Tag Archives: health effects

China Air Pollution Study has Serious Weaknesses; Non-conclusive

Peng Yin, Guojun He, Maoyong Fan, Kowk Yan Chiu, Maorong Fan, Chang Liu, An Xue, Tong Liu, Yuhang Pan, Quan Mu, Maigeng Zhou. Particulate air pollution and mortality in 38 of China’s largest cities: time series analysis. BMJ 2017;356:j667 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j667

The findings of this particular study (click here) and been seriously questioned (click here). If not considered, cigarette smoking is a huge confounding factor in any study involving the respiratory system. Confidence limits on the analysis must be considered when evaluating data.

Coffee consumption found to be safe

Chrysant SG The impact of coffee consumption on blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Expert review of cardiovascular therapy. 2017 Feb 3:1-6. doi: 10.1080/14779072.2017.1287563.

Introduction: Coffee is the most widely consumed beverage, next to water. However, there has been a long-standing controversy regarding its safety on blood pressure (BP) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and intuitively, physicians dissuaded their patients from coffee drinking.

Areas covered: This controversy was, primarily, based on older prospective studies or case reports, which showed a positive association of coffee drinking with the incidence of hypertension and CVD. In contrast to these reports, recent, well controlled, studies have demonstrated either a neutral or beneficial effect of moderate coffee consumption (3-4 cups/day), on BP, CVD, heart failure (HF), cardiac arrhythmias, or diabetes mellitus (DM). For the preparation of this special report, an English language focused search of the Medline database was conducted between 2010 and 2016 on studies with data on effect on the coffee consumption in patients with high BP, CVD, HF, cardiac arrhythmias or DM. Of the 94 abstracts reviewed, 34 pertinent papers were selected, and the findings from these papers together with collateral literature will be discussed in this special report.

Expert commentary: Based on the evidence from these studies, coffee consumption in moderation, is safe and is beneficial in both healthy persons as well as patients with high BP, CVD, HF, cardiac arrhythmias or DM. Therefore, coffee restriction is not warranted for these patients, although some caution should be exercised.

Lead in Urban Children, China

Zhong B, Giubilato E, Critto A, Wang L, Marcomini A, Zhang J. Probabilistic modeling of aggregate lead exposure in children of urban China using an adapted IEUBK model. The Science of the total environment. 2017 Feb 7. pii: S0048-9697(16)32629-8. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.164.

Lead, a ubiquitous pollutant throughout the environment, is confirmed to be neurotoxic for children by pulmonary and oral routes. As preschool children in China continue to be exposed to lead, we analyzed the available biomonitoring data for preschool children in urban China collected in the period 2004-2014 through a literature review. To identify apportionment of lead exposure sources for urban children in China, we modified the IEUBK model with a Monte Carlo module to assess the uncertainty and variability of the model output based on limited available exposure data and compared the simulated blood lead levels with the observed ones obtained through literature review. Although children’s blood lead levels in urban China decreased statistically over time for the included studies, changes in blood lead levels in three economic zones and seven age groups except for two age-specific groups were no longer significant. The GM-predicted BLLs and the GM-observed BLLs agreed within 1μg/dL for all fourteen cities. The 95% CIs for the predicted GMs and the observed distribution (GM±GSD) overlapped substantially. These results demonstrated the plausibility of blood lead prediction provided by the adapted IEUBK model. Lead exposure estimates for diet, soil/dust, air, and drinking water were 12.01±6.27μg/day, 2.69±0.89μg/day, 0.20±0.15μg/day, and 0.029±0.012μg/day, respectively. These findings showed that the reduction of lead concentrations in grains and vegetables would be beneficial to limit the risk of dietary lead exposure for a large proportion of preschool children in urban China.

Drinking Water Arsenic Inversely Associated with Suicide Rates, Italy

Pompili M, Vichi M, Dinelli E, Erbuto D, Pycha R, Serafini G, Giordano G, Valera P, Albanese S, Lima A, De Vivo B, Cicchella D, Rihmer Z, Fiorillo A, Amore M, Girardi P, Baldessarini RJ. Arsenic: Association of regional concentrations in drinking water with suicide and natural causes of death in Italy. Psychiatry research. 2017 Jan 18;249:311-317. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.041.

Arsenic, as a toxin, may be associated with higher mortality rates, although its relationship to suicide is not clear. Given this uncertainty, we evaluated associations between local arsenic concentrations in tapwater and mortality in regions of Italy, to test the hypothesis that both natural-cause and suicide death rates would be higher with greater trace concentrations of arsenic. Arsenic concentrations in drinking-water samples from 145 sites were assayed by mass spectrometry, and correlated with local rates of mortality due to suicide and natural causes between 1980 and 2011, using weighted, least-squares univariate and multivariate regression modeling. Arsenic concentrations averaged 0.969 (CI: 0.543-1.396) µg/L, well below an accepted safe maximum of 10µg/L. Arsenic levels were negatively associated with corresponding suicide rates, consistently among both men and women in all three study-decades, whereas mortality from natural causes increased with arsenic levels. Contrary to an hypothesized greater risk of suicide with higher concentrations of arsenic, we found a negative association, suggesting a possible protective effect, whereas mortality from natural causes was increased, in accord with known toxic effects of arsenic. The unexpected inverse association between arsenic and suicide requires further study.

