Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency

Central Michigan University study: Plant-based fire retardants may offer a less toxic way to tame flames

28 Aug

Green Sciences Policy Institute provided an overview of retardants:

Flame retardant chemicals are used in commercial and consumer products (like furniture and building insulation) to meet flammability standards. Not all flame retardants present concerns, but the following types often do:
• Halogenated flame retardants (also known as organohalogen flame retardants) containing chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon.
• Organophosphorous flame retardants containing phosphorous bonded to carbon.
For these types of flame retardants:
• Some are associated with health and environmental concerns
• Many are inadequately tested for safety
• They provide questionable fire safety benefits as used in some products
Major uses
The major uses of flame retardant chemicals by volume in the U.S. are:
• Electronics
• Building insulation
• Polyurethane foam
• Wire and cable
Properties of Concern
Organohalogen and organophosphorous flame retardants often have one or more of the following properties of concern. Chemicals with all these properties are considered Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and present significant risks to human health and environment. https://greensciencepolicy.org/topics/flame-retardants/

See, University of Massachusetts – Amherst study: New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment https://drwilda.com/tag/tetrabromobisphenol-a/

Maria Temming of Science News reported in Plant-based fire retardants may offer a less toxic way to tame flames:

Flame retardants are going green.
Using compounds from plants, researchers are concocting a new generation of flame retardants, which one day could replace the fire-quenching chemicals added by manufacturers to furniture, electronics and other consumer products.
Many traditional synthetic flame retardants have come under fire for being linked to health problems like thyroid disruption and cancer (SN: 3/16/19, p. 14). And flame retardants that leach out of trash in landfills can persist in the environment for a long time (SN: 4/24/10, p. 12).
The scientists have not yet performed toxicity tests on the new plant-based creations. But “in general, things derived from plants are much less toxic … they’re usually degradable,” says Bob Howell, an organic chemist and polymer scientist at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.
Howell’s team presented the work August 26 in San Diego at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting.
The raw ingredients for these plant-based flame retardants were gallic acid — found in nuts and tea leaves — and a substance in buckwheat called 3,5-Dihydroxybenzoic acid. Treating these compounds with a chemical called phosphoryl chloride converted them into flame-retardant chemicals named phosphorus esters. Since these plant-based ingredients are common, and the chemical treatment process is straightforward, it should be relatively easy to manufacture these flame retardants on a large scale, Howell says.
Howell and colleagues tested the flame retardants in a resin used to make electronics, cars and planes. Compared with chips of pure resin, the resin laced with flame retardant took longer to go up in flames. And “it doesn’t burn for very long, once you get it going,” Howell says. Treated chips were snuffed out in less than 10 seconds, whereas untreated chips blazed until no resin remained. The experiments did not compare the plant-based flame retardants with traditional fire-resistant substances…. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/plant-based-fire-retardants-may-offer-less-toxic-way-tame-flames

Here is the press release from the American Chemical Society:

