Open AccessReview
Antioxidants Protect against Arsenic Induced Mitochondrial Cardio-Toxicity
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 38; doi:10.3390/toxics5040038 -
Abstract
Arsenic is a potent cardiovascular toxicant associated with numerous biomarkers of cardiovascular diseases in exposed human populations. Arsenic is also a carcinogen, yet arsenic trioxide is used as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of acute promyelotic leukemia (APL). The therapeutic use of
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Arsenic is a potent cardiovascular toxicant associated with numerous biomarkers of cardiovascular diseases in exposed human populations. Arsenic is also a carcinogen, yet arsenic trioxide is used as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of acute promyelotic leukemia (APL). The therapeutic use of arsenic is limited due to its severe cardiovascular side effects. Many of the toxic effects of arsenic are mediated by mitochondrial dysfunction and related to arsenic’s effect on oxidative stress. Therefore, we investigated the effectiveness of antioxidants against arsenic induced cardiovascular dysfunction. A growing body of evidence suggests that antioxidant phytonutrients may ameliorate the toxic effects of arsenic on mitochondria by scavenging free radicals. This review identifies 21 antioxidants that can effectively reverse mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in cardiovascular cells and tissues. In addition, we propose that antioxidants have the potential to improve the cardiovascular health of millions of people chronically exposed to elevated arsenic concentrations through contaminated water supplies or used to treat certain types of leukemias. Importantly, we identify conceptual gaps in research and development of new mito-protective antioxidants and suggest avenues for future research to improve bioavailability of antioxidants and distribution to target tissues in order reduce arsenic-induced cardiovascular toxicity in a real-world context. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Zinc Ameliorate Oxidative Stress and Hormonal Disturbance Induced by Methomyl, Abamectin, and Their Mixture in Male Rats
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 37; doi:10.3390/toxics5040037 -
Abstract
Exposure to mixtures of toxicants (e.g., pesticides) is common in real life and a subject of current concern. The present investigation was undertaken to assess some toxicological effects in male rats following exposure to methomyl (MET), abamectin (ABM), and their combination (MET+ABM), and
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Exposure to mixtures of toxicants (e.g., pesticides) is common in real life and a subject of current concern. The present investigation was undertaken to assess some toxicological effects in male rats following exposure to methomyl (MET), abamectin (ABM), and their combination (MET+ABM), and to evaluate the ameliorative effect of zinc co-administration. Three groups of rats were designated for MET, ABM, and the mixture treatments. Three other groups were designated for zinc in conjunction with the pesticides. Additionally, one group received water only (control), and the other represented a positive zinc treatment. The obtained results revealed that MET was acutely more toxic than ABM. The tested pesticides induced significant elevation in lipid peroxidation and catalase levels, while declined the levels of the other tested parameters e.g., Superoxide dismutase (SOD), Glutathione-S-transferase (GST), Glutathione peroxidase (GPx), Glutathione reductase (GR), Cytochrome P450 (CYP450), testosterone, and thyroxine). Biochemical alterations induced by the mixture were greater than those recorded for each of the individual insecticides. The joint action analysis, based on the obtained biochemical data, revealed the dominance of antagonistic action among MET and ABM. Zinc supplementation achieved noticeable ameliorative effects. It was concluded that zinc may act as a powerful antioxidant, especially in individuals who are occupationally exposed daily to low doses of such pesticides. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Evidence of Biomass Smoke Exposure as a Causative Factor for the Development of COPD
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 36; doi:10.3390/toxics5040036 -
Abstract
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease of the lungs characterised by chronic inflammation, obstruction of airways, and destruction of the parenchyma (emphysema). These changes gradually impair lung function and prevent normal breathing. In 2002, COPD was the fifth leading cause
