Environmental research [journal]
- Development of West-European PM2.5 and NO2 land use regression models incorporating satellite-derived and chemical transport modelling data. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 19.:1-10.
Satellite-derived (SAT) and chemical transport model (CTM) estimates of PM2.5 and NO2 are increasingly used in combination with Land Use Regression (LUR) models. We aimed to compare the contribution of SAT and CTM data to the performance of LUR PM2.5 and NO2 models for Europe. Four sets of models, all including local traffic and land use variables, were compared (LUR without SAT or CTM, with SAT only, with CTM only, and with both SAT and CTM). LUR models were developed using two monitoring data sets: PM2.5 and NO2 ground level measurements from the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE) and from the European AIRBASE network. LUR PM2.5 models including SAT and SAT+CTM explained ~60% of spatial variation in measured PM2.5 concentrations, substantially more than the LUR model without SAT and CTM (adjR(2): 0.33-0.38). For NO2 CTM improved prediction modestly (adjR(2): 0.58) compared to models without SAT and CTM (adjR(2): 0.47-0.51). Both monitoring networks are capable of producing models explaining the spatial variance over a large study area. SAT and CTM estimates of PM2.5 and NO2 significantly improved the performance of high spatial resolution LUR models at the European scale for use in large epidemiological studies.
- Current progress on understanding the impact of mercury on human health. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 18.
Mercury pollution and its impacts on human health is of global concern. The authors of this paper were members of the Plenary Panel on Human Health in the 12th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant held in Korea in June 2015. The Panel was asked by the conference organizers to address two questions: what is the current understanding of the impacts of mercury exposure on human health and what information is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention in lowering exposure and preventing adverse effects. The authors conducted a critical review of the literature published since January 2012 and discussed the current state-of-knowledge in the following areas: environmental exposure and/or risk assessment; kinetics and biomonitoring; effects on children development; effects on adult general populations; effects on artisanal and small-scale gold miners (ASGM); effects on dental workers; risk of ethylmercury in thimerosal-containing vaccines; interactions with nutrients; genetic determinants and; risk communication and management. Knowledge gaps in each area were identified and recommendations for future research were made. The Panel concluded that more knowledge synthesis efforts are needed to translate the research results into management tools for health professionals and policy makers.
- Environmental exposure to arsenic and chromium in children is associated with kidney injury molecule-1. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 14.
Environmental hazards from natural or anthropological sources are widespread, especially in the north-central region of Mexico. Children represent a susceptible population due to their unique routes of exposure and special vulnerabilities. In this study we evaluated the association of exposure to environmental kidney toxicants with kidney injury biomarkers in children living in San Luis Potosi (SLP), Mexico. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 83 children (5-12 years of age) residents of Villa de Reyes, SLP. Exposure to arsenic, cadmium, chromium, fluoride and lead was assessed in urine, blood and drinking water samples. Almost all tap and well water samples had levels of arsenic (81.5%) and fluoride (100%) above the permissible levels recommended by the World Health Organization. Mean urine arsenic (45.6ppb) and chromium (61.7ppb) were higher than the biological exposure index, a reference value in occupational settings. Using multivariate adjusted models, we found a dose-dependent association between kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) across chromium exposure tertiles [(T1: reference, T2: 467pg/mL; T3: 615pg/mL) (p-trend=0.001)]. Chromium upper tertile was also associated with higher urinary miR-200c (500 copies/μl) and miR-423 (189 copies/μL). Arsenic upper tertile was also associated with higher urinary KIM-1 (372pg/mL). Other kidney injury/functional biomarkers such as serum creatinine, glomerular filtration rate, albuminuria, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and miR-21 did not show any association with arsenic, chromium or any of the other toxicants evaluated. We conclude that KIM-1 might serve as a sensitive biomarker to screen children for kidney damage induced by environmental toxic agents.
- Pharmacokinetic bias analysis of the epidemiological associations between serum polybrominated diphenyl ether (BDE-47) and timing of menarche. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 15.:541-548.
Associations between serum levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and timing of pubertal development in adolescent girls (e.g., menarche) have been reported in both a cross-sectional and in a longitudinal study. The associations may be biased by growth dilution and pharmacokinetic changes during pubertal development.To use a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model to assess how much of the epidemiologic association between PBDE and altered timing of menarche might be attributable to growth dilution and pubertal maturation.We developed a PBPK model of BDE-47, a major congener of PBDE, to perform Monte Carlo (MC) simulation of plasma BDE-47 levels in a hypothetical target population aged 2 to 22 years old. The model used realistic distributions of physiological parameters including timing of growth spurts and menarche. The simulated data were analyzed as if they had come from an epidemiologic study. We compared the results based on the simulated population to those reported.The population characteristics, including age and body mass index (BMI) were similar between the simulated and reported groups. In the cross-sectional study design, the association between proportion of subjects with menarche before age 12 years and BDE-47 serum concentration was inverse in our simulated population, whereas the reported association was positive. In the longitudinal study design, simulated data were not suggestive of an association, whereas a delay in pubertal onset with higher concentrations of BDE-47 was observed in the epidemiologic study.Results of our simulation suggest that in the previous cross-sectional study there was a small negative bias due to pharmacokinetics in the reported relationship between BDE-47 and age at menarche. However, in the longitudinal study there was little evidence of bias. Our study showed how PBPK modeling can be used to quantify the potential bias in epidemiological studies and also suggested that further studies on the optimal approach to modeling exposure are warranted to better understand and quantify the potential bias in the epidemiological associations with BDE-47 due to pharmacokinetics.