AUGUST 26, 2019

Flame retardants—from plants

by American Chemical Society

Flame retardants are present in thousands of everyday items, from clothing to furniture to electronics. Although these substances can help prevent fire-related injuries and deaths, they could have harmful effects on human health and the environment. Of particular concern are those known as organohalogens, which are derived from petroleum. Today, scientists report potentially less toxic, biodegradable flame retardants from an unlikely source: plants.
The researchers will present their results at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition.
“The best flame-retardant chemicals have been organohalogen compounds, particularly brominated aromatics,” says Bob Howell, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator. “The problem is, when you throw items away, and they go into a landfill, these substances can leach into the environment.”
Most organohalogen flame retardants are very stable. Microorganisms in the soil or water can’t degrade them, so they persist for many years in the environment, working their way up the food chain. In addition, some of the compounds can migrate out of items to which they are added, such as electronics, and enter household dust. Although the health effects of ingesting or breathing organohalogen flame retardants are largely unknown, some studies suggest they could be harmful, prompting California to ban the substances in children’s products, mattresses and upholstered furniture in 2018.
“A number of flame retardants are no longer available because of toxicity concerns, so there is a real need to find new materials that, one, are nontoxic and don’t persist, and two, don’t rely upon petroleum,” Howell says. His solution was to identify compounds from plants that could easily be converted into flame retardants by adding phosphorous atoms, which are known to quench flames. “We’re making compounds that are based on renewable biosources,” he says. “Very often they are nontoxic; some are even food ingredients. And they’re biodegradable—organisms are accustomed to digesting them.”
To make their plant-derived compounds, Howell and colleagues at the Center for Applications in Polymer Science at Central Michigan University began with two substances: gallic acid, commonly found in fruits, nuts and leaves; and 3,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid from buckwheat. Using a fairly simple chemical reaction, the researchers converted hydroxyl groups on these compounds to flame-retardant phosphorous esters. Then, the team added the various phosphorous esters individually to samples of an epoxy resin, a polymer often used in electronics, automobiles and aircraft, and examined the different esters’ properties with several tests.
In one of these tests, the researchers showed that the new flame retardants could strongly reduce the peak heat release rate of the epoxy resin, which reflects the intensity of the flame and how quickly it is going to spread. The plant-derived substances performed as well as many organohalogen flame retardants on the market. “As a matter of fact, they may be better,” Howell says. “Because gallic acid has three hydroxyl groups within the same molecule that can be converted to phosphorous esters, you don’t have to use as much of the additive, which reduces cost.”
The researchers also studied how the new compounds quench flames, finding that the level of oxygenation at the phosphorous atom determined the mode of action. Compounds with a high level of oxygenation (phosphates) decomposed to a substance that promoted char formation on the polymer surface, starving the flame of fuel. In contrast, compounds with a low level of oxygenation (phosphonates) decomposed to species that scavenged combustion-promoting radicals.
Howell’s team hasn’t yet performed toxicity tests, but he says that other groups have done such studies on similar compounds. “In general, phosphorous compounds are much less harmful than the corresponding organohalogens,” he notes. In addition, the plant-derived substances are not as volatile and are less likely to migrate from items into household dust. Howell hopes that the new flame retardants will attract the attention of a company that could help bring them to market, he says.
________________________________________
Explore further
Debate on banning organohalogen flame retardants heats up

More information: Phosphorus flame retardants from crop plant phenolic acids, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition.
Abstract
While polymeric materials have had an enormously positive impact on the development of modern society, for most applications they must be flame-retarded. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways, most notably by introduction of a suitable additive during processing. Traditionally, organohalogen compounds, particularly brominated aromatics, have been effective, affordable, popular gas-phase flame retardants. However, these compounds readily migrate from a polymer matrix into which they have been incorporated, persist in the environment, tend to bioaccumulate and may pose risks to human health. For this reason, the use of these compounds is coming under increasing regulatory pressure worldwide. Phosphorus compounds derived from renewable biosources provide attractive alternatives to these traditional organohalogen flame retardants. Precursors to biobased organophosphorus flame retardants are generally nontoxic and readily available at modest cost. Phenolics are ubiquitous in nature and may be isolated from numerous plants. Gallic acid (3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid) is a constituent many edible plants, nuts and legumes. 3,5-Dihydroxybenzoic acid may be found in several plants, principally buckwheat. Both of these compounds may serve as the base for the generation of a series of phosphorus esters, both phosphonate and phosphate, that display good flame retardancy in DGEBA epoxy.
Provided by American Chemical Society https://phys.org/news/2019-08-flame-retardantsfrom.html
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists risks in Fact Sheet: Assessing Risks from Flame Retardants https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/fact-sheet-assessing-risks-flame-retardants

Resources:

COMPOUND SUMMARY – Tetrabromobisphenol A https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Tetrabromobisphenol-A

