Tag Archives: Toxins

Virginia Tech study: Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds

18 Jun

Moi wrote in Common household chemicals link to drop in child IQ:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. Science Daily reported in Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ:
Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home–di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)–had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.
DnBP and DiBP are found in a wide variety of consumer products, from dryer sheets to vinyl fabrics to personal care products like lipstick, hairspray, and nail polish, even some soaps. Since 2009, several phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and other childcare articles in the United States. However, no steps have been taken to protect the developing fetus by alerting pregnant women to potential exposures. In the U.S., phthalates are rarely listed as ingredients on products in which they are used.
Researchers followed 328 New York City women and their children from low-income communities. They assessed the women’s exposure to four phthalates–DnBP, DiBP, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate–in the third trimester of pregnancy by measuring levels of the chemicals’ metabolites in urine. Children were given IQ tests at age 7.
Children of mothers exposed during pregnancy to the highest 25 percent of concentrations of DnBP and DiBP had IQs 6.6 and 7.6 points lower, respectively, than children of mothers exposed to the lowest 25 percent of concentrations after controlling for factors like maternal IQ, maternal education, and quality of the home environment that are known to influence child IQ scores. The association was also seen for specific aspects of IQ, such as perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The researchers found no associations between the other two phthalates and child IQ.
The range of phthalate metabolite exposures measured in the mothers was not unusual: it was within what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed in a national sample.
“Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily, many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children,” says lead author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School.
“The magnitude of these IQ differences is troubling,” says senior author Robin Whyatt, DrPH, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School. “A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential.”
PSYBLOG lists common household items in 8 Household Items Newly Found to Lower Children’s IQ Significantly:
Avoiding phthalates
While it is impossible to avoid phthalates completely, they are found in these common products, amongst others:
• Hairspray.
• Plastic containers used for microwaving food.
• Lipstick.
• Air fresheners.
• Dryer sheets.
• Nail polish.
• Some soaps.
• Recycled plastics labelled 3,6 or 7.
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/12/8-household-items-newly-found-to-lower-childrens-iq-significantly.php:

A Virginia Tech study involving mice is confirming this study.

Science Daily reported in Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds:

A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.
“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”
Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed,” said Hrubec, who is first author on the study and holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added…..https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170617073635.htm

Citation:

ommon household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds
Date: June 17, 2017
Source: Virginia Tech
Summary:
A connection between common household chemicals and birth defects has been uncovered by new research.

Journal Reference:
1. Terry C. Hrubec, Vanessa E. Melin, Caroline S. Shea, Elizabeth E. Ferguson, Craig Garofola, Claire M. Repine, Tyler W. Chapman, Hiral R. Patel, Reza M. Razvi, Jesse E. Sugrue, Haritha Potineni, Geraldine Magnin-Bissel, Patricia A. Hunt. Ambient and dosed exposure to quaternary ammonium disinfectants causes neural tube defects in rodents. Birth Defects Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1064

Here is the press release from Virginia Tech:

Public Release: 16-Jun-2017
Research finds common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice
A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.
“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”
Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed,” said Hrubec, who is first author on the study and holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added.
An earlier study in Hrubec’s laboratory found that these chemicals led to reproductive declines in mice. Follow-up research found that quats were decreasing sperm counts in males and ovulation in females. The research raises the possibility of quats contributing to human infertility, which has been on the rise in recent decades.
“We are asked all of the time, ‘You see your results in mice. How do you know that it’s toxic in humans?'” Hrubec said. “Our research on mice and rats shows that these chemicals affect the embryonic development of these animals. Since rodent research is the gold standard in the biomedical sciences, this raises a big red flag that these chemicals may be toxic to humans as well.”
Quaternary ammonium compounds were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s before the standardization of toxicity studies. Chemical manufacturers conducted some toxicity studies on the compounds during this period, but they were never published. Today, the chemicals are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hrubec noted that an epidemiological study could determine whether people who have a high rate of exposure, such as healthcare workers or restaurant servers, have a more difficult time becoming pregnant or have a greater likelihood of having children with neural tube birth defects, but no such study has been conducted to date.
###
In addition to VCOM and the veterinary college, the study received funding from the Passport Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that sponsors research on product safety.
The paper, “Ambient and Dosed Exposure to Quaternary Ammonium Disinfectants Causes Neural Tube Defects in Rodents,” was published in the June 15 issue of Birth Defects Research and is available online.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Saundra Young of CNN wrote about toxic chemicals in ‘Putting the next generation of brains in danger.’

