Open AccessArticle
Proposal for a Monitoring Concept for Veterinary Medicinal Products with PBT Properties, Using Parasiticides as a Case Study
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 14; doi:10.3390/toxics6010014 -
Abstract
The aim of this work is to prepare a proposal for the post-authorization monitoring (PAM) of veterinary medicinal products (VMP), in particular parasiticides. Such a monitoring might especially be useful for parasiticides identified as Persistence Bioaccumulation Toxicity (PBT) substances, i.e., chemicals that are
[...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to prepare a proposal for the post-authorization monitoring (PAM) of veterinary medicinal products (VMP), in particular parasiticides. Such a monitoring might especially be useful for parasiticides identified as Persistence Bioaccumulation Toxicity (PBT) substances, i.e., chemicals that are toxic (T), persist in the environment (P) and bioaccumulate (B) in food chains and, thus, pose a hazard to ecosystems. Based on a literature search, issues to be considered when performing such a PAM are discussed (e.g., residue analysis, compartments to be included, selection of organisms and the duration of monitoring studies). The outcome of this discussion is that—and despite that there are huge challenges in detail (e.g., in terms of analytical chemistry or taxonomy)—the technical performance of such a PAM is not the main problem, since most of the chemical and biological methods to be used are well-known (partly even standardized) or could be adapted. However, it is very difficult to define in detail where and when a monitoring should be performed. The main problem is to link exposure to effects of a certain parasiticide in a way that any impact can directly be related to the use of this parasiticide. Therefore, a “Targeted Environmental Monitoring” (TEM) is proposed, which is essentially a combination between a field study and a PAM. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Hematological Abnormality, Oxidative Stress, and Genotoxicity Induction in the Greenhouse Pesticide Sprayers; Investigating the Role of NQO1 Gene Polymorphism
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/toxics6010013 -
Abstract
The widespread use of pesticides in agriculture represents a threat to the human populations exposed to them. In this cross-sectional study, the hematological and biochemical parameters, plasma cholinesterase (PChE) activity, oxidative stress, genotoxicity, and NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) C609T polymorphism were measured
[...] Read more.
The widespread use of pesticides in agriculture represents a threat to the human populations exposed to them. In this cross-sectional study, the hematological and biochemical parameters, plasma cholinesterase (PChE) activity, oxidative stress, genotoxicity, and NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) C609T polymorphism were measured in 100 greenhouse workers occupationally exposed to pesticide mixture and 104 normal healthy controls. There was a decrease in erythrocytes (5.45%, p = 0.026) and hemoglobin (3.26%, p = 0.025), and an increase in mean corpuscular hemoglobin (3.54%, p = 0.013) in the exposed workers. Sprayers showed a reduction in PChE (23%) and GSH (50%) levels, and an increase in lipid peroxidation (LPO) (55%), protein carbonyl (145%), Superoxide dismutase activity (61%), and total antioxidant capacity (35%) (p < 0.001 for all parameters but LPO: p = 0.009). Genotoxicity parameters were significantly high in the exposed cases (for all parameters: p < 0.001 but tail length: p = 0.002). There was a significant correlation between oxidative stress and genotoxicity parameters, and also between these biomarkers and PChE activity. The NQO1 C609T polymorphism was not significantly associated with studied biomarkers. The findings indicate that occupational exposure to a mixture of pesticides can induce hematotoxicity, oxidative stress, and genotoxicity in greenhouse workers. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Cytotoxicity Enhancement in Breast Cancer Cells with Carbonate Apatite-Facilitated Intracellular Delivery of Anti-Cancer Drugs
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 12; doi:10.3390/toxics6010012 -
Abstract
Pharmacotherapy as the mainstay in the management of breast cancer has demonstrated various drawbacks, including non-targeted bio distribution and narrow therapeutic and safety windows. Thus, enhancements in pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles of the classical anti-cancer drugs could lead to improved efficacy against cancer
[...] Read more.
Pharmacotherapy as the mainstay in the management of breast cancer has demonstrated various drawbacks, including non-targeted bio distribution and narrow therapeutic and safety windows. Thus, enhancements in pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles of the classical anti-cancer drugs could lead to improved efficacy against cancer cells. Therefore, inorganic pH-dependent carbonate apatite (CA) nanoparticles were utilized to efficiently deliver various drugs into cancer cells. Following characterization and various modifications in the structure of CA complexes with different drugs, lifted outcomes were achieved. Markedly, complexing paclitaxel with CA resulted in 20.71 ± 4.34% loading efficiency together with 24.14 ± 2.21% enhancement in cytotoxicity on MCF-7 cells plus superior in vivo anti-tumour efficacy compared to free paclitaxel. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Degradation of Organophosphorus and Pyrethroid Insecticides in Beverages: Implications for Risk Assessment
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/toxics6010011 -
Abstract
Since urinary insecticide metabolites are commonly used as biomarkers of exposure, it is important that we quantify whether insecticides degrade in food and beverages in order to better perform risk assessment. This study was designed to quantify degradation of organophosphorus and pyrethroid insecticides
[...] Read more.
