Feature Papers in Environmental Epidemiology

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Human Toxicology and Epidemiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2024) | Viewed by 9223

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Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Interests: environmental contaminants; epidemiology; reproductive health; metabolic disease; toxicology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will publish a series of articles highlighting recent developments and future perspectives in environmental epidemiology. All high-quality original research papers or reviews on the effect of environmental chemical exposures on human health are welcome. The Issue focuses broadly on research papers presenting innovative approaches to the study of environmental epidemiology or reviews that bring the field forward. Although this Issue is not limited to specific chemical exposures or outcomes, it may include epidemiological papers on mixture effects, sensitive life stages, paternal exposure and offspring health, and other recent developments within the field.

Prof. Dr. Gunnar Toft
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • mixture effects
  • sensitive life stages
  • methodology
  • epidemiology
  • paternal exposure

Published Papers (6 papers)

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23 pages, 2465 KiB  
Article
Characteristics of Abnormalities in Somatosensory Submodalities Observed in Residents Exposed to Methylmercury
by Shigeru Takaoka, Tadashi Fujino, Shin-ichi Shigeoka and Takashi Yorifuji
Toxics 2023, 11(12), 1023; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11121023 - 15 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
Hundreds of thousands of people living along the Yatsushiro Sea coast have been exposed to methylmercury from the contaminated water of the Chisso factory in Minamata. The most common neurological disorder caused by methylmercury is somatosensory disturbance, but very few studies have been [...] Read more.
Hundreds of thousands of people living along the Yatsushiro Sea coast have been exposed to methylmercury from the contaminated water of the Chisso factory in Minamata. The most common neurological disorder caused by methylmercury is somatosensory disturbance, but very few studies have been conducted in the world to determine its pathophysiology and origin, including the Japanese cases, which have produced numerous intoxicated individuals. We have already shown in previous studies the body part where the disorder occurs and that its cause is not peripheral nerve damage but damage to the parietal lobes of the cerebrum. We reanalyzed the results of subjective symptoms, neurological findings, and quantitative sensory measurements in 197 residents (63.2 ± 10.7 years old) from contaminated areas exposed to methylmercury from seafood and 130 residents (63.7 ± 9.3 years old) from control areas, the same subjects as in previous studies, to determine the characteristics of somatosensory disturbance in detail. The most commonly affected sensory modalities were superficial peripheral touch and pain in the extremities, followed by two-point discrimination and deep senses, and in the most severe cases, full-body sensory dysfunction and impairment of all sensory submodalities. The severity of sensory submodalities correlated with each other but not with peripheral nerve conduction test indices, further confirming the correctness of our assertion about the responsible foci of sensory disturbance. The health effects of chronic methylmercury toxicosis can be elucidated by a detailed examination of sensory deficits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Epidemiology)
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18 pages, 2068 KiB  
Article
Estimation of the Cadmium Nephrotoxicity Threshold from Loss of Glomerular Filtration Rate and Albuminuria
by Soisungwan Satarug, David A. Vesey, Tanaporn Khamphaya, Phisit Pouyfung, Glenda C. Gobe and Supabhorn Yimthiang
Toxics 2023, 11(9), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11090755 - 06 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1156
Abstract
Cadmium (Cd) is a pervasive, toxic environmental pollutant that preferentially accumulates in the tubular epithelium of the kidney. Current evidence suggests that the cumulative burden of Cd here leads to the progressive loss of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). In this study, we [...] Read more.
Cadmium (Cd) is a pervasive, toxic environmental pollutant that preferentially accumulates in the tubular epithelium of the kidney. Current evidence suggests that the cumulative burden of Cd here leads to the progressive loss of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). In this study, we have quantified changes in estimated GFR (eGFR) and albumin excretion (Ealb) according to the levels of blood Cd ([Cd]b) and excretion of Cd (ECd) after adjustment for confounders. ECd and Ealb were normalized to creatinine clearance (Ccr) as ECd/Ccr and Ealb/Ccr. Among 482 residents of Cd-polluted and non-polluted regions of Thailand, 8.1% had low eGFR and 16.9% had albuminuria (Ealb/Ccr) × 100 ≥ 20 mg/L filtrate. In the low Cd burden group, (ECd/Ccr) × 100 < 1.44 µg/L filtrate, eGFR did not correlate with ECd/Ccr (β = 0.007) while an inverse association with ECd/Ccr was found in the medium (β = −0.230) and high burden groups (β = −0.349). Prevalence odds ratios (POR) for low eGFR were increased in the medium (POR 8.26) and high Cd burden groups (POR 3.64). Also, eGFR explained a significant proportion of Ealb/Ccr variation among those with middle (η2 0.093) and high [Cd]b tertiles (η2 0.132) but did not with low tertiles (η2 0.001). With an adjustment of eGFR, age and BMI, the POR values for albuminuria were increased in the middle (POR 2.36) and high [Cd]b tertiles (POR 2.74) and those with diabetes (POR 6.02) and hypertension (2.05). These data indicate that (ECd/Ccr) × 100 of 1.44 µg/L filtrate (0.01–0.02 µg/g creatinine) may serve as a Cd threshold level based on which protective exposure guidelines should be formulated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Epidemiology)
