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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 7, Issue 12 (December 2010), Pages 4100-4304

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Toxicity from Metals, Old Menaces and New Threats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4278-4280; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124278
Received: 16 November 2010 / Accepted: 15 December 2010 / Published: 20 December 2010
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (56 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Metals make up the bulk of the periodic table and range from the very light (e.g., beryllium) to the very heavy (e.g., the actinides). Metals are important constituents of life, drive economic activity and industry, but can also be a hazard to [...] Read more.
Metals make up the bulk of the periodic table and range from the very light (e.g., beryllium) to the very heavy (e.g., the actinides). Metals are important constituents of life, drive economic activity and industry, but can also be a hazard to human health. The metals can be roughly divided into three groups. The first being those metals, such as iron and zinc, that are essential to human life and have a wide therapeutic dose range. The second group of metals, such as lead, mercury, and uranium, has no known biological role and are toxic even at low doses. The third group of metals, such as selenium and manganese, has a role in maintaining human health but has a very narrow dose range that, when exceeded, produces toxic effects. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals and Health)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Development of a Combined Real Time Monitoring and Integration Analysis System for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4100-4110; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124100
Received: 11 November 2010 / Accepted: 26 November 2010 / Published: 26 November 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (245 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A combined integration analysis and real time monitoring (Peak Capture System) system was developed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Individual integration analysis and real time monitoring can be used to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze VOCs in the atmosphere and in indoor environments [...] Read more.
A combined integration analysis and real time monitoring (Peak Capture System) system was developed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Individual integration analysis and real time monitoring can be used to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze VOCs in the atmosphere and in indoor environments and determine the variation in total VOC (TVOC) concentration with time, respectively. In the Peak Capture System, real time monitoring was used to predict future elevations in the TVOC concentration (peak), and this was used an indicator of when to collect (capture) ambient air samples for integration analysis. This enabled qualitative and quantitative analysis of VOCs when the TVOC concentration was high. We developed an algorithm to predict variation in the TVOC concentration, and constructed an automatic system to initiate air sampling for integration analysis. With the system, auto-sampling and analysis of VOCs in a conventional house were conducted. In comparison with background concentrations, the results of peak analysis enabled identification of compounds whose concentration rose. This also enabled an evaluation of possible VOC emission sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Pollution and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle A Novel Methodology to Evaluate Health Impacts Caused by VOC Exposures Using Real-Time VOC and Holter Monitors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4127-4138; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124127
Received: 18 October 2010 / Accepted: 18 November 2010 / Published: 30 November 2010
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are known to show neurotoxic effects, the detailed mechanisms of the action of VOCs on the autonomic nervous system are not fully understood, partially because objective and quantitative measures to indicate neural abnormalities are still under [...] Read more.
While various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are known to show neurotoxic effects, the detailed mechanisms of the action of VOCs on the autonomic nervous system are not fully understood, partially because objective and quantitative measures to indicate neural abnormalities are still under development. Nevertheless, heart rate variability (HRV) has been recently proposed as an indicative measure of the autonomic effects. In this study, we used HRV as an indicative measure of the autonomic effrects to relate their values to the personal concentrations of VOCs measured by a real-time VOC monitor. The measurements were conducted for 24 hours on seven healthy subjects under usual daily life conditions. The results showed HF powers were significantly decreased for six subjects when the changes of total volatile organic compound (TVOC) concentrations were large, indicating a suppression of parasympathetic nervous activity induced by the exposure to VOCs. The present study indicated these real-time monitoring was useful to characterize the trends of VOC exposures and their effects on autonomic nervous system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Pollution and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Dyslipidaemia and Undernutrition in Children from Impoverished Areas of Maceió, State of Alagoas, Brazil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4139-4151; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124139
Received: 11 October 2010 / Revised: 23 November 2010 / Accepted: 24 November 2010 / Published: 30 November 2010
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (209 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chronic undernutrition causes reduced growth and endocrine adaptations in order to maintain basic life processes. In the present study, the biochemical profiles of chronically undernourished children were determined in order to test the hypothesis that chronic undernutrition also causes changes in lipid [...] Read more.
