(1/1638) Influence of crossdrafts on the performance of a biological safety cabinet.

A biological safety cabinet was tested to determine the effect of crossdrafts (such as those created by normal laboratory activity or ventilation) upon the ability of the cabinet to protect both experiments and investigators. A simple crossdraft, controllable from 50 to 200 feet per min (fpm; 15.24 to 60.96 m/min), was created across the face of the unit. Modifications of standardized procedures involving controlled bacterial aerosol challenges provided stringent test conditions. Results indicated that, as the crossflow velocities exceeded 100 fpm, the ability of the cabinet to protect either experiments or investigators decreased logarithmically with increasing crossdraft speed. Because 100 fpm is an airspeed easily achieved by some air conditioning and heating vents (open windows and doorways may create velocities far in excess of 200 fpm), the proper placement of a biological safety cabinet within the laboratory--away from such disruptive air currents--is essential to satisfactory cabinet performance.  (+info)

(2/1638) A new model rat with acute bronchiolitis and its application to research on the toxicology of inhaled particulate matter.

The aim of the present study was to establish a useful animal model that simulates humans sensitive to inhaled particulate matter (PM). We have developed a new rat model of acute bronchiolitis (Br) by exposing animals to NiCl2 (Ni) aerosols for five days. Three days following the Ni exposure, the animals developed signs of tachypnea, mucous hypersecretion, and bronchiolar inflammation which seemed to progress quickly during the fourth to fifth day. They recovered from lesions after four weeks in clean air. To assess the sensitivity of the Br rats to inhaled particles, two kinds of PM of respirable size were tested with doses similar to or a little higher to the recommended threshold limit values (TLVs) for the working environment in Japan. Titanium dioxide (TiO2 = Ti) was chosen as an inert and insoluble particles and vanadium pentoxide (V2O5 = V), as a representative soluble and toxic airborne material. The Br rats exposed to either Ti or V were compared the pathological changes in the lungs and the clearance of particles to those in normal control or Br rats kept in clean air. The following significant differences were observed in Br rats: 1. delayed recovery from pre-existing lesions or exacerbated inflammation, 2. reductions in deposition and clearance rate of inhaled particles with the progress of lesions. The present results suggest that Br rats are more susceptible to inhaled particles than control rats. Therefore, concentrations of particulate matter lower than the TLVs for Japan, which have no harmful effects on normal lungs, may not always be safe in the case of pre-existing lung inflammation.  (+info)

(3/1638) A simulation study of confounding in generalized linear models for air pollution epidemiology.

Confounding between the model covariates and causal variables (which may or may not be included as model covariates) is a well-known problem in regression models used in air pollution epidemiology. This problem is usually acknowledged but hardly ever investigated, especially in the context of generalized linear models. Using synthetic data sets, the present study shows how model overfit, underfit, and misfit in the presence of correlated causal variables in a Poisson regression model affect the estimated coefficients of the covariates and their confidence levels. The study also shows how this effect changes with the ranges of the covariates and the sample size. There is qualitative agreement between these study results and the corresponding expressions in the large-sample limit for the ordinary linear models. Confounding of covariates in an overfitted model (with covariates encompassing more than just the causal variables) does not bias the estimated coefficients but reduces their significance. The effect of model underfit (with some causal variables excluded as covariates) or misfit (with covariates encompassing only noncausal variables), on the other hand, leads to not only erroneous estimated coefficients, but a misguided confidence, represented by large t-values, that the estimated coefficients are significant. The results of this study indicate that models which use only one or two air quality variables, such as particulate matter [less than and equal to] 10 microm and sulfur dioxide, are probably unreliable, and that models containing several correlated and toxic or potentially toxic air quality variables should also be investigated in order to minimize the situation of model underfit or misfit.  (+info)

(4/1638) Indoor, outdoor, and regional summer and winter concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, SO4(2)-, H+, NH4+, NO3-, NH3, and nitrous acid in homes with and without kerosene space heaters.