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18 pages, 743 KiB  
Article
Effects of Maternal Cigarette Smoking on Trace Element Levels and Steroidogenesis in the Maternal–Placental–Fetal Unit
by Martina Piasek, Lana Škrgatić, Antonija Sulimanec, Tatjana Orct, Ankica Sekovanić, Jelena Kovačić, Anja Katić, Karmen Branović Čakanić, Alica Pizent, Nataša Brajenović, Andreja Jurič, Irena Brčić Karačonji, Zorana Kljaković-Gašpić, Blanka Tariba Lovaković, Maja Lazarus, Sandra Stasenko, Iva Miškulin and Jasna Jurasović
Toxics 2023, 11(8), 714; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11080714 - 19 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1169
Abstract
This study evaluates the interaction of toxic elements cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) due to exposure from cigarette smoking, essential elements, and steroidogenesis in the maternal–placental–fetal unit. In a cohort of 155 healthy, postpartum women with vaginal term deliveries in clinical hospitals in [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the interaction of toxic elements cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) due to exposure from cigarette smoking, essential elements, and steroidogenesis in the maternal–placental–fetal unit. In a cohort of 155 healthy, postpartum women with vaginal term deliveries in clinical hospitals in Zagreb, Croatia, samples of maternal blood/serum and urine, placental tissue, and umbilical cord blood/serum were collected at childbirth. The biomarkers determined were concentrations of Cd, Pb, iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and selenium (Se), and steroid hormones progesterone and estradiol in maternal and umbilical cord blood and the placenta. Three study groups were designated based on self-reported data on cigarette smoking habits and confirmed by urine cotinine levels: never smokers (n = 71), former smokers (n = 48), and active smokers (n = 36). Metal(loid)s, steroid hormones, urine cotinine, and creatinine levels were analyzed by ICP–MS, ELISA, GC–MS, and spectrophotometry. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy was associated with increased Cd levels in maternal, placental, and fetal compartments, Pb in the placenta, and with decreased Fe in the placenta. In active smokers, decreased progesterone and estradiol concentrations in cord blood serum were found, while sex steroid hormones did not change in either maternal serum or placenta. This study provides further evidence regarding toxic and essential metal(loid) interactions during prenatal life, and new data on sex steroid disruption in cord serum related to cigarette smoking. The results indicate that umbilical cord sex steroid levels may be a putative early marker of developmental origins of the future burden of disease related to harmful prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Epidemiology)
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12 pages, 518 KiB  
Article
Evidence Linking Cadmium Exposure and β2-Microglobulin to Increased Risk of Hypertension in Diabetes Type 2
by Supabhorn Yimthiang, Phisit Pouyfung, Tanaporn Khamphaya, David A. Vesey, Glenda C. Gobe and Soisungwan Satarug
Toxics 2023, 11(6), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11060516 - 08 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1226
Abstract
The most common causes of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension are significant public health issues worldwide. Exposure to the heavy metal pollutant, cadmium (Cd), which is particularly damaging to the kidney, has been associated with both risk factors. Increased levels of urinary [...] Read more.
The most common causes of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension are significant public health issues worldwide. Exposure to the heavy metal pollutant, cadmium (Cd), which is particularly damaging to the kidney, has been associated with both risk factors. Increased levels of urinary β2-microglobulin (β2M) have been used to signify Cd-induced kidney damage and circulating levels have been linked to blood pressure control. In this study we investigated the pressor effects of Cd and β2M in 88 diabetics and 88 non-diabetic controls, matched by age, gender and locality. The overall mean serum β2M was 5.98 mg/L, while mean blood Cd and Cd excretion normalized to creatinine clearance (Ccr) as ECd/Ccr were 0.59 µg/L and 0.0084 µg/L of filtrate (0.95 µg/g creatinine), respectively. The prevalence odds ratio for hypertension rose by 79% per every ten-fold increase in blood Cd concentration. In all subjects, systolic blood pressure (SBP) showed positive associations with age (β = 0.247), serum β2M (β = 0.230), and ECd/Ccr (β = 0.167). In subgroup analysis, SBP showed a strong positive association with ECd/Ccr (β = 0.303) only in the diabetic group. The covariate-adjusted mean SBP in the diabetics of the highest ECd/Ccr tertile was 13.8 mmHg higher, compared to the lowest tertile (p = 0.027). An increase in SBP associated with Cd exposure was insignificant in non-diabetics. Thus, for the first time, we have demonstrated an independent effect of Cd and β2M on blood pressure, thereby implicating both Cd exposure and β2M in the development of hypertension, especially in diabetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Epidemiology)
