The role of domestic factors and day-care attendance on lung function of primary school children.
The results of studies examining the relationship of domestic factors to lung function are contradictory. We therefore examined the independent effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), the presence of a cat, type of heating and cooking used in the home and day-care attendance on lung function after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES). Nine hundred and eighty-nine children from 18 Montreal schools were studied between April 1990 and November 1992. Information on the child's health and exposure to domestic factors was collected by questionnaire. Spirometry was performed at school. The data were analysed by multiple linear regression with percent predicted FEV1, FVC, and FEV1/FVC as dependent variables. In the overall sample (both sexes combined), cat in the home (regression coefficient, beta = -1.15, 95% confidence interval, CI: -2.26-(-)0.05) and electric baseboard units (beta = -1.26, 95% CI: -2.39-(-)0.13) were independently associated with a lower FEV1/FVC, while day-care attendance (beta = -2.05, 95% CI: -3.71-(-)0.40) significantly reduced FEV1. Household ETS was significantly associated with increasing level of FVC (beta = 2.86, 95% CI: +0.55 to +5.17). In boys but not girls, household ETS (beta = -2.13, 95% CI: -4.07-(-)0.19) and the presence of a cat (beta = -2.19, 95% CI: -3.94-(-)0.45) were associated with lower FEV1/FVC. By contrast, day-care attendance was associated with lower FEV1 (beta = -2.92, 95% CI: -5.27-(-)0.56) and FEV1/FVC (beta = -1.53, 95% CI: -2.73-(-)0.33) in girls only. In conclusion, the results provide evidence that domestic factors and day-care attendance primarily affected airway caliber and gender differences were apparent in the effects of these factors. (+info)
Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and apoptosis in benign prostatic hyperplasia before and after the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.
The prevalence of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) in men who underwent surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) before and after the Chernobyl nuclear accident was studied. BPH samples were obtained by adenomectomy from 45 patients operated in 1984 before the accident (Group I), and 47 patients from the low contaminated Kiev City (Group II) and 76 from high contaminated area (Group III) operated between 1996 and 1998. Their BPH samples were examined histologically and immunohistochemically. The incidences of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and high grade PIN (HGPIN) were 15.5 and 11.1% in Group I, 29.8 and 14.9% in Grpoup II, and 35. 5 and 19.7% in Group III. The difference between the incidences of PIN in Group I and III is significant (p<0.02). There was increased apoptosis in areas of PIN in Group II and III as compared to Group I (p<0.001). Since apoptosis has been shown to be associated with ionizing radiation and it is now found to be associated with PIN in patients diagnosed after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, this suggests that long-term low dose internal ionizing radiation potentially may cause prostate cancer. (+info)
8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine, a major mutagenic oxidative DNA lesion, and DNA strand breaks in nasal respiratory epithelium of children exposed to urban pollution.
Southwest metropolitan Mexico City children are repeatedly exposed to high levels of a complex mixture of air pollutants, including ozone, particulate matter, aldehydes, metals, and nitrogen oxides. We explored nasal cell 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a major mutagenic lesion producing G-->T transversion mutations, using an immunohistochemical method, and DNA single strand breaks (ssb) using the single cell gel electrophoresis assay as biomarkers of oxidant exposure. Nasal biopsies from the posterior inferior turbinate were examined in children in grades one through five, including 12 controls from a low-polluted coastal town and 87 Mexico City children. Each biopsy was divided for the 8-OHdG and DNA ssb assays. There was an age-dependent increase in the percentage of nasal cells with DNA tails > 10 microm in Mexico City children: 19 +/- 9% for control cells, and 43 +/- 4, 50 +/- 16, 56 +/- 17, 60 +/- 17 and 73 +/- 14%, respectively, for first through fifth graders (p < 0.05). Nasal ssb were significantly higher in fifth graders than in first graders (p < 0.05). Higher levels (2.3- to 3-fold) of specific nuclear staining for 8-OHdG were observed in exposed children as compared to controls (p < 0.05). These results suggest that DNA damage is present in nasal epithelial cells in Mexico City children. Persistent oxidative DNA damage may ultimately result in a selective growth of pr eneoplastic nasal initiated cells in this population and the potential for nasal neoplasms may increase with age. The combination of 8-OHdG and DNA ssb should be useful for monitoring oxidative damage in people exposed to polluted atmospheres. (+info)
Plasma jet takes off.