Nitrate in Drinking Water and Colorectal Cancer; Indonesia

Fathmawati, Fachiroh J, Gravitiani E, Sarto. Nitrate in drinking water and risk of colorectal cancer in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part A. 2017 Jan 17:1-9. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2016.1260508.

Nitrate concentration in well water in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and its surroundings tended to increase rapidly from time to time, and it may be associated with an elevated risk for several types of cancer. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between nitrate in drinking water and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk occurrence. A case-control study was conducted in Yogyakarta Special Province. Pathologically confirmed 75 CRC patients and 75 controls were consulted and their individual well water was sampled and examined for nitrate concentrations. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to establish the association between nitrate and CRC risk development. There was a significant correlation between nitrate in drinking water and CRC occurrence, and this value was relatively stable after being adjusted for protein intake, smoking history, age, and family history of cancer. These findings demonstrated that the risk of CRC development was fourfold among those with >10 years of nitrate exposure from well water compared with those with ≤10 years of nitrate exposure. Consequently, a significant association between nitrate in drinking water and occurrence of CRC in Yogyakarta was established.

Global Cooling is More Deadly than Warming

Cold temperatures are by far a greater health hazard than warming. We’ve known this for quite awhile. 

Antonio Gasparrini, Yuming Guo, Masahiro Hashizume, Eric Lavigne, Antonella Zanobetti, Joel Schwartz, Aurelio Tobias, Shilu Tong, Joacim Rocklöv, Bertil Forsberg, Michela Leone, Manuela De Sario, Michelle L Bell, Yue-Liang Leon Guo, Chang-fu Wu, Haidong Kan, Seung-Muk Yi, Micheline de Sousa Zanotti Stagliorio Coelho, Paulo Hilario Nascimento Saldiva, Yasushi Honda, Ho Kim, Ben Armstrong. Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational studyLancet 2015; 386: 369–75

Background: Although studies have provided estimates of premature deaths attributable to either heat or cold in selected countries, none has so far offered a systematic assessment across the whole temperature range in populations exposed to different climates. We aimed to quantify the total mortality burden attributable to non-optimum ambient temperature, and the relative contributions from heat and cold and from moderate and extreme temperatures.

Methods: We collected data for 384 locations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA. We fitted a standard time-series Poisson model for each location, controlling for trends and day of the week. We estimated temperature–mortality associations with a distributed lag non-linear model with 21 days of lag, and then pooled them in a multivariate metaregression that included country indicators and temperature average and range. We calculated attributable deaths for heat and cold, defined as temperatures above and below the optimum temperature, which corresponded to the point of minimum mortality, and for moderate and extreme temperatures, defined using cutoff s at the 2·5th and 97·5th temperature percentiles.

Findings: We analysed 74 225 200 deaths in various periods between 1985 and 2012. In total, 7·71% (95% empirical CI 7·43–7·91) of mortality was attributable to non-optimum temperature in the selected countries within the study period, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from 3·37% (3·06 to 3·63) in Thailand to 11·00% (9·29 to 12·47) in China. The temperature percentile of minimum mortality varied from roughly the 60th percentile in tropical areas to about the 80–90th percentile in temperate regions. More temperature-attributable deaths were caused by cold (7·29%, 7·02–7·49) than by heat (0·42%, 0·39–0·44). Extreme cold and hot temperatures were responsible for 0·86% (0·84–0·87) of total mortality.

Interpretation: Most of the temperature-related mortality burden was attributable to the contribution of cold. The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather. This evidence has important implications for the planning of public-health interventions to minimise the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios.

h/t WUWT (click here)

Lead exposure and diabetes

Tyrrell JB, Hafida S, Stemmer P, Adhami A, Leff T. Lead (Pb) exposure promotes diabetes in obese rodents. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2017 Jan;39:221-226. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2016.10.007.

BACKGROUND: Pb (lead) exposure occurs at elevated frequency in urban inner city populations that also have high rates of obesity and diabetes.

OBJECTIVES: To determine if Pb can promote the development of diabetes in a setting of obesity, we examined the effect of Pb exposure on glucose metabolism in a rodent model of obesity.

METHODS: Adult female ZDF rats were exposed to Pb in drinking water for 24 weeks. Fasting blood glucose, insulin, and glucose tolerance were measured at regular intervals. Expression of hepatic gluconeogenic genes was measured in exposed and control animals and in cultured hepatoma cells treated with Pb.

RESULTS: Pb exposure induced fasting hyperglycemia after 8 weeks and glucose intolerance after 12 weeks of exposure. In addition, Pb-exposed animals showed elevated hepatic triglyceride levels and increased expression of the gluconeogenic genes PEPCK and glucose-6-phosphatase. In cultured rat hepatoma cells treatment with Pb stimulated PEPCK and glucose-6-phosphatase gene expression, suggesting a possible direct effect of Pb on hepatic gluconeogenic gene expression.

CONCLUSIONS: In the setting of obesity, Pb exposure is prodiabetic, causing fasting hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance in rats. A contributing factor to the metabolic effects of Pb may be the direct stimulation of hepatic gluconeogenic gene expression.