(41/106) Orthopoxvirus detection in environmental specimens during suspected bioterror attacks: inhibitory influences of common household products.

After terrorists attacked the United States in 2001, the appearance of letters and other objects containing powdery substances with unknown potentials for biological threat focused attention on the speed, sensitivity, and reliability of diagnostic methods. This study summarizes the abilities and limitations of real-time PCR, electron microscopy (EM), and virus isolation when used to detect potential bioweapons. In particular, we investigated the inhibitory influences of different common household products present in environmental specimens on PCR yield, EM detection, and virus isolation. We used vaccinia virus as a model for orthopoxviruses by spiking it into specimens. In the second part of the study, we describe modifications of diagnostic methods to overcome inhibitory effects. A variety of PCR amplification enhancers, DNA extraction protocols, and applications of internal controls were evaluated to improve diagnostic simplicity, speed, and reliability. As a result, we strongly recommend using at least two different frontline techniques in parallel, e.g., EM and PCR. A positive result obtained by any one of these techniques should be followed by a biological method to confirm the putative diagnosis. Confirmatory methods include virus isolation followed by an agent-specific immunofluorescence assay to confirm the presence of replication-competent particles.  (+info)

(42/106) Aquatic environmental monitoring of detergent surfactants.

Since 1998, Japan Soap and Detergent Association has been continuously evaluating the concentrations of four surfactants used in household detergents and fabric conditioners in river surface water: linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS), polyoxyethylene alkyl ether (AE), alkyldimethylamine oxide (AO) and dialkyl dimethylammonium chloride (DADMAC) in Japanese urban rivers, in order to assess the risks of surfactants on aquatic organisms. Surfactant concentrations in the river water in June and September were found to be lower than those in March and December, the season where water temperature is lower, suggesting that the rates of biodegradation in environmental water differ depending on the water temperature. All the measured surfactant concentrations were below the reported predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC) and have been decreasing year by year; suggesting that surfactant risk on aquatic organisms in Japanese rivers is low under current conditions.  (+info)

(43/106) Epidemiology of occupational injury among cleaners in the healthcare sector.

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(44/106) Bittering agents in the prevention of accidental poisoning: children's reactions to denatonium benzoate (Bitrex).

The responses of young children to Denatonium Benzoate (Bitrex) were observed, in order to assess the potential of this bittering agent in the prevention of accidental poisoning. Thirty-three children aged 17-36 months were offered orange juice containing Bitrex (in a concentration of 10 parts per million). Of the 30 children who took some of this juice, only seven were willing to take more than 10 gm. A variety of negative verbal and non-verbal responses were noted. It is suggested that the highly unpalatable nature of Bitrex makes this compound a useful additive that could well prevent accidental poisoning from household products of mild to moderate toxicity.  (+info)

(45/106) Occupational exposures among domestic and industrial professional cleaners.

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(46/106) Mercury vapor release from broken compact fluorescent lamps and in situ capture by new nanomaterial sorbents.

The projected increase in the use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) motivates the development of methods to manage consumer exposure to mercury and its environmental release at the end of lamp life. This work characterizes the time-resolved release of mercury vapor from broken CFLs and from underlying substrates after removal of glass fragments to simulate cleanup. In new lamps, mercury vapor is released gradually in amounts that reach 1.3 mg or 30% of the total lamp inventory after four days. Similar time profiles but smaller amounts are released from spent lamps or from underlying substrates. Nanoscale formulations of S, Se, Cu, Ni, Zn, Ag, and WS2 are evaluated for capture of Hg vapor under these conditions and compared to conventional microscale formulations. Adsorption capacities range over 7 orders of magnitude, from 0.005 (Zn micropowder) to 188 000 microg/g (unstabilized nano-Se), depending on sorbent chemistry and particle size. Nanosynthesis offers clear advantages for most sorbent chemistries. Unstabilized nano-selenium in two forms (dry powder and impregnated cloth) was successfully used in a proof-of-principle test for the in situ, real-time suppression of Hg vapor escape following CFL fracture.  (+info)

(47/106) Pediatric eye injuries related to consumer products in the United States, 1997-2006.

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(48/106) Poison Control and the Drug Information Center: the Palestinian experience.

BACKGROUND: The Palestinian Poison Control and Drug Information Center was established in 2006 to provide up-to-date information on medications and to help in the early diagnosis and management of poisoning cases. OBJECTIVES: To summarize the activities carried out by the PCDIC in the past 2 years. METHODS: Documented inquires received at the PCDIC were analyzed and the Center's activities were extracted from the files. RESULTS: During the first 2 years of the Center's existence, 323 enquiries were received, mainly (67.2%)from physicians; 70% of the calls were from the city of Nablus. Unintentional poisoning was the leading type of call (62.8%) followed by suicidal poisoning (20.7%). Medications were the major category of toxicants encountered (48.9%), followed by pesticides (23.5%). In 67.9% of the cases, the calls were initiated before any treatment was provided. The advice provided by the PCDIC was based on the nature of the call. During these 2 years the PCDIC has conducted both academic and non-academic activities. The Center introduced the concept of poison prevention weeks in Palestine and has conducted two so far. The PCDIC has published several articles in the fields of toxicology, rational drug use, complementary and herbal therapy, pharmacoepidemiology, and self-medication. CONCLUSIONS: Documentation of all enquiries is mandatory for analysis, evaluation, comparative purposes and quality assurance. More information campaigns are needed to encourage people to use the services provided by the PCDIC.  (+info)