Twenty-four-hour samples of PM10 (mass of particles with aerodynamic diameter < or = 10 microm), PM2.5, (mass of particles with aerodynamic diameter < or = 2.5 microm), particle strong acidity (H+), sulfate (SO42-), nitrate (NO3-), ammonia (NH3), nitrous acid (HONO), and sulfur dioxide were collected inside and outside of 281 homes during winter and summer periods. Measurements were also conducted during summer periods at a regional site. A total of 58 homes of nonsmokers were sampled during the summer periods and 223 homes were sampled during the winter periods. Seventy-four of the homes sampled during the winter reported the use of a kerosene heater. All homes sampled in the summer were located in southwest Virginia. All but 20 homes sampled in the winter were also located in southwest Virginia; the remainder of the homes were located in Connecticut. For homes without tobacco combustion, the regional air monitoring site (Vinton, VA) appeared to provide a reasonable estimate of concentrations of PM2.5 and SO42- during summer months outside and inside homes within the region, even when a substantial number of the homes used air conditioning. Average indoor/outdoor ratios for PM2.5 and SO42- during the summer period were 1.03 +/- 0.71 and 0.74 +/- 0.53, respectively. The indoor/outdoor mean ratio for sulfate suggests that on average approximately 75% of the fine aerosol indoors during the summer is associated with outdoor sources. Kerosene heater use during the winter months, in the absence of tobacco combustion, results in substantial increases in indoor concentrations of PM2.5, SO42-, and possibly H+, as compared to homes without kerosene heaters. During their use, we estimated that kerosene heaters added, on average, approximately 40 microg/m3 of PM2.5 and 15 microg/m3 of SO42- to background residential levels of 18 and 2 microg/m3, respectively. Results from using sulfuric acid-doped Teflon (E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., Wilmington, DE) filters in homes with kerosene heaters suggest that acid particle concentrations may be substantially higher than those measured because of acid neutralization by ammonia. During the summer and winter periods indoor concentrations of ammonia are an order of magnitude higher indoors than outdoors and appear to result in lower indoor acid particle concentrations. Nitrous acid levels are higher indoors than outdoors during both winter and summer and are substantially higher in homes with unvented combustion sources.  (+info)

(5/1638) Biomarkers for exposure to ambient air pollution--comparison of carcinogen-DNA adduct levels with other exposure markers and markers for oxidative stress.

Human exposure to genotoxic compounds present in ambient air has been studied using selected biomarkers in nonsmoking Danish bus drivers and postal workers. A large interindividual variation in biomarker levels was observed. Significantly higher levels of bulky carcinogen-DNA adducts (75.42 adducts/10(8) nucleotides) and of 2-amino-apidic semialdehyde (AAS) in plasma proteins (56.7 pmol/mg protein) were observed in bus drivers working in the central part of Copenhagen, Denmark. In contrast, significantly higher levels of AAS in hemoglobin (55.8 pmol/mg protein), malondialdehyde in plasma (0. 96 nmol/ml plasma), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-albumin adduct (3.38 fmol/ microg albumin) were observed in the suburban group. The biomarker levels in postal workers were similar to the levels in suburban bus drivers. In the combined group of bus drivers and postal workers, negative correlations were observed between bulky carcinogen-DNA adduct and PAH-albumin levels (p = 0.005), and between DNA adduct and [gamma]-glutamyl semialdehyde (GGS) in hemoglobin (p = 0.11). Highly significant correlations were found between PAH-albumin adducts and AAS in plasma (p = 0.001) and GGS in hemoglobin (p = 0.001). Significant correlations were also observed between urinary 8-oxo-7, 8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine and AAS in plasma (p = 0.001) and PAH-albumin adducts (p = 0.002). The influence of the glutatione S-transferase (GST) M1 deletion on the correlation between the biomarkers was studied in the combined group. A significant negative correlation was only observed between bulky carcinogen-DNA adducts and PAH-albumin adducts (p = 0.02) and between DNA adduct and urinary mutagenic activity (p = 0.02) in the GSTM1 null group, but not in the workers who were homozygotes or heterozygotes for GSTM1. Our results indicate that some of the selected biomarkers can be used to distinguish between high and low exposure to environmental genotoxins.  (+info)

(6/1638) Short-term associations between outdoor air pollution and visits to accident and emergency departments in London for respiratory complaints.