Is the flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), a reproductive or developmental toxicant?
Date:
February 18, 2015
Source:
Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment
Summary:
Two studies examined the effects of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) at oral doses of 10,100 or 1000 mg/kg bw/day over the course of 2 generations on growth as well as behavioral, neurological and neuropathologic functions in offspring. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218092044.htm
Global Tetrabromobisphenol-A Market is Evolving with Chemicals and Materials Industry in 2019 | Get Strategic Insights. https://theindustryforecast.com/2019/07/24/global-tetrabromobisphenol-a-insights-market-sp/

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University of Massachusetts – Amherst study: New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment

8 Aug

Science Direct reported in Tetrabromobisphenol A:

Abstract
Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) is one of the most prevalent flame retardants, and is used in plastic paints, synthetic textiles, and electrical devices. Despite the fact that TBBPA is excreted quickly from the body, it is detected in human plasma and milk. Owing to the structural resemblance to thyroid hormones (THs), the thyroid disruption activities of TBBPA have been investigated over the past two decades. Possible action sites are plasma TH binding protein and TH receptors. In experimental animal models, TBBPA exposure induces a decrease in plasma TH levels and a delay of TH-induced metamorphosis in animals. In studies using cell lines, TBBPA shows weak agonist and antagonist activities. These in vitro and in vivo bioassays may be powerful tools for detecting the thyroid system disruption activity of TBBPA. Although recent findings suggest diverse biological effects of TBBPA on the thyroid, reproductive, and immune systems, there is still controversy regarding these effects…. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/tetrabromobisphenol-a and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012801028000249X
Scientists are researching the effects of Tetrabromobisphenol A.

Green Sciences Policy Institute provided an overview of retardants:

Flame retardant chemicals are used in commercial and consumer products (like furniture and building insulation) to meet flammability standards. Not all flame retardants present concerns, but the following types often do:
• Halogenated flame retardants (also known as organohalogen flame retardants) containing chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon.
• Organophosphorous flame retardants containing phosphorous bonded to carbon.
For these types of flame retardants:
• Some are associated with health and environmental concerns
• Many are inadequately tested for safety
• They provide questionable fire safety benefits as used in some products
Major uses
The major uses of flame retardant chemicals by volume in the U.S. are:
• Electronics
• Building insulation
• Polyurethane foam
• Wire and cable
Properties of Concern
Organohalogen and organophosphorous flame retardants often have one or more of the following properties of concern. Chemicals with all these properties are considered Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and present significant risks to human health and environment. https://greensciencepolicy.org/topics/flame-retardants/

University of Massachusetts Amherst reported a process to degrade flame retardant.

Science Daily reported in New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment:

A team of environmental scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and China has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.
This new process breaks down tetrabromobisohenol A (TBBPA) to harmless carbon dioxide and water. The discovery highlights the potential of using a special material, sulfidated nanoscale zerovalent iron (S-nZVI), in water treatment systems and in the natural environment to break down not only TBBPA but other organic refractory compounds that are difficult to degrade, says Jun Wu, a visiting Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge College of Agriculture and lead author of the paper published in Environmental Science & Technology….
“This research can lead to a decrease in the potential risk of TBBPA to the environment and human health,” says Wu, who began the research at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. At UMass Amherst, Wu works in the pioneering lab of Baoshan Xing, professor of environmental and soil chemistry, corresponding author of the new study and one of the world’s most highly cited researchers….
Among the most common flame retardants that hinder combustion and slow the spread of fire, TBBPA is added to manufactured materials, including computer circuit boards and other electrical devices, papers, textiles and plastics.
Associated with a variety of health concerns, including cancer and hormone disruption, TBBPA has been widely detected in the environment, as well as in animals and human milk and plasma.
Although Wu and Xing’s research breaks new ground in the efforts to develop safe and effective processes to remediate groundwater and soil contaminated with TBBPA, they say more research is needed to learn how to best apply the process.
Their research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Hatch Program. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190808115102.htm

Citation:

New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment
New research has potential application to remediate other difficult-to-degrade pollutants
Date: August 8, 2019
Source: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Summary:
A team of environmental scientists has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.

