The potential exists for human exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants originating from abandoned Mid-Canada Radar Line (MCRL) sites in sub-arctic Canada. We examined patterns of differences with respect to body burden of organochlorines (lipid-adjusted) between residents of the Ontario First Nations of Fort Albany (the site of MCRL Site 050) and Kashechewan (no radar base) and Hamilton (an industrial, southern Ontario community) to assess whether the presence of Site 050 influenced organochlorine body burden with respect to the people of Fort Albany. PCBs (Aroclor 1260 and summation operator14 PCBs congeners [CBs]) and DDE in the plasma of Fort Albany and Kashechewan subjects were elevated relative to Hamilton participants. PCB and DDE-plasma levels in First Nation women were of comparable magnitude to those reported for Inuit women living in the west/central Northwest Territories. Significantly lower DDE/DDT ratios observed for Fort Albany indicates exposure to higher levels of DDT compared to Kashechewan. The probable source of DDT exposure for Fort Albany people is the DDT-contaminated soil surrounding buildings of Site 050. The results of the correspondence analysis (CA) indicated that people from Hamilton had relatively higher pesticides and lower CB body burdens, while people from Fort Albany and Kashechewan exhibited relatively higher CBs and lower pesticide levels (CA-1). The separation of Fort Albany and Kashechewan from Hamilton was also clear using questionnaire data (i.e., plotting dietary principal component [PC]-1 scores against PC-2); PC-1 was correlated with the consumption of a traditional diet. Separation of Kashechewan and Albany residents occurred because the people of Kashechewan ate more traditional meats and consumed shorebirds. Only one significant relationship was found between PC analysis and contaminant loadings; PC-1 versus CA-3 for Kashechewan. The presence of Site 050 on Anderson Island appears to have influenced organochlorine body burden of the people of Fort Albany. ANCOVA results revealed that it was not activity on Anderson Island that was important, but activity on Site 050 was the influential variable. When these results are considered with the DDE/DDT ratio data and the CB 187 results (Fort Albany and Kashechewan residents differed significantly), the findings are suggestive that Site 050 did influence organochlorine body burden of people from Fort Albany.
OBJECTIVE: Exposure to environmental organochlorines has been examined as a potential risk factor for human breast cancer with mixed results. Our purpose was to examine associations between organochlorines and the development of breast cancer in a large prospective study using stored adipose tissue. METHODS: We conducted a nested case-control study of 409 postmenopausal women who developed breast cancer and 409 controls selected from the 29,875 women enrolled in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort between 1993 and 1997. We measured concentrations of 14 pesticides and 18 polychlorinated biphenyls in adipose tissue, collected upon enrollment, and estimated relative risk (RR) of breast cancer using conditional logistic regression. RESULTS: The results showed no higher risk of breast cancer among women with higher levels of any pesticides or polychlorinated biphenyls; the RR associated with the upper quartile of 1,1-dichloro-2, 2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene concentration was 0.7 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.5-1.2] contrasting the lower quartile, and for the sum of polychlorinated biphenyls the similar risk was 1.1 (95% CI, 0.7-1.7). We observed a pattern of substantially lower risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer in association with higher levels of most of the pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls; the RR for the higher quartile of 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene was 0.1 (95% CI, 0.0-0.5) and for the sum of polychlorinated biphenyls it was 0.3 (95% CI, 0.1-0.9). CONCLUSION: The results do not support that higher organochlorine body levels increase the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The interpretation of the inverse association for estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer is currently unclear.
We studied the relationship between increasing age and blood concentrations of four persistent organochlorines (OCs), hexachlorbenzene (HCB), oxychlordane, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorbiphenyl (PCB-153), in arctic-breeding glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus). We measured OC concentrations in 31 individuals of known age and took repeated blood samples of 64 individuals in different years, either one year apart or three or four years apart. The age of individuals was not related to the blood concentrations for any of the four compounds, and in birds whose values were measured repeatedly, there was no effect of the length of time (number of years) between sampling events on the relative change in OC concentration. This indicates that steady-state levels were reached before the age of first breeding. However, breeding area significantly influenced the changes in OC concentration between sampling events. In areas in which birds fed on prey from higher trophic levels, the OC concentrations showed large increases between sampling events; in areas in which birds fed at lower trophic levels, OC concentrations increased relatively little or not at all. This indicates that individual birds had different equilibrium concentrations, which are reached at different ages depending on the intake of OCs through the food. It also indicates that some individuals had not reached steady-state concentrations at the onset of reproduction. Changes in body condition and amount of blood lipids were of lesser importance than trophic level and influenced the concentrations of HCB and oxychlordane more strongly than DDE and PCB-153. In conclusion, this study indicates that steady-state concentrations of persistent OCs are reached early in life in most glaucous gulls, considering the long life span of the species.
This study investigated whether chronic airflow limitation and rapid decline in pulmonary function were associated with peak exposures to ozone and other irritant gases in pulp mills. Bleachery workers potentially exposed to irritant gassings (n = 178) from three Swedish pulp mills, and a comparison group of workers not exposed to irritant gassings (n = 54) from two paper mills, were studied. Baseline surveys occurred in 1995-1996, with follow-up surveys in 1998-1999. Participants performed spirometry and answered questions regarding ozone, chlorine dioxide (ClO2), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) gassings. From regression models controlling for potential confounders, declines in both the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (-24 mL x yr(-1)) and the forced vital capacity (FVC) (-19 mL x yr(-1)) were associated with ClO2/SO2 gassings. At follow-up, the prevalence of chronic airflow limitation (i.e. FEV1/FVC less than the lower limit of normal) was elevated for participants with only pre-baseline ozone gassings and with both pre-baseline and interval ozone gassings, after controlling for potential confounders. These findings suggest that obstructive effects among bleachery workers are associated with ozone gassings, and that adverse effects on spirometry might also accompany chlorine dioxide/sulphur dioxide gassings. Peak exposures to irritant gases in pulp mills should be prevented.
