
Authors: Wheeler, Amanda J.; Smith-Doiron, Marc; Xu, Xiaohong; Gilbert,
Nicolas L.; Brook, Jeffrey R.
Full Source: Environmental Research 2008, 106(1), 7-16 (Eng)

In- and outdoor sources of polybrominated diphenyl
ethers and their human inhalation exposure in
Guangzhou, China
The indoor (home and workplace) and outdoor concentrations of the sum of
10 polybrominated di-Ph ethers (PBDEs), designated TM10PBDEs (-28, -
47, -66, -100, -99, -85, -154, -153, -138, -183), and BDE-209 were measured
using high-volume air samplers in Guangzhou from October 2004 to April
2005. The TM10PBDEs and BDE-209 concentration ranges detected were
125.1-2877 and 39-11,468 pg m-3, respectively for home air, 181.3-8315
and 80.1-13,732pg m-3 for office air, 322.1-2437 and 73.1-8194 pg m-3
for air in other workplaces, and 203.2-2426 and 1082-49,937 pg m-3 for
outdoor air. The levels of PBDEs in domestic and workplace environments
are similar to those reported in others studies. However, the open-air values
reported here are significantly higher than those found elsewhere. The
dominant congeners observed in indoor air samples were those associated
with penta-BDE and deca-BDE common mixtures. The primary indoor
emission sources for PBDEs in Guangzhou are originated from the relatively
old electronic/electrical appliances, especially computers, but not the PUF-
containing furniture. The median daily human exposures to TM10PBDEs and
BDE-209 via inhalation in Guangzhou are 12.4 and 15.1 ng day-1 person-1,
respectively. The authors concluded that the human inhalation exposure to
TM10PBDEs is higher than reported in 2 other studies (6.9 and 2.0 ng day-1
person-1) presumably due to the larger number of compounds considered in
this study as well as the higher outdoor concentrations of PBDEs.
Authors: Chen, Laiguo; Mai, Bixian; Xu, Zhencheng; Peng, Xiaochun; Han,
Jinglei; Ran, Yong; Sheng, Guoying; Fu, Jiamo
Full Source: Atmospheric Environment 2008, 42(1), 78-86 (Eng)

Mechanisms Related to the Genotoxicity of Particles in
the Subway and from Other Sources
Previous epidemiological studies have demonstrated the adverse health
effects of airborne particles. Humans are exposed to particles from various
sources, e.g., diesel fuel and wood combustion, tire road wear particles,
subway system particles. In a previous study, the authors reported these
particles were more genotoxic than those of several other particle types.
This study examined and compared toxicity of subway particles and particles
from other sources, assessing some mechanisms behind subway particle
genotoxicity. This was done by comparing the ability of subway particles, street
particles, pure tire road wear particles, and wood and diesel fuel combustion
particles to cause mitochondrial depolarisation and form intracellular reactive
O species (ROS). Genotoxicity and ability to cause oxidative stress were
compared to magnetite particles, since this is a main component in subway
particles. It was concluded that subway and street particles, and wood and
diesel fuel combustion particles caused mitochondrial depolarisation. Thus,
the ability to damage mitochondria is not the only explanation for the high
genotoxicity of subway particles; subway particles also formed intracellular
ROS. This effect may be part of the explanation as to why subway particles
exhibit such high genotoxicity compared to that of other particles. However,
genotoxicity cannot be explained by the main component, magnetite, by
water-soluble metals, or by intracellular mobilised Fe. The authors suggest
that genotoxicity is most likely caused by highly reactive surfaces causing
oxidative stress.
Authors: Karlsson, Hanna L.; Holgersson, Asa; Moeller, Lennart
Full Source: Chemical Research in Toxicology 2008, 21(3), 726-731 (Eng)

Apparatus for treating organic compound containing
waste gases
This article introduces an apparatus for effectively treating low-concentration
organic compounds-containing waste gases. The said method recovers the
organic compounds from a large amt. of waste gases by effective adsorption
and desorption, without risks of explosion. The said apparatus comprises
the dehumidifying mechanism for water removal from the waste gas, a
honeycomb activated carbon adsorber, an inert gas heater for supplying
the heated inert gas for desorption of organic compound from waste gases,
a cooling device for water removal from separated organic compounds at
<0º, and an app. for recovering dewatered org. compound. The recovered
organic compounds can be reused in a printing ink, without a risk of ink
Author: Nakashima, Kenji
Full Source: 28 Feb 2008, JP Appl. 2006/224,384, 21 Aug 2006; 19pp.

On design of ultra-fine dry powder fire extinguishing
device for industrial coating workshops.
This paper intends to make an assessment of the fire-extinguishing
capabilities of the different kinds of fire-extinguishing agents in controlling
fire spreading and likely explosion accidents based on their application to
industrial coasting workshops. The comparison and analysis we have done
help us to find out that the ultra-fine dry powder fire-extinguishing agent is
much more efficient in controlling fire and explosion accidents than other
systems, and, therefore, it is more suitable for this kind of application. As
is known, since the paints and solvents to be used for industrial coating
workshops are characteristic of flammable nature, such places are prone
to fire and explosion hazards. Moreover, if such accidents take place, it is
highly probable to cause serious human casualty as well as huge damage
of properties and financial loss. The authors also gave an example for the
application of the above said ultrafine dry powder extinguishing agent so as
to show how it to be used in such places.
Authors: Yang, Zhi-zhou; Song, Wen-hua; Li, Xiao-wei; Miao, Xin; Wu,
Full Source: Anquan Yu Huanjing Xuebao 2007, 7(5), 103-107 (China)

Safety examination method for the clothes with a three-
dimensional cultured skin model.
This study conducted verification of the experimental conditions in conformity
with Japanese Industrial Standard, using a three-dimensional cultured
skin model to establish a safety examination method for the clothes that
are used in contact with human skin. It was revealed that the degree of
cationic surfactants adsorbed on a cloth was correlated closely with the cell
viability, suggesting that this method is applicable to assess the primary
skin irritation. To quantify the irritant material shifted from a cloth toward
the skin a reasonable addition of the irritant material has to be prescribed
in the primary skin irritation examination. A suitable dose was found to be in
the range of 50-100 µL. Safety examination of wearing clothes involves an
addition of suitable artificial sweat, but the actual sweat contains free fatty
acids. The authors suggested it be necessary to consider the constituents of
the artificial sweat in addition to the dose of the irritant materials
Authors: Uchida, Emiko
Full Source: Nara Kyoiku Daigaku Kiyo, Shizen Kagaku 2007, 56(2), 29-33

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