Journal Reference:
Jun Wu, Jian Zhao, Jun Hou, Raymond Jianxiong Zeng, Baoshan Xing. Degradation of Tetrabromobisphenol A by Sulfidated Nanoscale Zerovalent Iron in a Dynamic Two-Step Anoxic/Oxic Process. Environmental Science & Technology, 2019; 53 (14): 8105 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b06834

Here is the press release from UMass Amherst:

New Process Discovered to Completely Degrade Flame Retardant in the Environment
UMass Amherst research has potential application to remediate other difficult-to-degrade pollutants
August 8, 2019
Contact: Jun Wu 413-210-2729
AMHERST, Mass. – A team of environmental scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and China has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.
This new process breaks down tetrabromobisophenol A (TBBPA) to harmless carbon dioxide and water. The discovery highlights the potential of using a special material, sulfidated nanoscale zerovalent iron (S-nZVI), in water treatment systems and in the natural environment to break down not only TBBPA but other organic refractory compounds that are difficult to degrade,says Jun Wu, a visiting Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge College of Agriculture and lead author of the paper published in Environmental Science & Technology.
“This is the first research about this dynamic, oxic/anoxic process,” Wu says. “Usually, reduction or oxidation alone is used to remove TBBPA, facilitated by S-nZVI. We combined reduction and oxidation together to degrade it completely.”
Wu emphasizes that “the technique is technically simple and environmentally friendly. That is a key point to its application.”
The research is featured on the cover of ES&T, which is widely respected for publishing papers in the environmental disciplines that are both significant and original.
“This research can lead to a decrease in the potential risk of TBBPA to the environment and human health,” says Wu, who began the research at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. At UMass Amherst, Wu works in the pioneering lab of Baoshan Xing, professor of environmental and soil chemistry, corresponding author of the new study and one of the world’s most highly cited researchers.
“Our research shows a feasible and environmentally friendly process to completely degrade refractory brominated flame retardants in a combined oxic and anoxic system,” Xing says. “This is important for getting rid of these harmful compounds from the environment, thus reducing the exposure and risk.”
Among the most common flame retardants that hinder combustion and slow the spread of fire, TBBPA is added to manufactured materials, including computer circuit boards and other electrical devices, papers, textiles and plastics.
Associated with a variety of health concerns, including cancer and hormone disruption, TBBPA has been widely detected in the environment, as well as in animals and human milk and plasma.
Although Wu and Xing’s research breaks new ground in the efforts to develop safe and effective processes to remediate groundwater and soil contaminated with TBBPA, they say more research is needed to learn how to best apply the process.
Their research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Hatch Program.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists risks in Fact Sheet: Assessing Risks from Flame Retardants https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/fact-sheet-assessing-risks-flame-retardants

Resources:
COMPOUND SUMMARY – Tetrabromobisphenol A https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Tetrabromobisphenol-A

Is the flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), a reproductive or developmental toxicant?
Date:
February 18, 2015
Source:
Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment
Summary:
Two studies examined the effects of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) at oral doses of 10,100 or 1000 mg/kg bw/day over the course of 2 generations on growth as well as behavioral, neurological and neuropathologic functions in offspring. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218092044.htm

Global Tetrabromobisphenol-A Market is Evolving with Chemicals and Materials Industry in 2019 | Get Strategic Insights. https://theindustryforecast.com/2019/07/24/global-tetrabromobisphenol-a-insights-market-sp/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Toxic dangers in schools

8 Jul

Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. Environmental Lawyers.Com describes the types of environmental risks in schools in the article, Environmental Hazards at School:

An environmental hazard is a chemical or pollutant in the environment that causes you to become ill or injured. While American’s have become more conscious of hazardous material in the environment as a result of the rise in environmental litigation, plenty of environmental hazards still exist.

