Daily Archives: September 21, 2014

Ecologic Study of Private Well Drinking Water and Birth Defects of Limited Usefulness

These authors appear to have extracted out some statistical relationship from this data set. Torturing the data like this must be necessary to get a paper published, but it does not provide any new reliable information. At one time (long long ago) authors were much more careful when reporting statistical relationships. But being careful and precise does not generate funding. Given the 95% CI the PR would hardly qualify as having any practical significance, regardless of the PR reported. Surely there are more obvious and significant health issues than this where epidemiology studies would be useful. But more and more ecological studies of drinking water like this are not getting us anywhere.

Sanders AP, Desrosiers TA, Warren JL, Herring AH, Enright D, Olshan AF, Meyer RE, Fry RC. Association between arsenic, cadmium, manganese, and lead levels in private wells and birth defects prevalence in North Carolina: a semi-ecologic study. BMC Public Health. 2014 Sep 15;14(1):955.

BACKGROUND: Toxic metals including arsenic, cadmium, manganese, and lead are known human developmental toxicants that are able to cross the placental barrier from mother to fetus. In this population-based study, we assess the association between metal concentrations in private well water and birth defect prevalence in North Carolina.

METHODS: A semi-ecologic study was conducted including 20,151 infants born between 2003 and 2008 with selected birth defects (cases) identified by the North Carolina Birth Defects Monitoring Program, and 668,381 non-malformed infants (controls). Maternal residences at delivery and over 10,000 well locations measured for metals by the North Carolina Division of Public Health were geocoded. The average level of each metal was calculated among wells sampled within North Carolina census tracts. Individual exposure was assigned as the average metal level of the census tract that contained the geocoded maternal residence. Prevalence ratios (PR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to estimate the association between the prevalence of birth defects in the highest category (>=90th percentile) of average census tract metal levels and compared to the lowest category (<=50th percentile).

RESULTS: Statewide, private well metal levels exceeded the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) or secondary MCL for arsenic, cadmium, manganese, and lead in 2.4, 0.1, 20.5, and 3.1 percent of wells tested. Elevated manganese levels were statistically significantly associated with a higher prevalence of conotruncal heart defects (PR: 1.6 95% CI: 1.1-2.5).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest an ecologic association between higher manganese concentrations in drinking water and the prevalence of conotruncal heart defects.

Click here for full article (Open Access).

Study Tracking Citizen Behavior, Attitudes on Fluoride is Nonsense

The dark side of the Internet and Social Media is that it can be used to track (spy on?) people and their attitudes without them even knowing or suspecting it. Here is a good example of abuse. A study such as this if taken seriously would be used to argue for further government regulation and control. On what basis do the authors presume that they alone can determine what is good information and what is bad information? Are they omniscient? The conclusion that people are being “misinformed” is simply prejudicial conjecture.

Mertz A, Allukian M. Community water fluoridation on the Internet and social media. J Mass Dent Soc. 2014 Summer;63(2):32-6.

In the United States, 95 percent of teens and 85 percent of adults use the Internet. Two social media outlets, Facebook and Twitter, reach more than 150 billion users. This study describes anti-fluoridation activity and dominance on the Internet and social media, both of which are community water fluoridation (CWF) information sources.

METHODS: Monthly website traffic to major fluoridation websites was determined from June 2011 to May 2012. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube fluoridation activity was categorized as “proCWF” or “anti-CWF.” Twitter’s anti-CWF tweets were further subcategorized by the argument used against CWF.

RESULTS: Anti-CWF website traffic was found to exceed proCWF activity five- to sixty-fold. Searching “fluoride” and “fluoridation” on Facebook resulted in 88 to 100 percent anti-CWF groups and pages; “fluoridation” on Twitter and YouTube resulted in 64 percent anti-CWF tweets and 99 percent anti-CWF videos, respectively. “Cancer, ” “useless, ” and “poisonous” were the three major arguments used against fluoridation.

CONCLUSIONS: Anti-fluoridation information significantly dominates the Internet and social media. Thousands of people are being misinformed daily about the safety, health, and economic benefits of fluoridation.

Arsenic and Fluoride in an Endorheic Basin Groundwater

Reyes-Gómez VM, Alarcón-Herrera MT, Gutiérrez M, López DN.
Arsenic and Fluoride Variations in Groundwater of an Endorheic Basin Undergoing Land-Use Changes. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2014 Sep 16.

