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Background: The lifelong exposure of the population to acrylamide has raised concerns about the possible health effects of the chemical. Data on the extent of exposure to acrylamide and its primary metabolite, glycidamide, are needed to aid in the assessment of potential health effects.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess human exposure to acrylamide and glycidamide in the general U.S. population through the measurement of hemoglobin adducts of acrylamide (HbAA) and glycidamide (HbGA).
Methods: HbAA and HbGA were measured in 7,166 subjects from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Stratified HbAA and HbGA data were reported by sex, age groups, race/ethnicity (Mexican American, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic white), and smoking status based on serum cotinine levels. Covariate-adjusted geometric means for each demographic group were calculated using multiple regression analysis.
Results: HbAA and HbGA levels ranged from 3 to 910 and from 4 to 756 pmol/g hemoglobin, respectively, with smokers having the highest levels overall. Tobacco smoke exposure in nonsmokers had a small but significant effect on HbAA and HbGA levels. Adjusted geometric mean levels for children 3–11 years of age were higher than for adults ≥ 60 years of age [mean (95% confidence interval): HbAA, 54.5 (49.1–51.5) and HbGA, 73.9 (71.3–76.6) vs. HbAA, 46.2 (44.3–48.2) and HbGA, 41.8 (38.7–45.2)]. Levels were highest in Mexican Americans [HbAA: 54.8 (51.9–57.8), HbGA: 57.9 (53.7–62.5)], whereas non-Hispanic blacks had the lowest HbGA levels [43.5 (41.1–45.9)].
Conclusions: U.S. population levels of acrylamide and glycidamide adducts are described. The high variability among individuals but modest differences between population subgroups suggest that sex, age, and race/ethnicity do not strongly affect acrylamide exposure. Adduct concentration data can be used to estimate relative exposure and to validate intake estimates.
Background: Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the highest-volume chemicals produced worldwide, and human exposure to BPA is thought to be ubiquitous. Thus, there are concerns that the amount of BPA to which humans are exposed may cause adverse health effects. Importantly, results from a large number of biomonitoring studies are at odds with the results from two toxicokinetic studies.
Objective: We examined several possibilities for why biomonitoring and toxicokinetic studies could come to seemingly conflicting conclusions.
Data sources: We examined > 80 published human biomonitoring studies that measured BPA concentrations in human tissues, urine, blood, and other fluids, along with two toxicokinetic studies of human BPA metabolism.
Data extraction and synthesis: The > 80 biomonitoring studies examined included measurements in thousands of individuals from several different countries, and these studies overwhelmingly detected BPA in individual adults, adolescents, and children. Unconjugated BPA was routinely detected in blood (in the nanograms per milliliter range), and conjugated BPA was routinely detected in the vast majority of urine samples (also in the nanograms per milliliter range). In stark contrast, toxicokinetic studies proposed that humans are not internally exposed to BPA. Some regulatory agencies have relied solely on these toxicokinetic models in their risk assessments.
Conclusions: Available data from biomonitoring studies clearly indicate that the general population is exposed to BPA and is at risk from internal exposure to unconjugated BPA. The two toxicokinetic studies that suggested human BPA exposure is negligible have significant deficiencies, are directly contradicted by hypothesis-driven studies, and are therefore not reliable for risk assessment purposes.
Background: Within the past 3 years, four major evaluations of bisphenol A (BPA) safety have been undertaken. However, these assessments have arrived at quite different conclusions regarding the safety of BPA at current human exposure levels.
Objectives: We compared the reasons provided by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) BPA risk assessment panel for their conclusion that human exposures are negligible with the conclusions reached by the other panels, with all panels having the same body of literature at their disposal.
Discussion: The EFSA panel dismissed ≥ 80 biomonitoring studies that documented significant levels of BPA exposure in humans, including internal exposures to unconjugated BPA, on the basis that they did not match a model of BPA metabolism. Instead, the EFSA panel relied on two toxicokinetic studies—conducted in 15 adults administered BPA—to draw conclusions about exposure levels in the population, including exposures of neonates.
Conclusions: As with all exposure assessments, models should be developed to explain actual data that are collected. In the case of BPA, samples from a large number of human subjects clearly indicate that humans are internally exposed to unconjugated BPA. The dismissal of these biomonitoring studies simply because their results do not conform to a model violates scientific principles. Expert panels should evaluate all data—including human biomonitoring studies—to make informed risk assessments.
