A laboratory bench-scale column study was conducted to evaluate permeable reactive filter materials as a new method for removal of heavy metals and inorganic nitrogen from landfill leachate. Mixtures of sand and peat, blast-furnace slag (BFS) and peat, and Polonite and peat were tested by loading columns with leachate collected from a pond at Tvetaverket Landfill, Sweden. Sand, peat and Polonite represent natural materials. BFS is a by-product from steel-works. The metal treatment efficiencies of the media were assessed and Polonite was found to perform best, where Mn, Fe, Zn and Cu concentrations were removed by 99%, 93%, 86% and 67%, respectively. This material was also able to reduce inorganic N by 18%. The BFS showed good removal efficiency for Cu (66%), Zn (62%), Ni (19%) and Mo (16%). The sand-peat mixture did not demonstrate a promising removal capacity for any of the elements studied with the exception of Cu (25%). The removal of different elements was suggested to be a combination of several factors, i.e. precipitation, ion exchange and adsorption. Prior to full-scale application of reactive filters at a landfill site, matrix selection, filter design and operational procedures must be developed.
To protect the health of those occupationally exposed to respirable crystalline silica, the main industries in European Union associated with exposure to respirable silica, agreed on appropriate measures for the improvement of working conditions through the application of good practices, as part of 'The Agreement on Workers Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products Containing it' (NEPSI agreement), signed in April 2006. The present paper examines trends in exposure to respirable crystalline silica in Finland prior to and following the implementation of the NEPSI agreement and includes a working example of the NEPSI approach in the concrete industry. Data derived from workplace exposure assessments during the years 1994-2013 are presented, including 2556 air samples collected mostly indoors, from either the breathing zone of workers or from stationary points usually at a height of 1.5 m above the floor, with the aim to estimate average exposure of workers to respiratory crystalline silica during an 8-h working day. The aim was, to find out how effective this unique approach has been in the management of one of the major occupational hazards in the concerned industries. Application of good practices as described by the NEPSI agreement coincides with a strong decline in the exposure to respirable crystalline silica in Finnish workplaces, as represented by the clientele of Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. During the years followed in the present study, we see a >10-fold decrease in the average and median exposures to respirable silica. Prior to the implementation of the NEPSI agreement, >50% of the workplace measurements yielded results above the OEL8 h (0.2mg m(-3)). As of present (2013), circa 10% of the measurements are above of or identical to the OEL8 h (0.05mg m(-3)).
Samples of raw, treated and distributed tap water were collected from 71 municipalities across Canada and analyzed for asbestos content by transmission electron microscopy. Chrysotile asbestos was identified as the major asbestos type present in drinking water with some 5% of public water supplies containing asbestos at concentrations greater than 10 million fibres per litre. Improvement factors of up to 300 were observed for the removal of chrysotile fibres from drinking water during treatment, indicating that coagulation/filtration treatment is efficient for this purpose. In certain cases there is evidence to suggest that erosion of asbestos from pipe material is taking place. Age-standardized mortality rates for gastro-intestinal cancers were calculated for each city for the period of 1966 to 1976. Rates for the 2 localities with the highest (congruent to 10(8)/L) concentrations of asbestos fibres in treated drinking water were compared with the weighted average of the rates for the 52 localities with asbestos concentrations not significantly greater than zero. Eleven localities had intermediate concentrations of asbestos and six were too small for meaningful statistical analysis. Relatively high mortality rates were apparent amongst males in city 1 for cancer of the large intestine except rectum, and in both sexes in city 1 and males in city 2 for stomach cancer. It is felt that these findings are probably related to occupational exposure to asbestos. Further statistical analyses are required, however, before the significance of these observations can be fully assessed.
