A study of enteric viruses in raw and treated sewage from two secondary treatment plants, which received sewage from Oslo city (plant A) and small municipalities in Hedmark county in Norway (plant B), showed high levels of noro-, adeno-, and bocavirus throughout the year. A seasonal variation was observed for adeno- and GII norovirus with higher levels during winter and bocavirus that had more positive samples during winter. The virus concentrations in raw sewage were comparable in the two plants, with medians (log10 genome copies per liter) of 6.1, 6.3, 6.0, and 4.5 for noro GI, noro GII, adeno-, and bocavirus, respectively. The level of hepatitis E virus was not determined as it was below the limit of quantification. The mean log10 virus reduction was 0.55 (plant A) and 1.44 (plant B) with the highest reduction found in the plant with longer hydraulic retention time. The adenoviruses were dominantly serotype 41, while serotype 12 appeared sporadically. Of the 102 raw and treated sewage samples that were tested, eight were positive for hepatitis E virus of which four were from treated sewage. Two of the four obtained gene sequences from hepatitis E virus originated from the rural sewage samples and showed high similarity with a genotype 3 strain of hepatitis E virus detected in local piglets. Two other hepatitis E virus sequences obtained from urban sewage samples showed high similarities with genotype 3 strains isolated from urban sewage in Spain and a human genotype 1 isolate from India. The study gives information on the levels of noroviruses in raw and treated sewage, which is valuable to risk assessment, information indicating that some infections with hepatitis E viruses in Norway have a regional origin and that human bocavirus 2 and 3 are prevalent in the Norwegian population.
4-Nonylphenol (NP) and bisphenol A (BPA) are phenolic substances used in high volumes by the industry. Studies on cells and in experimental animals have shown that both these compounds can be classified as estrogenic hormone disrupters. Information about the exposure of humans to NP and BPA is still scarce, especially regarding levels in human blood. The first aim of this study was to investigate possible sources of NP and BPA exposure from food, by analyzing the levels of NP and BPA from a Swedish food market basket, based on the Swedish per capita food consumption. A second aim was to investigate blood serum levels of NP and BPA, as well as NP-ethoxylates, among young women in Sweden (n=100). Moreover, associations between food consumption and blood NP and BPA levels were studied. In food, NP was to some extent found at levels above limit of quantification (LOQ 20 ng/g fresh weight) in fruits, cereal products, vegetables, and potatoes. BPA levels above LOQ (2 ng/g fresh weight) were found in fish, meats, potatoes, and dairy products. The estimated mean intakes per capita were (medium bound) 27 µg NP/day and 3.9 µg BPA/day, showing that food is a source of BPA and NP in the general Swedish population. In blood serum, free NP above limit of detection (LOD 0.5 ng/g) was detected in 46% of the study participants while detectable levels of total NP (LOD 0.8 ng/g) were observed in 43%. The corresponding percentages for BPA were 25% and 22%, respectively. The results indicate that there is a continuous source of exposure to NP and BPA that is high enough for free NP and BPA to be detected in some consumers. Among the participants with quantifiable levels of free and total NP (n=38), 85% (median, range: 38-112%) of the NP was present as free NP. For BPA 76% (49-109%) was detected as free BPA (n=15). All women had levels of ethoxylates of NP below LOD (0.1-0.7 ng/g). A significantly higher total consumption of fruits and vegetables was reported in questionnaires by participants with NP levels at or above LOD than among women with levels below LOD. This result is supporting the market basket results of relatively high NP levels in these types of food.
The (137)Cs-based chronological approach is suggested to identify the age of urban landscapes and the chronology of pollution of soil in residential areas. Three main pivot points constitute the basis of the chronological approach: beginning of the Atomic Era in 1945, the maximum input in 1963 and the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Application of (137)Cs as a timescale tracer was tested on the example of Ekaterinburg, a city in the Middle Urals region of Russia. The sampling of recent urban sediments of micro water bodies (puddles) was carried out in 210 locations in 2007-2010. The concentrations of Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, Co, Mn and Fe, and activity concentrations of (137)Cs were measured. It was found that the (137)Cs concentrations in the puddle sediments correlated with the age of surrounding buildings determined by the year of construction. The correlations between the concentrations of metals and (137)Cs in the puddle sediments identified the major pollutants of the urban area, assessing their background concentrations and obtaining the average annual inputs.