Background: Perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) are ubiquitous in human sera worldwide. Biotransformation of the polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAPs) is a possible source of PFCA exposure, because PAPs are used in food-contact paper packaging and have been observed in human sera.
Objectives: We determined pharmacokinetic parameters for the PAP monoesters (monoPAPs) and PAP diesters (diPAPs), as well as biotransformation yields to the PFCAs, using a rat model.
Methods: The animals were dosed intravenously or by oral gavage with a mixture of 4:2, 6:2, 8:2, and 10:2 monoPAP or diPAP chain lengths. Concentrations of the PAPs and PFCAs, as well as metabolic intermediates and phase II metabolites, were monitored over time in blood, urine, and feces.
Results: The diPAPs were bioavailable, with bioavailability decreasing as the chain length increased from 4 to 10 perfluorinated carbons. The monoPAPs were not absorbed from the gut; however, we found evidence to suggest phosphate-ester cleavage within the gut contents. We observed biotransformation to the PFCAs for both monoPAP and diPAP congeners.
Conclusions: Using experimentally derived biotransformation yields, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) sera concentrations were predicted from the biotransformation of 8:2 diPAP at concentrations observed in human serum. Because of the long human serum half-life of PFOA, biotransformation of diPAP even with low-level exposure could over time result in significant exposure to PFOA. Although humans are exposed directly to PFCAs in food and dust, the pharmacokinetic parameters determined here suggest that PAP exposure should be considered a significant indirect source of human PFCA contamination.
Background: Reproductive behaviors—such as age of childbearing, parity, and breast-feeding prevalence—have changed over the same historical time period as emissions of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and may produce intergenerational differences in human PCB exposure.
Objectives: Our goal in this study was to estimate prenatal, postnatal, and lifetime PCB exposures for women at different ages according to year of birth, and to evaluate the impact of reproductive characteristics on intergenerational differences in exposure.
Methods: We used the time-variant mechanistic model CoZMoMAN to calculate human bioaccumulation of PCBs, assuming both hypothetical constant and realistic time-variant emissions.
Results: Although exposure primarily depends on when an individual was born relative to the emission history of PCBs, reproductive behaviors can have a significant impact. Our model suggests that a mother’s reproductive history has a greater influence on the prenatal and postnatal exposures of her children than it does on her own cumulative lifetime exposure. In particular, a child’s birth order appears to have a strong influence on their prenatal exposure, whereas postnatal exposure is determined by the type of milk (formula or breast milk) fed to the infant.
Conclusions: Prenatal PCB exposure appears to be delayed relative to the time of PCB emissions, particularly among those born after the PCB production phaseout. Consequently, the health repercussions of environmental PCBs can be expected to persist for several decades, despite bans on their production for > 40 years.
Background: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), which are used as flame retardants, have been found to be higher in residents of California than of other parts of the United States.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate the role of immigration to California on PBDE levels in Latino children.
Methods: We compared serum PBDE concentrations in a population of first-generation Mexican-American 7-year-old children (n = 264), who were born and raised in California [Center for Health Analysis of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study], with 5-year-old Mexican children (n = 283), who were raised in the states in Mexico where most CHAMACOS mothers had originated (Proyecto Mariposa).
Results: On average, PBDE serum concentrations in the California Mexican-American children were three times higher than their mothers’ levels during pregnancy and seven times higher than concentrations in the children living in Mexico. The PBDE serum concentrations were higher in the Mexican-American children regardless of length of time their mother had resided in California or the duration of the child’s breast-feeding. These data suggest that PBDE serum concentrations in these children resulted primarily from postnatal exposure.
Conclusions: Latino children living in California have much higher PBDE serum levels than their Mexican counterparts. Given the growing evidence documenting potential health effects of PBDE exposure, the levels in young children noted in this study potentially present a major public health challenge, especially in California. In addition, as PBDEs are being phased out and replaced by other flame retardants, the health consequences of these chemical replacements should be investigated and weighed against their purported fire safety benefits.
Context: For the general population, the dominant source of exposure to dioxin-like compounds is food. As part of the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study (UMDES), we measured selected polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in serum of 946 subjects who were a representative sample of the general population in five Michigan counties.
