Use of wood stoves and risk of cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract: a case-control study. (1/1407)

BACKGROUND: Incidence rates for cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract in Southern Brazil are among the highest in the world. A case-control study was designed to identify the main risk factors for carcinomas of mouth, pharynx, and larynx in the region. We tested the hypothesis of whether use of wood stoves is associated with these cancers. METHODS: Information on known and potential risk factors was obtained from interviews with 784 cases and 1568 non-cancer controls. We estimated the effect of use of wood stove by conditional logistic regression, with adjustment for smoking, alcohol consumption and for other sociodemographic and dietary variables chosen as empirical confounders based on a change-in-estimate criterion. RESULTS: After extensive adjustment for all the empirical confounders the odds ratio (OR) for all upper aero-digestive tract cancers was 2.68 (95% confidence interval [CI] : 2.2-3.3). Increased risks were also seen in site-specific analyses for mouth (OR = 2.73; 95% CI: 1.8-4.2), pharyngeal (OR = 3.82; 95% CI: 2.0-7.4), and laryngeal carcinomas (OR = 2.34; 95% CI: 1.2-4.7). Significant risk elevations remained for each of the three anatomic sites and for all sites combined even after we purposefully biased the analyses towards the null hypothesis by adjusting the effect of wood stove use only for positive empirical confounders. CONCLUSIONS: The association of use of wood stoves with cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract is genuine and unlikely to result from insufficient control of confounding. Due to its high prevalence, use of wood stoves may be linked to as many as 30% of all cancers occurring in the region.  (+info)

Exposure to nitrogen dioxide and the occurrence of bronchial obstruction in children below 2 years. (2/1407)

BACKGROUND: The objective of the investigation was to test the hypothesis that exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) has a causal influence on the occurrence of bronchial obstruction in children below 2 years of age. METHODS: A nested case-control study with 153 one-to-one matched pairs was conducted within a cohort of 3754 children born in Oslo in 1992/93. Cases were children who developed > or = 2 episodes of bronchial obstruction or one episode lasting >4 weeks. Controls were matched for date of birth. Exposure measurements were performed in the same 14-day period within matched pairs. The NO2 exposure was measured with personal samplers carried close to each child and by stationary samplers outdoors and indoors. RESULTS: Few children (4.6%) were exposed to levels of NO2 > or = 30 microg/m3 (average concentration during a 14-day period). In the 153 matched pairs, the mean level of NO2 was 15.65 microg/m3 (+/-0.60, SE) among cases and 15.37 (+/-0.54) among controls (paired t = 0.38, P = 0.71). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that NO2 exposure at levels observed in this study has no detectable effect on the risk of developing bronchial obstruction in children below 2 years of age.  (+info)

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. (3/1407)

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)

Contributory and exacerbating roles of gaseous ammonia and organic dust in the etiology of atrophic rhinitis. (4/1407)

Pigs reared commercially indoors are exposed to air heavily contaminated with particulate and gaseous pollutants. Epidemiological surveys have shown an association between the levels of these pollutants and the severity of lesions associated with the upper respiratory tract disease of swine atrophic rhinitis. This study investigated the role of aerial pollutants in the etiology of atrophic rhinitis induced by Pasteurella multocida. Forty, 1-week-old Large White piglets were weaned and divided into eight groups designated A to H. The groups were housed in Rochester exposure chambers and continuously exposed to the following pollutants: ovalbumin (groups A and B), ammonia (groups C and D), ovalbumin plus ammonia (groups E and F), and unpolluted air (groups G and H). The concentrations of pollutants used were 20 mg m-3 total mass and 5 mg m-3 respirable mass for ovalbumin dust and 50 ppm for ammonia. One week after exposure commenced, the pigs in groups A, C, E, and G were infected with P. multocida type D by intranasal inoculation. After 4 weeks of exposure to pollutants, the pigs were killed and the extent of turbinate atrophy was assessed with a morphometric index (MI). Control pigs kept in clean air and not inoculated with P. multocida (group H) had normal turbinate morphology with a mean MI of 41.12% (standard deviation [SD], +/- 1. 59%). In contrast, exposure to pollutants in the absence of P. multocida (groups B, D, and F) induced mild turbinate atrophy with mean MIs of 49.65% (SD, +/-1.96%), 51.04% (SD, +/-2.06%), and 49.88% (SD, +/-3.51%), respectively. A similar level of atrophy was also evoked by inoculation with P. multocida in the absence of pollutants (group G), giving a mean MI of 50.77% (SD, +/-2.07%). However, when P. multocida inoculation was combined with pollutant exposure (groups A, C, and E) moderate to severe turbinate atrophy occurred with mean MIs of 64.93% (SD, +/-4.64%), 59.18% (SD, +/-2.79%), and 73.30% (SD, +/-3.19%), respectively. The severity of atrophy was greatest in pigs exposed simultaneously to dust and ammonia. At the end of the exposure period, higher numbers of P. multocida bacteria were isolated from the tonsils than from the nasal membrane, per gram of tissue. The severity of turbinate atrophy in inoculated pigs was proportional to the number of P. multocida bacteria isolated from tonsils (r2 = 0.909, P < 0.05) and nasal membrane (r2 = 0.628, P < 0.05). These findings indicate that aerial pollutants contribute to the severity of lesions associated with atrophic rhinitis by facilitating colonization of the pig's upper respiratory tract by P. multocida and also by directly evoking mild atrophy.  (+info)