Types of Environmental Hazards in Schools

In 1954, the school board in Niagara Falls New York built a school on top of 21,000 tons of toxic waste. The school boards knew about the toxic waste, and choose to build the 99th Street School anyway. This school was part of the Love Canal Disaster, and students began coming down with illnesses including asthma, epilepsy, and even leukemia.

While Love Canal was a long time ago, potential environmental hazards still exist in schools today. Many of these hazards result from improper retrofitting of school buildings, and could potentially give rise to environmental litigation if students develop health problems as a result of exposure to contaminants.

Lead Paint Exposure: Some older buildings, including schools, still have lead paint. Exposure to lead paint can lead to learning disabilities and other problems, especially in children.

Contaminated Water: Schools that have lingering lead paint may also have older lead arsenic pipes. The lead in these pipes can lead to contaminants in the drinking water. While most schools test water periodically, it may be a good idea to send your child with bottled water to avoid lead effects.

Toxic Mold: Like lead paint, toxic mold and mold poisoning is a problem that plagues older buildings. Mold exposure can cause mold symptoms ranging from asthma to a severe lung infection that makes breathing difficult.

Asbestos: Prior to the 1970’s, asbestos was widely used in insulation and building tiles. Removal of asbestos is dangerous and expensive, and as a result there is still asbestos present in many schools. The EPA does not mandate that schools removal all asbestos, but does require schools with asbestos material to have periodic inspections and file regular reports on the results.

Pesticides: Pesticides are used on the lawns and grounds of schools. Children may be more susceptible to injury from exposure to pesticides, since their brains are still developing.

Air Pollution: Tightly sealed schools without proper ventilation can also create situations where children are exposed to airborne hazards. The EPA has provided an Indoor Air Quality Kit for schools designed to help schools test the air quality and ensure it is safe for kids to breathe.

Environmental Justice and Hazards in Schools

Some evidence suggests that economically disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to be more adversely affected by environmental hazards. School buildings in lower income neighborhoods tend to be older, and there may be less money for construction and updating the building. As a result, there may be more environmental contaminants and hazards present.

The EPA recognizes this disproportionate impact, and Environmental Justice Groups are working to help correct the inequalities. http://www.environmentallawyers.com/regulations/school-health-hazards.htm

The Healthy Schools Coalition advocates for healthier and safer environments in schools.

The position paper of the Healthy Schools Coalition describes the following environmental issues:

Coalition for Healthier Schools

Position Statement and Policy Recommendations

providing the platform and the forum for school environmental health…since

School factors affecting health

Many school environmental factors can affect the health of children and employees. Too many schools are sited near industrial plants or toxic waste sites; some are sited on abandoned landfills. Many school facilities are poorly maintained. Schools are more densely occupied and more intensively used than office buildings, magnifying problems. Thousands of schools are severely overcrowded, which compromises ventilation systems, acoustics, food service, recess, and sanitation and lavatories. Children also spend extra hours in vehicles or buses when their schools are beyond safe walking and biking distances.

The U.S. EPA has estimated that up to half of all schools have problems with indoor environmental quality. Children and staff are all affected by:

polluted indoor air and outdoor air

toxic chemical and pesticide uses; chemical spills

mold infestations

asbestos, radon

lead in paint and drinking water

inadequate chemical management

poor siting, design, engineering

hazardous materials purchased and stored onsite

heavy metals and other toxics, such as mercury, CCA, PCBs

Results of unhealthy schools:

60% of all children suffer health and learning problems due solely to the conditions of their schools.

child and staff health problems and absenteeism

asthma, allergies, headaches, fatigue, nausea, rashes and chronic illnesses

Sick Building Syndrome/Building Related Illness

more medication use by children and staff

learning and behavior difficulties that worsen

greater liability for school districts

lower achievement,

And, reduced revenues due to poor attendance.

Asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism from chronic illness. Asthma is also a leading work-related disease of teachers and custodians—they get it on the job.