Case presentation: The total toxic equivalency (TEQ; based on 2005 World Health Organization toxic equivalency factors) of serum from the index case was 211 ppt on a lipid-adjusted basis, which was the highest value observed in the UMDES study population. This subject had no apparent opportunity for exposure to dioxins, except that she had lived on property with soil contaminated with dioxins for almost 30 years, and had been a ceramics hobbyist for > 30 years. Soil from her property and clay that she used for ceramics were both contaminated with dioxins, but the congener patterns differed.
Discussion: The congener patterns in this subject’s serum, soil, and ceramic clay suggest strongly that the dioxin contamination in clay and not soil was the dominant source of dioxin contamination in her serum.Relevance to public health practice: It appears that ceramic clay, in particular the process of firing clay with unvented kilns, can be a significant nonfood and nonindustrial source of human exposure to dioxins among ceramics hobbyists. The extent of human exposure from ceramic clay is unclear, but it may be widespread. Further work is needed to more precisely characterize the routes of exposure.
Objective: Our aim was to investigate exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in a young urban population in a developing country, with focus on potentially highly exposed children working informally as scrap scavengers at a large municipal waste disposal site. We also set out to investigate whether hydroxylated metabolites, which not hitherto have been found retained in humans, could be detected.
Methods: We assessed PBDEs in pooled serum samples obtained in 2002 from children 11–15 years of age, working and sometimes also living at the municipal waste disposal site in Managua, and in nonworking urban children. The influence of fish consumption was evaluated in the children and in groups of women 15–44 years of age who differed markedly in their fish consumption. Hydroxylated PBDEs were assessed as their methoxylated derivates. The chemical analyses were performed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, using authentic reference substances.
Results: The children living and working at the waste disposal site showed very high levels of medium brominated diphenyl ethers. The levels observed in the referent children were comparable to contemporary observations in the United States. The exposure pattern was consistent with dust being the dominating source. The children with the highest PBDE levels also had the highest levels of hydroxylated metabolites.
Conclusions: Unexpectedly, very high levels of PBDEs were found in children from an urban area in a developing country. Also, for the first time, hydroxylated PBDE metabolites were found to bioaccumulate in human serum.
background: California children’s exposures to polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants (PBDEs) are among the highest worldwide. PBDEs are known endocrine disruptors and neurotoxicants in animals.
Objective: Here we investigate the relation of in utero and child PBDE exposure to neurobehavioral development among participants in CHAMACOS (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas), a California birth cohort.
Methods: We measured PBDEs in maternal prenatal and child serum samples and examined the association of PBDE concentrations with children’s attention, motor functioning, and cognition at 5 (n = 310) and 7 years of age (n = 323).
Results: Maternal prenatal PBDE concentrations were associated with impaired attention as measured by a continuous performance task at 5 years and maternal report at 5 and 7 years of age, with poorer fine motor coordination—particularly in the nondominant—at both age points, and with decrements in Verbal and Full-Scale IQ at 7 years. PBDE concentrations in children 7 years of age were significantly or marginally associated with concurrent teacher reports of attention problems and decrements in Processing Speed, Perceptual Reasoning, Verbal Comprehension, and Full-Scale IQ. These associations were not altered by adjustment for birth weight, gestational age, or maternal thyroid hormone levels.
Conclusions: Both prenatal and childhood PBDE exposures were associated with poorer attention, fine motor coordination, and cognition in the CHAMACOS cohort of school-age children. This study, the largest to date, contributes to growing evidence suggesting that PBDEs have adverse impacts on child neurobehavioral development.
