The introduction of NRS-99 has consolidated the need of controlling the equivalent equilibrium volume activity of thoron (EEVATn) and radon (EEVARn) in the air of dwelling, industrial, and public buildings. Analysis of more than 1000 values of EEVATn measured in parallel with EEVARn, which was based on the well-known mechanisms of accumulation of radon, thoron and their derivatives in the air of premises made it possible to approximate the correlation between EEVATn and radon EEVARn and to estimate the value of radon EEVATn without its measurement several hours after air sampling.
The paper deals with the situation associated with some substances, as described by the UNEP/Chemicals as priority persistent toxic, in the Russian Federation. Among them, lead was shown to head the list of them and its blood levels may be greater than the recommended allowable level of 10 micrograms/dl in almost 2 million children in different regions of the country. Exposure to mercury and cadmium is of local character, but some regions (the Irkutsk Region, Bashkiria, Vladikavkaz, V. Pyshma) showed specific changes in human health. Among persistent organic pollutants (POPs) there are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) extensively used in the transformers, which present the greatest hazard. These substances were found to be of significance as a risk factor (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 0.9-1.3) for female infertility in the town of Serpukhov where PCB-containing capacitors were manufactured. Reproductive and endocrine disorders (higher incidence of abortions, infertility, late gestoses, cryptorchidism, retarded male sexual development, etc.) are common in the residents of Chapaevsk (Samara Region), one of the world's most dioxin-contaminated towns. In the female residents of this town, the highest global concentrations of dioxins were recorded in the breast milk and blood (43.3 and 24-75 pg TEQ/g fat, respectively). The ambient air in the most industrial towns of Russia was demonstrated to contain increased benz(a)pyrene, but there is very little analytical environmental and epidemiological evidence for the carcinogenic effect of these substances by taking into account of the factor of smoking. The population of many cities and towns in Russia is at risk for consumption of drinking water containing excess water disinfection products. Special preventive programs to reduce the adverse effects of the above persistent toxic agents should be elaborated and introduced.
The paper considers materials on the substantiation of criteria, indices, and their gradation for a new variant of the hygienic classification of hazards of water-contaminating substances. Emphasis is placed on the significance of a ratio of the maximally inactive concentrations (MIC) in terms of the toxicological sign of harmfulness to the threshold concentrations (TC) in terms of their effects on the organoleptic properties of water and on the general sanitary regime of water reservoirs. Only two types of late effects of substances, which are of individual significance for classification, such as carcinogenicity and reproductive effects, are identified. It is stated that a class of hazard may be toughened for high-stable substances, but neither the stability nor any other indices of the potential hazard of substances is the ground for reducing their hygienic standards in water.
With a background in biochemistry and radiation biology, I started to get involved in the control of chemicals area by battling the use of alkyl-mercury compounds in Swedish agriculture during the years 1964-1965 (C.-G. Ros?n, H. Ackefors, and R. Nilsson, 1966, Seed dressing compounds based on organic mercury-economic aspects and health hazards, Svensk Kemisk Tidskrift 78, 8-19), and subsequently I acted as the sole technical advisor to the plaintiffs for the thalidomide children in Sweden for 4 years, ending in a 100 million US dollar (present value) settlement with the producers in 1969 (H. Sj?str?m and R. Nilsson, 1991, Thalidomide and the Power of the Drug Companies, Penguin, London, Feltrinelli, Milano, Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo Fisher Verlag, Berlin). I joined the Swedish EPA in 1974 and became head of the toxicological unit of the Products Control Division, where I was instrumental inter alia in pushing through regulations on reductions of lead in gasoline as well as the first general restrictions in world on the use of cadmium (R. Nilsson, 1989, Cadmium-an Analysis of Swedish Regulatory Experience, Report to the OECD Chemicals Group and Management Committee, January 1989). Since 1986 responsibility for control of chemicals was largely taken over from the Swedish EPA by the newly created National Chemicals Inspectorate (KEMI), an agency that employs me in the capacity of toxicologist. In between, I have been working for the OECD Chemicals Program as well as for WHO (IPCS) in various capacities and as a consultant in risk assessment for the US chemical industry under the Superfund Program. I was also associated with the Ministries of Environment of the governments of Iran and India. With respect to the latter, part of my recommendations were incorporated in the new Indian laws and regulations on chemicals that were