Daily Archives: March 7, 2014

Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity

P Grandjean, PJ Landrigan. Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity. Lancet Neurol. 2014 Mar;13(3):330-338. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70278-3.

Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency. Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence. In 2006, we did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. Since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants-manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered. To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy. Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity. To coordinate these efforts and to accelerate translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse.

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Fukushima remediation status and future plans

S.M.L. Hardie, I.G. McKinley. Fukushima remediation: status and overview of future plans. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.08.002


The 2011 accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, Japan, released large quantities of volatile radionuclides, requiring evacuation of a 20 km zone around the reactor site plus additional areas where fallout was particularly high. After decay of shorter-lived isotopes, off-site contamination is now dominated by 134/137Cs, with ∼1800 km2 having external gamma doses above 5 mSv y−1. Although the significance for health of such radiation levels is low, there has been a Government decision that these areas will be cleaned up to reduce exposure and allow displaced residents to return home. After initial tests at 2 sites, a further 11 demonstration remediation projects have been carried out. This work is coordinated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), with MCM providing support in quality assessment of radioactivity measurements, evaluating the success of different clean-up methods and developing guidelines for the next multi-year phase of large-scale remediation. This work provides a unique perspective on the progress of remediation, experience gained and issues that still need to be resolved – particularly associated with management of the huge quantities of waste generated. This knowledge base will also be important for the bigger challenge of on-site remediation, which will require decades to complete. Additionally, experience and tools may be transferable to cleaning nuclear legacy sites around the world, a problem that is often forgotten in the debate on national nuclear waste management.

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Decontamination of chemical agents from drinking water infrastructure

Jeff Szabo, Scott Minamyer. Decontamination of chemical agents from drinking water infrastructure: A literature review and summary Environment International. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.025

This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of chemical contamination on drinking water infrastructure (such as pipes) along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some chemical contaminants, but important data gaps remain. In general, data on chemical persistence on drinking water infrastructure is available for inorganics such as arsenic and mercury, as well as select organics such as petroleum products, pesticides and rodenticides. Data specific to chemical warfare agents and pharmaceuticals was not found and data on toxins is scant. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available chemical persistence data to other common drinking water infrastructure materials. Decontaminating agents that successfully removed persistent contamination from one infrastructure material should be used in further studies. Methods for sampling or extracting chemical agents from water infrastructure surfaces are needed.

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