Archived samples collected from 1995 to 1997 in the National Human Exposure Assessment Survey (NHEXAS) in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 (R5) and the Children’s Study (CS) in Minnesota were analyzed for total arsenic, arsenate [As(V)], arsenite, dimethyl arsenic acid (DMA), monomethyl arsenic acid (MMA), arsenobetaine (AsB), and arsenocholine. Samples for the CS included drinking water, urine, hair, and dust; both studies included food (duplicate plate, composited 4-day food samples from participants). Except for AsB and As(V), the levels for As species measured in the food and drinking water samples were very low or nonexistent. The analytical methods used for measuring As species were sensitive to < 1 ppb. During the analysis of food and drinking water samples, chromatographic peaks appeared that contained As, but they did not correspond to those being quantified. Thus, in some samples, the sum of the individual As species levels was less than the total As level measured because the unknown forms of As were not quantified. On the other hand, total As was detectable in almost all samples (>90%) except for hair (47%), indicating that the analytical method was sufficiently sensitive. Population distributions of As concentrations measured in drinking water, food (duplicate plate), dust, urine, and hair were estimated. Exposures to total As in food for children in the CS were about twice as high as in the general R5 population (medians of 17.5 ppb and 7.72 ppb, respectively). In addition, AsB was the most frequently detected form of As in food eaten by the participants, while As(V) was only rarely detected. Thus, the predominant dietary exposure was from an organic form of As. The major form of As in drinking water was As(V). Spearman (rank) correlations and Pearson (log-concentration scale) correlations between the biomarkers (urine, hair) and the other measures (food, drinking water, dust) and urine versus hair were performed. In the NHEXAS CS, total As and AsB in the food eaten were significantly correlated with their levels in urine. Also, levels of As(V) in drinking water correlated with DMA and MMA in urine. Arsenic levels in dust did not show a relationship with urine or hair levels, and no relationship was observed for food, drinking water, and dust with hair. Urine samples were collected on days 3, 5, and 7 of participants’ monitoring periods. Total As levels in urine were significantly associated across the three pairwise combinations—i.e., day 3 versus day 5, day 3 versus day 7, and day 5 versus day 7. Because the half-life of As in the body is approximately 3 days, this suggests that some exposure occurred continually from day to day. This trend was also observed for AsB, suggesting that food is primarily responsible for the continual exposure. DMA and MMA in urine were also significantly correlated but not in all combinations.
The aim of the present study was to model apparent serum half-lives of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) with 7–10 bromine substituents. Workers with occupational exposure to PBDEs have elevated serum levels of PBDEs, but these substances are also found in the general population and are ubiquitous environmental contaminants. The calculations were based on exposure assessments of rubber workers (manufactured flame-retarded rubber compound) and electronics dismantlers who donated blood during a period with no work-related exposures to PBDEs, and referents without any known occupational exposure (clerks, cleaners, and abattoir workers). The workers had previously been found to have elevated levels of high- and medium-brominated diphenyl ethers compared with the referent populations. We performed nonlinear mixed-effects modeling of kinetics, using data from previous and present chemical analyses. The calculated apparent half-life for decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209) was 15 days (95% confidence interval, 11–18 days). The three nona-BDEs and four octa-BDE congeners were found to have half-lives of 18–39 and 37–91 days, respectively. BDE-209 has a short half-life in human blood. Because BDE-209 is commonly present in humans in general, the results of this study imply that humans must be more or less continuously exposed to BDE-209 to sustain the serum concentrations observed. BDE-209 is more readily transformed and/or eliminated than are lower brominated diphenyl ether congeners, and human health risk must be assessed accordingly.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a major class of flame retardants, are ubiquitous environmental contaminants with particularly high concentrations in humans from the United States. This study is a first attempt to report and compare PBDE concentrations in blood drawn from a family. Serum samples from family members collected at two sampling occasions 90 days apart were analyzed for PBDE congeners. Concentrations of the lower-brominated PBDEs were similar at the two sampling times for each family member, with children’s levels 2- to 5-fold higher than those of their parents. Concentrations of, for example, 2,2′,4,4′-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) varied from 32 ng/g lipid weight (lw) in the father to 60, 137, and 245 ng/g lw in the mother, child, and toddler, respectively. Decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209) concentrations differed significantly between the two samplings. September concentrations in the father, mother, child, and toddler were 23, 14, 143, and 233 ng/g lw, respectively. December concentrations (duplicate results from the laboratory) were 2 and 3, 4 and 4, 9 and 12, and 19 and 26 ng/g lw, respectively. Parents’ ∑PBDE concentrations approached U.S. median concentrations, with children’s concentrations near the maximum (top 5%) found in U.S. adults. The youngest child had the highest concentrations of all PBDE congeners, suggesting that younger children are more exposed to PBDEs than are adults. Our estimates indicate that house dust contributes to children’s higher PBDE levels. BDE-209 levels for all family members were 10-fold lower at the second sampling. The short half-life of BDE-209 (15 days) indicates that BDE-209 levels can decrease rapidly in response to decreased exposures. This case study suggests that children are at higher risk for PBDE exposures and, accordingly, face higher risks of PBDE-related health effects than adults.