This paper draws together the mortality experience for a cohort of some 11000 male Quebec Chrysotile miners and millers, reported at intervals since 1971 and now again updated. Of the 10918 men in the complete cohort, 1138 were lost to view, almost all never traced after employment of only a month or two before 1935; the other 9780 men were traced into 1992. Of these, 8009 (82%) are known to have died: 657 from lung cancer, 38 from mesotheliona, 1205 from other malignant disease, 108 from pneumoconiosis and 561 from other non-malignant respiratory diseases (excluding tuberculosis). After early fluctuations. SMRs (all causes) against Quebec rates have been reasonably steady since about 1945. For men first employed in Asbestos, mine or factory, they were very much what might have been expected for a blue collar population without any hazardous exposure. SMRs in the Thetford Mines area were almost 8% higher, but in line with anecdotal evidence concerning socio-economic status. At exposures below 300 (million particles per cubic foot) x years, (mpcf.y), equivalent to roughly 1000 (fibres/ml) x years-or, say, 10 years in the 1940s at 80 (fibres/ml)-findings were as follows. There were no discernible associations of degree of exposure and SMRs, whether for all causes of death or for all the specific cancer sites examined. The average SMRs were 1.07 (all causes), and 1.16, 0.93, 1.03 and 1.21, respectively, for gastric, other abdominal, laryngeal and lung cancer. Men whose exposures were less then 300 mpcf.y suffered almost one-half of the 146 deaths from pneumoconiosis or mesothelioma; the elimination of these two causes would have reduced these men's SMR (all causes) from 1.07 to approximately 1.06. Thus it is concluded from the viewpoint of mortality that exposure in this industry to less than 300 mpcf.y has been essentially innocuous, although there was a small risk or pneumoconiosis or mesothelioma. Higher exposures have, however, led to excesses, increasing with degree of exposure, of mortality from all causes, and from lung cancer and stomach cancer, but such exposures, of at least 300 mpcf.y, are several orders of magnitude more severe than any that have been seen for many years. The effects of cigarette smoking were much more deleterious than those of dust exposure, not only for lung cancer (the SMR for smokers of 20+ cigarettes a day being 4.6 times higher than that for non-smokers), but also for stomach cancer (2.0 times higher), laryngeal cancer (2.9 times higher), and-most importantly-for all causes (1.6 times higher).
Comment In: Ann Occup Hyg. 1997 Jan;41(1):3-129072948
Comment In: Ann Occup Hyg. 2001 Jun;45(4):329-35; author reply 336-811414250
This paper provides a short overview of cobalt-related diseases with particular reference to the potential carcinogenicity of cobalt compounds, and a review of a 10-year surveillance programme on plate painters exposed to cobalt in two Danish porcelain factories. Clinical experience and epidemiological studies have demonstrated that cobalt exposure may lead to severely impaired lung function, i.e. hard metal lung disease and occupational cobalt-related asthma, contact dermatitis and cardiovascular effects. However, the evidence for the carcinogenicity of cobalt and cobalt compounds is considered inadequate (IARC, 1991). Most frequently, exposure to cobalt occurs simultaneously with exposure to other elements known to pose a health risk, (e.g. nickel, arsenic, chromium, tungsten). The importance of cobalt as sole causal agent in hard metal lung diseases, cardiomyopathy and cancer are still a matter of controversy. In the two Danish porcelain factories, cobalt blue underglaze dyes have been used since 1888. In contrast to the exposure experience of hard metal factories, the exposure of plate painters occurs with only low trace levels of other potentially harmful compounds such as the carcinogenic metals nickel, arsenic and chromium. Consequently, the nearly-pure cobalt exposure makes the plate painters an attractive group for studies on the health effects of cobalt. During the period 1982-1992 the surveillance programme showed a profound reduction in the urine level of cobalt (Co-U) from 100-fold to 10-fold above the median level of the unexposed control subjects. In the same period, the airborne cobalt exposure declined from 1356 nmol/m3 to 454 nmol/m3, the Danish occupational exposure limit being 845 nmol/m3. In 1982, when the cobalt exposure was above the occupational exposure limit, the plate painters showed a chronic impaired lung function. The obstructive effects may be similar to some of the effects observed in hard metal workers. In 1988, a study on the effect of cobalt exposure at low levels revealed no inhibitory effects on thyroid function, but the ratio between T4 and T3 increased, indicating that low cobalt exposure may have an impact on the metabolism of thyroid hormones. Parallel studies were conducted on the metabolism and excretion of cobalt. The gastrointestinal uptake of soluble CoCl was considerably higher than the uptake of insoluble cobalt(II) oxide. In addition, it was demonstrated that ingestion of controlled amounts of the soluble cobalt compound resulted in significantly higher concentrations of cobalt in urine and blood (Co-B) from females compared with males (P
Human activities that involve land-use change often cause major transformations to community and ecosystem properties both aboveground and belowground, and when land use is abandoned, these modifications can persist for extended periods. However, the mechanisms responsible for rapid recovery vs. long-term maintenance of ecosystem changes following abandonment remain poorly understood. Here, we examined the long-term ecological effects of two remote former settlements, regularly visited for -300 years by reindeer-herding Sami and abandoned -100 years ago, within an old-growth boreal forest that is considered one of the most pristine regions in northern Scandinavia. These human legacies were assessed through measurements of abiotic and biotic soil properties and vegetation characteristics at the settlement sites and at varying distances from them. Low-intensity land use by Sami is characterized by the transfer of organic matter towards the settlements by humans and reindeer herds, compaction of soil through trampling, disappearance of understory vegetation, and selective cutting of pine trees for fuel and construction. As a consequence, we found a shift towards early successional plant species and a threefold increase in soil microbial activity and nutrient availability close to the settlements relative to away from them. These changes in soil fertility and vegetation contributed to 83% greater total vegetation productivity, 35% greater plant biomass, and 23% and 16% greater concentrations of foliar N and P nearer the settlements, leading to a greater quantity and quality of litter inputs. Because decomposer activity was also 40% greater towards the settlements, soil organic matter cycling and nutrient availability were further increased, leading to likely positive feedbacks between the aboveground and belowground components resulting from historic land use. Although not all of the activities typical of Sami have left visible residual traces on the ecosystem after 100 years, their low-intensity but long-term land use at settlement sites has triggered a rejuvenation of the ecosystem that is still present. Our data demonstrates that aboveground-belowground interactions strongly control ecosystem responses to historical human land use and that medium- to long-term consequences of even low-intensity human activities must be better accounted for if we are to predict and manage ecosystems succession following land-use abandonment.