Since urinary insecticide metabolites are commonly used as biomarkers of exposure, it is important that we quantify whether insecticides degrade in food and beverages in order to better perform risk assessment. This study was designed to quantify degradation of organophosphorus and pyrethroid insecticides in beverages. Purified water, white grape juice, orange juice, and red wine were fortified with 500 ng/mL diazinon, malathion, chlorpyrifos, permethrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, and deltamethrin, and aliquots were extracted several times over a 15-day storage period at 2.5 °C. Overall, statistically significant loss of at least one insecticide was observed in each matrix, and at least five out of seven insecticides demonstrated a statistically significant loss in all matrices except orange juice. An investigation of an alternative mechanism of insecticide loss—adsorption onto the glass surface of the storage jars—was carried out, which indicated that this mechanism of loss is insignificant. Results of this work suggest that insecticides degrade in these beverages, and this degradation may lead to pre-existing insecticide degradates in the beverages, suggesting that caution should be exercised when using urinary insecticide metabolites to assess exposure and risk. Full article
Figures

Open AccessEditorial
Announcing the 2018 Toxics Travel Award for Post-Doctoral Fellows
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 10; doi:10.3390/toxics6010010 -
Abstract
This year we enjoyed a large number of very highly meritorious applications for our annual Toxics Travel Award. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Toxics in 2017
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 9; doi:10.3390/toxics6010009 -
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Toxics maintains high quality standards for its published papers.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Joint Toxicity of Two Benzophenone-Type UV Filters on the Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with Response Surface Methodology
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/toxics6010008 -
Abstract
The widespread occurrence of benzophenone-type ultraviolet (UV) filter has raised the public concerns over the ecotoxicological effects of these chemicals. The present study assessed the joint toxicity of two representative benzophenones, benzophenone-1 (BP-1) and benzophenone-3 (BP-3), on the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii using
[...] Read more.
The widespread occurrence of benzophenone-type ultraviolet (UV) filter has raised the public concerns over the ecotoxicological effects of these chemicals. The present study assessed the joint toxicity of two representative benzophenones, benzophenone-1 (BP-1) and benzophenone-3 (BP-3), on the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii using response surface methodologies (RSM). Specific growth rate and photosynthetic pigments were used as endpoints to evaluate the toxic effects. Generally, exposure to the combined BP-1 and BP-3 negatively affected cell growth and pigments production, with higher inhibitions at higher exposure concentrations. The simultaneous reduction in growth rate and pigments contents indicated that BP-1 and BP-3 regulated the growth of the tested alga by affecting the photosynthesis process. Results also showed that second order polynomial regression models fitted well with experimental results for all endpoints. The obtained regression models further indicated that the effects of the combination stemmed significantly from the linear concentration of BP-1 and BP-3. The overall results demonstrated that RSM could be a useful tool in ecotoxicological studies. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Cytotoxic, Apoptotic and Genotoxic Effects of Lipid-Based and Polymeric Nano Micelles, an In Vitro Evaluation
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/toxics6010007 -
Abstract
Self-assembly systems (SAS) mainly consist of micelles, and liposomes are the classes of Nano Drug Delivery Systems with superior properties compared to traditional therapeutics in targeting cancer tumors. All commercially available nano-formulations of chemotherapeutics currently consist of SAS. According to our knowledge, a
[...] Read more.
Self-assembly systems (SAS) mainly consist of micelles, and liposomes are the classes of Nano Drug Delivery Systems with superior properties compared to traditional therapeutics in targeting cancer tumors. All commercially available nano-formulations of chemotherapeutics currently consist of SAS. According to our knowledge, a specific toxicity comparison based on material differences has not yet been performed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the toxicity of two SAS consisting of Sterically Stabilized Micelles (SSM) made of a lipid-based amphiphilic distearoyl-sn-glycero-phosphatidylethanolamine-polyethylene glycol (PEG)-2000 and a polymeric micelle (PM) consisting of Y-shape amphiphilic block copolymer, synthesized using poly ε-caprolactone and PEG. The mechanism of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of micelles on L-929 healthy mouse fibroblast cells was assessed using Sulforhodamine-B, WST-1, Acridine Orange/Ethidium Bromide and alkaline single-cell gel electrophoresis assays. Results showed that SSM in conc. of 40 mg/mL shows very low cytotoxicity at the end of 24, 48 and 72 h. The DNA damage caused by SSM was much lower than PM while the latter one showed significant toxicity by causing apoptosis with the ED50 value of 3 mg/mL. While the DNA damage caused by SSM was ignorable, some DNA chain breaks were detected on cells treated with PM. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessBrief Report
Effects of Cadmium Exposure on Age of Menarche and Menopause
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/toxics6010006 -
Abstract
Cadmium exposure can cause several adverse health effects. Animal studies have also shown that cadmium exposure can affect menarche or menopause. However, data is limited in humans. We conducted a retrospective study to assess whether cadmium exposure was associated with different ages of
[...] Read more.