The main objective of the present paper is to report on the concentration of silicon carbide (SiC) fibres, crystalline silica and respirable dust in a Canadian SiC production plant and to compare the results with earlier investigations. The second objective is to tentatively explain the differences in concentration of the fibrogenic substances between different countries. The assessment of SiC fibres, dusts, respirable quartz and cristobalite was performed according to standard procedures. The highest 8 h time-weighted average concentrations of fibres were found among the crusher and backhoe attendants and the carboselectors with an arithmetic mean of 0.63 fibres ml(-1) for the former group and 0.51 fibres ml(-1) for the latter group. The results of respirable SiC fibres in the Canadian plant were lower than in the Norwegian and Italian industries. Most of the 8 h time-weighted average concentrations for quartz were less than or around the limit of detection of 0.01 mg m(-3). The maximum 8 h time-weighted average concentration for quartz was found among the carboselectors (0.157 mg m(-3)), followed by the labourers (0.032 mg m(-3)). Similarly, most of the 8 h time-weighted average cristobalite measurements were less than the limit of detection of 0.01 mg m(-3) except for the carboselectors where it was found to be 0.044 mg m(-3). The assessment of the Italian occupational settings exposure demonstrated elevated quartz concentrations, while cristobalite was absent. The authors have concluded that the investigations that were performed in the last two decades in this field by researchers from different countries seem to support that SiC fibres (whiskers) constitute a major airborne health hazard.
OBJECTIVES: The possibility of an association between exposure to silica and autoimmune diseases has recently come under discussion. In the following case-referent study, a cohort exposed to diatomaceous earth and cristobalite provided an opportunity to evaluate such an exposure with reference to sarcoidosis. METHODS: The inhabitants of a district served by a single healthcare centre and a hospital formed the study base. A diatomaceous earth plant is located in this community and the medical institutions are responsible for primary and secondary health care of the population. Cases of sarcoidosis were identified from the hospital records according to certain clinical, radiological, and histological criteria. Referents were selected randomly from the population of the district. Information on exposure to crystalline silica, cristobalite, was obtained by record linkage of the cases and referents with a file which included all present and past workers at the diatomaceous earth plant and those who had worked at loading vessels with the product from the plant. RESULTS: Eight cases of sarcoidosis were found, six of which were in the exposed group. Of the 70 referents, 13 were exposed. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) was 13.2 (2.0 to 140.9). CONCLUSION: The odds ratios were high and there were some indications of a dose-response relation which will hopefully encourage further studies. To our knowledge this is the first study to indicate a relation between sarcoidosis and exposure to the crystalline silica, cristobalite.
Atmospheric deposition of metals originating from a variety of sources, including bitumen upgrading facilities and blowing dusts from landscape disturbances, is of concern in the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta, Canada. Mercury (Hg) is of particular interest as methylmercury (MeHg), a neurotoxin which bioaccumulates through foodwebs, can reach levels in fish and wildlife that may pose health risks to human consumers. We used spring-time sampling of the accumulated snowpack at sites located varying distances from the major developments to estimate winter 2012 Hg loadings to a ~20 000 km(2) area of the Athabasca oil sands region. Total Hg (THg; all forms of Hg in a sample) loads were predominantly particulate-bound (79 ± 12%) and increased with proximity to major developments, reaching up to 1000 ng m(-2). MeHg loads increased in a similar fashion, reaching up to 19 ng m(-2) and suggesting that oil sands developments are a direct source of MeHg to local landscapes and water bodies. Deposition maps, created by interpolation of measured Hg loads using geostatistical software, demonstrated that deposition resembled a bullseye pattern on the landscape, with areas of maximum THg and MeHg loadings located primarily between the Muskeg and Steepbank rivers. Snowpack concentrations of THg and MeHg were significantly correlated (r = 0.45-0.88, p
From July to August 2010, the IBRV ARAON journeyed to the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean to monitor bacterial variation in Arctic summer surface-waters, and temperature, salinity, fluorescence, and nutrient concentrations were determined during the ice-melting season. Among the measured physicochemical parameters, we observed a strong negative correlation between temperature and salinity, and consequently hypothesized that the melting ice decreased water salinity. The bacterial community compositions of 15 samples, includicng seawater, sea-ice, and melting pond water, were determined using a pyrosequencing approach and were categorized into three habitats: (1) surface seawater, (2) ice core, and (3) melting pond. Analysis of these samples indicated the presence of local bacterial communities; a deduction that was further corroborated by the discovery of seawater- and ice-specific bacterial phylotypes. In all samples, the Alphaproteobacteria, Flavobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria taxa composed the majority of the bacterial communities. Among these, Alphaproteobacteria was the most abundant and present in all samples, and its variation differed among the habitats studied. Linear regression analysis suggested that changes in salinity could affect the relative proportion of Alphaproteobacteria in the surface water. In addition, the species-sorting model was applied to evaluate the population dynamics and environmental heterogeneity in the bacterial communities of surface mixed layer in the Arctic Ocean during sea-ice melting.