The presence of organotin compounds, e.g., tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPhT) including the di- and monosubstituted breakdown products, was studied in a representative marine food web in order to assess the accumulation potential at different trophic levels in Danish coastal waters. This included samples of two species of seaweed, four species of invertebrates, four species of fish, five species of birds and two species of mammals. All organisms were sampled away from harbour areas and the organotin concentrations found in this study can therefore be considered to reflect a general level in organisms living in Danish coastal waters. All the samples analysed contained organotin compounds. The highest hepatic concentrations of butyltins were found in flounder (60-259 ng g-1 wet weight [ww], as Sn), eider duck (12-202 ng g-1 ww) and harbour porpoise (134-2283 ng g-1 ww). The lowest concentrations were found in seaweed and a plant-feeding bird. TPhT or its degradation products were also found in most of the samples with the highest concentrations in flounder (9.8-74 ng g-1 ww), cod (23-28 ng g-1 ww) and great black-backed gull (19-24 ng g-1 ww). This indicates an input of TPhT in the region, probably from the use as antifouling agent. A high variance in accumulation potential was found between the species, even between species at the same trophic level, which probably reflects the species-specific differences in exposure routes and the capabilities to metabolise and eliminate the organotin compounds. This study gives evidence of the importance of biomagnification of butyltin in harbour porpoises and, to a lesser extent, in fish and birds.
Bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) and laboratory strains of house mice (Mus musculus BALB and C57BL) were relocated into enclosures in a highly contaminated area of the Red Forest near the Chornobyl (Ukraine) Reactor 4 to evaluate the uptake rates of 137Cs and 90Sr from abiotic sources. Mice were provided with uncontaminated food supplies, ensuring that uptake of radionuclides was through soil ingestion, inhalation, or water. Mice were sampled before introduction and were reanalyzed every 10 d for 137Cs uptake. Levels of 90Sr were assessed in subsamples from the native populations and in experimental animals at the termination of the study. Uptake rates in house mice were greater than those in voles for both 137Cs and 90Sr. Daily uptake rates in house mice were estimated at 2.72 x 10(12) unstable atoms per gram (whole body) for 137Cs and 4.04 x 10(10) unstable atoms per gram for 90Sr. Comparable rates in voles were 2.26 x 10(11) unstable atoms per gram for 137Cs and 1.94 x 10(10) unstable atoms per gram for 90Sr. By comparing values from voles in the enclosures to those from wild voles caught within 50 m of the enclosures, it was estimated that only 8.5% of 137Cs was incorporated from abiotic sources, leaving 91.5% being incorporated by uptake from biotic materials. The fraction of 90Sr uptake from abiotic sources was at least 66.7% (and was probably much higher). Accumulated whole-body doses during the enclosure periods were estimated as 174 mGy from intramuscular 137Cs and 68 mGy by skeletal 90Sr in house mice over 40 d and 98 mGy from 137Cs and 19 mGy from 90Sr in voles over 30 d. Thus, uptake of radionuclides from abiotic materials in the Red Forest at Chornobyl is an important source of internal contamination.
In the Arctic, the traditional diet exposes its people to a very high intake of cadmium because it is highly concentrated in the liver and kidneys of commonly eaten marine mammals. In one study in Greenland, the cadmium intake was estimated to 182 microg/day/person in the fall and 346 in the spring. To determine whether the cadmium is accumulated in humans, we analyzed autopsy samples of liver and kidneys from 95 ethnic Greenlanders (aged 19-89) who died from a wide range of causes. The cadmium concentration in liver (overall mean 1.97 microg/g wet wt) appeared to be unrelated to any particular age group, whereas the concentrations in the kidneys peaked in Greenlanders between 40 and 50 years of age (peak concentration 22.3 microg/g wet wt). Despite the high cadmium levels in the typical Greenlander diet, we found that the cadmium concentrations in livers and kidneys were comparable to those reported from Denmark, Sweden, Australia and Great Britain. Furthermore, even though the mean cadmium intake from the diet was estimated to be 13-25 times higher in Greenlanders than in Danes, we found similar cadmium levels in the kidneys of both. Seal livers and kidneys are the main source of cadmium in the diet of Greenlanders, but these tissues are not eaten in Denmark. Thus, our results suggest that the accumulation of cadmium from Greenlander's marine diet is very low.
The article contains results concerning spectral analysis of biologic materials (blood and hair) for heavy metals content. These results helped to reveal health risk factors for workers engaged into chromium ores extraction and for nearby residents.