According to Young there are several types of chemicals which pose a danger:
The best example of this, he said, is cosmetics and phthalates. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products from cosmetics, perfume, hair spray, soap and shampoos to plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, miniblinds, food containers and plastic wrap.
You can also find them in plastic plumbing pipes, medical tubing and fluid bags, vinyl flooring and other building materials. They are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.
In Europe, cosmetics don’t contain phthalates, but here in the United States some do.
Phthalates previously were used in pacifiers, soft rattles and teethers. But in 1999, after a push from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American companies stopped using them in those products.
“We certainly have the capability, it’s a matter of political will,” Landrigan said. “We have tried in this country over the last decade to pass chemical safety legislation but the chemical industry and their supporters have successfully beat back the effort.”
However, the Food and Drug Administration said two of the most common phthalates, — dibutylphthalate, or DBP, used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes to reduce cracking by making them less brittle, and dimethylphthalate, or DMP used in hairsprays — are now rarely used in this country.
Diethylphthalate, or DEP, used in fragrances, is the only phthalate still used in cosmetics, the FDA said.
“It’s not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on human health,” according to the FDA’s website. “An expert panel convened from 1998 to 2000 by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), part of the National Institute for Environmental Safety and Health, concluded that reproductive risks from exposure to phthalates were minimal to negligible in most cases….” http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/health/chemicals-children-brains/

See, Helping to protect children from the harmful effects of chemicals http://www.who.int/ipcs/highlights/children_chemicals/en/

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.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: New technology helps pinpoint sources of water contamination

5 Oct

National Geographic has a good overview of water pollution:

As technology improves, scientists are able to detect more pollutants, and at smaller concentrations, in Earth’s freshwater bodies. Containing traces of contaminants ranging from birth control pills and sunscreen to pesticides and petroleum, our planet’s lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater are often a chemical cocktail.

Beyond synthetic pollution, freshwater is also the end point for biological waste, in the form of human sewage, animal excrement, and rainwater runoff flavored by nutrient-rich fertilizers from yards and farms. These nutrients find their way through river systems into seas, sometimes creating coastal ocean zones void of oxygen—and therefore aquatic life—and making the connection between land and sea painfully obvious. When you dump paint down the drain, it often ends up in the ocean, via freshwater systems….

Fast Facts

  • In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters, polluting the usable water supply.
  • On average, 99 million pounds (45 million kilograms) of fertilizers and chemicals are used each year….                                                                                                                          http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/pollution/

Water pollution is one toxin which affects children.

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  [PDF – 819 KB]

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=27&po=10https://drwilda.com/2012/07/08/toxic-dangers-in-schools/

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley) developed a more precise test to detect water contamination.

Science Daily reported in New technology helps pinpoint sources of water contamination:

When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

Using the award-winning PhyloChip, a credit card-sized device that can detect the presence of more than 60,000 species of bacteria and archaea, the new method was found to be more sensitive than conventional methods at assessing health risks. In tests at the Russian River watershed in Northern California, the Berkeley Lab researchers found instances where their method identified potential human health risks that conventional fecal indicator tests had failed to detect. Conversely, they also found instances where the conventional tests flagged bacteria that weren’t likely risks to human health.

