Tag Archives: exposure

Exposure routes and health effects of microcystins

Massey IY, Yang F, Ding Z, Yang S, Guo J, Tezi C, Al-Osman M, Kamegni RB, Zeng W. Exposure Routes and Health Effects of Microcystins on Animals and Humans: A Mini-review. Toxicon. 2018 Jul 9. pii: S0041-0101(18)30306-4. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2018.07.010.

Microcystins (MCs) pollution has quickly risen in infamy and has become a major problem to public health worldwide. MCs are a group of monocyclic hepatotoxic peptides, which are produced by some bloom-forming cyanobacteria in water. More than 100 different MCs variants posing a great threat to animals and humans due to their potential carcinogenicity have been reported. To reduce MCs risks, the World Health Organization has set a provisional guideline of 1 µg/L MCs in human’s drinking water. This paper provides an overview of exposure routes of MCs into the human system and health effects on different organs after MCs exposure including the liver, intestine, brain, kidney, lung, heart and reproductive system. In addition, some evidences on human poisoning and deaths associated with MCs exposure are presented. Finally, in order to protect human life against the health threats posed by MCs, this paper also suggests some directions for future research that can advance MCs control and minimize human exposure to MCs.

Urinary Arsenic Levels Decline in US Population Served by Public Water Supplies

Nigra AE, Sanchez TR, Nachman KE, Harvey D, Chillrud SN, Graziano JH, Navas-Acien A. The effect of the Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level on arsenic exposure in the USA from 2003 to 2014: an analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Lancet Public Health. 2017 Nov;2(11):e513-e521. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(17)30195-0.

BACKGROUND: The current US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) for arsenic in public water systems (10 µg/L) took effect in 2006. Arsenic is not federally regulated in private wells. The impact of the 2006 MCL on arsenic exposure in the US, as confirmed through biomarkers, is presently unknown. We evaluated national trends in water arsenic exposure in the US, hypothesizing that urinary arsenic levels would decrease over time among participants using public water systems but not among those using well water. We further estimated the expected number of avoided lung, bladder, and skin cancer cases.

METHODS: We evaluated 14,127 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2014 with urinary dimethylarsinate (DMA) and total arsenic available. To isolate water exposure, we expanded a residual-based method to remove tobacco and dietary contributions of arsenic. We applied EPA risk assessment approaches to estimate the expected annual number of avoided cancer cases comparing arsenic exposure in 2013-2014 vs. 2003-2004.

FINDINGS: Among public water users, fully adjusted geometric means (GMs) of DMA decreased from 3.01 µg/L in 2003-2004 to 2.49 µg/L in 2013-2014 (17% reduction; 95% confidence interval 10%, 24%; p-trend<0.01); no change was observed among well water users (p-trend= 0.35). Assuming these estimated exposure reductions will remain similar across a lifetime, we estimate a reduction of 200 to 900 lung and bladder cancer cases per year depending on the approach used.

INTERPRETATION: The decline in urinary arsenic among public water but not private well users in NHANES 2003-2014 indicates that the implementation of the current MCL has reduced arsenic exposure in the US population. Our study supports prior work showing that well water users are inadequately protected against drinking water arsenic, and confirms the critical role of federal drinking water regulations in reducing toxic exposures and protecting human health.

Tea Drinking a Substantial Source of Fluoride Exposure, Ireland

Waugh DT, Potter W, Limeback H, Godfrey M. Risk Assessment of Fluoride Intake from Tea in the Republic of Ireland and its Implications for Public Health and Water Fluoridation. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2016 Feb 26;13(3). pii: E259. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13030259.

The Republic of Ireland (RoI) is the only European Country with a mandatory national legislation requiring artificial fluoridation of drinking water and has the highest per capita consumption of black tea in the world. Tea is a hyperaccumulator of fluoride and chronic fluoride intake is associated with multiple negative health outcomes. In this study, fifty four brands of the commercially available black tea bag products were purchased and the fluoride level in tea infusions tested by an ion-selective electrode method. The fluoride content in all brands tested ranged from 1.6 to 6.1 mg/L, with a mean value of 3.3 mg/L. According to our risk assessment it is evident that the general population in the RoI is at a high risk of chronic fluoride exposure and associated adverse health effects based on established reference values. We conclude that the culture of habitual tea drinking in the RoI indicates that the total cumulative dietary fluoride intake in the general population could readily exceed the levels known to cause chronic fluoride intoxication. Evidence suggests that excessive fluoride intake may be contributing to a wide range of adverse health effects. Therefore from a public health perspective, it would seem prudent and sensible that risk reduction measures be implemented to reduce the total body burden of fluoride in the population.

Household Polyphosphate Additives as a Source of Phosphate Intake, Slovenia

Jereb G, Poljšak B, Eržen I. Contribution of Drinking Water Softeners to Daily Phosphate Intake in Slovenia. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2017 Oct 6;14(10). pii: E1186. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14101186.