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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease of the lungs characterised by chronic inflammation, obstruction of airways, and destruction of the parenchyma (emphysema). These changes gradually impair lung function and prevent normal breathing. In 2002, COPD was the fifth leading cause of death, and is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to become the third by 2020. Cigarette smokers are thought to be the most at risk of developing COPD. However, recent studies have shown that people with life-long exposure to biomass smoke are also at high risk of developing COPD. Most common in developing countries, biomass fuels such as wood and coal are used for cooking and heating indoors on a daily basis. Women and children have the highest amounts of exposures and are therefore more likely to develop the disease. Despite epidemiological studies providing evidence of the causative relationship between biomass smoke and COPD, there are still limited mechanistic studies on how biomass smoke causes, and contributes to the progression of COPD. This review will focus upon why biomass fuels are used, and their relationship to COPD. It will also suggest methodological approaches to model biomass exposure in vitro and in vivo. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Embryonic Ethanol Exposure Affects Early- and Late-Added Cardiac Precursors and Produces Long-Lasting Heart Chamber Defects in Zebrafish
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 35; doi:10.3390/toxics5040035 -
Abstract
Drinking mothers expose their fetuses to ethanol, which produces birth defects: craniofacial defects, cognitive impairment, sensorimotor disabilities and organ deformities, collectively termed as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Various congenital heart defects (CHDs) are present in FASD patients, but the mechanisms of alcohol-induced
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Drinking mothers expose their fetuses to ethanol, which produces birth defects: craniofacial defects, cognitive impairment, sensorimotor disabilities and organ deformities, collectively termed as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Various congenital heart defects (CHDs) are present in FASD patients, but the mechanisms of alcohol-induced cardiogenesis defects are not completely understood. This study utilized zebrafish embryos and older larvae to understand FASD-associated CHDs. Ethanol-induced cardiac chamber defects initiated during embryonic cardiogenesis persisted in later zebrafish life. In addition, myocardial damage was recognizable in the ventricle of the larvae that were exposed to ethanol during embryogenesis. Our studies of the pathogenesis revealed that ethanol exposure delayed differentiation of first and second heart fields and reduced the number of early- and late-added cardiomyocytes in the heart. Ethanol exposure also reduced the number of endocardial cells. Together, this study showed that ethanol-induced heart defects were present in late-stage zebrafish larvae. Reduced numbers of cardiomyocytes partly accounts for the ethanol-induced zebrafish heart defects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using a Particle Counter to Inform the Creation of Similar Exposure Groups and Sampling Protocols in a Structural Steel Fabrication Facility
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 34; doi:10.3390/toxics5040034 -
Abstract
The objective of this project was to create similar exposure groups (SEGs) for occupational monitoring in a structural steel fabrication facility. Qualitative SEG formation involved worksite observation, interviews, and audits of materials and procedures. These were supplemented with preliminary task-based shop survey data
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The objective of this project was to create similar exposure groups (SEGs) for occupational monitoring in a structural steel fabrication facility. Qualitative SEG formation involved worksite observation, interviews, and audits of materials and procedures. These were supplemented with preliminary task-based shop survey data collected using a condensation particle counter. A total of six SEGs were formed, with recommendations for occupational exposure sampling for five groups, as well as ambient sampling recommendations to address areas on the operational floor found to have higher particle concentrations. The combination of direct reading device data and qualitative SEG formation techniques is a valuable approach, as it contains both the monetary and temporal costs of worksite exposure monitoring. This approach also provides an empowering in-house analysis of potentially problematic areas, and results in the streamlining of occupational exposure assessment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Probabilistic Prognosis of Environmental Radioactivity Concentrations due to Radioisotopes Discharged to Water Bodies from Nuclear Power Plants
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 32; doi:10.3390/toxics5040032 -
Abstract
Due to their very low values, the complexity of comparing the contribution of nuclear power plants (NPPs) to environmental radioactivity with modeled values is recognized. In order to compare probabilistic prognosis of radioactivity concentrations with environmental measurement values, an exercise was performed using