Cadmium exposure can cause several adverse health effects. Animal studies have also shown that cadmium exposure can affect menarche or menopause. However, data is limited in humans. We conducted a retrospective study to assess whether cadmium exposure was associated with different ages of menarche and menopause in a Chinese population. A total of 429 women living in control (n = 137) and two cadmium-polluted areas (n = 292) were included in this study. A total of 223 and 206 subjects were included in the analysis for menarche and menopause, respectively. The median menarche age of population living in the heavily cadmium-polluted area was significantly younger than those in the control area (14.0 vs. 15.0, p < 0.01). Logistic regression showed that the odds ratio (OR) of early occurrence of menarche (<13 years) in the population living in the heavily polluted area and moderately polluted area was 3.7 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5–9.7) and 1.3 (95% CI: 0.7–2.6) compared with control, respectively. No significant difference was observed in the age of menopause in the population of these three areas. In conclusion, our data indicated that cadmium exposure may cause early menarche. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Novel Multi-Approach Protocol for the Characterization of Occupational Exposure to Organic Dust—Swine Production Case Study
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/toxics6010005 -
Abstract
Swine production has been associated with health risks and workers’ symptoms. In Portugal, as in other countries, large-scale swine production involves several activities in the swine environment that require direct intervention, increasing workers’ exposure to organic dust. This study describes an updated protocol
[...] Read more.
Swine production has been associated with health risks and workers’ symptoms. In Portugal, as in other countries, large-scale swine production involves several activities in the swine environment that require direct intervention, increasing workers’ exposure to organic dust. This study describes an updated protocol for the assessment of occupational exposure to organic dust, to unveil an accurate scenario regarding occupational and environmental risks for workers’ health. The particle size distribution was characterized regarding mass concentration in five different size ranges (PM0.5, PM1, PM2.5, PM5, PM10). Bioburden was assessed, by both active and passive sampling methods, in air, on surfaces, floor covering and feed samples, and analyzed through culture based-methods and qPCR. Smaller size range particles exhibited the highest counts, with indoor particles showing higher particle counts and mass concentration than outdoor particles. The limit values suggested for total bacteria load were surpassed in 35.7% (10 out of 28) of samples and for fungi in 65.5% (19 out of 29) of samples. Among Aspergillus genera, section Circumdati was the most prevalent (55%) on malt extract agar (MEA) and Versicolores the most identified (50%) on dichloran glycerol (DG18). The results document a wide characterization of occupational exposure to organic dust on swine farms, being useful for policies and stakeholders to act to improve workers’ safety. The methods of sampling and analysis employed were the most suitable considering the purpose of the study and should be adopted as a protocol to be followed in future exposure assessments in this occupational environment. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Species and Sex Differences in the Morphogenic Response of Primary Rodent Neurons to 3,3′-Dichlorobiphenyl (PCB 11)
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/toxics6010004 -
Abstract
PCB 11 is an emerging global pollutant that we recently showed promotes axonal and dendritic growth in primary rat neuronal cell cultures. Here, we address the influence of sex and species on neuronal responses to PCB 11. Neuronal morphology was quantified in sex-specific
[...] Read more.
PCB 11 is an emerging global pollutant that we recently showed promotes axonal and dendritic growth in primary rat neuronal cell cultures. Here, we address the influence of sex and species on neuronal responses to PCB 11. Neuronal morphology was quantified in sex-specific primary hippocampal and cortical neuron-glia co-cultures derived from neonatal C57BL/6J mice and Sprague Dawley rats exposed for 48 h to vehicle (0.1% DMSO) or PCB 11 at concentrations ranging from 1 fM to 1 nM. Total axonal length was quantified in tau-1 immunoreactive neurons at day in vitro (DIV) 2; dendritic arborization was assessed by Sholl analysis at DIV 9 in neurons transfected with MAP2B-FusRed. In mouse cultures, PCB 11 enhanced dendritic arborization in female, but not male, hippocampal neurons and male, but not female, cortical neurons. In rat cultures, PCB 11 promoted dendritic arborization in male and female hippocampal and cortical neurons. PCB 11 also increased axonal growth in mouse and rat neurons of both sexes and neuronal cell types. These data demonstrate that PCB 11 exerts sex-specific effects on neuronal morphogenesis that vary depending on species, neurite type, and neuronal cell type. These findings have significant implications for risk assessment of this emerging developmental neurotoxicant. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The In Vitro Impact of the Herbicide Roundup on Human Sperm Motility and Sperm Mitochondria
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/toxics6010002 -
Abstract
Toxicants, such as herbicides, have been hypothesized to affect sperm parameters. The most common method of exposure to herbicides is through spraying or diet. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of direct exposure of sperm to 1 mg/L
[...] Read more.
