Section of Environment and Radiation, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon CEDEX 08, France; E-Mails: email@example.com (J.S.); firstname.lastname@example.org (G.F.); email@example.com (K.S.).
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 May;8(5):1341-57
AGRICOH is a recently formed consortium of agricultural cohort studies involving 22 cohorts from nine countries in five continents: South Africa (1), Canada (3), Costa Rica (2), USA (6), Republic of Korea (1), New Zealand (2), Denmark (1), France (3) and Norway (3). The aim of AGRICOH, initiated by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is to promote and sustain collaboration and pooling of data to investigate the association between a wide range of agricultural exposures and a wide range of health outcomes, with a particular focus on associations that cannot easily be addressed in individual studies because of rare exposures (e.g., use of infrequently applied chemicals) or relatively rare outcomes (e.g., certain types of cancer, neurologic and auto-immune diseases). To facilitate future projects the need for data harmonization of selected variables is required and is underway. Altogether, AGRICOH provides excellent opportunities for studying cancer, respiratory, neurologic, and auto-immune diseases as well as reproductive and allergic disorders, injuries and overall mortality in association with a wide array of exposures, prominent among these the application of pesticides.
Fungi grown in pure cultures produce DNA- or RNA-containing particles smaller than spore size ( 3)-beta-D-glucans. In the 29 PM(1) samples, cultivable fungi were found in six samples and with a median concentration below detection level. Using microscopy, fungal spores were identified in 22 samples. The components NAGase and (1 --> 3)-beta-D-glucans, which are mainly associated with fungi, were present in all PM(1) samples. Thermophilic actinomycetes were present in 23 of the 29 PM(1) samples [average = 739 colony-forming units (CFU) m(-3)]. Cultivable and 'total bacteria' were found in average concentrations of, respectively, 249 CFU m(-3) and 1.8 x 10(5) m(-3). DNA- and RNA-containing particles of different lengths were counted by microscopy and revealed a high concentration of particles with a length of 0.5-1.5 microm and only few particles >1.5 microm. The number of cultivable fungi and beta-glucan in the total dust correlated significantly with the number of DNA/RNA-containing particles with lengths of between 1.0 and 1.5 microm, with DNA/RNA-containing particles >1.5 microm, and with other fungal components in PM(1) dust. Airborne beta-glucan and NAGase were found in PM(1) samples where no cultivable fungi were present, and beta-glucan and NAGase were found in higher concentrations per fungal spore in PM(1) dust than in total dust. This indicates that fungal particles smaller than fungal spore size are present in the air at the plants. Furthermore, many bacteria, including actinomycetes, were present in PM(1) dust. Only 0.2% of the bacteria in PM(1) dust were cultivable.
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Exposure to particulate air pollution increases respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, especially in elderly, possibly through inflammation and vascular dysfunction.
We examined potential beneficial effects of indoor air filtration in the homes of elderly, including people taking vasoactive drugs.Forty-eight nonsmoking subjects (51 to 81 years) in 27 homes were included in this randomized, double-blind, crossover intervention study with consecutive two-week periods with or without the inclusion of a high-efficiency particle air filter in re-circulating custom built units in their living room and bedroom. We measured blood pressure, microvascular and lung function and collected blood samples for hematological, inflammation, monocyte surface and lung cell damage markers before and at day 2, 7 and 14 during each exposure scenario.
The particle filters reduced the median concentration of PM2.5 from approximately 8 to 4 µg/m3 and the particle number concentration from 7669 to 5352 particles/cm3. No statistically significant effects of filtration as category were observed on microvascular and lung function or the biomarkers of systemic inflammation among all subjects, or in the subgroups taking (n = 11) or not taking vasoactive drugs (n = 37). However, the filtration efficacy was variable and microvascular function was within 2 days significantly increased with the actual PM2.5 decrease in the bedroom, especially among 25 subjects not taking any drugs.
Substantial exposure contrasts in the bedroom and no confounding by drugs appear required for improved microvascular function by air filtration, whereas no other beneficial effect was found in this elderly population.