Double exposure. Environmental tobacco smoke. (5/1407)

One study after another is finding strong associations between a variety of human illness and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). A 1986 report by the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that ETS is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in healthy nonsmokers. Other reports have documented causal associations between ETS and lower respiratory tract infections, middle ear disease and exacerbation of asthma in children, heart disease, retardation of fetal growth, sudden infant death syndrome, and nasal sinus cancer. However, the findings from many of these studies remain controversial. A number of scientists remain skeptical about the association between ETS and serious illness in nonsmokers, charging that scientific journals either fail to publish pro-tobacco findings and meta-analyses or disregard those that are published. They also claim that many epidemiological studies declare causal associations based on marginal odds ratios.  (+info)

Health impacts of domestic coal use in China. (6/1407)

Domestic coal combustion has had profound adverse effects on the health of millions of people worldwide. In China alone several hundred million people commonly burn raw coal in unvented stoves that permeate their homes with high levels of toxic metals and organic compounds. At least 3,000 people in Guizhou Province in southwest China are suffering from severe arsenic poisoning. The primary source of the arsenic appears to be consumption of chili peppers dried over fires fueled with high-arsenic coal. Coal samples in the region were found to contain up to 35,000 ppm arsenic. Chili peppers dried over high-arsenic coal fires adsorb 500 ppm arsenic on average. More than 10 million people in Guizhou Province and surrounding areas suffer from dental and skeletal fluorosis. The excess fluorine is caused by eating corn dried over burning briquettes made from high-fluorine coals and high-fluorine clay binders. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons formed during coal combustion are believed to cause or contribute to the high incidence of esophageal and lung cancers in parts of China. Domestic coal combustion also has caused selenium poisoning and possibly mercury poisoning. Better knowledge of coal quality parameters may help to reduce some of these health problems. For example, information on concentrations and distributions of potentially toxic elements in coal may help delineate areas of a coal deposit to be avoided. Information on the modes of occurrence of these elements and the textural relations of the minerals and macerals in coal may help predict the behavior of the potentially toxic components during coal combustion.  (+info)

Tobacco smoke exposure at one month of age and subsequent risk of SIDS--a prospective study. (7/1407)

The aim of this investigation was to identify the sources of postnatal exposure to tobacco smoke at 1 month of age and to examine their relation to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The Tasmanian Infant Health Survey was a prospective cohort study undertaken from 1988 to 1995. It involved 9,826 infants (89% of eligible infants) at higher risk of SIDS. Subsequently 53 eligible infants died of SIDS. Hospital interviews were available on 51 and home interviews on 35 SIDS infants. Urinary cotinine assays were conducted using gas-liquid chromatography (n = 100). Within a predictive model that explained 63% of urinary cotinine variance, the strongest predictor of cotinine and also of SIDS was maternal smoking, though the effects of prenatal and postnatal smoking could not be separated. However, for particular smoking-related behaviors, there was a discordance between prediction of cotinine concentration and prediction of risk of SIDS. If smoking mothers did not smoke in the room with the baby, the cotinine level in the infant's urine was reduced by a little more than a half (p = 0.009), but this was not associated with a reduction in SIDS risk (odds ratio = 1.09, 95% confidence interval 0.47-2.55). Similarly, the presence of other adult resident smokers was associated with a 63% increase in urinary cotinine (p = 0.047) but not with increased SIDS risk (odds ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval 0.34-1.40). However, the study lacked the power to detect modest effects, that is, those altering risk less than twofold.  (+info)

Role of the indoor environment in determining the severity of asthma. (8/1407)

Allergen exposure can confound the management of asthma. To understand the potential mechanisms by which allergens increase the steroid requirements in atopic asthmatics, we examined the effects of allergens on glucocorticoid receptor (GCR) binding affinity and glucocorticoid (GC) responsiveness of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from atopic asthmatics. A significant reduction (p < 0.001) in the GCR binding affinity (Kd) was observed in ragweed-allergic asthmatics during ragweed pollen season compared with PBMC obtained before and after ragweed season. In vitro effects of allergen on PBMC GCR Kd were also examined by incubating PBMC from atopic asthmatics with allergen (ragweed and cat) versus Candida albicans. GCR binding affinity was significantly reduced after incubation with ragweed (p < 0.001) or cat allergen (p < 0.001) compared with baseline or C. albicans stimulation. This effect was limited to atopic asthmatics in that in vitro cat allergen incubation for 48 h failed to significantly alter GCR binding affinity in nonasthmatic, atopic individuals. These allergen-induced reductions in GCR binding affinity also rendered the PBMC less sensitive to the inhibitory effects of hydrocortisone and dexamethasone on allergen-induced proliferation (p < 0.01). To test the hypothesis that allergen-induced alterations in GCR binding affinity were cytokine-induced, we examined the effects of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-4 neutralization using anticytokine antibodies. Addition of both anti-IL-2 and anti-IL-4 antibodies resulted in a significant (p < 0.001) inhibition of allergen-induced alterations in GCR binding affinity. Furthermore incubation with cat allergen induced significantly higher concentrations of IL-2 (p = 0.03) and IL-4 (p = 0.02) by PBMC from atopic as compared with nonatopic subjects. Our current observations suggest that allergen exposure may contribute to poor asthma control by reducing GCR binding affinity in mononuclear cells. This appears to be mediated through IL-2 and IL-4. These findings may have important implications for novel approaches to the treatment of poorly controlled asthma.  (+info)