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Background This commentary evolved from a workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences titled "Superfund Contaminants: The Next Generation" held in Tucson, Arizona, in August 2009. All the authors were workshop participants. Objectives Our aim was to initiate a dynamic, adaptable process for identifying contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) that are likely to be found in future hazardous waste sites, and to identify the gaps in primary research that cause uncertainty in determining future hazardous waste site contaminants. Discussion Superfund-relevant CECs can be characterized by specific attributes: They are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, occur in large quantities, and have...
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Background: In 2010, Médecins Sans Frontières discovered a lead poisoning outbreak linked to artisanal gold processing in northwestern Nigeria. The outbreak has killed approximately 400 young children and affected thousands more. Objectives: Our aim was to undertake an interdisciplinary geological- and health-science assessment to clarify lead sources and exposure pathways, identify additional toxicants of concern and populations at risk, and examine potential for similar lead poisoning globally. Methods: We applied diverse analytical methods to ore samples, soil and sweep samples from villages and family compounds, and plant foodstuff samples. Results: Natural weathering of lead-rich gold ores before mining formed...
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Pesticides used in agriculture may cause adverse health effects among the population living near agricultural areas. However, identifying the populations most likely to be exposed is difficult. We conducted a feasibility study to determine whether satellite imagery could be used to reconstruct historical crop patterns. We used historical Farm Service Agency records as a source of ground reference data to classify a late summer 1984 satellite image into crop species in a three-county area in south central Nebraska. Residences from a population-based epidemiologic study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma were located on the crop maps using a geographic information system (GIS). Corn, soybeans, sorghum, and alfalfa were the major...
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In a statewide survey of 856 Iowa municipal drinking water supplies in 1986-1987 the Rathbun rural water system was found to contain elevated levels of triazine herbicides. Rates of low birth weight, prematurity, and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) in live singleton births during the period 1984-1990 by women living in 13 communities served by the Rathbun water system were compared to other communities of similar size in the same Iowa counties. The Rathbun communities had a greater risk of IUGR than southern Iowa communities with other surface sources of drinking water (relative risk = 1.8; 95% CI = 1.3, 2.7). Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that levels of the herbicides atrazine, metolachlor,...
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Based on the first National Study of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis (CWP) and the U.S. Geological Survey database of coal quality, we show that the prevalence of CWP in seven coal mine regions correlates with levels of bioavailable iron (BAI) in the coals from that particular region (correlation coefficient r = 0.94, p < 0.0015). CWP prevalence is also correlated with contents of pyritic sulfur (r = 0.91, p < 0.0048) or total iron (r = 0.85, p < 0.016) but not with coal rank (r = 0.59, p < 0.16) or silica (r = 0.28, p < 0.54). BAI was calculated using our model, taking into account chemical interactions of pyrite, sulfuric acid, calcite, and total iron. That is, iron present in coals can become bioavailable by pyrite...
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Background: Ingestion of inorganic arsenic in drinking water is recognized as a cause of bladder cancer when levels are relatively high (≥ 150 μg/L). The epidemiologic evidence is less clear at the low-to-moderate concentrations typically observed in the United States. Accurate retrospective exposure assessment over a long time period is a major challenge in conducting epidemiologic studies of environmental factors and diseases with long latency, such as cancer. Objective: We estimated arsenic concentrations in the water supplies of 2,611 participants in a population-based case–control study in northern New England. Methods: Estimates covered the lifetimes of most study participants and were based on a combination...
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The access of almost all 270 million U.S. residents to reliable, safe drinking water distinguishes the United States in the twentieth century from that of the nineteenth century. The United States is a relatively water-abundant country with moderate population growth; nonetheless, current trends are sufficient to strain water resources over time, especially on a regional basis. We have examined the areas of public water infrastructure, global climate effects, waterborne disease (including emerging and resurging pathogens), land use, groundwater, surface water, and the U.S. regulatory history and its horizon. These issues are integrally interrelated and cross all levels of public and private jurisdictions. We conclude...
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has committed to issuing in 2012 new or revised criteria designed to protect the health of those who use surface waters for recreation. For this purpose, the U.S. EPA has been conducting epidemiologic studies to establish relationships between microbial measures of water quality and adverse health outcomes among swimmers. New methods for testing water quality that would provide same-day results will likely be elements of the new criteria. Although the epidemiologic studies upon which the criteria will be based were conducted at Great Lakes and marine beaches, the new water quality criteria may be extended to inland waters (IWs). Similarities and important differences...
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BACKGROUND: As the population and demand for safe drinking water from domestic wells increase, it is important to examine water quality and contaminant occurrence. A national assessment in 2006 by the U.S. Geological Survey reported findings for 55 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) based on 2,401 domestic wells sampled during 1985-2002. OBJECTIVES: We examined the occurrence of individual and multiple VOCs and assessed the potential human-health relevance of VOC concentrations. We also identified hydrogeologic and anthropogenic variables that influence the probability of VOC occurrence. METHODS: The domestic well samples were collected at the wellhead before treatment of water and analyzed for 55 VOCs. Results were...