Many epidemiological studies have shown positive short-term associations between health and current levels of outdoor air pollution. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between air pollution and the number of visits to accident and emergency (A&E) departments in London for respiratory complaints. A&E visits include the less severe cases of acute respiratory disease and are unrestricted by bed availability. Daily counts of visits to 12 London A&E departments for asthma, other respiratory complaints, and both combined for a number of age groups were constructed from manual registers of visits for the period 1992-1994. A Poisson regression allowing for seasonal patterns, meteorological conditions and influenza epidemics was used to assess the associations between the number of visits and six pollutants: nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particles measured as black smoke (BS) and particles with a median aerodynamic diameter of <10 microm (PM10). After making an allowance for the multiplicity of tests, there remained strong associations between visits for all respiratory complaints and increases in SO2: a 2.8% (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.7-4.9) increase in the number of visits for a 18 microg x (-3) increase (10th-90th percentile range) and a 3.0% (95% CI 0.8-5.2) increase for a 31 microg x m(-3) increase in PM10. There were also significant associations between visits for asthma and SO2, NO2 and PM10. No significant associations between O3 and any of the respiratory complaints investigated were found. Because of the strong correlation between pollutants, it was difficult to identify a single pollutant responsible for the associations found in the analyses. This study suggests that the levels of air pollution currently experienced in London are linked to short-term increases in the number of people visiting accident and emergency departments with respiratory complaints.  (+info)

(7/1638) Increased exhaled nitric oxide on days with high outdoor air pollution is of endogenous origin.

The aim of this study was to assess the effect of outdoor air pollution on exhaled levels of endogenously released nitric oxide. To exclude bias from exogenous NO in the recovered exhaled air (residual NO or NO in dead volume) an experimental design was used that sampled NO of endogenous origin only. The validity of the presented experimental design was established in experiments where subjects were exposed to high levels of exogenous NO (cigarette smoke or 480 microg x m(-3) synthetic NO). Subsequent 1 min breathing and a final inhalation of NO-free air proved to be sufficient to attain pre-exposure values. Using the presented method detecting only endogenous NO in exhaled air, 18 subjects were sampled on 4 separate days with different levels of outdoor air pollution (read as an ambient NO level of 4, 30, 138 and 246 microg x m(-3)). On the 2 days with highest outdoor air pollution, exhaled NO was significantly (p<0.001) increased (67-78%) above the mean baseline value assessed on 4 days with virtually no outdoor air pollution. In conclusion, the level of endogenous nitric oxide in exhaled air is increased on days with high outdoor air pollution. The physiological implications of this findings need to be investigated further.  (+info)

(8/1638) Air pollution, pollens, and daily admissions for asthma in London 1987-92.

BACKGROUND: A study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between daily hospital admissions for asthma and air pollution in London in 1987-92 and the possible confounding and modifying effects of airborne pollen. METHODS: For all ages together and the age groups 0-14, 15-64 and 65+ years, Poisson regression was used to estimate the relative risk of daily asthma admissions associated with changes in ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particles (black smoke), controlling for time trends, seasonal factors, calendar effects, influenza epidemics, temperature, humidity, and autocorrelation. Independent effects of individual pollutants and interactions with aeroallergens were explored using two pollutant models and models including pollen counts (grass, oak and birch). RESULTS: In all-year analyses ozone was significantly associated with admissions in the 15-64 age group (10 ppb eight hour ozone, 3.93% increase), nitrogen dioxide in the 0-14 and 65+ age groups (10 ppb 24 hour nitrogen dioxide, 1.25% and 2.96%, respectively), sulphur dioxide in the 0-14 age group (10 micrograms/m3 24 hour sulphur dioxide, 1.64%), and black smoke in the 65% age group (10 micrograms/m3 black smoke, 5.60%). Significant seasonal differences were observed for ozone in the 0-14 and 15-64 age groups, and in the 0-14 age group there were negative associations with ozone in the cool season. In general, cumulative lags of up to three days tended to show stronger and more significant effects than single day lags. In two-pollutant models these associations were most robust for ozone and least for nitrogen dioxide. There was no evidence that the associations with air pollutants were due to confounding by any of the pollens, and little evidence of an interaction between pollens and pollution except for synergism of sulphur dioxide and grass pollen in children (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles were all found to have significant associations with daily hospital admissions for asthma, but there was a lack of consistency across the age groups in the specific pollutant. These associations were not explained by confounding by airborne pollens nor was there convincing evidence that the effects of air pollutants and airborne pollens interact in causing hospital admissions for asthma.  (+info)