The cumulative phosphate intake in a typical daily diet is high and, according to several studies, already exceeds recommended values. The exposure of the general population to phosphorus via drinking water is generally not known. One of the hidden sources of phosphorus in a daily diet is sodium polyphosphate, commonly used as a drinking water softener. In Slovenia, softening of drinking water is carried out exclusively within the internal (household) drinking water supply systems to prevent the accumulation of limescale. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of sodium phosphates in the drinking water in Slovenia in different types of buildings, to determine residents’ awareness of the presence of chemical softeners in their drinking water, and to provide an exposure assessment on the phosphorus intake from drinking water. In the current study, the presence of phosphates in the samples of drinking water was determined using a spectrophotometric method with ammonium molybdate. In nearly half of the samples, the presence of phosphates as water softeners was confirmed. The measured concentrations varied substantially from 0.2 mg PO4/L to 24.6 mg PO4/L. Nearly 70% of the respondents were not familiar with the exact data on water softening in their buildings. It follows that concentrations of added phosphates should be controlled and the consumers should be informed of the added chemicals in their drinking water. The health risks of using sodium polyphosphate as a drinking water softener have not been sufficiently investigated and assessed. It is highly recommended that proper guidelines and regulations are developed and introduced to protect human health from adverse effects of chemicals in water intended for human consumption.

Child Exposure to Fluoride, Northern Argentina

Rocha RA, Calatayud M, Devesa V, Vélez D. Evaluation of exposure to fluoride in child population of North Argentina. Environmental science and pollution research international. 2017 Aug 8. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-9010-9.

Fluoride is an important element for humans. It inhibits initiation and progression of dental caries and stimulates bone formation. However, excessive intake may lead to the appearance of dental and/or skeletal fluorosis and a decrease in intellectual coefficient in child populations. This study evaluates exposure to fluoride in the child population of Chaco province (Argentina) by analysis of drinking water, food and its bioaccessible fraction (quantity of fluoride solubilised by gastrointestinal digestion and available for intestinal absorption) and urine as a biomarker of internal dose. The concentration of fluoride in drinking water varied between 0.050 and 4.6 mg L-1, and 80% of the samples exceeded the WHO drinking-water guideline value (1.5 mg L-1). Fluoride concentrations in food ranged between 0.80 and 3.0 mg kg-1 fresh weight (fw), being lower in bioaccessible fraction (0.43-1.9 mg kg-1, fw). On the basis of the consumption data declared for the young child population, fluoride intake varies between 4.1 and 6.5 mg day-1, greater than the level recommended for this age group. Moreover, in some cases, concentrations of fluoride found in urine (0.62-8.9 mg L-1) exceeded those reported in areas with declared fluorosis. All data obtained show the worrying situation of child population in this area of Argentina.

Human Exposure to Perfluorochemicals

Jian JM, Guo Y, Zeng L, Liang-Ying L, Lu X, Wang F, Zeng EY. Global distribution of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in potential human exposure source-A review. Environ Int. 2017 Aug 8;108:51-62. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.07.024.

Human exposure to perfluorochemicals (PFCs) has attracted mounting attention due to their potential harmful effects. Breathing, dietary intake, and drinking are believed to be the main routes for PFC entering into human body. Thus, we profiled PFC compositions and concentrations in indoor air and dust, food, and drinking water with detailed analysis of literature data published after 2010. Concentrations of PFCs in air and dust samples collected from home, office, and vehicle were outlined. The results showed that neutral PFCs (e.g., fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) and perfluorooctane sulfonamide ethanols (FOSEs)) should be given attention in addition to PFOS and PFOA. We summarized PFC concentrations in various food items, including vegetables, dairy products, beverages, eggs, meat products, fish, and shellfish. We showed that humans are subject to the dietary PFC exposure mostly through fish and shellfish consumption. Concentrations of PFCs in different drinking water samples collected from various countries were analyzed. Well water and tap water contained relatively higher PFC concentrations than other types of drinking water. Furthermore, PFC contamination in drinking water was influenced by the techniques for drinking water treatment and bottle-originating pollution.

TOX in Urine as an Exposure Surrogate, China

Y Kimura S, Zheng W, N Hipp T, M Allen J, D Richardson S. Total organic halogen (TOX) in human urine: A halogen-specific method for human exposure studies. Journal of environmental sciences (China). 2017 Aug;58:285-295. doi: 10.1016/j.jes.2017.04.008.

Disinfection by-products (DBPs) are a complex mixture of compounds unintentionally formed as a result of disinfection processes used to treat drinking water. Effects of long-term exposure to DBPs are mostly unknown and were the subject of recent epidemiological studies. However, most bioanalytical methods focus on a select few DBPs. In this study, a new comprehensive bioanalytical method has been developed that can quantify mixtures of organic halogenated compounds, including DBPs, in human urine as total organic chlorine (TOCl), total organic bromine (TOBr), and total organic iodine (TOI). The optimized method consists of urine dilution, adsorption to activated carbon, pyrolysis of activated carbon, absorption of gases in an aqueous solution, and halide analysis with ion chromatography and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Spike recoveries for TOCl, TOBr, and TOI measurements ranged between 78% and 99%. Average TOCl, TOBr, and TOI concentrations in five urine samples from volunteers who consumed tap water were 1850, 82, and 21.0μg/L as X, respectively. Volunteers who consumed spring water (control) had TOCl, TOBr, and TOI average concentrations in urine of 1090, 88, and 10.3μg/L as X, respectively. TOCl and TOI in the urine samples from tap water consumers were higher than the control. However, TOBr was slightly lower in tap water urine samples compared to mineral water urine samples, indicating other sources of environmental exposure other than drinking water. A larger sample population that consumes tap water from different cities and mineral water is needed to determine TOCl, TOBr, and TOI exposure from drinking water.