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(1/942) Methodological issues in biomonitoring of low level exposure to benzene.

Data from a pilot study on unmetabolized benzene and trans,trans muconic acid (t,t-MA) excretion in filling station attendants and unexposed controls were used to afford methodological issues in the biomonitoring of low benzene exposures (around 0.1 ppm). Urinary concentrations of benzene and t,t-MA were measured by dynamic head-space capillary GC/FID and HPLC, respectively. The accuracy of the HPLC determination of t,t-MA was assessed in terms of inter- and intra-method reliability. The adequacy of urinary t,t-MA and benzene as biological markers of low benzene exposure was evaluated by analysing the relationship between personal exposure to benzene and biomarker excretion. Filling station attendants excreted significantly higher amounts of benzene, but not of t,t-MA, than controls. Adjusting for occupational benzene exposure, smokers excreted significantly higher amounts of t,t-MA, but not of unmetabolized benzene, than nonsmokers. A comparative analysis of the present and previously published biomonitoring surveys showed a good inter-study agreement regarding the amount of t,t-MA and unmetabolized benzene excreted (about 0.1-0.2 mg/l and 1-2 micrograms/l, respectively) per unit of exposure (0.1 ppm). For each biomarker, based on the distribution of parameters observed in the pilot study, we calculated the minimum sample size required to estimate the population mean with given confidence and precision.  (+info)

(2/942) 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)

(3/942) Cancer mortality and morbidity among plutonium workers at the Sellafield plant of British Nuclear Fuels.

The mortality of all 14 319 workers employed at the Sellafield plant of British Nuclear Fuels between 1947 and 1975 was studied up to the end of 1992, and cancer incidence was examined from 1971 to 1986, in relation to their exposures to plutonium and to external radiation. The cancer mortality rate was 5% lower than that of England and Wales and 3% less than that of Cumbria. The significant excesses of deaths from cancer of the pleura and thyroid found in an earlier study persist with further follow-up (14 observed, 4.0 expected for pleura; 6 observed, 2.2 expected for thyroid). All of the deaths from pleural cancer were among radiation workers. For neither site was there a significant association between the risk of the cancer and accumulated radiation dose. There were significant deficits of deaths from cancers of mouth and pharynx, liver and gall bladder, and larynx and leukaemia when compared with the national rates. Among all radiation workers, there was a significant positive association between accumulated external radiation dose and mortality from cancers of ill-defined and secondary sites (10-year lag, P = 0.04), leukaemia (no lag, P = 0.03; 2-year lag, P = 0.05), multiple myeloma (20-year lag, P = 0.02), all lymphatic and haematopoietic cancers (20-year lag, P= 0.03) and all causes of death combined (20-year lag, P= 0.008). Among plutonium workers, there were significant excesses of deaths from cancer of the breast (6 observed, 2.6 expected) and ill-defined and secondary cancers (29 observed, 20.1 expected). No significant positive trends were observed between the risk of deaths from cancers of any specific site, or all cancers combined, and cumulative plutonium and external radiation doses. For no cancer site was there a significant excess of cancer registrations compared with rates for England and Wales. Analysis of trends in cancer incidence showed significant increases in risk with cumulative plutonium plus external radiation doses for all lymphatic and haematopoietic neoplasms for 0-, 10- and 20-year lag periods. Taken as a whole, our findings do not suggest that workers at Sellafield who have been exposed to plutonium are at an overall significantly increased risk of cancer compared with other radiation workers.  (+info)

(4/942) Domestic aeroallergen exposures among infants in an English town.

A multicentre, prospective cohort study of childhood asthma was established in three European countries; the purpose of the project is the examination of factors which modify the relationship between allergen exposure in infant life and subsequent atopy and asthma. Dust samples were collected from the homes of 643 infants in a single town in the UK (the first cohort) and assayed for house dust mites (Der p 1) and cat allergen (Fel d 1) concentrations by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A questionnaire with potential relevance to the development of atopy and asthma was completed. A wide variation in exposure to both allergens was observed. Carpeted, double-glazed or damp living rooms, and those sampled in the winter months, had higher levels of Der p 1, but these features did not predict Fel d 1 concentrations. Measures of high home occupancy were positively related to Der p 1 concentrations; and inversely with levels of Fel d 1, a finding which could not be explained by cat ownership. Homes in which one or more persons smoked had significantly lower concentrations of Der p 1, but not Fel d 1. There were no consistent differences in allergen levels between homes where one or more parent or sibling was either atopic or asthmatic. These findings indicate complex interactions among domestic, behavioural and seasonal factors and early allergen exposure in British children.  (+info)

(5/942) Asbestos and cancer: An overview of current trends in Europe.