- Non-hospital environment contamination with Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: proportion meta-analysis and features of antibiotic resistance and molecular genetics. [REVIEW, JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 14.:528-540.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), survives in dry conditions and can persist for long periods on surfaces touched by humans. Studies that estimate the proportions and characteristics of S. aureus and MRSA contamination in non-hospital environments are lacking. Therefore, we conducted a proportion meta-analysis and reviewed the features of antibiotic resistance and molecular genetics.Articles published between January 2005 and December 2015 that studied proportions of S. aureus and MRSA contamination in non-hospital environments were retrieved from the Medline database, Ovid database and Science Direct database. All statistics were analyzed by STATA 14.1.Twenty-nine articles were included. The overall proportions of S. aureus and MRSA contamination were 41.1% (95%CI 29-54%) and 8.6% (95%CI 5-13%), respectively. The proportion of MRSA contamination increased over time. From the articles, the proportion of Panton-Valentine Leukociden (PVL) genes among MRSA isolates was 54.5%, and the proportion of the qac gene was 100.0%. Distribution of the multilocus sequence type (MLST) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of MRSA indicated that MRSA strains were from both hospitals and communities.The overall proportions of S. aureus and MRSA contamination in non-hospital environments were high. The outcomes of antibiotic resistance and high proportions of PVL genes indicated that the antibiotic resistance of S. aureus and MRSA were notable. According to the different distributions of MLST and SCCmec of MRSA, we can infer that cross-circulation is within hospitals, communities, and livestock. The results also show that the risk from the MRSA strains was cross-transmitted among the population. High proportions of the qac gene of MRSA might indicate that current disinfection of MRSA has not been achieved, and it might be better to further identify the efficiency of the sterilization processes in a non-hospital environment so that relevant departments can take measures to improve disinfection of MRSA in non-hospital environments.
- Low-level methylmercury exposure through rice ingestion in a cohort of pregnant mothers in rural China. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 14.:519-527.
Rice ingestion is an important dietary exposure pathway for methylmercury. There are few studies concerning prenatal methylmercury exposure through rice ingestion, yet the health risks are greatest to the developing fetus, and thus should be investigated.Our main objective was to quantify dietary methylmercury intake through rice and fish/shellfish ingestion among pregnant mothers living in southern China, where rice was a staple food and mercury contamination was considered minimal.A total of 398 mothers were recruited at parturition, who donated scalp hair and blood samples. Total mercury and/or methylmercury concentrations were measured in biomarkers, in rice samples from each participant's home, and in fish tissue purchased from local markets. Additional fish/shellfish mercury concentrations were obtained from a literature search. Dietary methylmercury intake during the third trimester was equivalent to the ingestion rate for rice (or fish/shellfish)×the respective methylmercury concentration.Dietary methylmercury intake from both rice and fish/shellfish ingestion averaged 1.2±1.8µg/day (median=0.79µg/day, range=0-22µg/day), including on average 71% from rice ingestion (median: 87%, range: 0-100%), and 29% from fish/shellfish consumption (median 13%, range: 0-100%). Median concentrations of hair total mercury, hair methylmercury, and blood total mercury were 0.40µg/g (range: 0.08-1.7µg/g), 0.28µg/g (range: 0.01-1.4µg/g), and 1.2µg/L (range: 0.29-8.6µg/L), respectively, and all three biomarkers were positively correlated with dietary methylmercury intake through rice ingestion (Spearman's rho=0.18-0.21, p≤0.0005), although the correlations were weak. In contrast, biomarkers were not correlated with fish/shellfish methylmercury intake (Spearman's rho=0.04-0.08, p=0.11-0.46).Among pregnant mothers living in rural inland China, rice ingestion contributed to prenatal methylmercury exposure, more so than fish/shellfish ingestion.
- Urinary antimony and leukocyte telomere length: An analysis of NHANES 1999-2002. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 14.:513-518.
Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences (TTAGGG) at the end of chromosomes. Cells with critically short telomeres enter replicative senescence and apoptosis. Several in vitro studies report that antimony causes cell apoptosis in human leukocyte cell lines. The goal of this analysis was to investigate whether there is an association between antimony exposure and leukocyte telomere length (LTL) among US adults aged 20 and older based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002. We used multivariate linear regression to analyze the association of urinary antimony with LTL. LTL was log-natural transformed and the results were re-transformed and presented as percent differences. After adjustment for potential confounders, individuals in the 3rd and 4th quartiles of urinary antimony had statistically significantly shorter LTL (-4.78%, 95% CI: -8.42,-0.90; and -6.11%, 95% CI: -11.04,-1.00, respectively) compared to the lowest referent quartile, with evidence of a dose-response relationship (p-value for trend =0.03). Shorter LTL with antimony was driven by middle aged (40-59 years) and older (60-85 years) adult groups. The association may be biologically plausible because of reported oxidative stress and apoptosis effects of antimony on blood cells, effects known to shorten telomere length.
- In vitro functional screening as a means to identify new plasticizers devoid of reproductive toxicity. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 14.:496-512.
Plasticizers are indispensable additives providing flexibility and malleability to plastics. Among them, several phthalates, including di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), have emerged as endocrine disruptors, leading to their restriction in consumer products and creating a need for new, safer plasticizers. The goal of this project was to use in vitro functional screening tools to select novel non-toxic plasticizers suitable for further in vivo evaluation. A panel of novel compounds with satisfactory plasticizer properties and biodegradability were tested, along with several commercial plasticizers, such as diisononyl-cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylate (DINCH®). MEHP, the monoester metabolite of DEHP was also included as reference compound. Because phthalates target mainly testicular function, including androgen production and spermatogenesis, we used the mouse MA-10 Leydig and C18-4 spermatogonial cell lines as surrogates to examine cell survival, proliferation, steroidogenesis and mitochondrial integrity. The most promising compounds were further assessed on organ cultures of rat fetal and neonatal testes, corresponding to sensitive developmental windows. Dose-response studies revealed the toxicity of most maleates and fumarates, while identifying several dibenzoate and succinate plasticizers as innocuous on Leydig and germ cells. Interestingly, DINCH®, a plasticizer marketed as a safe alternative to phthalates, exerted a biphasic effect on steroid production in MA-10 and fetal Leydig cells. MEHP was the only plasticizer inducing the formation of multinucleated germ cells (MNG) in organ culture. Overall, organ cultures corroborated the cell line data, identifying one dibenzoate and one succinate as the most promising candidates. The adoption of such collaborative approaches for developing new chemicals should help prevent the development of compounds potentially harmful to human health.
- Densely ionizing radiation affects DNA methylation of selective LINE-1 elements. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 12.:470-481.
Long Interspersed Nucleotide Element 1 (LINE-1) retrotransposons are heavily methylated and are the most abundant transposable elements in mammalian genomes. Here, we investigated the differential DNA methylation within the LINE-1 under normal conditions and in response to environmentally relevant doses of sparsely and densely ionizing radiation. We demonstrate that DNA methylation of LINE-1 elements in the lungs of C57BL6 mice is dependent on their evolutionary age, where the elder age of the element is associated with the lower extent of DNA methylation. Exposure to 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and methionine-deficient diet affected DNA methylation of selective LINE-1 elements in an age- and promoter type-dependent manner. Exposure to densely IR, but not sparsely IR, resulted in DNA hypermethylation of older LINE-1 elements, while the DNA methylation of evolutionary younger elements remained mostly unchanged. We also demonstrate that exposure to densely IR increased mRNA and protein levels of LINE-1 via the loss of the histone H3K9 dimethylation and an increase in the H3K4 trimethylation at the LINE-1 5'-untranslated region, independently of DNA methylation. Our findings suggest that DNA methylation is important for regulation of LINE-1 expression under normal conditions, but histone modifications may dictate the transcriptional activity of LINE-1 in response to exposure to densely IR.
- Acute Exposure to Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) has effects on the electroencephalogram and electrocardiogram, consistent with vagal nerve stimulation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Res 2016 Jul 12.:461-469.
Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) is a telecommunications system widely used by police and emergency services around the world. The Stewart Report on mobile telephony and health raised questions about possible health effects associated with TETRA signals. This study investigates possible effects of TETRA signals on the electroencephalogram and electrocardiogram in human volunteers.Blinded randomized provocation study with a standardized TETRA signal or sham exposure. In the first of two experiments, police officers had a TETRA set placed first against the left temple and then the upper-left quadrant of the chest and the electroencephalogram was recorded during rest and active cognitive processing. In the second experiment, volunteers were subject to chest exposure of TETRA whilst their electroencephalogram and heart rate variability derived from the electrocardiogram were recorded.In the first experiment, we found that exposure to TETRA had consistent neurophysiological effects on the electroencephalogram, but only during chest exposure, in a pattern suggestive of vagal nerve stimulation. In the second experiment, we observed changes in heart rate variability during exposure to TETRA but the electroencephalogram effects were not replicated.Observed effects of exposure to TETRA signals on the electroencephalogram (first experiment) and electrocardiogram are consistent with vagal nerve stimulation in the chest by TETRA. However given the small effect on heart rate variability and the lack of consistency on the electroencephalogram, it seems unlikely that this will have a significant impact on health. Long-term monitoring of the health of the police force in relation to TETRA use is on-going.