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We evaluated which equations best predicted the lung function of a cohort of nonagenarians based on which best accounted for subsequent survival. In 1998, we measured lung function, grip strength and dementia score (Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE)) in a population-based sample of 2262 Danes born in 1905. Mortality was registered to 2011 when only five (0.2%) subjects were alive. In half the cohort, we recorded forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). Complete data were available in 592 subjects with results expressed as standardised residuals (SR) using various prediction equations. Cox proportional hazard regression found lower FEV1SR was a predictor of mortality having controlled for MMSE, grip strength and sex. The US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III (1999) equations gave a better spread of median survival by FEV1SR quartile: 3.94, 3.65, 3.51 and 2.61 years with a hazard ratio for death of 1, 1.16, 1.32 and 1.60 respectively, compared with equations derived with the inclusion of elderly subjects. We conclude that extrapolating from NHANES III equations to predict lung function in nonagenarians gave better survival predictions from spirometry than when employing equations derived using very elderly subjects with possible selection bias. These findings can help inform how future lung function equations for the elderly are derived.
Reduced asthma and allergy risks in farmers have been ascribed to microbial exposures. However, selection may also play a role and this was assessed in two Scandinavian farming populations.
Asthma prevalence in 739 Danish farming students was compared to that of 1,105 siblings. 8,482 Norwegian farmers were also compared with 349 early retired farmers.
The prevalence of ever-asthma was 5.4% in farming students and 5.2% in siblings (OR 1.1; 95%CI 0.73-1.7). Current asthma in farmers was 3.0% compared to 6.3% in farmers who had retired early (OR 1.8, 95%CI 1.1-2.9). Adjustments for early retirement increased the asthma prevalence by 0.3-0.6%. Farmers who had changed production were more likely to have asthma (OR 9.8, 95% CI 6.0-16).
No healthy worker selection into farming was observed and changes in asthma prevalence due to early retirement were small. Selection effects are therefore unlikely to explain the protective effects of farming on asthma.
It is well known that exposure to organic dust can cause adverse respiratory effect. The pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS) in the organic dust, such as endotoxin from Gram-negative bacteria cell wall and fungal components, can trigger the release of cytokine (e.g. Interleukin 1ß (IL-1ß)) and chemokine (e.g. Interleukin 8 (IL-8)) from the immune cells in the airways.
To evaluate the potential inflammatory effects of organic dust exposure in energy plants in Denmark.
Nasal lavage (NAL) and exhaled breath condensate (EBC) were sampled at Monday morning (referred to as before work) and again at Thursday afternoon (referred to as after work). NAL IL-8, EBC pH, IL-1ß concentration were measured. Personal exposure to endotoxin and dust was calculated from time spent on different tasks and measured average work area exposures.
Before work, workers from biofuel plants had a higher IL-1ß and IL-8 concentration compared to conventional fuel plants (control group). Specifically, the IL-1ß level of moderately and most exposed group, and IL-8 level of the least exposed group were higher compared to the control group. The changes of IL-1ß, pH and IL-8 during a work week were not significant. Workers with rhinitis had a lower percentage change of IL-8 compared to healthy workers.
An increased level of EBC IL-1ß in biofuel energy plant workers before work indicated a chronic or sub-chronic inflammation. The percentage change of IL-8 was lower in workers with rhinitis compared to healthy workers.
Various social and economic effects are associated with asthma. This quantitative study describes the effects of current asthma on work life evaluated from the number of weeks receiving transfer incomes.
The study population comprised 7,241 persons answering the ECRHS II screening questionnaire, which was sent to a random age and gender stratified sample of 10,000 persons aged 20 to 44 years. Participants with current asthma were identified by positive answers to a set of validated questions. Transfer incomes for a five-year period were registered from a study-independent national database, which collects all public administered transfer incomes in Denmark. The numbers of weeks receiving unemployment, welfare, sick-leave and disability benefits were identified for each participant and differences between asthmatics and non-asthmatics were analyzed.
Asthmatics had significantly more annual weeks receiving welfare (36.6 vs. 20.7, p=0.00), sick leave (9.2 vs. 6.6, p=0.00) and disability (19.3 vs. 11.4, p=0.00) benefits than non-asthmatics. Adult-onset asthmatics had increased prevalence rate ratios for disability of 2.40 (95% confidence interval 1.70-3.40). Blue collar work significantly increased the probability of all public transfer incomes.
Current asthma makes it harder to keep a job. Adult-onset asthmatics and blue collar workers are particularly affected.
