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Special Issue "Occupational and Environmental Toxicology"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Toxicology and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2022 | Viewed by 9075

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Antonio Baldassarre
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Guest Editor
Doctoral School, PhD Program in Global Health, Employment and International Cooperation of Mobile Populations, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
Interests: occupational and environmental medicine; biological and environmental monitoring; industrial hygiene; occupational toxicology; green chemistry; total worker health; health informatics; remote control; industry 4.0
Dr. Stefano Dugheri
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Guest Editor
Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology Laboratory, Occupational Medicine Unit, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy
Interests: green chemistry; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); monitoring strategies; chemical characterization; sustainability; environmental health; environmental monitoring; system and remote control
Dr. Susana Viegas
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Guest Editor
Assistant Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health, NOVA National School of Public Health, Public Health Research Centre, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: environmental health; occupational toxicology; exposure and risk assessment; mixtures; biomonitoring
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

History has handed down to us the legacy of eminent scientists, who could be called precursors of occupational and environmental toxicology.
Hippocrates (ca. 460–365 B.C.), universally recognized as the father of medicine, first described the importance of environmental quality and of understanding the exposures expected based upon geography, climate, diet, and occupation in his De aere aquis et locis.

Ulrich Ellenbog published his Treatise on Industrial Hygiene in 1473, the first compendium on industrial hygiene and toxicology.
Paracelsus represented a watershed between Hippocratic dogmatic and conjectural medicine and modern medicine, based on observation and experience (Hoover, 1912). Considered the father of medical chemistry, his quote is renowned “Omnia venenum sunt: nec sine veneno quicquam existit. Dosis sola facit, ut venenum non fit” (“Everything is poisonous: nothing exists non-poisonous. Only the dose ensures that the poison has no effect”). His Treatise on Miners' Diseases was posthumously published in 1567.
Bernardino Ramazzini was an ante litteram scientist, considered the father of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. De morbis artificum diatriba (1700) contains a detailed and acute study of more than fifty different occupations along with the corresponding descriptions of production cycles, protective and preventive measures and, of course, work-related diseases, stressing the importance of workplace inspections.

The legacy of these and other many other illustrious scientists led to the birth of toxicology as we know it today.
Environmental toxicology is a multidisciplinary domain of science, which occupies an important niche, overlapping the fields of toxicology, environmental health, and public policy. While studying the adverse health effects of chemical, biological, and physical agents on living organisms in ecosystems, environmental toxicology focuses on humans and therefore plays an important role in addressing public health challenges. Environmental toxicology research has been providing scientific evidence to policy-makers and the public, aiming to prevent adverse human health impacts.

Occupational toxicology identifies and evaluates the hazards and risks to health posed by chemicals encountered in a more specific scenario, the workplace. The approaches followed in occupational toxicology imply taking into account the level, duration, and route of exposure and any other factors that influence the way that workers handle the substance and can result in adverse health effects. Occupational toxicology can also have an important role at the policy level in advising governments on legal controls necessary to ensure that chemicals are handled and used safely to prevent adverse health effects in the workforce.

Therefore, occupational and environmental toxicology are primarily about investigating the toxicity in humans resulting from exposure to chemicals encountered at the workplace or in the general environment, and both called to intervene when chemicals are used in the workplace or introduced into the human environment.
This Special Issue calls for original contributions, including observational and experimental studies, exploring the following topics:

  • History of occupational and environmental toxicology;
  • Occupational and environmental toxicology;
  • Exposure assessment approaches;
  • Ecotoxicology;
  • Bioaccumulation and biomagnification;
  • Endocrine disruptors;
  • Metals;
  • Asbestos;
  • Nanomaterials;
  • Occupational diseases.

We encourage you to submit your contribution proposals in order to increase awareness about occupational and environmental toxicology.

Dr. Antonio Baldassarre
Dr. Stefano Dugheri
Prof. Dr. Susana Viegas
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • History of Occupational and Environmental Toxicology
  • Occupational and Environmental Toxicology
  • Exposure assessment
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Metals
  • Asbestos
  • Nanomaterials
  • Bioaccumulation & Biomagnification
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Occupational diseases

