This study examined the possibility that lead pipes in the drinking water distribution system were elevating the blood lead levels of children in London, Ontario, Canada. Based on their postal codes, 164 children admitted between 1984 and 1989 to an institution for the behaviorally disordered or developmentally challenged were categorized according to whether they lived in the area of the city known by the local Public Utilities Commission to be serviced by lead pipes. Analysis of covariance was used to obtain confounder-adjusted geometric means in each area. After adjusting for gender, year of lead test (a surrogate for gasoline source), and census tract prevalence of low family income, children in the lead service area (LSA) were found not to have higher blood lead levels (geometric means: LSA = 4.7 micrograms/dl, Non-LSA = 4.8 micrograms/dL; p = 0.839). The average blood lead level declined 60.9% between 1984 and 1989. Using municipal tax assessment data on the age of each child's home, those children living in homes built during or before 1945 (when interior paints were as much as 50% lead by dry weight) had an average blood lead level that was 62.3% higher (p = 0.011) than that of those in homes built since 1975 (when interior paints were limited to no higher than 0.5% lead by dry weight). A clear gradient was observed. This association with age of home remained significant after adjusting for gender, diagnosis, and year of lead test. Variables indicating the amount of industry near the child's residence and the presence of lead service pipes did not enter the model after house-age. In conclusion, no evidence indicated that the lead service pipes were elevating blood lead levels in these London children. The data suggest that with the removal of lead from gasoline, lead-based paint is a significant remaining source of lead exposure. Little data are available on childhood lead exposure from paint in Canada. The present descriptive data suggest that more research into this potential problem in Canada is warranted.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are ubiquitously present in the environment and are suspected of carcinogenic, neurotoxic and immunotoxic effects. Significantly higher plasma concentrations of the congener PCB 28 occur in children compared to adults. Exposure in schools may contribute to this difference.
To determine whether increased blood plasma concentrations of PCB 28 in Danish school children and mothers are associated with living in homes or attending schools constructed in the PCB period (1959-1977).
PCB 28 was analyzed in plasma samples from 116 children aged 6-11years and 143 mothers living in an urban and a rural area in Denmark and participating in the European pilot project DEMOCOPHES (Demonstration of a study to COordinate and Perform Human Biomonitoring on a European Scale). In Denmark, PCBs were used in construction in the period 1950-1977, and year of construction or renovation of the homes and schools was used as a proxy for indoor PCB exposure. Linear regression models were used to assess the association between potential PCB exposure from building materials and lipid adjusted concentrations of PCB 28 in plasma, with and without adjustment for potential confounders.
Among the 116 children and 143 mothers, we were able to specify home construction period in all but 4 children and 5 mothers leaving 111 children and 138 mothers for our analyses. The median lipid adjusted plasma PCB 28 concentration was 3 (range: 1-28) ng/g lipid in the children and 2 (range: 1-8) ng/g lipid in the mothers. Children living in homes built in the PCB period had significantly higher lipid adjusted plasma PCB 28 concentrations compared to children living in homes built before or after the PCB period. Following adjustment for covariates, PCB 28 concentrations in children were 40 (95% CI: 13; 68) percent higher than concentrations of children living in homes constructed at other times. Furthermore, children attending schools built or substantially refurbished in the PCB period also had significantly higher (46%, 95% CI: 22; 70) PCB 28 concentrations compared to children attending schools constructed before or after the PCB period, while their mothers had similar concentrations. Adjustment for the most prevalent congener, PCB 153, did not change this effect of home or school construction. When both home and school construction year were included in the models, the increase in lipid adjusted plasma PCB 28 for children living in or attending schools from the PCB period was no longer statistically significant. The individual effect of home and school construction periods could not be evaluated further with the available data.
Our results suggest that PCB exposure in the indoor environment in schools and homes constructed during the PCB period may contribute significantly to children's plasma PCB 28 concentration. Efforts to minimize PCB exposure in indoor environments should be considered.
In recent years, exterior thermal insulation systems became more and more important leading to an increasing amount of houses equipped with biocide-containing organic façade coatings or fungicide treated wood. It is known that these biocides, e.g. terbutryn, carbendazim, and diuron, as well as wood preservatives as propiconazole, leach out of the material through contact with wind driven rain. Hence, they are present in combined sewage during rain events in concentrations up to several hundred ng L(-1). The present study focused on the occurrence of these biocides in five wastewater treatment plants in Denmark and Sweden during dry and wet weather. It was discovered, that biocides are detectable not only during wet weather but also during dry weather when leaching from façade coatings can be excluded as source. In most cases, the concentrations during dry weather were in the same range as during wet weather (up to 100 ng L(-1)); however, for propiconazole noteworthy high concentrations were detected in one catchment (4.5 µg L(-1)). Time resolved sampling (12 × 2 h) enabled assessments about possible sources. The highest mass loads during wet weather were detected when the rain was heaviest (e.g. up to 116 mg h(-1) carbendazim or 73 mg h(-1) mecoprop) supporting the hypothesis that the biocides were washed off by wind driven rain. Contrary, the biocide emissions during dry weather were rather related to household activities than with emissions from buildings, i.e., emissions were highest during morning and evening hours (up to 50 mg h(-1)). Emissions during night were significantly lower than during daytime. Only for propiconazole a different emission behaviour during dry weather was observed: the mass load peaked in the late afternoon (3 g h(-1)) and declined slowly afterwards. Most likely this emission was caused by a point source, possibly from inappropriate cleaning of spray equipment for agriculture or gardening.
When investigating the action of microscopic fungi of genera Aspergillus, Alternaria, Cladosporium and Paecilomyces on concrete specimens in the model system, it was shown that the fungi can colonize successfully the concrete surface during 1 year and cause its destructive changes. However the fungi did not colonize those sections of concrete surface which were filled with granite. The fungi leached chemical elements of concrete into nutrition medium, accumulated them in their biomass and caused their transformation into newly-formed crystals of calcium oxalates on the surface of concrete.
