Substitution for a harmful chemical implies that the desired function is maintained without using the harmful chemical in question. Improvement can be achieved if a less harmful chemical can be used or the same function obtained by changing the process and eliminating the harmful chemical agent. In 1982, Denmark introduced an authority regulation requiring substitution if functional and economical alternatives exist. This paper summarizes the results of 162 examples of substitution investigated by the Danish Occupational Health Services. The identification and implementation of substitution alternatives is described as an iterative process with seven distinct steps. Several tools that are useful in evaluating alternatives are described, including Hansen solubility parameters and vapor hazard ratios. In addition to the technical issues surrounding substitution, this paper describes the social interactions necessary to include all affected individuals, along with those having the proper expertise in the decision-making process. The use of the described methods may result in a safer work-place by eliminating certain hazardous chemicals or practices that have historically been used in specific industries.
The county of Värmland, Sweden, has shown a high frequency of multiple sclerosis in several investigations. It has been presented in three studies; a period prevalence study in 1925-1934, a mortality study during 1952-1992 and a prevalence investigation in 2002. The aim of this study was to investigate the pattern of industry in this high-risk area for multiple sclerosis. The three investigations were correlated with industry in 1913 and in the 1950s, all analyzed by the Kruskall-Wallis test. Select industries from wood-pulp, paper and iron/mechanical sectors were tested also in whole Sweden. The Spearman rank correlation was used for these data and forestry data in Värmland. In Värmland, industrial data from 1913 revealed that large sawmills were associated with the period prevalence in 1925-1934 and there was a possible correlation with the prevalence for 2002. Wood-pulp factories showed a possible association with the prevalence 1925-1934 and the mortality 1952-1992. Some industries in the 1950s were correlated with the prevalence 2002. Wood and paper industries in Sweden 1913 showed an association with the MS mortality 1952-1992. In summary, data on MS prevalence in Värmland and mortality both in Värmland and all Sweden from the past 100 years suggest an association with wood-related industries in 1913 and in the 1950s, whereas no consistent association was found for other industries.
Distinguishing between effects of natural and anthropogenic environmental factors on ecosystems is a fundamental problem in environmental science. In river systems the longitudinal gradient of environmental factors is one of the most relevant sources of dissimilarity between communities that could be confounded with anthropogenic disturbances. To test the hypothesis that in macroinvertebrate communities the distribution of species' sensitivity to organic toxicants is independent of natural longitudinal factors, but depends on contamination with organic toxicants, we analysed the relationship between community sensitivity SPEAR(organic) (average community sensitivity to organic toxicants) and natural and anthropogenic environmental factors in a large-scale river system, from alpine streams to a lowland river. The results show that SPEAR(organic) is largely independent of natural longitudinal factors, but strongly dependent on contamination with organic toxicants (petrochemicals and synthetic surfactants). Usage of SPEAR(organic) as a stressor-specific longitude-independent measure will facilitate detection of community disturbance by organic toxicants.
During the last decade, associations between persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins and pesticides, and cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and overt CV disease (CVD) have been reported in humans. Recently, associations between plastic-associated chemicals (PACs), such as bisphenol A and phthalates, and CVD have also begun to emerge. Several approaches to evaluating such associations have been used: accidents with a high level of exposure, occupational exposure studies, geographical studies of subjects living near a contaminated area and traditional case-control or cohort studies with measurements of circulating levels of different environmental contaminants in the general population. Exposure to POPs has consistently been associated with diabetes using all the approaches described above, including prospective studies. The evidence regarding associations between exposure to POPs and other CV risk factors, such as hypertension, obesity and lipids, is less strong and is mainly based on cross-sectional data. Associations between overt CVD and POPs have been reported using all the above approaches, but prospective data from population-based studies are still lacking to provide firm evidence of an important and independent role of POP exposure in the pathogenesis of CVD. Nevertheless, taken together, current evidence suggests that further longitudinal and experimental studies should be conducted to investigate the effect of exposure to both POPs and PACs, such as bisphenol A and phthalates.
In the study of the complex action of environmental factors the important step is the consideration of the multi-component composition of chemical substances which affect the human in the real conditions of the environmental pollution. In the study of complex action of environmental factors it is expedient to use the algorithm of chemical analytical studies, envisaging the implementation of the identity analysis with the quantitative assessment ofpossibly the fullest array of pollutants and the subsequent selection of leading indices on the base of the evaluation of the identified multi-component composition ofthe pollution according to the degree of their hygienic significance in view of the proposed set of criteria.
Environmental pollutants, which may occur in breast milk and in various food products and drinking water, and which are also transferred to the foetus, constitute a severe threat to the health of infants and children. Among such compounds, various organochlorines, such as pesticides for the control of parasites (DDTs, HCHs), and products of industry and agriculture, such as dioxins and dioxin-like compounds (PCBs), are much discussed, in addition to organic mercury and heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium. The consequences of acute exposure to PCB have been documented in Japan following the ingestion of rice oil contaminated by PCBs. In Sweden birthweight has been found to be reduced and the perinatal mortality rate higher than expected in regions with high consumption of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea. In addition, from studies around Lake Michigan, it has been shown that children who have been exposed to PCBs in utero have retarded cognitive development. In the Aral Sea basin in Central Asia people have been subjected to long-term exposure to various pesticides, which have been distributed over the cotton fields in huge quantities. Organochlorines are resistant to breakdown in nature, thus they enter the food chain, eventually entering the human diet, and they may also be inhaled from dust. Such compounds accumulate in the foetus by placental transport and continue to do so postnatally if the infants are breastfed, as they may be present in high concentrations in human milk. The health of children living in the Aral Sea region is reported to be poor, with high morbidity and mortality and a high rate of chronic diseases and retarded mental and physical development. However, in addition to being subjected to environmental pollution, these children also suffer from health hazards related to poverty. Through epidemiological studies it may be possible to obtain information about to what extent exposure to environmental pollution from organochlorines contributes to the poor health of people living in the Aral Sea region.