Chronic undernutrition causes reduced growth and endocrine adaptations in order to maintain basic life processes. In the present study, the biochemical profiles of chronically undernourished children were determined in order to test the hypothesis that chronic undernutrition also causes changes in lipid profile in pre-school children. The study population comprised 80 children aged between 12 and 71 months, including 60 with moderate undernutrition [height-for-age Z (HAZ) scores ≤ −2 and > −3] and 20 with severe undernutrition (HAZ scores ≤ −3). Socioeconomic, demographic and environmental data were obtained by application of a questionnaire, and anthropometric measurements and information relating to sex, age and feeding habits were collected by a trained nutritionist. Blood samples were analysed for haemoglobin, vitamin A, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and serum lipids, while cortisol was assayed in the saliva. Faecal samples were submitted to parasitological investigation. Analysis of variance and χ2 methods were employed in order to select the variables that participated in the multivariate logistic regression analysis. The study population was socioeconomically homogeneous, while the lack of a treated water supply was clearly associated with the degree of malnutrition. Most children were parasitised and anaemia was significantly more prevalent among the severely undernourished. Levels of IGF-1 decreased significantly with increasing severity of undernutrition. Lipid analysis revealed that almost all of the children had dyslipidemia, while low levels of high-density lipoprotein were associated with the degree of undernutrition. It is concluded that chronic malnutrition causes endocrine changes that give rise to alterations in the metabolic profile of pre-school children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Malnutrition and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Racial/Ethnic Differences in Perceived Smoking Prevalence: Evidence from a National Survey of Teens
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4152-4168; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124152
Received: 4 November 2010 / Revised: 26 November 2010 / Accepted: 1 December 2010 / Published: 2 December 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (201 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prior studies show that perceived smoking prevalence is a significant predictor of smoking initiation. In this study, we examine racial/ethnic differences in perceived smoking prevalence and racial/ethnic differences in exposure to contextual factors associated with perceived smoking prevalence. We used cross-sectional time [...] Read more.
Prior studies show that perceived smoking prevalence is a significant predictor of smoking initiation. In this study, we examine racial/ethnic differences in perceived smoking prevalence and racial/ethnic differences in exposure to contextual factors associated with perceived smoking prevalence. We used cross-sectional time series data from the Legacy Media Tracking Surveys (LMTS), a national sample of 35,000 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States. Perceived smoking prevalence was the primary outcome variable, measured using an LMTS question: “Out of every 10 people your age, how many do you think smoke?” Multivariable models were estimated to assess the association between perceived smoking prevalence; race/ethnicity; and exposure to social contextual factors. Findings indicate that African American, Hispanic, and American Indian youth exhibit the highest rates of perceived smoking prevalence, while white and Asian youth exhibit the lowest. Minority youth are also disproportionately exposed to social contextual factors that are correlated with high perceived smoking prevalence. These findings suggest that disproportionate exposure to social contextual factors may partially explain why minority youth exhibit such high levels of perceived smoking prevalence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Smoking: Public Health, Science and Policy)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of the 2002 Delaware Smoking Ordinance on Heart Attack and Asthma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4169-4178; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124169
Received: 1 November 2010 / Revised: 23 November 2010 / Accepted: 29 November 2010 / Published: 2 December 2010
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (138 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the United States, smoking is the leading cause of death - having a mortality rate of approximately 435,000 people in 2000—accounting for 8.1% of all US deaths recorded that year. Consequently, we analyzed the Delaware Hospital Discharge Database, and identified state and non-state residents discharged with AMI or asthma for the years 1999 to 2004. Statistical data analysis compared the incidence of AMI or asthma for each group before (1999–2002) and after (2003–2004) the amendment. As a result, we found that pre-ordinance and post-ordinance quarterly rates of AMI for Delaware residents were 451 (se = 21) and 430 (se = 21) respectively, representing a 4.7% reduction. Over the same time period, there was negligible change in the incidence of AMI for non-Delaware residents. After adjusting for population growth, the Risk Ratio (RR) for asthma in Delaware residents post-ordinance was 0.95 (95% CI, 0.90 to 0.999), which represented a significant reduction (P = 0.046). By comparison, non-Delaware residents had an increased RR for asthma post-ordinance of 1.62 (95% CI, 1.46 to 1.86; P < 0.0001).The results suggest that Delaware’s comprehensive non-smoking ordinance effectively was associated with a statistically significant decrease in the incidence of AMI and asthma in Delaware residents when compared to non-Delaware residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Smoking: Public Health, Science and Policy)