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Due to their very low values, the complexity of comparing the contribution of nuclear power plants (NPPs) to environmental radioactivity with modeled values is recognized. In order to compare probabilistic prognosis of radioactivity concentrations with environmental measurement values, an exercise was performed using public data of radioactive routine discharges from three representative Spanish nuclear power plants. Specifically, data on liquid discharges from three Spanish NPPs: Almaraz, Vandellós II, and Ascó to three different aquatic bodies (river, lake, and coast) were used. Results modelled using generic conservative models together with Monte Carlo techniques used for uncertainties propagation were compared with values of radioactivity concentrations in the environment measured in the surroundings of these NPPs. Probability distribution functions were inferred for the source term, used as an input to the model to estimate the radioactivity concentrations in the environment due to discharges to the water bodies. Radioactivity concentrations measured in bottom sediments were used in the exercise due to their accumulation properties. Of all the radioisotopes measured in the environmental monitoring programs around the NPPs, only Cs-137, Sr-90, and Co-60 had positive values greater than their respective detection limits. Of those, Sr-90 and Cs-137 are easily measured in the environment, but significant contribution from the radioactive fall-out due to nuclear explosions in the atmosphere exists, and therefore their values cannot be attributed to the NPPs. On the contrary, Co-60 is especially useful as an indicator of the radioactive discharges from NPPs because its presence in the environment can solely be attributed to the impact of the closer nuclear facilities. All the modelled values for Co-60 showed a reasonable correspondence with measured environmental data in all cases, being conservative in two of them. The more conservative predictions obtained with the models were the activity concentrations in the sediments of a lake (Almaraz) where, on average, values two times higher were obtained. For the case of rivers (Ascó), calculated results were adequately conservative—up to 3.4 times on average. However, the results for coasts (Vandellos II) were in the same range as the environmental measurements, obtaining predictions that are only—at maximum—1.1 times higher than measured values. Only for this specific case of coasts could it be established that the models are not conservative enough, although the results, on average, are relatively close to the real values. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Occurrence of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins and Dibenzofurans and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Fruit and Vegetables from the “Land of Fires” Area of Southern Italy
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 33; doi:10.3390/toxics5040033 -
Abstract
The concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-concentrations dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) (PCDD/Fs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in fruit and vegetables collected in farms located in the well-known “Land of Fires” area of Southern Italy, in an effort to learn more
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The concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-concentrations dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) (PCDD/Fs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in fruit and vegetables collected in farms located in the well-known “Land of Fires” area of Southern Italy, in an effort to learn more about the environmental pollution of this high-risk area due to illegal waste dumping and uncontrolled burning near cultivated fields. Concentrations were in the range 0.011–2.26 ng g−1 for the six “indicator” non-dioxin-like PCBs (NDL-PCBs), and 0.0009–0.096 pg WHO toxic equivalent (TEQ) g−1 for the sum of dioxin-like PCBs (DL-PCBs) and PCDD/Fs. Lacking maximum limits for these contaminants in fruit and vegetables, the concentration values found were compared with the action levels set out in the EU Recommendations. These levels were never exceeded in the examined samples. In the present study, the highest mean value for PCDD/Fs + DL-PCB corresponded to apricots, olives, and nuts, while the lowest values were observed in endive and green beans. The results showed also that NDL-PCB levels in apricots were much higher than in any other food, suggesting that they can accumulate PCBs: this fruit might be proposed as a “sentinel” of the presence of these contaminants in the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
β-Cyclodextrin Attenuates Perfluorooctanoic Acid Toxicity in the Zebrafish Embryo Model
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 31; doi:10.3390/toxics5040031 -
Abstract
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been linked to negative health outcomes including cancer, thyroid disease, infertility, and developmental delays. β-Cyclodextrin (β-CD), a cyclic sugar, has been previously shown to form strong host–guest complexes with PFOA, and is proposed as a means of environmental remediation