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An expert meeting was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and held in Stockholm on 15-18 June 1997. The objective of this meeting was to derive consensus toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and dioxinlike polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) for both human, fish, and wildlife risk assessment. Based on existing literature data, TEFs were (re)evaluated and either revised (mammals) or established (fish and birds). A few mammalian WHO-TEFs were revised, including 1,2,3,7,8-pentachlorinated DD, octachlorinated DD, occachlorinated DF, and PCB 77. These mammalian TEFs are also considered applicable for humans and wild mammalian species. Furthermore,...
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Epizootics of neoplasms in freshwater fish species are considered in relation to circumstantial and experimental evidence that suggest that some epizootics of neoplasia of hepatocellular, cholangiocellular, epidermal, and oral epithelial origin may be causally related to contaminant exposure. Although there is concern for the safety of consuming fish affected with neoplasms, this concern may be misdirected as direct transmission of cancer by ingesting cancerous tissue would seem unlikely. Of greater concern is the matter of toxic and cancer-causin chemicals present in edible fish that exhibit neoplasia as a symptom of past exposure via residence in a polluted waterway. There is ample evidence to suggest that contaminant...
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Background: Ingestion of inorganic arsenic in drinking water is recognized as a cause of bladder cancer when levels are relatively high (??? 150 ??g/L). The epidemiologic evidence is less clear at the low-to-moderate concentrations typically observed in the United States. Accurate retrospective exposure assessment over a long time period is a major challenge in conducting epidemiologic studies of environmental factors and diseases with long latency, such as cancer. Objective: We estimated arsenic concentrations in the water supplies of 2,611 participants in a population-based case-control study in northern New England. Methods: Estimates covered the lifetimes of most study participants and were based on a combination...
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The potential health and ecological effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals has become a high visibility environmental issue. The 1990s have witnessed a growing concern, both on the part of the scientific community and the public, that environmental chemicals may be causing widespread effects in humans and in a variety of fish and wildlife species. This growing concern led the Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) of the National Science and Technology Council to identify the endocrine disrupter issue as a major research initiative in early 1995 and subsequently establish an ad hoc Working Group on Endocrine Disrupters. The objectives of the working group are to 1) develop a planning framework...
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Abstract not supplied at this time
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This study sought to determine whether wild white sturgeon from the Columbia River (Oregon) were exhibiting signs of reproductive endocrine disruption. Fish were sampled in the free-flowing portion of the river (where the population is experiencing reproductive success) and from three reservoirs behind hydroelectric dams (where fish have reduced reproductive success). All of the 18 pesticides and almost all of the 28 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were analyzed in livers and gonads were detected in at least some of the tissue samples. Metabolites of p,p???-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) [p,p???-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and p,p???-1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDD)] were...
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We review nesting sea duck population declines in Alaska during recent decades and explore the possibility that contaminants may be implicated. Aerial surveys of the surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata), white-winged scoter (M. fusca), black scoter (M. nigra), oldsquaw (Clangula hyemalis), spectacled eider (Somateria fischeri), and Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri) show long-term breeding population declines, especially the latter three species. The spectacled eider was recently classified threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, three other diving ducks, which commonly winter in coastal areas, have declined from unknown causes. Large die-offs of all three species of scoters during molt, a...
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Human alteration of the nitrogen cycle has resulted in steadily accumulating nitrate in our water resources. The U.S. maximum contaminant level and World Health Organization guidelines for nitrate in drinking water were promulgated to protect infants from developing methemoglobinemia, an acute condition. Some scientists have recently suggested that the regulatory limit for nitrate is overly conservative; however, they have not thoroughly considered chronic health outcomes. In August 2004, a symposium on drinking-water nitrate and health was held at the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology meeting to evaluate nitrate exposures and associated health effects in relation to the current regulatory limit....
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Waste from agricultural livestock operations has been a long-standing concern with respect to contamination of water resources, particularly in terms of nutrient pollution. However, the recent growth of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) presents a greater risk to water quality because of both the increased volume of waste and to contaminants that may be present (e.g., antibiotics and other veterinary drugs) that may have both environmental and public health importance. Based on available data, generally accepted livestock waste management practices do not adequately or effectively protect water resources from contamination with excessive nutrients, microbial pathogens, and pharmaceuticals present in...
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Background: Hydraulic fracturing technologies, developed over the last 65 years, have only recently been combined with horizontal drilling to unlock oil and gas reserves previously deemed inaccessible. While these technologies have dramatically increased domestic oil and natural gas production, they have also raised concerns for the potential contamination of local water supplies with the approximately 1,000 chemicals used throughout the process, including many known or suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals.Objectives: We discuss the need for an endocrine component to health assessments for drilling-dense regions in the context of hormonal and anti-hormonal activities for chemicals used.Methods: We discuss the...


map background search result map search result map Linking geology and health sciences to assess childhood lead poisoning from artisanal gold mining in Nigeria Linking geology and health sciences to assess childhood lead poisoning from artisanal gold mining in Nigeria