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Article
Cadmium Body Burden and Inflammatory Arthritis: A Pilot Study in Patients from Lower Silesia, Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 3099; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19053099 - 06 Mar 2022
Viewed by 565
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between cadmium exposure and the likelihood of developing or exacerbating symptoms of inflammatory arthritis (IA). The study included 51 IA patients and 46 control subjects. Demographic and lifestyle data were collected. Haematological and [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between cadmium exposure and the likelihood of developing or exacerbating symptoms of inflammatory arthritis (IA). The study included 51 IA patients and 46 control subjects. Demographic and lifestyle data were collected. Haematological and biochemical parameters and blood cadmium levels (Cd-B) were determined. Cd-B correlated positively with age, smoking, living in a high-traffic area, and serum levels of inflammatory markers and negatively with mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC). The binary logistic regression model implied that high Cd-B (≥0.65 μg/L) is linked with an increased risk of IA in the studied population (odds ratio: 4.4). High levels of DNA oxidative damage marker (8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine) (≥7.66 ng/mL) and cyclooxygenase-2 (≥22.9 ng/mL) and frequent consumption of offal was also associated with increased risk of IA. High Cd-B was related to increased risk of disease symptoms onset in the group of IA patients, decreased the level of interleukin 10, and positively correlated with the disease activity. Increased Cd-B is associated with intensified inflammatory processes and decreased haemoglobin levels; in IA patients with decreased anti-inflammatory interleukin 10. These changes partly explain why cadmium exposure and a high cadmium body burden may raise the risk of IA and of disease symptoms exacerbation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational and Environmental Toxicology)
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Article
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism of TWIST2 May Be a Modifier for the Association between High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Blood Lead (Pb) Level
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031352 - 26 Jan 2022
Viewed by 983
Abstract
The association between lead (Pb) exposure and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was reported; however, the mechanism was unclear. Our purpose was to investigate the association of Pb, lipid profile, and to study the associated SNPs using a genome-wide association study (GWAS). A [...] Read more.
The association between lead (Pb) exposure and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was reported; however, the mechanism was unclear. Our purpose was to investigate the association of Pb, lipid profile, and to study the associated SNPs using a genome-wide association study (GWAS). A total of 511 participants were recruited to check blood Pb levels, lipid profile, and genotypes with Taiwan Biobank version 2.0 (TWB2). Our main result shows that HDL-C was significantly negatively associated with blood Pb levels, adjusted for gender, body mass index (BMI), and potential confounders. In addition, via the TWB2 GWAS, only two SNPs were found, including rs150813626 (single-nucleotide variation in the TWIST2 gene on chromosome 2), and rs1983079 (unclear SNP on chromosome 3). Compared to the rs150813626 GG carriers, the AA and AG carriers were significantly and negatively associated with HDL-C. We analyzed the interaction of rs150813626 SNP and blood Pb, and the HDL-C was consistently and negatively associated with blood Pb, male, BMI, and the rs150813626 AA and AG carriers. Moreover, the rs150813626 AA and blood Pb interaction was significantly and positively associated with HDL-C. In conclusion, the SNPs rs150813626 and rs1983079 were significantly associated with HDL-C in Pb-exposed workers. Furthermore, the interaction of rs150813626 AA and blood Pb had a positive influence on HDL-C. TWIST may inhibit osteoblast maturation, which might relate to bone Pb deposition and calcium metabolism. The mechanism needs more investigation in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational and Environmental Toxicology)
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Article
Quantitation of Silica Contents in Lung Explants of Transplanted Patients: Artificial Stone-Induced Silicosis vs. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147237 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1311
Abstract
Spectrophotometric techniques provide qualitative but not quantitative data on lung particles. We aimed to quantitate silica content in biopsies of lung-transplanted silicosis patients by applying X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. Lung biopsies of 17 lung-transplanted artificial patients were quantitated for silica and other minerals [...] Read more.
Spectrophotometric techniques provide qualitative but not quantitative data on lung particles. We aimed to quantitate silica content in biopsies of lung-transplanted silicosis patients by applying X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. Lung biopsies of 17 lung-transplanted artificial patients were quantitated for silica and other minerals particles by Niton XL3 XRF spectrometry. Occupational and clinical history data were assessed. Lung biopsies of artificial stone-induced silicosis (ASIS) patients contained significantly higher levels of silica compared to those of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients (7284.29 ± 4693.75 ppm vs. 898.88 ± 365.66 ppm, p < 0.0001). Silica content correlated negatively with age, body mass index, and pulmonary function test results. A 1128 ppm silica cut-off value yielded 100% sensitivity and 94% specificity for predicting ASIS (AUC = 0.94, p < 0.0001). In conclusion, XRF measurements in lung biopsies can differentiate between silica and mineral particles in ASIS and IPF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational and Environmental Toxicology)
Article
Findings on the Central Auditory Functions of Endemic Disease Control Agents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7051; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137051 - 01 Jul 2021
Viewed by 897
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the central auditory functions of endemic disease control agents. This cross-sectional cohort study comprised two groups: the exposed group, with 38 male endemic disease control agents with simultaneous occupational noise and pesticide exposure; and the control group, with [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the central auditory functions of endemic disease control agents. This cross-sectional cohort study comprised two groups: the exposed group, with 38 male endemic disease control agents with simultaneous occupational noise and pesticide exposure; and the control group, with 18 age- and sex-matched workers without occupational noise and/or pesticide exposure. All participants underwent pure-tone audiometry, brainstem auditory evoked potentials, dichotic digits test, and transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions suppression effect. There was a significant inter-group difference in waves III and V absolute latencies, and interpeak I–III and I–V latencies bilaterally, with worse results found in the exposed group. Abnormal dichotic digits test results occurred more often in the exposed group, with a significant association between pesticide- and noise-exposure and the abnormal results (p = 0.0099). The transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions with suppression effect did not yield significant inter-group differences. It was concluded that pesticide and noise exposure induce harmful effects on the central auditory functions, particularly on the brainstem and figure-ground speech-sound auditory skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational and Environmental Toxicology)
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Article
Analysis of Benzene Exposure in Gas Station Workers Using Trans,Trans-Muconic Acid
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5295; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155295 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1323
Abstract
In Brazil, gas station workers are occupationally exposed to the benzene present in gasoline. Brazilian law indicates the use of trans,trans-muconic acid(t,t-MA) as a biomarker of benzene exposure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of exposure to benzene in [...] Read more.
In Brazil, gas station workers are occupationally exposed to the benzene present in gasoline. Brazilian law indicates the use of trans,trans-muconic acid(t,t-MA) as a biomarker of benzene exposure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of exposure to benzene in gas station workers, through the quantification of t,t-MA present in urine. A total number of 269 gas station workers divided into 179 filling station attendants exposed by inhalation and dermal route and 90 convenience store workers exposed only by inhalation were included. A control group was formed by 100 office workers, without occupational exposure to benzene. The urinary levels of t,t-MA were evaluated by HPLC with a UV detector. Gas station workers showed higher mean values of t,t-MA (0.204 mg/g creatinine; 95% CI 0.170–0.237) than office workers (0.126 mg/g creatinine; 95% CI 0.0817–0.1693). T,t-MA levels were higher in convenience store workers exposed to gasoline only by inhalation (0.221 mg/g creatinine; 95% CI 0.160–0.282), than in those exposed to gasoline by inhalation and dermal route—filling station attendants (0.195 mg/g creatinine; 95% CI 0.155–0.235). Gas station workers with a higher level of t,t-MA had epistaxis. T,t-MA values were higher in the Downtown (0.15 mg/g creatinine) region’s workers than in the more affluent South Zone region’s workers (0.07 mg/g creatinine). Smoking habits influenced the urinary t,t-MA values, while the frequency of consumption of industrialized and frozen foods showed no influence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational and Environmental Toxicology)