The salt content of soil and water in endorheic basins within arid areas greatly restrict agricultural activities. Despite this limitation, these lands are increasingly used to accommodate new settlements and/or agricultural practices. This study focuses on the Laguna El Cuervo closed basin of northern Mexico and its underlying aquifer, which has been found to contain high concentrations of arsenic (As) and fluoride (F). The spatial distribution of As and F, their variations with time, and the impact of drought conditions and land-use changes were investigated using well data collected from a total of 27 wells in 2007, 2010, and 2011 (As data also collected in 2005). Four of these wells were used as monitoring wells. Data also included the As content of 140 surface sediments. Results showed that 54.5 % of the wells surpassed the As limit for drinking water of 0.025 mg L-1 and that 89.0 % surpassed he F limit of 1.5 mg L-1. Spatial analyses identified the areas in the center of the basin with the highest content of contaminants. Principal component and correlation analyses showed a co-occurrence of As and F with r = 0.55 for the 2011 data and 0.59 for the combined data. In contrast, the relationship of As and F concentrations to droughts and changes in land use were not as clearly shown, possibly because of the short time this area has been monitored. The high As and F concentrations in the groundwater may be limiting the availability of water within this basin, especially considering the greater groundwater demand foreseen for the future. Water-conservation practices, such as drip irrigation and artificial groundwater recharge, should be considered to maintain groundwater levels supportive of agricultural practices.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Evidence lacking to Associate Aluminum Exposure from Food and Drinking Water to Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

The relationship between the intake of aluminum in food and drinking water and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been the subject of dispute for well over 30 years. Even so, this review once again concludes that the scientific evidence linking food and drinking water exposure is lacking or unconvincing. This should not be a surprise given the low bioabsorption of aluminum.

Willhite CC, Karyakina NA, Yokel RA, Yenugadhati N, Wisniewski TM, Arnold IM, Momoli F, Krewski D. Systematic review of potential health risks posed by pharmaceutical, occupational and consumer exposures to metallic and nanoscale aluminum, aluminum oxides, aluminum hydroxide and its soluble salts. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2014 Oct;44(S4):1-80.

Aluminum (Al) is a ubiquitous substance encountered both naturally (as the third most abundant element) and intentionally (used in water, foods, pharmaceuticals, and vaccines); it is also present in ambient and occupational airborne particulates. Existing data underscore the importance of Al physical and chemical forms in relation to its uptake, accumulation, and systemic bioavailability. The present review represents a systematic examination of the peer-reviewed literature on the adverse health effects of Al materials published since a previous critical evaluation compiled by Krewski et al. (2007) . Challenges encountered in carrying out the present review reflected the experimental use of different physical and chemical Al forms, different routes of administration, and different target organs in relation to the magnitude, frequency, and duration of exposure. Wide variations in diet can result in Al intakes that are often higher than the World Health Organization provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI), which is based on studies with Al citrate. Comparing daily dietary Al exposures on the basis of “total Al”assumes that gastrointestinal bioavailability for all dietary Al forms is equivalent to that for Al citrate, an approach that requires validation. Current occupational exposure limits (OELs) for identical Al substances vary as much as 15-fold. The toxicity of different Al forms depends in large measure on their physical behavior and relative solubility in water. The toxicity of soluble Al forms depends upon the delivered dose of Al+ 3 to target tissues. Trivalent Al reacts with water to produce bidentate superoxide coordination spheres [Al(O2)(H2O4)+ 2 and Al(H2O)6 + 3] that after complexation with O2•-, generate Al superoxides [Al(O2•)](H2O5)]+ 2. Semireduced AlO2• radicals deplete mitochondrial Fe and promote generation of H2O2, O2 • – and OH•. Thus, it is the Al+ 3-induced formation of oxygen radicals that accounts for the oxidative damage that leads to intrinsic apoptosis. In contrast, the toxicity of the insoluble Al oxides depends primarily on their behavior as particulates. Aluminum has been held responsible for human morbidity and mortality, but there is no consistent and convincing evidence to associate the Al found in food and drinking water at the doses and chemical forms presently consumed by people living in North America and Western Europe with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Neither is there clear evidence to show use of Al-containing underarm antiperspirants or cosmetics increases the risk of AD or breast cancer. Metallic Al, its oxides, and common Al salts have not been shown to be either genotoxic or carcinogenic. Aluminum exposures during neonatal and pediatric parenteral nutrition (PN) can impair bone mineralization and delay neurological development. Adverse effects to vaccines with Al adjuvants have occurred; however, recent controlled trials found that the immunologic response to certain vaccines with Al adjuvants was no greater, and in some cases less than, that after identical vaccination without Al adjuvants. The scientific literature on the adverse health effects of Al is extensive. Health risk assessments for Al must take into account individual co-factors (e.g., age, renal function, diet, gastric pH). Conclusions from the current review point to the need for refinement of the PTWI, reduction of Al contamination in PN solutions, justification for routine addition of Al to vaccines, and harmonization of OELs for Al substances.

Click here for the full paper.