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Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been linked to negative health outcomes including cancer, thyroid disease, infertility, and developmental delays. β-Cyclodextrin (β-CD), a cyclic sugar, has been previously shown to form strong host–guest complexes with PFOA, and is proposed as a means of environmental remediation with respect to this widespread contaminant. In the present study, β-CD was directly examined with regards to possible attenuation of the toxicity of PFOA specifically employing the zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo model. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to various concentrations of PFOA without β-CD, and with equimolar (1:1) and excess (2:1) molar ratios of β-CD to PFOA, and assessed for lethality and developmental toxicity through seven days post-fertilization (dpf). Rapid onset of lethality with limited morphological abnormalities was observed at relatively low concentrations of PFOA (LC50 ≈ 50 ppm), along with effects on morphometric and neurobehavioral parameters in surviving embryos. A highly significant difference (p < 0.0001) was observed between the 2:1 treatment, and both 1:1 and PFOA only treatments, with respect to lethal concentration and apparent neurobehavioral effects, suggesting an effectively reduced toxicity of the fully complexed PFOA. In contrast, however, neither β-CD treatment reduced developmental toxicity with respect to the morphometric endpoint (i.e., interocular distance). Whereas LC50 of PFOA alone did not change over 7 dpf, the 1:1 and 2:1 values decreased slightly over time, suggesting either delayed or alternative toxic effects on later developmental stages at presumptively lowered levels. This study, therefore, indicates β-CD may be an effective agent to reduce toxicity of and mitigate environmental health concerns associated with PFOA, but that further study is required to elucidate the mechanism of complexation as it relates to the attenuation of toxicity. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Pilot Study in Cameroon to Understand Safe Uses of Pesticides in Agriculture, Risk Factors for Farmers’ Exposure and Management of Accidental Cases
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 30; doi:10.3390/toxics5040030 -
Abstract
Chemical pesticides are widely used in Cameroon for agricultural production. In 2015, more than 600 pesticide products were approved for use in various foodstuffs. Much misuse of these chemicals by farmers has been documented in rural and urban settings. This pilot study aims
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Chemical pesticides are widely used in Cameroon for agricultural production. In 2015, more than 600 pesticide products were approved for use in various foodstuffs. Much misuse of these chemicals by farmers has been documented in rural and urban settings. This pilot study aims to contribute to the improvement of the health of the population and the environmental preservation by identifying pesticide-poisoning cases, the most incriminated products and critical risk factors of exposure. Questionnaires were administered to pesticide vendors, farmers and health personnel, and observations made on farmers’ practices at their work places. From July to September 2016, 24 villages from five sites, representing the most important agricultural production areas of the five agro-ecological zones of Cameroon, were visited. In total, 519 people were interviewed: 412 farmers, 69 pesticide vendors and 38 health personnel. A total of 180 pesticide formulations out of 610 registered in 2015 were said to be used by farmers. In the 38 health centers visited, 56 cases of pesticide poisonings and intoxications were reported between 2011 and 2016. Paraquat-, glyphosate-, cypermethrin- and metalaxyl-formulated pesticides were the most incriminated. In total, 78% of poisoning cases were accidental, 12% suicide attempts, 4% criminal. Entry of pesticide products from neighboring countries needs to be better regulated, and the quality of pesticides sold on the market should be monitored periodically. Empty pesticide containers should be recuperated from smallholder farmers. Authorities should set up a harmonized pesticide-poisoning management procedure, and create a toxico-vigilance system for surveillance cases and preventive actions. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Exposure to Inorganic Nanoparticles: Routes of Entry, Immune Response, Biodistribution and In Vitro/In Vivo Toxicity Evaluation
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 29; doi:10.3390/toxics5040029 -
Abstract
The development of different kinds of nanoparticles, showing different physico-chemical properties, has fostered their large use in many fields, including medicine. As a consequence, inorganic nanoparticles (e.g., metals or semiconductors), have raised issues about their potential toxicity. The scientific community is investigating the
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The development of different kinds of nanoparticles, showing different physico-chemical properties, has fostered their large use in many fields, including medicine. As a consequence, inorganic nanoparticles (e.g., metals or semiconductors), have raised issues about their potential toxicity. The scientific community is investigating the toxicity mechanisms of these materials, in vitro and in vivo, in order to provide accurate references concerning their use. This review will give the readers a thorough exploration on the entry mechanisms of inorganic nanoparticles in the human body, such as titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2NPs), silicon dioxide nanoparticles (SiO2NPs), zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs), silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and quantum dots (QDsNPs). In addition, biodistribution, the current trends and novelties of in vitro and in vivo toxicology studies will be discussed, with a particular focus on immune response. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
