Anthropogenic acute chemical exposures have become an important socioeconomic and environmental factor on the national, regional and global level. They present an actual or potential danger to vital activity and health of large population groups and normal operation of the Biosphere and natural components. Hence a problem of prevention and elimination of acute technogenic exposures hazardous for human health has expanded beyond the medical competence and grown to a major environmental issue.
We performed a cross-sectional study involving workers from four European countries in which exposure to pesticides and immune parameters were evaluated over a short period of time. The total study population consisted of 238 workers occupationally exposed to pesticides and 198 nonoccupationally exposed workers. The study showed that pesticide exposure at levels encountered by workers under different conditions in Europe did not affect the ability of the immune system to respond to vaccination. We could, however, identify individuals within the group of pesticide exposed workers who were genetically characterized by the 2.2 IL-1alpha polymorphism and who showed a lower antibody response, pointing out the importance of the understanding of genetic variability and the interaction between genetic and environmental factors in the identification of high-risk individuals, which may eventually lead to preventive measures.
We conducted a multicenter prospective study to assess the effects of occupational exposure to ethylenebisdithiocarbamate fungicides and/or other pesticides on self-reported asthma and asthmatic symptoms. This multicenter study was conducted among 248 workers exposed to pesticides and 231 non-exposed workers from five field studies. The five field studies were carried out in The Netherlands, Italy, Finland, and two studies in Bulgaria. Subjects constituting this cohort completed a self-administered questionnaire at baseline (before the start of exposure). Ethylenethiourea in urine was determined to assess exposure to ethylenebisdithiocarbamates. In multivariate analyses adjusted for all potential confounders (age, education, residence, smoking, gender, and field study), we found inverse associations, all not statistically significant, between occupational exposure to pesticides and asthma diagnosis (OR 0.41; 95% CI 0.15-1.11), complains of chest tightness (OR 0.60; 95% CI 0.36-1.02), wheeze (OR 0.56; 95% CI 0.32-0.98), asthma attack (OR 0.52; 95% CI 0.12-2.25), and asthma medication (OR 0.79; 95% CI 0.25-2.53). Furthermore, we reported null associations for multivariate analysis using ethylenethiourea as determinant for exposure. Although exposure to pesticides remains a potential health risk, our results do not suggest an association between exposure to ethylenebisdithiocarbamates and/or other pesticides used in our study on asthma and asthmatic symptoms.
A mortality study of about 326,000 Canadian male farm operators enumerated in the 1971 Census of Agriculture is being conducted by Health and Welfare Canada in collaboration with Statistics Canada. The study examines the mortality patterns of farm operators in relation to farm practices and a variety of socio-demographic variables. The prime concern is the association between pesticide use and certain cancers suggested in previous studies of farmers. This article describes the methodology used to create the study cohort and the analysis files. Highlights of the preliminary results from this study for Saskatchewan are also presented. Results for other regions are forthcoming. Among the Saskatchewan cohort of farm operators, 94% of deaths occurred within the province. The average age at death was 67.9 years and the average length of survival from 1971 was 13.9 years. Although the cohort as a whole had no excess mortality for any specific cause of death--including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma--significant dose-response relationships were noted between risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and acres sprayed with herbicides in 1970, as well as with dollars spent in 1970 on fuel and oil for farm purposes (1).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, Health Studies Branch, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. CRubin@cdc.gov
Developed nations share similar challenges to human health from commercial and agricultural chemicals that are released into the environment. Although Russia and the United States are historically distinct and unique, both countries are geographically large and economically dependent on emission-producing surface transportation. This paper describes U.S.-Russian collaborative activities that grew from a 1995 conference in Moscow that brought together environmental health investigators from both countries to discuss common concerns about the human health impact of environmental pollutants. Lead, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and mercury were identified as contaminants of greatest concern. Collaborative studies were initiated that included collecting blood and hair samples and splitting samples for analyses in both countries, and introducing and sharing new portable blood and environmental sample analyses instruments. The findings demonstrated that hair analysis was not a good predictor of BLL and that Russian children in the first city sampled had a mean BLL of 7.7 microg/dl. Although higher than the U.S. mean, this level was below the 10.0 microg/dl CDC level of concern. This manuscript summarizes additional study results and describes their impacts on Russian policy. On-going collaborative environmental investigations are described.
To determine the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) associated with exposures to multiple pesticides grouped by various classes, including carcinogenic classifications.
Data collected in the Cross-Canada Study of Pesticides and Health, a population-based incident case-control study in six provinces conducted between 1991 and 1994, were analyzed using unconditional logistic regression. Cases (n = 316) were identified through provincial cancer registries and hospital records. Controls (n = 1,506) were frequency-matched to cases by age (± 2 years) within each province and were identified through provincial health records, telephone listings, or voter lists. The Cochran-Armitage test was used to check for trends within pesticide classes.
Overall, there was an increase in the risk of HL among all subjects who reported use of five or more insecticides (OR 1.88, 95% CI 0.92-3.87) and among subjects younger than 40 who reported use of two acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (OR 3.16, 95% CI 1.02-9.29). There was an elevated odds ratio associated with reported use of three or more probably carcinogenic pesticides (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.06-5.75), but no increase in risk for use of possibly carcinogenic pesticides. The risk of HL from reported use of fungicides or any pesticides was greater for cases diagnosed before age 40 than for cases diagnosed at or after age 40. When analyses excluded proxy respondents, OR estimates strengthened in some circumstances.
This study found associations between HL and fungicides, insecticides, specifically acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, and pesticides previously identified as probable human carcinogens. These associations should be further evaluated, specifically in relation to age at diagnosis.
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Exposures to farm animals has been associated with certain rare cancers. Simultaneously, using the same methodology and control group, we conducted a six-province incident, population-based study of Hodgkin's disease (HD), multiple myeloma (MM), and soft tissue sarcoma (STS). Farm residence or work was reported by 38% (n = 119) of HD, 45% (n = 178) of MM, 43% (n = 156) of STS cases and 45% (n = 673) of controls. We conducted conditional logistic regression analyses and report odds ratios (OR(adj)) and 95% confidence intervals. After adjustment for covariates, exposure to farm animals had minimal effect on risk. The independent risk factors after adjustment for covariates were a family history of cancer (MM, STS), occupational uranium exposure (HD), professional driving (MM), and personal previous cancer (MM) or shingles (HD, MM).
Community advisory committees (CACs) increasingly are formed to cultivate partnerships between researchers and communities.
This article details the processes used to recruit CAC members, the purpose and structure of the committees, members' motivation to participate, and examples of member input and influence.
In-depth interviews, meeting notes, and partners' reflections were synthesized to identify key lessons regarding establishing and sustaining effective CACs.
Findings highlight the need for partner agreement on the role of CACs, structured meeting procedures, intentional integration of CAC input into project activities, and training on sharing research information with the community.
CAC members' expertise regarding indigenous culture and experiences increased the project relevance for workers and strengthened research and intervention efforts. Members also reported greater knowledge of safety, health, and workers' rights, and increased confidence to share information. This influence extends beyond the project and contributes to sustained change among CAC members and in the participating communities.