On April 26, 1986, a serious reactor accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. A total radioactivity of 2 x 10(18) becquerel, i.e. 3.5% of the reactor inventory were released spreading throughout Europe. Radioactive tracers were iodine 131 (with a half-life of 8 days) and caesium 137 (with a half-life of 30 years). Measurements made in Magdeburg by the Institute of Hygiene on May 5th after a heavy thunderstorm indicated a considerable radioactive contamination. Measurements revealed 75,000 bq/kg in grasses, 44,000 bq/litre in storm water and 40,000 bq/kg in garden soil, however, these high values decreased to normal by the end of 1986. The paper describes a stay in Chernobyl in 1989 and the environmental and working conditions prevailing at site. An increase of the cancer rate in the contaminated areas was not observed until 1990; however, thyroid tumours increased in children in Belorussia after that time. The current caesium load of the soils in the area is 10(6) becquerel/cubic metre. As much as 480,000 bq/kg were measured in dried mushrooms picked in the autumn of 1997. Assuming a mean natural exposure to radiation of the population in Germany of 2.4 millisievert/year (mSv/a), the additional load caused by the Chernobyl accident was 5% in 1986, falling to below 0.1% in 1996. Today, 19 nuclear power plants are operating in Germany for power generation. Radioactive substances are used in medicine, research and industry. An opinion on the safety of transports and final dumping of radioactive waste is given, based on a visit to the Morsleben final dump site. The use of nuclear energy and a percentage replacement by renewable energies are discussed from a regional and global perspective (climate protection).
Biobanks are an important tool of genetic epidemiology, which investigates the role of genetic factors and their interaction with environmental factors (in a broad meaning) for the occurrence of diseases in human populations. Its aim is to understand the influence of genetics on the development of diseases, their course and the clinical implications, with the final goal to improve prevention, diagnostics and therapy. The extraordinary development of genetics in the last decades - with respect to the understanding of the meaning of genes for human health, as well as the availability of cost-effective high throughput methods in the lab, has opened enormous opportunities to study genetic factors. In addition, access to large samples of patients or from the population is needed. This can be realized via biobanks. Large biobanks with 500,000 or more participants are being established or planned in the UK, Japan, Australia, Sweden and the US. However, in Germany only two smaller activities are ongoing, KORA-gen in the south and POPGEN in the north. Possibilities to reach larger numbers for Germany, based on existing cohorts or disease networks, are discussed. For the implementation and use of biobanks, stringent ethical boundary conditions have to be taken into account. The opinion of the German National Ethics Council on Biobanks for Research as well as the new recommendations of the Telematic Platform (TMF), which has been developed in close collaboration with the Data Protection Officers, improve transparency and legal security.
The epidemiological data based on the exposure of pentachlorophenol (PCP) and cancer incidence and mortality were analyzed to study the relationship between PCP exposure and cancer risk.
According to the online search of relevant literatures, Poisson regression was used to analyze mortality rates for major cancer sites and fixed-effect model was employed to assess cancer SMR. The dose-response relationship between PCP exposure and cancer risk was also analyzed.
Major cancer mortality rates of exposure populations researched in American and Canadian studies were approximate to or lower than national male cancer mortality rates respectively. The incidence rate of colorectal cancer in occupational exposure population was over 16.4 times in comparison with the population exposed from to drinking water and food. The pooled SMR value of kidney cancer was 1.34 (95% CI 1.02-1.77). The pooled RR for major cancer mortality increased with the rise of PCP exposure level.
A potential dose-response relationship between PCP exposure and cancer risk could exist. In comparison with to the population to exposed from the drinking water and food, the risk of colorectal cancer in occupational exposure population was higher. PCP may be one of the risk factors of the kidney cancer in occupational exposure population.
Inhalational mask induction with nitrous oxide and sevoflurane in young children is an appropriate alternative to intravenous induction and is considered safe and of rapid onset. Disadvantages of this technique are environmental pollution and occupational exposure to the inhalation agents used. Moreover, the potential health hazards are not yet completely clear. The purpose of the present study was to examine the anaesthesiologist's occupational exposure to nitrous oxide and sevoflurane in paediatric anaesthesia and mask induction. Twenty children underwent inhalational induction with nitrous oxide and sevoflurane in the operating theatre (air exchange rate 20.2/h, anaesthetic waste gas scavenger 40 l/min). Anaesthesia was maintained with the same agents. Air samples were taken from the edge of the anaesthesiologist's mouth continuously every 90 seconds, and trace concentrations of nitrous oxide and sevoflurane were analyzed with a direct reading infrared spectrometer (Brüel & Kjaer 1302, Denmark). Measurements taken during anaesthesia showed an increase in the concentrations of the anaesthetics used, but these were low. The highest mean concentrations occurred during induction (3.35 +/- 4.23 ppm for sevoflurane and 37.09 +/- 11.65 ppm for nitrous oxide). The overall peak levels measured were 6.31 +/- 4.23 ppm for sevoflurane and 68.78 +/- 40.79 ppm for nitrous oxide. Though the induction period was short compared to the whole length of anaesthesia, its impact on the overall waste gas exposure was 46.3% for sevoflurane (nitrous oxide 40.6%). Nonetheless, applicable German health law regulations were never infringed. The trace concentrations measured during inhalational mask induction and maintenance of anaesthesia were very low. With regard to modern workplace laws and health care regulations, gaseous induction in paediatric anaesthesia does not threaten the personnel's health.