Background: Radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) of mobile communication systems are widespread in the living environment, yet their effects on humans are uncertain despite a growing body of literature.
Objectives: We investigated the influence of a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) base station-like signal on well-being and cognitive performance in subjects with and without self-reported sensitivity to RF EMF.
Methods: We performed a controlled exposure experiment (45 min at an electric field strength of 0, 1, or 10 V/m, incident with a polarization of 45° from the left back side of the subject, weekly intervals) in a randomized, double-blind crossover design. A total of 117 healthy subjects (33 self-reported sensitive, 84 nonsensitive subjects) participated in the study. We assessed well-being, perceived field strength, and cognitive performance with questionnaires and cognitive tasks and conducted statistical analyses using linear mixed models. Organ-specific and brain tissue–specific dosimetry including uncertainty and variation analysis was performed.
Results: In both groups, well-being and perceived field strength were not associated with actual exposure levels. We observed no consistent condition-induced changes in cognitive performance except for two marginal effects. At 10 V/m we observed a slight effect on speed in one of six tasks in the sensitive subjects and an effect on accuracy in another task in nonsensitive subjects. Both effects disappeared after multiple end point adjustment.
Conclusions: In contrast to a recent Dutch study, we could not confirm a short-term effect of UMTS base station-like exposure on well-being. The reported effects on brain functioning were marginal and may have occurred by chance. Peak spatial absorption in brain tissue was considerably smaller than during use of a mobile phone. No conclusions can be drawn regarding short-term effects of cell phone exposure or the effects of long-term base station-like exposure on human health.
Background: Only limited data exist on lactation as an exposure source of persistent perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) for children.
Objectives: We studied occurrence and levels of PFCs in human milk in relation to maternal serum together with the temporal trend in milk levels between 1996 and 2004 in Sweden. Matched, individual human milk and serum samples from 12 primiparous women in Sweden were analyzed together with composite milk samples (25–90 women/year) from 1996 to 2004.
Results: Eight PFCs were detected in the serum samples, and five of them were also above the detection limits in the milk samples. Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS) were detected in all milk samples at mean concentrations of 0.201 ng/mL and 0.085 ng/mL, respectively. Perfluorooctanesulfonamide (PFOSA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) were detected less frequently.
Discussion: The total PFC concentration in maternal serum was 32 ng/mL, and the corresponding milk concentration was 0.34 ng/mL. The PFOS milk level was on average 1% of the corresponding serum level. There was a strong association between increasing serum concentration and increasing milk concentration for PFOS (r = 0.7) and PFHxS (r = 0.8). PFOS and PFHxS levels in composite milk samples were relatively unchanged between 1996 and 2004, with a total variation of 20 and 32% coefficient of variation, respectively.
Conclusion: The calculated total amount of PFCs transferred by lactation to a breast-fed infant in this study was approximately 200 ng/day. Lactation is a considerable source of exposure for infants, and reference concentrations for hazard assessments are needed.
Background. Consumer products such as paints are a potentially significant source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxygenated VOCs. Paints for construction and household use have been rapidly changing from oil-based to water-based paints and are one of the commonly identified sources of oxygenated VOCs in indoor environments.
Objectives. Four different anti-freezing agents were identified and analyzed in 174 waterbased paint samples, purchased from popular paint markets in two metropolitan cities in Nigeria, Lagos and Ibadan.
Methods. Paint samples were solvent extracted using acetonitrile and milli-Q water. Antifreezing agents in the extracts were identified and quantified using gas chromatography (GC)-mass spectrometry and a GC-flame ionization detector, respectively.
Discussion. Four different anti-freezing agents were identified in the samples, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, triethylene glycol and propylene glycol. Their levels ranged from 1,000-1,980 ppm, diethylene glycol; 1,000–3,900 ppm, triethylene glycol; 1,090–2,510 ppm, propylene glycol and 1,350–2,710 ppm, ethylene glycol. Levels of anti-freezing agents in all of the paint samples were above the permissible limits of the European Union for VOCs in paints of 500 ppm. Results of multivariate statistical analyses clearly showed that triethylene glycol was the most commonly used anti-freezing agent in paints despite its numerous harmful health effects.
Conclusions. We concluded that water-based paints marketed in Nigeria contain high concentrations of anti-freezing agents, which have harmful environmental and human health effects, especially to sensitive individuals such as children.
Competing Interests. The authors declare no competing financial interests.