Thanks to a series of joint research projects by Los Alamos National Laboratory, Beta Squared of Allen, Texas, and the University of California at Los Angeles, there is now a more environmentally sound method for cleaning semiconductor chips that may also be effective in cleaning up chemical, bacterial, and nuclear contaminants. The Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Jet uses a type of ionized gas called plasma to clean up contaminants by binding to them and lifting them away. In contrast to the corrosive acids and chemical solvents traditionally used to clean semiconductor chips, the jet oxidizes contaminants, producing only benign gaseous by-products such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. The new technology is also easy to transport, cleans thoroughly and quickly, and presents no hazards to its operators. (+info)
Consumption and production waste: another externality of tobacco use.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the waste produced by and environmental implications of individual cigarette consumption (filter tips, packages, and cartons) and tobacco manufacturing. STUDY SELECTION: All available articles and reports published since 1970 related to cigarette consumption and production waste were reviewed. DATA SOURCES: Global cigarette consumption data were used to estimate cigarette butt and packaging waste quantities. Data from the Center for Marine Conservation's International Coastal Cleanup Project were used to describe some environmental impacts of tobacco-related trash. Data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Toxics Release Inventory and reported global cigarette consumption totals were used to estimate waste production from cigarette manufacturing. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: In 1995, an estimated 5.535 trillion cigarettes (27,675 million cartons and 276,753 million packages) were sold by the tobacco industry globally. Some of the wastes from these products were properly deposited, but a large amount of tobacco consumption waste ends up in the environment. Some is recovered during environmental clean-up days. For the past eight years (1990-1997), cigarette butts have been the leading item found during the International Coastal Cleanup Project; they accounted for 19.1% of all items collected in 1997. The tobacco manufacturing process produces liquid, solid, and airborne waste. Among those wastes, some materials, including nicotine, are designated by the EPA as Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemicals. These are possible environmental health hazards. In 1995, the global tobacco industry produced an estimated 2262 million kilograms of manufacturing waste and 209 million kilograms of chemical waste. In addition, total nicotine waste produced in the manufacture of reduced nicotine cigarettes was estimated at 300 million kilograms. CONCLUSIONS: Laws against littering relative to cigarette butts could be better enforced. Additional taxes might be levied on cigarette products that would then be directed to environmental clean-up efforts. The tobacco industry should improve the biodegradability of filters, reduce packaging waste, and educate its customers. Worksites and public buildings should be encouraged or required to supply appropriate disposal mechanisms at all building entrances. Public awareness campaigns about the magnitude and prevention of cigarette consumption waste could be developed through partnerships among environmental groups, health organisations, and environmental protection agencies. Tobacco production waste should be a source of concern and regulation by governments throughout the world; it contains numerous chemicals which may be considered health hazards, not the least of which is nicotine produced in the manufacture of low-nicotine cigarettes. (+info)
Experimental studies on environmental contamination with infected blood during haemodialysis.
To assess the relative importance of different postulated modes of spread of hepatitis B in dialysis units, blood charged with various tracer organisms was used in simulated haemodialysis runs in four laboratories, and the resulting contamination of equipment and environment was measured semi-quantitatively. Some airborne spread of the tracer organism occurred when tubing containing contaminated blood was needled as the "patient" went on and came off the dialyser. Virtually no small airborne particles could be demonstrated however in simulated emergencies in which a blood line was disconnected, or even when bottles of blood were dropped on to a hard floor from a height of 2 metres. Bacillus globigii spores from contaminated blood leaked in small numbers into the dialysing fluid through apparently intact coils. T3 phage, with a particle size of the same order as hepatitis B virus, passed in small quantities through the membrane of a Kiil dialyser from blood to dialysing fluid and also in the reverse direction when added to the header tank. A number of other dialysers were also permeable to phage. Visual assessment of the appropriate moment for inserting the venous line into the "patient" at the onset of dialysis was shown to be unreliable, as the displaced fluid from the end of the venous line was already contaminated before it contained visible red blood cells. Considerable contamination of exposed surfaces and of the buttons on the proportionating unit cabinet occurred. Minor visible splashing of blood was a common-place of the laboratory experiments and was shown to be also a common event during routine haemodialysis in two of the dialysis units taking part in the studies. (+info)
Adhesion of biodegradative anaerobic bacteria to solid surfaces.
In order to exploit the ability of anaerobic bacteria to degrade certain contaminants for bioremediation of polluted subsurface environments, we need to understand the mechanisms by which such bacteria partition between aqueous and solid phases, as well as the environmental conditions that influence partitioning. We studied four strictly anaerobic bacteria, Desulfomonile tiedjei, Syntrophomonas wolfei, Syntrophobacter wolinii, and Desulfovibrio sp. strain G11, which theoretically together can constitute a tetrachloroethylene- and trichloroethylene-dechlorinating consortium. Adhesion of these organisms was evaluated by microscopic determination of the numbers of cells that attached to glass coverslips exposed to cell suspensions under anaerobic conditions. We studied the effects of the growth phase of the organisms on adhesion, as well as the influence of electrostatic and hydrophobic properties of the substratum. Results indicate that S. wolfei adheres in considerably higher numbers to glass surfaces than the other three organisms. Starvation greatly decreases adhesion of S. wolfei and Desulfovibrio sp. strain G11 but seems to have less of an effect on the adhesion of the other bacteria. The presence of Fe(3+) on the substratum, which would be electropositive, significantly increased the adhesion of S. wolfei, whereas the presence of silicon hydrophobic groups decreased the numbers of attached cells of all species. Measurements of transport of cells through hydrophobic-interaction and electrostatic-interaction columns indicated that all four species had negatively charged cell surfaces and that D. tiedjei and Desulfovibrio sp. strain G11 possessed some hydrophobic cell surface properties. These findings are an early step toward understanding the dynamic attachment of anaerobic bacteria in anoxic environments. (+info)
Caught in the middle: should the World Trade Organization settle environmental disputes?
Since its inception in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has arbitrated trade disputes between its members in part by deciding whether unilateral actions by its 134 member nations such as trade bans or restrictions violate international free trade rules and authorizing penalties against members that are found to be noncompliant with such rules. The WTO is criticized by those who believe its emphasis on free trade undermines national environmental and public health protection efforts. Recent disputes over the importation of hormone-treated beef and genetically modified crops have focused attention on how the WTO arbitrates disputes having environmental and public health implications and sparked criticisms as to whether the organization is qualified to do so. (+info)