This review assesses the contribution of occupational asbestos exposure to the occurrence of mesothelioma and lung cancer in Europe. Available information on national asbestos consumption, proportions of the population exposed, and exposure levels is summarized. Population-based studies from various European regions on occupational asbestos exposure, mesothelioma, and lung cancer are reviewed. Asbestos consumption in 1994 ranged, per capita, between 0. 004 kg in northern Europe and 2.4 kg in the former Soviet Union. Population surveys from northern Europe indicate that 15 to 30% of the male (and a few percent of the female) population has ever had occupational exposure to asbestos, mainly in construction (75% in Finland) or in shipyards. Studies on mesothelioma combining occupational history with biologic exposure indices indicate occupational asbestos exposure in 62 to 85% of the cases. Population attributable risks for lung cancer among males range between 2 and 50% for definite asbestos exposure. After exclusion of the most extreme values because of methodologic aspects, most of the remaining estimates are within the range of 10 to 20%. Estimates of women are lower. Extrapolation of the results to national figures would decrease the estimates. Norwegian estimates indicate that one-third of expected asbestos-related lung cancers might be avoided if former asbestos workers quit smoking. The combination of a current high asbestos consumption per capita, high exposure levels, and high underlying lung cancer rates in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union suggests that the lung cancers will arise from the smoking-asbestos interaction should be a major concern.  (+info)

(6/942) Exposure of U.S. workers to environmental tobacco smoke.

The concentrations of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) to which workers are exposed have been measured, using nicotine or other tracers, in diverse workplaces. Policies restricting workplace smoking to a few designated areas have been shown to reduce concentrations of ETS, although the effectiveness of such policies varies among work sites. Policies that ban smoking in the workplace are the most effective and generally lower all nicotine concentrations to less than 1 microg/m3; by contrast, mean concentrations measured in workplaces that allow smoking generally range from 2 to 6 microg/m3 in offices, from 3 to 8 microg/m3 in restaurants, and from 1 to 6 microg/m3 in the workplaces of blue-collar workers. Mean nicotine concentrations from 1 to 3 microg/m3 have been measured in the homes of smokers. Furthermore, workplace concentrations are highly variable, and some concentrations are more than 10 times higher than the average home levels, which have been established to cause lung cancer, heart disease, and other adverse health effects. For the approximately 30% of workers exposed to ETS in the workplace but not in the home, workplace exposure is the principal source of ETS. Among those with home exposures, exposures at work may exceed those resulting from home. We conclude that a significant number of U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous levels of ETS.  (+info)

(7/942) Residential radon exposure and risk of lung cancer in Missouri.

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated residential radon exposure and lung cancer risk, using both standard radon dosimetry and a new radon monitoring technology that, evidence suggests, is a better measure of cumulative radon exposure. METHODS: Missouri women (aged 30 to 84 years) newly diagnosed with primary lung cancer during the period January 1, 1993, to January 31, 1994, were invited to participate in this population-based case-control study. Both indoor air radon detectors and CR-39 alpha-particle detectors (surface monitors) were used. RESULTS: When surface monitors were used, a significant trend in lung cancer odds ratios was observed for 20-year time-weighted-average radon concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: When surface monitors were used, but not when standard radon dosimetry was used, a significant lung cancer risk was found for radon concentrations at and above the action level for mitigation of houses currently used in the United States (148 Bqm-3). The risk was below the action level used in Canada (750 Bqm-3) and many European countries (200-400 Bqm-3).  (+info)

(8/942) Long term outcome of soybean epidemic asthma after an allergen reduction intervention.

BACKGROUND: Asthma outbreaks due to the inhalation of soybean dust released from handling of soybean in the city harbour occurred in Barcelona, Spain from 1981 to 1987. The installation of bag filters in the responsible silo was followed by a substantial reduction of airborne soybean dust released into the atmosphere and the disappearance of asthma outbreaks. A study was undertaken to assess the relevant outcomes in asthma patients affected by soybean epidemic asthma eight years after this environmental intervention. METHODS: A repeat case-control study was performed in 1995 on a population of subjects with epidemic and non-epidemic asthma previously assessed in 1989. The same protocol was used in both surveys to collect data from patients via a questionnaire and respiratory function, skin and laboratory tests were performed under blinded conditions with regard to epidemic and non-epidemic status. Environmental soybean allergen in pollution filters was measured by means of a RAST inhibition technique. RESULTS: During 1995 and 1996 the 24 hour mean airborne levels of soybean allergen on a sample of 39 unloading days (range 31-269 U/m(3)) were systematically below the lowest level ever detected during an epidemic day (1500 U/m(3)). Measurable levels of serum IgE antibodies against soybean were still present in 55% of patients with epidemic asthma compared with 6.0% of those with non-epidemic asthma (p<0.05). These proportions were almost identical to those observed in 1989. The proportion of patients with soybean asthma with symptoms in 1989 who reported the absence of symptoms in 1995 was similar to the control subjects, so most of the relative risks (RRs) of improvement were near to 1. The only statistically significant differences between the two groups were a smaller proportion of patients with epidemic asthma showing improvement in terms of being woken up by attacks of coughing (RR improvement 0.47; 95% CI 0.22 to 0.99) and the need for treatment at the emergency room (RR improvement 0.63; 95% CI 0.41 to 0.96). CONCLUSIONS: Eight years after a large reduction in the levels of airborne soybean allergen half of the former soybean epidemic asthma patients were still sensitised to soybean. These results indicate an initial improvement in soybean epidemic asthma in the two years following the intervention with no further improvement in subsequent years.  (+info)