High Risk Subgroups Sensitive to Air Pollution Levels Following an Emergency Medical Admission
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 27; doi:10.3390/toxics5040027 -
Abstract
For three cohorts (the elderly, socially deprived, and those with chronic disabling disease), the relationship between the concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), or oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at the time of hospital admission and
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For three cohorts (the elderly, socially deprived, and those with chronic disabling disease), the relationship between the concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), or oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at the time of hospital admission and outcomes (30-day in-hospital mortality) were investigated All emergency admissions (90,423 episodes, recorded in 48,035 patients) between 2002 and 2015 were examined. PM10, SO2, and NOx daily levels from the hospital catchment area were correlated with the outcomes for the older admission cohort (>70 years), those of lower socio-economic status (SES), and with more disabling disease. Adjusted for acuity and complexity, the level of each pollutant on the day of admission independently predicted the 30-day mortality: for PM10–OR 1.11 (95% CI: 1.08, 1.15), SO2–1.20 (95% CI: 1.16, 1.24), and NOx–1.09 (1.06–1.13). For the older admission cohort (≥70 years), as admission day pollution increased (NOx quintiles) the 30-day mortality was higher in the elderly (14.2% vs. 11.3%: p < 0.001). Persons with a lower SES were at increased risk. Persons with more disabling disease also had worse outcomes on days with higher admission particulate matter (PM10 quintiles). Levels of pollutants on the day of admission of emergency medical admissions predicted 30-day hospital mortality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in the Treatment of Some Physico-Chemical Properties of Cassava Mill Effluents Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 28; doi:10.3390/toxics5040028 -
Abstract
Cassava is majorly processed into gari by smallholders in Southern Nigeria. During processing, large volume of effluents are produced in the pressing stage of cassava tuber processing. The cassava mill effluents are discharged into the soil directly and it drain into nearby pits,
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Cassava is majorly processed into gari by smallholders in Southern Nigeria. During processing, large volume of effluents are produced in the pressing stage of cassava tuber processing. The cassava mill effluents are discharged into the soil directly and it drain into nearby pits, surface water, and canals without treatment. Cassava mill effluents is known to alter the receiving soil and water characteristics and affects the biota in such environments, such as fishes (water), domestic animals, and vegetation (soil). This study investigated the potential of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to be used for the treatment of some physicochemical properties of cassava mill effluents. S. cerevisiae was isolated from palm wine and identified based on conventional microbiological techniques, viz. morphological, cultural, and physiological/biochemical characteristics. The S. cerevisiae was inoculated into sterile cassava mill effluents and incubated for 15 days. Triplicate samples were withdrawn from the setup after the fifth day of treatment. Portable equipment was used to analyze the in-situ parameters, viz. total dissolved solids (TDS), pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), conductivity, salinity, and turbidity. Anions (nitrate, sulphate, and phosphate) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) were analyzed using spectrophotometric and open reflux methods respectively. Results showed a decline of 37.62%, 22.96%, 29.63%, 20.49%, 21.44%, 1.70%, 53.48%, 68.00%, 100%, and 74.48% in pH, conductivity, DO, TDS, salinity, sulphate, nitrate, phosphate, and COD levels respectively, and elevation of 17.17% by turbidity. The study showed that S. cerevisiae could be used for the treatment of cassava mill effluents prior to being discharged into the environment so as to reduce the pollution or contamination and toxicity levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Heavy Metal Pollution of Chari River Water during the Crossing of N’Djamena (Chad)
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 26; doi:10.3390/toxics5040026 -
Abstract
This study was carried out to identify and assess the water quality of the Chari River. The Chari, 1200 km long, is Chad’s major water source. Municipal sewage, industrial wastewater discharge, and seasonal run-off from agriculture are regularly fed into the river. Several