This paper investigates the relation between wood dust exposure in the furniture industry and occupational hygiene variables. During the winter 1997-98 54 factories were visited and 2362 personal, passive inhalable dust samples were obtained; the geometric mean was 0.95 mg/m(3) and the geometric standard deviation was 2.08. In a first measuring round 1685 dust concentrations were obtained. For some of the workers repeated measurements were carried out 1 (351) and 2 weeks (326) after the first measurement. Hygiene variables like job, exhaust ventilation, cleaning procedures, etc., were documented. A multivariate analysis based on mixed effects models was used with hygiene variables being fixed effects and worker, machine, department and factory being random effects. A modified stepwise strategy of model making was adopted taking into account the hierarchically structured variables and making possible the exclusion of non-influential random as well as fixed effects. For woodworking, the following determinants of exposure increase the dust concentration: manual and automatic sanding and use of compressed air with fully automatic and semi-automatic machines and for cleaning of work pieces. Decreased dust exposure resulted from the use of compressed air with manual machines, working at fully automatic or semi-automatic machines, functioning exhaust ventilation, work on the night shift, daily cleaning of rooms, cleaning of work pieces with a brush, vacuum cleaning of machines, supplementary fresh air intake and safety representative elected within the last 2 yr. For handling and assembling, increased exposure results from work at automatic machines and presence of wood dust on the workpieces. Work on the evening shift, supplementary fresh air intake, work in a chair factory and special cleaning staff produced decreased exposure to wood dust. The implications of the results for the prevention of wood dust exposure are discussed.
This paper investigates determinants of wood dust exposure and trends in dust level in the furniture industry of Viborg County, Denmark, using data from two cross-sectional studies 6 years apart.
During the winter 1997/1998, 54 factories were visited (hereafter study 1). In the winter 2003/2004, 27 factories were revisited, and personal dust measurements were repeated. In addition, 14 new factories were included (hereafter study 2). A total of 2303 woodworkers participated in study 1, and 2358 measurements from 1702 workers were available. From study 2, 1581 woodworkers participated and 1355 measurements from 1044 workers were available. Information on occupational variables describing potential determinants of exposures like work task, exhaust ventilation, enclosure and cleaning procedures were collected. A total of 2627 measurements and 1907 persons were included in the final mixed model in order to explore determinants of exposure and trends in dust level.
The overall inhalable wood dust concentration (geometric means (geometric standard deviation)) has decreased from 0.95 mg/m(3) (2.05) in study 1 to 0.60 mg/m(3) (1.63) in study 2, representing a 7% annual decrease in dust concentration, which was confirmed in the mixed model. From study 1 to study 2 there has been a change towards less manual work and more efficient cleaning methods, but on the contrary also more inadequate exhaust ventilation systems. The following determinants were found to 'increase' dust concentration: sanding; use of compressed air; use of full-automatic machines; manual work; cleaning of work pieces with compressed air; kitchen producing factories and small factories (
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BACKGROUND: Lungs are exposed to high levels of oxygen, air pollutants, and smoke, all of which stimulate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In addition, inflammatory cells produce ROS, and thus there may be increased demand for antioxidants, including antioxidant enzymes, in inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma. Sex-specific differences have been noted for asthma, which in postpubertal subjects is predominantly found in females. These sex-specific differences may be associated with differences on the molecular level as well. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine associations between markers of antioxidative defense and asthma, and to investigate whether these associations were different between women and men. METHODS: Based on the European Community Respiratory Health Survey protocol, subjects were enrolled in a study of asthma risk factors. The multicenter study was conducted in 5 west Danish counties between 2003 and 2006, and the subjects were recruited as a case-enriched random sample of 10,000 Danish inhabitants aged 20 to 44 years selected by their civil registration number. Participants were identified by positive answers to asthma questions on a screening questionnaire, random sampling, or both. Serum selenium concentrations and antioxidant enzyme activities (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase [GPX], glutathione reductase [GR], and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase [G6PD]) in erythrocytes were measured. Asthma was defined as either current asthma symptoms with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) or a continuous asthma score based on 8 questions. RESULTS: A total of 1191 mostly white women and men (mean [SD] age, 34.0 [7.1] and 35.1 [7.1] years, respectively) were enrolled in the study. Current asthma symptoms were present in 29.9% (200/670) of women and 22.5% (117/521) of men, with women reporting more positive answers (51.1% vs 40.9%, respectively; P