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Commentary
Biomonitoring as an Underused Exposure Assessment Tool in Occupational Safety and Health Context—Challenges and Way Forward
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5884; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165884 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2751
Abstract
Recent advances in analytical chemistry have allowed a greater possibility of using quantitative approaches for measuring human exposure to chemicals. One of these approaches is biomonitoring (BM), which provides unequivocal evidence that both exposure and uptake of a chemical have taken place. BM [...] Read more.
Recent advances in analytical chemistry have allowed a greater possibility of using quantitative approaches for measuring human exposure to chemicals. One of these approaches is biomonitoring (BM), which provides unequivocal evidence that both exposure and uptake of a chemical have taken place. BM has been a longstanding practice in occupational health for several reasons. BM integrates exposure from all routes. It can help identify unintentional and unexpected exposures and assess the effectiveness of existing risk-management measures. BM also provides relevant information to support policy development by delivering better evidence of workers’ exposure to chemical substances, even within the framework of the present regulations. Thus, BM can allow for both the evaluation of the impact of regulation and identification of further needs for new or improved regulation. However, despite all these well-recognized advantages, BM is currently an underused exposure assessment tool. This paper provides an overview of the key aspects to be considered when using BM in the context of occupational health interventions. Additionally, this paper describes the potential of BM as an exposure assessment tool, distinguishing the role of BM in exposure assessment and health surveillance and clarifies ethical and communication aspects to guarantee that general data protection regulations are followed. In addition, actions and research needs are identified (particularly with reference to the European situation), which aim to encourage the increased use of BM as an exposure assessment tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational and Environmental Toxicology)
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