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This study was carried out to identify and assess the water quality of the Chari River. The Chari, 1200 km long, is Chad’s major water source. Municipal sewage, industrial wastewater discharge, and seasonal run-off from agriculture are regularly fed into the river. Several trace metals such as Cu, Zn, Fe, Ni, Cr, Mn, and Cd, were measured in different sampling stations located along the Chari River at N’Djamena in different campaigns from 2008 to 2010. Overall, manganese, zinc, chromium, and copper concentration levels were mainly in the range of the permissible limits prescribed by WHO guidelines (WHO 2011). Nickel, iron, and cadmium concentrations were still high. This preliminary study allowed us to identify the magnitude of toxic pollutants, which are responsible for Chari River water contamination in the study area. This study revealed that urgent measures must be taken to protect the local people from health problems resulting from high concentrations of heavy metals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hydrophobic Sand Is a Non-Toxic Method of Urine Collection, Appropriate for Urinary Metal Analysis in the Rat
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 25; doi:10.3390/toxics5040025 -
Abstract
Hydrophobic sand is a relatively new method of urine collection in the rodent, comparable to the established method using a metabolic cage. Urine samples are often used in rodent research, especially for biomarkers of health changes after internal contamination from embedded metals, such
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Hydrophobic sand is a relatively new method of urine collection in the rodent, comparable to the established method using a metabolic cage. Urine samples are often used in rodent research, especially for biomarkers of health changes after internal contamination from embedded metals, such as in a model of a military shrapnel wound. However, little research has been done on the potential interference of hydrophobic sand with urine metal concentrations either by contamination from the sand particulate, or adsorption of metals from the urine. We compare urine collected from rats using the metabolic cage method and the hydrophobic sand method for differences in metal concentration of common urinary metals, and examine physical properties of the sand material for potential sources of contamination. We found minimal risk of internal contamination of the rat by hydrophobic sand, and no interference of the sand with several common metals of interest (cobalt, strontium, copper, and manganese), although we advise caution in studies of aluminum in urine. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Reported Symptoms and Pesticide Use among Farm Workers in Arusha, Northern Tanzania: A Cross Sectional Study
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 24; doi:10.3390/toxics5040024 -
Abstract
The objective of the study was to describe self-reported health symptoms, the use of personal protective gear and clothing and poor safety procedures when applying pesticides among farm workers. A total of 128 adult farm workers were interviewed using a structured questionnaire during
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The objective of the study was to describe self-reported health symptoms, the use of personal protective gear and clothing and poor safety procedures when applying pesticides among farm workers. A total of 128 adult farm workers were interviewed using a structured questionnaire during the farming season. The commonly used pesticides included profenofos, mancozeb, chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, permethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, endosulfan and carbosulfan. The majority (>90%) of farm workers used no personal protective clothing while handling pesticides. More than one-third of farm workers ate and drank without washing their hands following pesticide handling, while a smaller number smoked or chewed gum. Wearing special boots during pesticide application was found to reduce the risk of skin rash (OR = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.06–0.66), whereas smoking when applying pesticides increased the risk of chest pain occurrence (OR = 4.0, 95% CI: 1.14–15.43), as well as forgetfulness (OR = 4.0, 95% CI: 1.30–14.02). Chewing gum and eating when applying pesticides was associated with diarrhoea (OR = 11.0, 95% CI: 1.80–6.84 and OR = 7.0, 95% CI: 1.27–3.67 respectively). The increased self-reported prevalence of post-exposure adverse health effects among farm workers was associated with poor use of personal protective clothing and poor safety practices during pesticide use and handling. These data indicate the need for improved availability and use of protective equipment, and training in crop and pest management practices to prevent risky behavioursand for safer and sustainable vegetable production. Full article
Open AccessReview
Fate of Chloromethanes in the Atmospheric Environment: Implications for Human Health, Ozone Formation and Depletion, and Global Warming Impacts
Toxics 2017, 5(4), 23; doi:10.3390/toxics5040023 -
Abstract
Among the halogenated hydrocarbons, chloromethanes (i.e., methyl chloride, CH3Cl; methylene chloride, CH2Cl2; chloroform, CHCl3; and carbon tetrachloride, CCl4) play a vital role due to their extensive uses as solvents and chemical intermediates. This