Coalition Position

When the nation is committed to raising academic performance and honoring each child’s potential, and to improving the environment of every neighborhood, we have a moral obligation to protect all children and to accommodate children and personnel who already have impairments. To promote child and adult health, improve education, and create healthier communities, all schools should:

adopt high performance design and siting standards

promote and sustain quality indoor air

use safer cleaning and maintenance products

use non-toxic products for instruction

use integrated pest control and weed control

provide quality lighting, including daylighting

provide good acoustics and noise control

select durable, easy-to-clean flooring

offer wholesome food and exercise opportunities

provide safe spaces for outdoor activities

build or retrofit facilities for energy and other resource efficiencies

remediate lead, CCA, PCBs, mold infestations, and clean out old chemicals.

http://www.healthyschools.org/CHS_PosStatement.pdf

Tim Walker and Cindy Long report in NEA Today:

An estimated 14 million American children attend public schools that are in urgent need of  extensive repair or replacement and have unhealthy environmental conditions, including poor air quality, unsafe drinking water and inadequate safety systems. http://neatoday.org/2012/01/10/cnn-indoor-air-quality/

The Agency for Toxic Effects and Disease Registry (ATEDR) has some good information about the effects of toxins on children.

In Principles of Pediatric Environmental Health: What Are Special Considerations Regarding Toxic Exposures to Young and School-age Children, as Well as Adolescents? ATEDR reports:

Young Child (2 to 6 years old)

With the newly acquired ability to run, climb, ride tricycles, and perform other mobile and exploratory activities, the young child’s environment expands, as does the risk of exposure.

Many of a young child’s toxic exposures may occur from ingestion. If the child’s diet is deficient in iron or calcium, the small intestine avidly absorbs lead….

School-aged Children (6 to 12 years old)

School-aged children spend increasingly greater amounts of time in outdoor, school, and after-school environments. They may be exposed to outdoor air pollution, including

  • widespread air pollutants,
  • ozone, particulates, and
  • nitrogen and sulfur oxides.

These result primarily from fossil fuel combustion. Although these pollutants concentrate in urban and industrial areas, they are windborne and distribute widely. Local pockets of intense exposure may result from toxic air and soil pollutants emanating from hazardous waste sites, leaking underground storage tanks, or local industry. One example of a localized toxic exposure adverse effect was seen in children exposed to high doses of lead released into the air from a lead smelter in Idaho. When tested 15 to 20 years later, these children showed reduced neurobehavioral and peripheral nerve function [ATSDR 1997b]….

In addition, some school age children engage in activity such as

  • lawn care,
  • yard work, and
  • trash pickup.

These and other work situations may put them at risk for exposures to hazardous substances such as pesticides used to treat lawns.

Adolescents (12 to 18 years old)

But nothing more than just adolescent behavior may result in toxic exposures. Risk-taking behaviors of adolescents may include exploring off-limit industrial waste sites or abandoned buildings. For example, in one reported case, teenagers took elemental mercury from an old industrial facility and played with and spilled the elemental mercury in homes and cars [Nadakavukaren 2000]. Teens may also climb utility towers or experiment with psychoactive substances (inhalant abuse, for example). Cigarette smoking and other tobacco use often begins during adolescence. For more information about adolescent tobacco use see CDC Office of Smoking and Health at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco

Compared with younger children, adolescents are more likely to engage in hobbies and school activities involving exposure to

  • solvents,
  • caustics, or
  • other dangerous chemicals.

Few schools include basic training in industrial hygiene as a foundation for safety at work, at school, or while enjoying hobbies.

Many adolescents may encounter workplace hazards through after-school employment. Working adolescents tend to move in and out of the labor market, changing jobs and work schedules in response to employer needs or their own life circumstances [Committee on the Health and Safety Implications of Child Labor 1998]. In the United States, adolescents work predominately in retail and service sectors. These are frequently at entry-level jobs in

  • exterior painting of homes,
  • fast-food restaurants,
  • gas stations and automotive repair shops,
  • nursing homes,
  • parks and recreation, and
  • retail stores.