Open AccessArticle Pregnancy Loss and Maternal Methemoglobin Levels: An Indirect Explanation of the Association of Environmental Toxics and Their Adverse Effects on the Mother and the Fetus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4203-4212; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124203
Received: 20 October 2010 / Revised: 29 November 2010 / Accepted: 4 December 2010 / Published: 13 December 2010
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (315 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this epidemiologic study was to point out a relationship between the exposure to products of coal combustion, and complications in pregnancy where one third of causes of stillbirth are still unknown. In the town of Labin (Croatia) a coal-powered thermoelectric power plant is the single major air polluter. We compared the records of miscarriages, premature births and stillbirths in two periods: the control and the exposure period. Data on reproductive loss was based on the records of pregnant women visiting for regular monthly pregnancy checkups. At the time of the epidemiological prospective study, 260 women (n = 138 in the clean period and n = 122 in the dirty period) were considered representative. The data were processed using Chi square and correlation tests. The frequencies of miscarriages and stillbirths were significantly lower in the control than in the exposure period (p < 0.05). Methemoglobinemia and stillbirths recorded over the “exposure” period are significantly higher than in the “control” period (p = 0.0205). The level of methemoglobin in the bloodstream is an worthy biomarker, predictor and precursor of environmental toxics’ adverse effects on the mother and fetus, and can indirectly explain the unrecognized level of fetal methemoglobin. Methemoglobin and heme, having prooxidant properties, also cause the early and late endothelial dysfunction of vital organs. Despite our retrospective epidemiological study findings, we emphasize that the rate of reproductive loss represents a hypothetical risk, which needs to be confirmed with further fetal clinical and anatomopatholgical researches about the effects of methemoglobin catabolism products on the fetal CNS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers: Environmental Research and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Sources of Propylene Glycol and Glycol Ethers in Air at Home
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4213-4237; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124213
Received: 16 October 2010 / Revised: 10 December 2010 / Accepted: 10 December 2010 / Published: 15 December 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (764 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Propylene glycol and glycol ether (PGE) in indoor air have recently been associated with asthma and allergies as well as sensitization in children. In this follow-up report, sources of the PGEs in indoor air were investigated in 390 homes of pre-school age [...] Read more.
Propylene glycol and glycol ether (PGE) in indoor air have recently been associated with asthma and allergies as well as sensitization in children. In this follow-up report, sources of the PGEs in indoor air were investigated in 390 homes of pre-school age children in Sweden. Professional building inspectors examined each home for water damages, mold odour, building’s structural characteristics, indoor temperature, absolute humidity and air exchange rate. They also collected air and dust samples. The samples were analyzed for four groups of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semi-VOCs (SVOCs), including summed concentrations of 16 PGEs, 8 terpene hydrocarbons, 2 Texanols, and the phthalates n-butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP), and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). Home cleaning with water and mop ≥ once/month, repainting ≥ one room prior to or following the child’s birth, and “newest” surface material in the child’s bedroom explained largest portion of total variability in PGE concentrations. High excess indoor humidity (g/m3) additionally contributed to a sustained PGE levels in indoor air far beyond several months following the paint application. No behavioral or building structural factors, except for water-based cleaning, predicted an elevated terpene level in air. No significant predictor of Texanols emerged from our analysis. Overall disparate sources and low correlations among the PGEs, terpenes, Texanols, and the phthalates further confirm the lack of confounding in the analysis reporting the associations of the PGE and the diagnoses of asthma, rhinitis, and eczema, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Pollution and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Estimation of Uncertainty in Tracer Gas Measurement of Air Change Rates
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4238-4249; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124238
Received: 16 November 2010 / Accepted: 14 December 2010 / Published: 16 December 2010
PDF Full-text (274 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Simple and economical measurement of air change rates can be achieved with a passive-type tracer gas doser and sampler. However, this is made more complex by the fact many buildings are not a single fully mixed zone. This means many measurements are [...] Read more.