Toxicants, such as herbicides, have been hypothesized to affect sperm parameters. The most common method of exposure to herbicides is through spraying or diet. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of direct exposure of sperm to 1 mg/L of the herbicide Roundup on sperm motility and mitochondrial integrity. Sperm samples from 66 healthy men who were seeking semen analysis were investigated after written informed consent was taken. Semen analysis was performed according to the World Health Organization guidelines (WHO, 2010). Mitochondrial integrity was assessed through mitochondrial staining using a mitochondria-specific dye, which is exclusively incorporated into functionally active mitochondria. A quantity of 1 mg/L of Roundup was found to exert a deleterious effect on sperm’s progressive motility, after 1 h of incubation (mean difference between treated and control samples = 11.2%) in comparison with the effect after three hours of incubation (mean difference = 6.33%, p < 0.05), while the relative incorporation of the mitochondrial dye in mitochondria of the mid-piece region of Roundup-treated spermatozoa was significantly reduced compared to relative controls at the first hour of incubation, indicating mitochondrial dysfunction by Roundup. Our results indicate that the direct exposure of semen samples to the active constituent of the herbicide Roundup at the relatively low concentration of 1 mg/L has adverse effects on sperm motility, and this may be related to the observed reduction in mitochondrial staining. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
The Fate of Glyphosate and AMPA in a Freshwater Endorheic Basin: An Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/toxics6010003 -
Abstract
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide worldwide. However, there are some uncertain aspects with respect to its environmental fate. To evaluate the existence and distribution of this pesticide and its metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), their presence in fresh water, sediment, and suspended
[...] Read more.
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide worldwide. However, there are some uncertain aspects with respect to its environmental fate. To evaluate the existence and distribution of this pesticide and its metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), their presence in fresh water, sediment, and suspended particulate matter (SPM) was measured in samples collected in a river running across a large city and through areas with intensive and extensive agriculture. The aquatic risk associated to the occurrence of these compounds was estimated using the hazard quotient (HQ) calculation for water and sediment. From the analyzed samples, overall 35% contained glyphosate, AMPA, or both compounds. Concentrations of the analytes were spread in different percentages depending on the environmental matrices considered, with levels ranging from 12 to 20 times higher for glyphosate and AMPA in sediment and SPM, as compared with the levels found in water. The most polluted area was situated within a green belt zone of the city; while in second place were sites located in areas of extensive agriculture. Aquatic organisms inhabiting areas both inside and outside agricultural areas are threatened by water glyphosate concentrations. Benthic organisms inside the greenbelt zone and inside the lower basin are threatened by the concentrations of glyphosate in sediment. Even when the concentrations measured in water were below the levels of concern for wildlife, results showed the risk of agricultural practices to aquatic biota. An update of the limits established for freshwater biota protection is needed. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Persistent Threats by Persistent Pollutants: Chemical Nature, Concerns and Future Policy Regarding PCBs—What Are We Heading For?
Toxics 2018, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/toxics6010001 -
Abstract
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated sites around the world affect human health for many years, showing long latency periods of health effects. The impact of the different PCB congeners on human health should not be underestimated, as they are ubiquitous, stable molecules and reactive in
[...] Read more.
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated sites around the world affect human health for many years, showing long latency periods of health effects. The impact of the different PCB congeners on human health should not be underestimated, as they are ubiquitous, stable molecules and reactive in biological tissues, leading to neurological, endocrine, genetic, and systemic adverse effects in the human body. Moreover, bioaccumulation of these compounds in fatty tissues of animals (e.g., fish and mammals) and in soils/sediments, results in chronic exposure to these substances. Efficient destruction methods are important to decontaminate polluted sites worldwide. This paper provides an in-depth overview of (i) the history and accidents with PCBs in the 20th century, (ii) the mechanisms that are responsible for the hazardous effects of PCBs, and (iii) the current policy regarding PCB control and decontamination. Contemporary impacts on human health of historical incidents are discussed next to an up to date overview of the health effects caused by PCBs and their mechanisms. Methods to decontaminate sites are reviewed. Steps which lead to a policy of banning the production and distribution of PCBs are overviewed in a context of preventing future accidents and harm to the environment and human health. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1a

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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1