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15 pages, 1678 KiB  
Article
Associations with Blood Lead and Urinary Cadmium Concentrations in Relation to Mortality in the US Population: A Causal Survival Analysis with G-Computation
by Nasser Laouali, Tarik Benmarhnia, Bruce P. Lanphear and Youssef Oulhote
Toxics 2023, 11(2), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11020133 - 29 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2042
Abstract
Using the parametric g-formula, we estimated the 27-year risk of all-cause and specific causes of mortality under different potential interventions for blood lead (BLLs) and urinary cadmium (UCd) levels. We used data on 14,311 adults aged ≥20 years enrolled in the NHANES-III between [...] Read more.
Using the parametric g-formula, we estimated the 27-year risk of all-cause and specific causes of mortality under different potential interventions for blood lead (BLLs) and urinary cadmium (UCd) levels. We used data on 14,311 adults aged ≥20 years enrolled in the NHANES-III between 1988 and 1994 and followed up through 31 Dec 31 2015. Time and cause of death were determined from the National Death Index records. We used the parametric g-formula with pooled logistic regression models to estimate the relative and absolute risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality under different potential threshold interventions for BLLs and UCd concentrations. Median follow-up was 22.5 years. A total of 5167 (36%) participants died by the end of the study, including 1550 from cardiovascular diseases and 1135 from cancer. Increases in BLLs and creatinine-corrected UCd levels from the 5th to the 95th percentiles were associated with risk differences of 4.17% (1.54 to 8.77) and 6.22% (4.51 to 12.00) for all-cause mortality, 1.52% (0.09 to 3.74) and 1.06% (−0.57 to 3.50) for cardiovascular disease mortality, and 1.32% (−0.09 to 3.67) and 0.64% (−0.98 to 2.80) for cancer mortality, respectively. Interventions to reduce historical exposures to lead and cadmium may have prevented premature deaths, especially from cardiovascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Epidemiology)
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10 pages, 1199 KiB  
Systematic Review
Risk of Mortality from Respiratory Malignant and Non-Malignant Diseases among Talc Miners and Millers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by Catalina Ciocan, Alessandro Godono, Sandro Stefanin, Paolo Boffetta, Enrico Pira and Marco Clari
Toxics 2022, 10(10), 589; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10100589 - 05 Oct 2022
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Abstract
There is contrasting data on the association between talc exposure and lung and pleural cancer. Given the potential importance of this aspect, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the association between working in the talc extractive industry and mortality from [...] Read more.
There is contrasting data on the association between talc exposure and lung and pleural cancer. Given the potential importance of this aspect, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the association between working in the talc extractive industry and mortality from malignant and non-malignant respiratory diseases. We followed PRISMA guidelines to systematically search for pertinent articles in three relevant electronic databases: Pubmed, Scopus, and WebOfScience, from their inception to 30 November 2021. The methodological quality of included articles was evaluated using the US National Institutes of Health tool. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for malignant and non-malignant respiratory diseases as well as respective 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were extracted or calculated for each included cohort. Six articles comprising 7 cohorts were included in the metanalysis. There was increased mortality for pneumoconiosis, especially in the miner’s group (SMR = 7.90, CI 95% 2.77–22.58) and especially in those exposed to higher quartz concentration and for non-malignant respiratory diseases in the overall analysis (SMR = 1.81, CI 95% 1.15–2.82). The risk for lung cancer mortality was slightly increased in the overall analysis (SMR = 1.42, CI 95% 1.07–1.89). The risk for malignant mesothelioma could not be calculated due to an insufficient number of studies assessing this outcome. This systematic review and meta-analysis provides evidence that men working in the talc mining industry have increased mortality for non-malignant respiratory diseases including pneumoconiosis. The small excess in lung cancer mortality may be, in part, explained by the high prevalence of the smokers in some of the analyzed cohorts or by the exposure to other carcinogens like radon decay products and diesel engine exhaust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Epidemiology)
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