Air pollution referable to increased ambient levels of sulfur dioxide and suspended particulates is associated with increased episodes of acute bronchitis and is also causally related to some cases of chronic bronchitis. Oxidant air pollution is associated with abnormalities of pulmonary function in children and is a major contributory factor in COP, especially bronchitis, in some areas of the United States. The relationship of nitrogen dioxide atmospheric contamination to COPD is still controversial. In our opinion, the epidemiologic studies conducted to date have been inadequate and further elucidation is indicated. Cadmium fumes and compounds have been found to be instrumental in the development of some cases of chronic bronchitis and emphysema in Sweden. This association is unproved in the United States and warrants a thorough clinical and epidemiologic evaluation.
Alpha-1-antitrypsin (alpha 1-AT) phenotypes and serum levels were measured in 518 employees at a sulphite pulp factory. There were 439 men and 79 women with the mean age of 42 years (range 18-65 years). Mean time of employment at the factory was 17.5 years and 216 (42%) individuals had been employed for more than 20 years. Chronic bronchitis was present in 47 (9.1%) individuals. alpha 1-AT rare types (MZ, MS, MF) were present in 12.8% of the individuals with chronic bronchitis compared to 8.4% in employees with no respiratory symptoms, the difference being not statistically significant. Individuals with chronic bronchitis and rare types were evenly distributed with regard to work place at the factory. Serum levels of alpha 1-AT were somewhat higher in smokers compared to non-smokers, but the difference was not statistically significant. Exposure to SO2 and chlorine did not seem to affect the serum levels of alpha 1-AT in M type individuals. In the present study, individuals heterozygous for alpha 1-AT deficiency phenotypes (MZ, MS, MF) did not seem to have an increased rate of chronic bronchitis. However, the rate of chronic bronchitis in factory employees was significantly increased compared to that among non-employees in the surrounding community. This increase appears to be due to a higher rate of smoking and to occupational exposure (SO2 and chlorine) among the sulphite pulp factory workers.
The majority of analytical results in the Greenland AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme) have been produced by laboratories that participate regularly in performance studies. This makes it possible to judge the quality of the results based on objective measurements made by independent assessors. AMAP laboratories participated while analysing the AMAP samples in the QUASIMEME laboratory performance study programme, in the 'Interlaboratory Comparison Program' organised by Le Centre de Toxicologie du Québec, in a toxaphene intercomparison study organised by The Food Research Division of Health Canada, and in an International Atomic Energy Agency Intercomparison exercise. The relative errors of the trace analyses, i.e. the relative deviation of the result obtained by the AMAP laboratory from the assigned value, are in most cases less than the 25% which is regarded as acceptable by QUASIMEME. Usually the errors, especially for trace elements, are less than 12.5%, while errors for trace organics below 1 microgram kg-1 may rise to 50% or more. This study covers the period 1993 to 1998 for trace elements and one or more years from the period 1994-1996 for trace organics.
Anthropogenic contaminants have been a concern in the Canadian arctic for over 30 years due to relatively high concentrations of bioaccumulating and biomagnifying organochlorine contaminants (OCs) and toxic metals found in some arctic biota and humans. However, few studies have addressed the potential effects of these contaminants in Canadian arctic wildlife. Prior to 1997, biological effects data were minimal and insufficient at any level of biological organization. The present review summarizes recent studies on biological effects related to contaminant exposure, and compares new tissue concentration data to threshold effects levels. Weak relationships between cadmium, mercury and selenium burdens and health biomarkers in common eider ducks (Somateria mollissima borealis) in Nunavut were found but it was concluded that metals were not influencing the health of these birds. Black guillemots (Cepphus grylle) examined near PCB-contaminated Saglek Bay, Labrador, had enlarged livers, elevated EROD and liver lipid levels and reduced retinol (vitamin A) and retinyl palmitate levels, which correlated to PCB levels in the birds. Circulating levels of thyroid hormones in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were correlated to PCB and HO-PCB plasma concentrations, but the impact at the population level is unknown. High PCB and organochlorine pesticide concentrations were found to be strongly associated with impaired humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in polar bears, implying an increased infection risk that could impact the population. In beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), cytochromes P450 (phase I) and conjugating (phase II) enzymes have been extensively profiled (immunochemically and catalytically) in liver, demonstrating the importance of contaminants in relation to enzyme induction, metabolism and potential contaminant bioactivation and fate. Concentrations of OCs and metals in arctic terrestrial wildlife, fish and seabirds are generally below effects thresholds, with the possible exception of PCBs in burbot (Lota lota) in some Yukon lakes, Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), glaucous and great black-backed gulls (Larus hyperboreus and L. marinus), and TEQs of dioxin-like chemicals in seabird eggs. PCB and DDT concentrations in several arctic marine mammal species exceed effects thresholds, although evidence of stress in these populations is lacking. There is little evidence that contaminants are having widespread effects on the health of Canadian arctic organisms, with the possible exception of polar bears. However, further research and better understanding of organohalogen exposure in arctic biota is needed considering factors such as tissue levels that exceed effects thresholds, exposure to "new" organohalogen contaminants of concern, contaminated regions, and climate change.