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Special Issue "Environmental and Occupational Exposure to Benzene and Oxidative Damage"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Giuseppe De Palma

University of Brescia, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, Section of Public Health and Human Sciences, Piazzale Spedali Civili, 1; 25123 Brescia, Italy
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Interests: occupational and environmental toxicology of metals and organic solvents; occupational and environmental epidemiology; biological monitoring; risk assessment
Guest Editor
Prof. Silvia Fustinoni

University of Milan, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health and Fondazione Ca’ Granda IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via San Barnaba 8, 20122 Milan, Italy
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Interests: occupational and environmental toxicology of organic solvents, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides; analytical chemistry applied to environmental toxicology; biological monitoring; risk assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health welcomes submissions for a Special Issue of the journal. This Special Issue will focus on environmental and occupational exposure to benzene and oxidative damage.

Benzene is still a chemical with public health concerns, due to its widespread use and its toxicological properties. It has been a long time since the compound was recognized as a human carcinogen, targeting, in particular, human bone marrow, but more recently other relevant health effects have been highlighted, in particular, the risk of male infertility and congenital anomalies.

In the context of environmental exposure to benzene, children are a particularly susceptible as potential targets.

A main toxicological mechanism through which benzene exerts its health effects is the induction of oxidative stress, which is linked, in particular, to its metabolism. Oxidative stress may cause multiple downstream consequences in different organs, including direct and indirect genetic damage and genetic dysregulation related to interference to epigenetic mechanisms.

Prof. Giuseppe De Palma
Prof. Silvia Fustinoni
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 papers will be 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 monthly 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 1600 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

  • benzene
  • cancer
  • oxidative stress
  • metabolism
  • epigenetic
  • miRNA
  • DNA methylation
  • 8-oxodG

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Global Gene Expression Response in Peripheral Blood Cells of Petroleum Workers Exposed to Sub-Ppm Benzene Levels
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112385
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 21 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 27 October 2018
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Abstract
Altered gene expression in pathways relevant to leukaemogenesis, as well as reduced levels of circulating lymphocytes, have been reported in workers that were exposed to benzene concentrations below 1 ppm. In this study, we analysed whole blood global gene expression patterns in a
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Altered gene expression in pathways relevant to leukaemogenesis, as well as reduced levels of circulating lymphocytes, have been reported in workers that were exposed to benzene concentrations below 1 ppm. In this study, we analysed whole blood global gene expression patterns in a worker cohort with altered levels of T cells and immunoglobulins IgM and IgA at three time points; pre-shift, post-shift (after three days), and post-recovery (12 hours later). Eight benzene exposed tank workers performing maintenance work in crude oil cargo tanks with a mean benzene exposure of 0.3 ppm (range 0.1–0.5 ppm) and five referents considered to be unexposed were examined by gene expression arrays. By using our data as independent validation, we reanalysed selected genes that were reported to be altered from previous studies of workers being exposed to sub-ppm benzene levels Four out of six genes previously proposed as marker genes in chronically exposed workers separated benzene exposed workers from unexposed referents (CLEC5, ACSL1, PRG2, IFNB1). Even better separation of benzene exposed workers and referents was observed for short-term exposure for genes in the Jak-STAT pathway, particularly elevated expression of IL6 and reduced expression of IL19. Full article
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Epigenetic and Transcriptional Modifications in Repetitive Elements in Petrol Station Workers Exposed to Benzene and MTBE
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040735
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (380 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Benzene, a known human carcinogen, and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity, are fuel-related pollutants. This study investigated the effect of these chemicals on epigenetic and transcriptional alterations in DNA repetitive elements. In 89 petrol station workers and
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Benzene, a known human carcinogen, and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity, are fuel-related pollutants. This study investigated the effect of these chemicals on epigenetic and transcriptional alterations in DNA repetitive elements. In 89 petrol station workers and 90 non-occupationally exposed subjects the transcriptional activity of retrotransposons (LINE-1, Alu), the methylation on repeated-element DNA, and of H3K9 histone, were investigated in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Median work shift exposure to benzene and MTBE was 59 and 408 µg/m3 in petrol station workers, and 4 and 3.5 µg/m3, in controls. Urinary benzene (BEN-U), S-phenylmercapturic acid, and MTBE were significantly higher in workers than in controls, while trans,trans-muconic acid (tt-MA) was comparable between the two groups. Increased BEN-U was associated with increased Alu-Y and Alu-J expression; moreover, increased tt-MA was associated with increased Alu-Y and Alu-J and LINE-1 (L1)-5′UTR expression. Among repetitive element methylation, only L1-Pa5 was hypomethylated in petrol station workers compared to controls. While L1-Ta and Alu-YD6 methylation was not associated with benzene exposure, a negative association with urinary MTBE was observed. The methylation status of histone H3K9 was not associated with either benzene or MTBE exposure. Overall, these findings only partially support previous observations linking benzene exposure with global DNA hypomethylation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Managing Exposure to Benzene and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons at Two Oil Refineries 1977–2014
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020197
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Air concentrations of and inhalation exposure to total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and benzene was monitored separately at two oil refineries from 1977 to 2014. Prevention policies and control measures that may explain changes were surveyed. The aim was to evaluate how the application
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Air concentrations of and inhalation exposure to total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and benzene was monitored separately at two oil refineries from 1977 to 2014. Prevention policies and control measures that may explain changes were surveyed. The aim was to evaluate how the application of of Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series OHSAS 18001.04 principles as well as Environmental protection Agency EPA and European Oil Company Organisation for Environment, Health and Safety CONCAWE practices have influenced air concentrations. Benzene air concentrations declined in 11 of 17 units, six of which were associated with declining exposures. Benzene air concentrations declined across all units on average by 46%. This amounts to an average yearly decline of 1.7%. TPH air concentrations declined in 10 of 17 units, seven of which were associated with declining exposures. The average decline in TPH air concentrations was 49%, corresponding to 1.3% per year. As a result, average working day exposure in 10 of 17 units have declined significantly and today, benzene and TPH exposure in most units are well below 10% of the current Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL8h:s). A decline in air concentrations have coincided with consistent implementation of control measures. Such measures include on-line monitoring of leaks; benzene recovery; floating container roofs; improved valves and seals; hermetic pumps; recovery of loading gases and instalment of torches in terminals; cutback in coke combustion; a new production line spanning directly from the dock to aromatics production; and recovery of loading gases in the doc. Other tools in exposure management include personal leak monitors, on-line measurements, monitoring campaigns, risk assessment, and availability and user training of protective equipment. However, improvements are still needed. Hydrocarbon or benzene air concentrations have not declined in 8 of 17 units, in some of which concentrations exceed 10% of the relevant OEL8h value. In addition, for benzene even 10% of the current OEL, 0.1 ppm, might still possess a risk. With this in mind, methods to estimate exposure at the refineries need to be improved to enable measuring benzene concentrations <0.1 ppm. Shut downs of the refinery have been associated with peaks in exposure concentrations. Consequently, effort should be placed on safe working methods pertaining to shutdowns. Also, the connection and detachment of hoses continues to be problematic from the point of view of controlling exposure. Full article
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