Such work may expose adolescents to commercial cleaners, paint thinners, solvents, and corrosives by inhalation or splashes to the skin or eyes. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimated that, on average, 67 workers under age 18 died from work-related injuries each year during 1992-2000 [NIOSH 2003]. In 1998, an estimated 77,000 required treatment in hospital emergency departments [NIOSH 2003]….

Metabolic Vulnerability of Adolescents

Metabolic processes change during adolescence. Changes in cytochrome P450 expression [Nebert and Gonzalez 1987] result in a decrease in the metabolism rate of some xenobiotics dependent on the cytochrome CYP (P450) – for example, the concentration of theophylline increases in blood [Gitterman and Bearer 2001]. The metabolic rate of some xenobiotics is reduced in response to the increased secretion of growth hormone, steroids, or both that occur during the adolescent years [Gitterman and Bearer 2001]. The implications of these changes on the metabolism of environmental contaminants are areas of intense research. By the end of puberty, the metabolism of some xenobiotics achieves adult levels.

Puberty results in the rapid growth, division, and differentiation of many cells; these changes may result in vulnerabilities. Profound scientific and public interest in endocrine disruptors – that is, chemicals with hormonal properties that mimic the actions of naturally occurring hormones – reflects concerns about the effect of chemicals on the developing reproductive system. Even lung development in later childhood and adolescence may be disrupted by chronic exposure to air pollutants, including

  • acid vapors,
  • elemental carbon,
  • nitrogen dioxide, and
  • particulate matter [Gauderman et al. 2004].

Citation:

Principles of Pediatric Environmental Health
What Are Special Considerations Regarding Toxic Exposures to Young and School-age Children, as Well as Adolescents?

Course: WB2089
CE Original Date: February 15, 2012
CE Expiration Date: February 15, 2014
Download Printer-Friendly version Adobe PDF file [PDF – 819 KB]

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=27&po=10

The Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with dealing with environmental toxins.

The Environmental Protection Agency has many resources:

Healthy School Environment Resources

Healthy School Environment Resources is your gateway to on-line resources to help facility managers, school administrators, architects, design engineers, school nurses, parents, teachers and staff address environmental health issues in schools.

Chemical Use & Management
Chemical Purchasing, Chemical Cleanout, Construction, Chemical Management Regulation, On-Site Chemical Management, Sources of Chemicals in Schools, Pest Management

Design, Construction and Renovation
Financing, Asthma, Indoor Air Quality, Construction, Commissioning, Mold & Moisture, Waste Reduction, Drinking Water, Renovation, Chemicals, Recycling, Siting, High Performance Schools, Ventilation, Environmentally Preferable Products, Pest Management, Radon, Cleaning

Energy Efficiency
Ventilation, Construction

Environmental Education

Facility Operations and Maintenance
Mold & Moisture, Renovation, Indoor Air Quality, Pest Management, Ventilation, Cleaning, Construction, Recycling, High Performance Schools

Indoor Environmental Quality
Mercury, PCBs, Asbestos, Chemicals, Lead, Pest Management, High Performance Schools, Ventilation, Indoor Air Quality, Environmentally Preferable Products, Asthma, Mold & Moisture, Construction, Radon

Legislation and Regulation

Outdoor Air Pollution
Ultraviolet Radiation, Asbestos, Diesel School Buses

Portable Classrooms
Commissioning, High Performance Schools, Ventilation, Indoor Air Quality, Cleaning, Construction

Safety/Preparedness

School Facility Assessment Tools
Construction

Waste
Recycling, Composting, Construction, Waste Reduction

Waste Reduction

Water
Construction, Groundwater, Water Quality, Stormwater, Drinking Water, Water Conservation

This society will not have healthy children without having healthy home and school environments.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©