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It has been known for a long time that mammalian peroxisomes are extremely fragile in vitro. Changes in the morphological appearance and leakage of proteins from purified particles demonstrate that peroxisomes are damaged during isolation. However, some properties of purified peroxisomes, e.g., the latency of catalase, imply that their membranes are not disrupted. In the current study, we tried to ascertain the mechanism of this unusual behavior of peroxisomes in vitro. Biochemical and morphological examination of isolated peroxisomes subjected to sonication or to freezing and thawing showed that the membrane of the particles seals after disruption, restoring permeability properties. Transient damage of the membrane leads to the formation of peroxisomal "ghosts" containing nucleoid but nearly devoid of matrix proteins. The rate of leakage of matrix proteins from broken particles depended inversely on their molecular size. The effect of polyethylene glycols on peroxisomal integrity indicated that these particles are osmotically sensitive. Peroxisomes suffered an osmotic lysis during isolation that was resistant to commonly used low-molecular-mass osmoprotectors, e.g., sucrose. Damage to peroxisomes was partially prevented by applying more "bulky" osmoprotectors, e.g., polyethylene glycol 1500. A method was developed for the isolation of highly purified and nearly intact peroxisomes from rat liver by using polyethylene glycol 1500 as an osmoprotector.
We investigated microbial life preserved in a hydrothermally inactive silica–barite chimney in comparison with an active barite chimney and sediment from the Loki's Castle low-temperature venting area at the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge (AMOR) using lipid biomarkers. Carbon and sulfur isotopes were used to constrain possible metabolic pathways. Multiple sulfur (dd34S, ?33S) isotopes on barite over a cross section of the extinct chimney range between 21.1 and 22.5 % in d34S, and between 0.020 and 0.034 % in ?33S, indicating direct precipitation from seawater. Biomarker distributions within two discrete zones of this silica–barite chimney indicate a considerable difference in abundance and diversity of microorganisms from the chimney exterior to the interior. Lipids in the active and inactive chimney barite and sediment were dominated by a range of 13C-depleted unsaturated and branched fatty acids with d13C values between -39.7 and -26.7 %, indicating the presence of sulfur-oxidizing and sulfate-reducing bacteria. The majority of lipids (99.5 %) in the extinct chimney interior that experienced high temperatures were of archaeal origin. Unusual glycerol monoalkyl glycerol tetraethers (GMGT) with 0–4 rings were the dominant compounds suggesting the presence of mainly (hyper-) thermophilic archaea. Isoprenoid hydrocarbons with d13C values as low as -46 % also indicated the presence of methanogens and possibly methanotrophs.
The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the possible association between bronchitis and exposure to man-made mineral fibres. The basis of the study has been cross-sectional data from the early 70's describing some 135,000 male Swedish construction workers. Data included information about exposure to asbestos and man-made mineral fibres, smoking habits and questions concerning symptoms of bronchitis. In non-smokers the rate-ratio of people exposed at least 3 years to non-exposed people is 2.68. In former smokers and in present smokers the corresponding values are 1.67 and 1.51 respectively.