Simple and economical measurement of air change rates can be achieved with a passive-type tracer gas doser and sampler. However, this is made more complex by the fact many buildings are not a single fully mixed zone. This means many measurements are required to obtain information on ventilation conditions. In this study, we evaluated the uncertainty of tracer gas measurement of air change rate in n completely mixed zones. A single measurement with one tracer gas could be used to simply estimate the air change rate when n = 2. Accurate air change rates could not be obtained for n ≥ 2 due to a lack of information. However, the proposed method can be used to estimate an air change rate with an accuracy of Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Pollution and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Estimating the Economic Impact of Climate Change on Cardiovascular Diseases—Evidence from Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4250-4266; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124250
Received: 28 September 2010 / Revised: 26 November 2010 / Accepted: 3 December 2010 / Published: 17 December 2010
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (356 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main purpose of this study was to investigate how climate change affects blood vessel-related heart disease and hypertension and to estimate the associated economic damage. In this paper, both the panel data model and the contingent valuation method (CVM) approaches are [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this study was to investigate how climate change affects blood vessel-related heart disease and hypertension and to estimate the associated economic damage. In this paper, both the panel data model and the contingent valuation method (CVM) approaches are applied. The empirical results indicate that the number of death from cardiovascular diseases would be increased by 0.226% as the variation in temperature increases by 1%. More importantly, the number of death from cardiovascular diseases would be increased by 1.2% to 4.1% under alternative IPCC climate change scenarios. The results from the CVM approach show that each person would be willing to pay US$51 to US$97 per year in order to avoid the increase in the mortality rate of cardiovascular diseases caused by climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Open AccessReview Pathophysiological Impact of Cigarette Smoke Exposure on the Cerebrovascular System with a Focus on the Blood-brain Barrier: Expanding the Awareness of Smoking Toxicity in an Underappreciated Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4111-4126; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124111
Received: 2 November 2010 / Revised: 18 November 2010 / Accepted: 19 November 2010 / Published: 26 November 2010
Cited by 30 | PDF Full-text (586 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent evidence has indicated that active and passive cigarette smoking are associated, in a dose-dependent manner, with dysfunction of normal endothelial physiology. Tobacco smoke (TS) may predispose individuals to atherogenic and thrombotic problems, significantly increasing the risk for ischemic manifestations such as [...] Read more.
Recent evidence has indicated that active and passive cigarette smoking are associated, in a dose-dependent manner, with dysfunction of normal endothelial physiology. Tobacco smoke (TS) may predispose individuals to atherogenic and thrombotic problems, significantly increasing the risk for ischemic manifestations such as acute coronary syndrome and stroke. Despite the strong evidence for an association between smoking and vascular impairment, the impact of TS exposure on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) has only been marginally addressed. This is a major problem given that the BBB is crucial in the maintenance of brain homeostasis. Recent data have also shown that chronic smokers have a higher incidence of small vessel ischemic disease (SVID), a pathological condition characterized by leaky brain microvessels and loss of BBB integrity. In the brain TS increases the risk of silent cerebral infarction (SCI) and stroke owing to the pro-coagulant and atherogenic effects of smoking. In this article we provide a detailed review and analysis of current knowledge of the pathophysiology of tobacco smoke toxicity at the cerebrovascular levels. We also discuss the potential toxicity of recently marketed “potential-reduced exposure products”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Smoking: Public Health, Science and Policy)
Open AccessReview New Perspectives in Monitoring Drinking Water Microbial Quality
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4179-4202; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124179
Received: 10 November 2010 / Accepted: 6 December 2010 / Published: 10 December 2010
Cited by 51 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The safety of drinking water is evaluated by the results obtained from faecal indicators during the stipulated controls fixed by the legislation. However, drinking-water related illness outbreaks are still occurring worldwide. The failures that lead to these outbreaks are relatively common and [...] Read more.