issued subsequent to the Bhopal disaster (R. Nilsson, 1988, Procedures and Safeguards for Notification and Handling of Hazardous Chemicals in India, Report to WHO South-East Asia Region, SEA/EH/391, April 1988). As a consequence of a decreasing role for science in regulatory affairs, and a corresponding increasing influence from politics, for the past 8 years I have devoted myself mainly to research-oriented activities in my capacity as adjunct professor of molecular toxicology and risk assessment at the Stockholm University. In international collaboration, my projects have been supported by the Directorate General for Science, Research and Development of the Commission of the European Communities, the US Chemical Manufacturers' Association, the Coulston Foundation (Alamogordo, State of New Mexico), L'Oreal, Merck Co., and in the past to a limited extent also by my own agency, the National Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate. However, my position as member of the executive board for the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology in the United States, which I held for 5 years, as well as my role as technical advisor in products liability litigation, reflects my continued interest in the "politics of chemical risk." In this context my critical comments with respect to the current regulatory policy for control of chemicals have caused considerable concern within the Swedish regulatory establishment (R. Nilsson, M. Tasheva, and B. Jaeger, 1993. Why different regulatory decisions when the scientific information base is similar? I. Human risk assessment, Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 17, 292-332; R. Nilsson, 1994, Problems in the regulation of carcinogenic chemicals in an international perspective. III. Critical assessment of regulatory approaches. Rev. Int. Contam. Ambiental, M?xico City, 10, 99-199; R. Nilsson, 1998, Integrating Sweden into the European Union: Problems concerning chemicals control. In The Politics of Chemical Risk-Scenarios for a Regulatory Future, R. Bal and Halffman, Eds, pp. 159-171, Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht).
This article considers the argument that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would encourage US and Canadian industry to relocate their hazardous manufacturing operations to Mexico. Proponents of this view believe that this industrial flight south would worsen working conditions in Mexico as well as lower occupational health and safety standards in the US and Canada. In evaluating this argument, the article examines working conditions in US-owned factories in the Mexican maquiladora zone, reviews the current occupational health and safety regulatory structure in Mexico, and considers those institutions established by the European Community to protect workers against the flight of hazardous industries. The article concludes that the harmonization of labor norms throughout North American and the establishment of a functional North American regulatory structure following the precedents set by the European Community are necessary steps to ensure that NAFTA does not produce the feared flight of hazardous industries to Mexico nor degrade the health of workers in Mexico, Canada, or the US.
A group of Canadians pondered the dramatic change in momentum in the United States and began to think more concretely about strategies to bring unions and environmentalists together around a common green economic agenda. The campaign against toxic chemicals has proven to be a natural meeting place for labor and environmental activists. We share a common history and concern about the lack of effective regulation. The more challenging areas are about transition, the need for good jobs, and a viable economic strategy.
Lipetsk town area was ranked according to maximal or minimal actual risk for public health (with consideration of medical and ecologic situation if influenced by technogenic hazards. That ranking enables to suggest municipal measures aimed at protection of population of ecologic hazards.
The dispersion of persistent, bioaccumulative toxic chemicals poses risks to human health and the integrity of the ecosystem on a continental scale. Mexico, the United States, and Canada sought to add two pollutants to an existing list of four subject to North American Regional Action Plans (chlordane, DDT, mercury, PCBs). Mexican negotiators used results from an internal selection process, applying 14 criteria in five categories-physicochemical, health-endpoint, data quality/quantity, exposure potential, and control feasibility-to a baseline group of over 4,700 substances. Using policy analysis by the multiattribute maximum-utility method, progressive application of criteria and weighting algorithms acted like successive filters to identify priority lists of 15 and 7 substances/substance groups for Mexico. The 15 are: 1) benzo-a-pyrene (1 other PAHs); 2) cadmium; 3) heptachlor; 4) hexachlorobenzene; 5) lead; 6) lindane (+ other HCH isomers); 7) 2,3, 7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (&plus other PCDDs); 8) aldrin; 9) arsenic; 10) chromium; 11) carbon tetrachloride; 12) 3-3'-dichlorobenzidine; 13) dieldrin; 14) nickel; and 15) toxaphene. The first seven are the priority list of seven.