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Among the halogenated hydrocarbons, chloromethanes (i.e., methyl chloride, CH3Cl; methylene chloride, CH2Cl2; chloroform, CHCl3; and carbon tetrachloride, CCl4) play a vital role due to their extensive uses as solvents and chemical intermediates. This article aims to review their main chemical/physical properties and commercial/industrial uses, as well as the environment and health hazards posed by them and their toxic decomposition products. The environmental properties (including atmospheric lifetime, radiative efficiency, ozone depletion potential, global warming potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, and surface mixing ratio) of these chlorinated methanes are also reviewed. In addition, this paper further discusses their atmospheric fates and human health implications because they are apt to reside in the lower atmosphere when released into the environment. According to the atmospheric degradation mechanism, their toxic degradation products in the troposphere include hydrogen chloride (HCl), carbon monoxide (CO), chlorine (Cl2), formyl chloride (HCOCl), carbonyl chloride (COCl2), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Among them, COCl2 (also called phosgene) is a powerful irritating gas, which is easily hydrolyzed or thermally decomposed to form hydrogen chloride. Full article
Open AccessReview
Occupational Exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA): A Reality That Still Needs to Be Unveiled
Toxics 2017, 5(3), 22; doi:10.3390/toxics5030022 -
Abstract
Bisphenol A (BPA), 2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl) propane, is one of the most utilized industrial chemicals worldwide, with the ability to interfere with/or mimic estrogenic hormones with associated biological responses. Environmental human exposure to this endocrine disruptor, mostly through oral intake, is considered a generalized phenomenon,
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Bisphenol A (BPA), 2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl) propane, is one of the most utilized industrial chemicals worldwide, with the ability to interfere with/or mimic estrogenic hormones with associated biological responses. Environmental human exposure to this endocrine disruptor, mostly through oral intake, is considered a generalized phenomenon, particularly in developed countries. However, in the context of occupational exposure, non-dietary exposure sources (e.g., air and contact) cannot be underestimated. Here, we performed a review of the literature on BPA occupational exposure and associated health effects. Relevantly, the authors only identified 19 studies from 2009 to 2017 that demonstrate that occupationally exposed individuals have significantly higher detected BPA levels than environmentally exposed populations and that the detection rate of serum BPA increases in relation to the time of exposure. However, only 12 studies performed in China have correlated potential health effects with detected BPA levels, and shown that BPA-exposed male workers are at greater risk of male sexual dysfunction across all domains of sexual function; also, endocrine disruption, alterations to epigenetic marks (DNA methylation) and epidemiological evidence have shown significant effects on the offspring of parents exposed to BPA during pregnancy. This overview raises awareness of the dramatic and consistent increase in the production and exposure of BPA and creates urgency to assess the actual exposure of workers to this xenoestrogen and to evaluate potential associated adverse health effects. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Retrospective Analysis of Agricultural Herbicides in Surface Water Reveals Risk Plausibility for Declines in Submerged Aquatic Vegetation
Toxics 2017, 5(3), 21; doi:10.3390/toxics5030021 -
Abstract
The Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System (APES) is the second largest estuarine system within the mainland of the United States and is estimated to have lost about half of its submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) over the past several decades. The issue of herbicide runoff and
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The Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System (APES) is the second largest estuarine system within the mainland of the United States and is estimated to have lost about half of its submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) over the past several decades. The issue of herbicide runoff and subsequent toxic effects to SAV is important because of the extensive agricultural production that occurs in the APES region. The aim of this study was to conduct a retrospective analysis of herbicide influx to waters of the APES region during the time period of documented SAV declines and to compare the measured concentrations to SAV toxicity thresholds and changes in agricultural land use. Surface water grab samples were collected at 26 sites in the APES region during May through July 2000. The most consistently measured herbicides were alachlor, atrazine, and metolachlor with geometric mean