Daily Archives: April 26, 2015

Retrospective Modeling of Water Distribution System for Exposure Assessment an Academic Exercise

Once again exposure assessment is the primary limitation of a study. So much so here that the results are simply an academic exercise. In this case “These findings should be interpreted cautiously because of the study limitations…” really means the study results have no basis in reality.

Aschengrau A, Winter MR, Vieira VM, Webster TF, Janulewicz PA, Gallagher LG, Weinberg J, Ozonoff DM. Long-term health effects of early life exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated drinking water: a retrospective cohort study. Environmental health. 2015 Apr 12;14(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s12940-015-0021-z.

Background: While adult exposure to PCE is known to have toxic effects, there is little information on the long-term impact of prenatal and early childhood exposure. We undertook a retrospective cohort study to examine the effects of their early life exposure to PCE-contaminated drinking water. This retrospective cohort study examined whether prenatal and early childhood exposure to PCE-contaminated drinking water influenced the risk of a variety of chronic conditions among adults who were born between 1969 and 1983 in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts.

Methods: Eight hundred and thirty-one participants with prenatal and early childhood PCE exposure and 547 unexposed participants were studied. Individuals completed questionnaires to gather information on demographic characteristics, chronic conditions, and other sources of solvent exposure. The location of residences from birth through 1990 were used to estimate PCE exposure with U.S. EPA’s water distribution system modeling software (EPANET) modified to incorporate a leaching and transport model.
Results: No associations were observed between early life PCE exposure and current occurrence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, color blindness, near- and far sightedness and dry eyes. In contrast, a 1.8-fold increased risk of cancer (95% CI: 0.8, 4.0) was seen among individuals with any early life exposure. These results were based on 31 participants (23 exposed and 8 unexposed) who reported cancers at a variety of anatomical sites, particularly the cervix. A 1.5-fold increase in the risk of epilepsy (95% CI: 0.6, 3.6, based on 16 exposed and 7 unexposed participants) was also observed among individuals with any early life exposure that was further increased to 1.8 (95% CI: 0.7, 4.6) among those with exposure at or above the sample median.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the risk of epilepsy and certain types of cancer such as cervical cancer may be increased among adults who were exposed to PCE-contaminated drinking water exposure during gestation and early childhood. These findings should be interpreted cautiously because of the study limitations and confirmed in follow-up investigations of similarly exposed populations with medically-confirmed diagnoses. This relatively young study population should also be monitored periodically for subsequent changes in disease risk.

Click here for paper.

Powdered Activated Carbon in Deep Bed Filtration

Altmann J, Ruhl AS, Sauter D, Pohl J, Jekel M. How to dose powdered activated carbon in deep bed filtration for efficient micropollutant removal. Water Research. 2015 Apr 10;78:9-17. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.03.031.

Direct addition of powdered activated carbon (PAC) to the inlet of a deep bed filter represents an energy- and space-saving option to remove organic micropollutants (OMPs) during advanced wastewater treatment or drinking water purification. In this lab-scale study, continuous dosing, preconditioning a filter with PAC and combinations thereof were investigated as possible dosing modes with respect to OMP adsorption efficiency. Continuous dosing resulted in decreasing effluent concentrations with increasing filter runtime due to adsorption onto accumulating PAC in the filter bed. Approximately constant removal levels were achieved at longer filter runtimes, which were mainly determined by the dose of fresh PAC, rather than the total PAC amount embedded. The highest effluent concentrations were observed during the initial filtration stage. Meanwhile, preconditioning led to complete OMP adsorption at the beginning of filtration and subsequent gradual OMP breakthrough. PAC distribution in the pumice filter was determined by the loss on ignition of PAC and pumice and was shown to be relevant for adsorption efficiency. Preconditioning with turbulent upflow led to a homogenous PAC distribution and improved OMP adsorption significantly. Combining partial preconditioning and continuous dosing led to low initial effluent concentrations, but ultimately achieved concentrations similar to filter runs without preconditioning. Furthermore, a dosing stop prior to the end of filtration was suitable to increase PAC efficiency without affecting overall OMP removals.

Click here for paper (Open Source).