The safety of drinking water is evaluated by the results obtained from faecal indicators during the stipulated controls fixed by the legislation. However, drinking-water related illness outbreaks are still occurring worldwide. The failures that lead to these outbreaks are relatively common and typically involve preceding heavy rain and inadequate disinfection processes. The role that classical faecal indicators have played in the protection of public health is reviewed and the turning points expected for the future explored. The legislation for protecting the quality of drinking water in Europe is under revision, and the planned modifications include an update of current indicators and methods as well as the introduction of Water Safety Plans (WSPs), in line with WHO recommendations. The principles of the WSP approach and the advances signified by the introduction of these preventive measures in the future improvement of dinking water quality are presented. The expected impact that climate change will have in the quality of drinking water is also critically evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water and Health)
Open AccessReview Antimony Toxicity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4267-4277; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124267
Received: 15 November 2010 / Accepted: 15 December 2010 / Published: 20 December 2010
Cited by 66 | PDF Full-text (117 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Antimony toxicity occurs either due to occupational exposure or during therapy. Occupational exposure may cause respiratory irritation, pneumoconiosis, antimony spots on the skin and gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition antimony trioxide is possibly carcinogenic to humans. Improvements in working conditions have remarkably decreased [...] Read more.
Antimony toxicity occurs either due to occupational exposure or during therapy. Occupational exposure may cause respiratory irritation, pneumoconiosis, antimony spots on the skin and gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition antimony trioxide is possibly carcinogenic to humans. Improvements in working conditions have remarkably decreased the incidence of antimony toxicity in the workplace. As a therapeutic, antimony has been mostly used for the treatment of leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis. The major toxic side-effects of antimonials as a result of therapy are cardiotoxicity (~9% of patients) and pancreatitis, which is seen commonly in HIV and visceral leishmaniasis co-infections. Quality control of each batch of drugs produced and regular monitoring for toxicity is required when antimonials are used therapeutically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals and Health)
Open AccessReview Cellular and Mitochondrial Effects of Alcohol Consumption
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4281-4304; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124281
Received: 11 November 2010 / Revised: 6 December 2010 / Accepted: 7 December 2010 / Published: 21 December 2010
Cited by 43 | PDF Full-text (333 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Alcohol dependence is correlated with a wide spectrum of medical, psychological, behavioral, and social problems. Acute alcohol abuse causes damage to and functional impairment of several organs affecting protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism. Mitochondria participate with the conversion of acetaldehyde into acetate [...] Read more.
Alcohol dependence is correlated with a wide spectrum of medical, psychological, behavioral, and social problems. Acute alcohol abuse causes damage to and functional impairment of several organs affecting protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism. Mitochondria participate with the conversion of acetaldehyde into acetate and the generation of increased amounts of NADH. Prenatal exposure to ethanol during fetal development induces a wide spectrum of adverse effects in offspring, such as neurologic abnormalities and pre- and post-natal growth retardation. Antioxidant effects have been described due to that alcoholic beverages contain different compounds, such as polyphenols as well as resveratrol. This review analyzes diverse topics on the alcohol consumption effects in several human organs and demonstrates the direct participation of mitochondria as potential target of compounds that can be used to prevent therapies for alcohol abusers. Full article

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