The purpose of this field study was to compare an Estonian dust sampling method, a method also used in other former East Block countries, with a Swedish method and to estimate inter-method agreement with statistical analyses. The Estonian standard method (ESM), used to assess exposure in Estonia since the early 1950s, is based on a strategy where air samples are collected for 10 minutes every hour over a full shift. This method was compared to a Swedish standard method (SSM), a modified NIOSH method, comparable to international standards, where one air sample is collected during a full shift. The study was carried out at a cement plant that in the beginning of the 1990s was subjected to an epidemiological study, including collection of exposure data. The results of the analysis from 31 clusters of parallel samples of the two methods, when dust consisting of Portland cement was collected, showed a relatively weak correlation between the SSM and the ESM, ri = 0.81 (Pearson's intra-class correlation coefficient). A conversion factor between the two methods was estimated, where SSM is 0.69 times ESM and the limits of agreement are 0.25 and 1.84, respectively. These results indicate a substantial inter-method difference. We therefore recommend that measurements obtained from the two methods should not be used interchangeably. Because the present study is of limited extent, our findings are confined to the operations studied and further studies covering other exposure situations will be needed.
Current occupational exposures to man-made mineral fibers (MMMF), including refractory ceramic fibers (RCF), were measured as part of an exposure assessment program for an epidemiological study pertaining to cancer and mortality patterns of Ontario construction workers. The assessments were carried out at commercial and residential sites. A total of 130 MMMF samples (104 personal and 26 area) was collected and included 21 RCF (16 personal and 5 area). The samples were analyzed by the World Health Organization method in which both respirable and nonrespirable airborne fibers are counted. The results show that Ontario construction workers' full-shift exposure to MMMF (excluding RCF) is generally lower than the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists' (ACGIH) recommended threshold limit value-time-weighted average (TLV-TWA) of 1 fibers/cc and thus should not present any significant hazard. However, approximately 40% of the occupational exposures to RCF are higher than ACGIH's TLV-TWA of 0.2 fibers/cc and present a significant potential hazard. Workers generally wore adequate approved respiratory protection, especially while performing particularly dusty tasks such as blowing, spraying, and cutting, so the actual exposure received by workers was lower than the reported values. Adequate control measures such as ventilation and respiratory protection should always be used when work involves RCF.
This paper presents the results of an effort to evaluate anthropogenic doses in bricks from old buildings located on the banks of the Techa River. The river area was contaminated in 1949-1956 as a result of radioactive waste releases by the Mayak plutonium facility (Southern Urals, Russia). Absorbed doses were determined by luminescence measurements of quartz extracted from the near-surface layers of bricks sampled in 1991-1997 from three remained buildings (a mill, a granary and a church). These buildings are located in the former residence area of Metlino, which was the settlement located closest to the release site (residents of Metlino were relocated from the contaminated river in 1956). The measured anthropogenic dose in the three buildings was found to be comparable: minimum values were equal to 0.5-0.9 Gy and maximum values amounted to about 3-4 Gy. Unfortunately, the geometry of gamma-exposure of the brick samples changed significantly in 1956 as a result of creation of an artificial reservoir downstream of the Metlinsky pond. Since luminescence data provide absorbed dose in the investigated samples accumulated over the whole period of irradiation, for interpretation of the data obtained it is important to know the exposure geometry for the period of maximal exposure, which was in the early 1950s. In 2005, archival data describing configuration of contaminated water streams and shorelines (which were the main sources of gamma-irradiation) were published. Comparison of these data with the results of the luminescence study presented here showed that the bricks with the highest thermoluminescence (TL)-based doses faced contaminated shores and were located close to them. In contrast, the bricks with lower values of measured dose were opposite to contaminated shores and/or being shielded. This demonstrates that the luminescence method allowed reconstruction of the anthropogenic dose distribution in the former settlement center. The obtained results suggest new options for further luminescence studies in Metlino aimed at the reconstruction of the external exposures of the affected population.
There is experimentally established the change of the migratory activity of pollutants from building materials produced from blast furnace slag throughout their life cycle in the form of a nonlinear wave-like nature as there are appeared newly opened surfaces of a contact with aggressive waters in the process of gradual crushing of materials as a result of destructive mechanical effects on him and corrosive waters with varying pH values. There are established regularities of the migration activity ofpollutants (on the example of heavy metals) as directly dependent on the newly opening surface of the contact of the material with water having a various pH value. There is shown an expediency of introduction of alterations in the procedure for sanitary hygienic assessment of building materials with the addition of industrial waste (Methodical Instructions 2.1.674-97), allowing to take into account the migration of contaminants from them throughout the life cycle.
Concrete samples from demolition waste of a former pesticide plant in Sweden were analysed for total contents and leachate concentrations of potentially hazardous inorganic substances, TOC, phenols, as well as for pesticide compounds such as phenoxy acids, chlorophenols and chlorocresols. Leachates were produced by means of modified standard column leaching tests and pH-stat batch tests. Due to elevated contents of chromium and lead, as well as due to high chloride concentrations in the first leachate from column tests at L/S 0.1, recycling of the concrete as a construction material in groundworks is likely to be restricted according to Swedish guidelines. The studied pesticide compounds appear to be relatively mobile at the materials own pH>12, 12, 9 and 7. Potential leaching of pesticide residues from recycled concrete to ground water and surface water might exceed water quality guidelines for the remediation site and the EU Water Framework Directive. Results of this study stress the necessity to systematically study the mechanism behind mobility of organic contaminants from alkaline construction and demolition wastes rather than rely on total content limit values.