concentrations ranging from 29 to 2463 ng/L for alachlor, 14 to 7171 ng/L for atrazine, and 17 to 5866 ng/L for metolachlor. Concentrations of alachlor, atrazine, and metolachlor measured in water samples from the APES region in 2000 exceeded several of the established benchmarks, standards, or guidelines for protection of aquatic plants. Although this evaluation was of point-in-time herbicide samples (year 2000) and not analyzed for all possible herbicides used at the time, they were taken during the period of SAV declines, reveal the plausibility of exposure risk to SAV, and suggest that herbicide runoff should be studied along with other variables that influence SAV growth and distribution in future studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Metal Levels in Blood of Three Species of Shorebirds during Stopover on Delaware Bay Reflect Levels in Their Food, Horseshoe Crab Eggs
Toxics 2017, 5(3), 20; doi:10.3390/toxics5030020 -
Abstract
Understanding the relationship between metal level in predators and their prey is an important issue, and is usually difficult to determine because animals eat a variety of organisms. However, shorebirds that stop over during spring migration along Delaware Bay (New Jersey) stay for
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Understanding the relationship between metal level in predators and their prey is an important issue, and is usually difficult to determine because animals eat a variety of organisms. However, shorebirds that stop over during spring migration along Delaware Bay (New Jersey) stay for only 2–3 weeks, and eat mainly horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) eggs. In this paper, we examine the relationship between metal levels in horseshoe crab eggs, and blood and feather levels of metals in red knot (Calidris canutus rufa; n = 30), sanderling (Calidris alba; n = 20) and semipalmated sandpiper (Calidris pusilla; n = 38) from Delaware Bay. There is a rich literature on metal levels in feathers. For all three species, the levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury in blood were highly correlated with the levels of metals in the eggs of horseshoe crab (17 pooled samples). This indicates that the levels in the blood of these shorebirds quickly reflect levels in their prey (horseshoe crab eggs), while metals in the feathers were not correlated with the levels in eggs. Semipalmated sandpipers had the lowest levels of arsenic in blood and the highest levels of arsenic in feathers, compared to the other species. At Delaware Bay, semipalmated sandpipers have a diet higher in marsh invertebrates than the other species, which may account for the differences. The levels of cadmium and chromium in blood were significantly higher in knots than other species; knots only ate horseshoe crab eggs. For all of the metals except arsenic, the ratio of levels in blood/feathers was similar among species. For arsenic, the ratio of levels in blood/feathers were significantly lower in semipalmated sandpipers than in the other species, by an order of magnitude. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Farmers’ Training on Pesticide Use Is Associated with Elevated Safety Behavior
Toxics 2017, 5(3), 19; doi:10.3390/toxics5030019 -
Abstract
Occupational exposure to pesticides in agricultural applications may cause acute and long-term health effects to farmers, and thus research on factors that reduce exposure is useful. However, studies on the relevance and effectiveness of training are limited. The association of previous training in
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Occupational exposure to pesticides in agricultural applications may cause acute and long-term health effects to farmers, and thus research on factors that reduce exposure is useful. However, studies on the relevance and effectiveness of training are limited. The association of previous training in the form of intensive seminars relating to pesticide use (e.g., use of spraying equipment, application parameters, use of personal protective equipment, risks to human health and the environment) with farmers’ knowledge and behavior in pesticide use was studied via the self-reporting method in a purposive sample of 82 trained and non-trained farmers. Most trained farmers showed higher levels of knowledge of pesticide use, higher levels of beliefs in pesticide hazard control, and higher levels of safety behavior than non-trained farmers. Knowledge of pesticide use and beliefs regarding pesticide hazard control were significantly correlated with safety behavior in both groups of farmers. Concerning farmers’ beliefs regarding pesticide hazard control, trained farmers were more likely to think that safety precautions work very well and less likely to feel they had little control over avoiding pesticide hazards. Overall, previous training was associated with increased levels of farmers’ knowledge of pesticides and beliefs about pesticide hazard control, was accompanied by elevated safety behavior in farmers, and thus was connected with lower occupational exposure to pesticides. Interventions that facilitate knowledge and compliance with safety behaviors should become a priority for decreasing exposure to pesticides among farmers. Full article