The research was led by Eric Dubinsky and Gary Andersen, microbial ecologists at Berkeley Lab, and was published recently in the journal Water Research in an article titled, “Microbial source tracking in impaired watersheds using PhyloChip and machine-learning classification.” Steven Butkus of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, which supported part of the research, was also a co-author.

“With the PhyloChip, in an overnight test we can get a full picture of the microorganisms in any given sample,” Dubinsky said. “Instead of targeting one organism, we’re essentially getting a fingerprint of the microbial community of potential sources in that sample. So it gives us a more comprehensive picture of what’s going on. It’s a novel way of going about source tracking.”

What local water agencies currently do is collect water samples, culture the bacteria overnight, and then check the growth level of two types of bacteria, E. coli and Enterococcus, which are presumed to be indicators of fecal contamination….                                                                               https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161004141522.htm

Citation:

New technology helps pinpoint sources of water contamination

Date:        October 4, 2016

Source:    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Summary:

When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

Journal Reference:

  1. Eric A. Dubinsky, Steven R. Butkus, Gary L. Andersen. Microbial source tracking in impaired watersheds using PhyloChip and machine-learning classification. Water Research, 2016; 105: 56 DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2016.08.035

Here is the press release from Berkeley Lab:

News Center

New Technology Helps Pinpoint Sources of Water Contamination

Berkeley Lab develops better method of environmental monitoring using the PhyloChip, finds surprising results in Russian River watershed

News Release Julie Chao (510) 486-6491 • October 4, 2016

When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

Using the award-winning PhyloChip, a credit card-sized device that can detect the presence of more than 60,000 species of bacteria and archaea, the new method was found to be more sensitive than conventional methods at assessing health risks. In tests at the Russian River watershed in Northern California, the Berkeley Lab researchers found instances where their method identified potential human health risks that conventional fecal indicator tests had failed to detect. Conversely, they also found instances where the conventional tests flagged bacteria that weren’t likely risks to human health.

The research was led by Eric Dubinsky and Gary Andersen, microbial ecologists at Berkeley Lab, and was published recently in the journal Water Research in an article titled, “Microbial source tracking in impaired watersheds using PhyloChip and machine-learning classification.” Steven Butkus of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, which supported part of the research, was also a co-author.

“With the PhyloChip, in an overnight test we can get a full picture of the microorganisms in any given sample,” Dubinsky said. “Instead of targeting one organism, we’re essentially getting a fingerprint of the microbial community of potential sources in that sample. So it gives us a more comprehensive picture of what’s going on. It’s a novel way of going about source tracking.”

What local water agencies currently do is collect water samples, culture the bacteria overnight, and then check the growth level of two types of bacteria, E. coli and Enterococcus, which are presumed to be indicators of fecal contamination.

Power of the PhyloChip

However, this method doesn’t distinguish between sources­. The bacteria could have come from humans, cows, ducks, sewage, or even decaying vegetation.

“These tests have been used for decades and are relatively primitive,” Dubinsky said. “Back in the 1970s when the Clean Water Act was developed and we had sewage basically flowing into our waters, these tests worked really well. Epidemiological studies showed an association of these bacteria with levels of illness of people who used the water. These bacteria don’t necessarily get you sick, but they’re found in sewage and fecal matter. That’s why they’re measured.”

As pollution from point sources—single identifiable sources such as sewage—has been cleaned up over time, the emerging concern has become what are known as nonpoint sources, or diffuse sources, throughout the watershed, such as agricultural lands.

“The picture is much more complicated now than it was back then, when the concern was really point sources,” Dubinsky added.

The PhyloChip, which was developed by Andersen and several other Berkeley Lab scientists, has been used for a number of medical, agricultural, and environmental purposes, including understanding air pollution, the ecology of coral reefs, and environmental conditions of the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill. With 1 million probes, it identifies microbes based on variations of a specific gene, with no culturing needed.

“About seven years ago we started doing water quality work, and we realized the PhyloChip could provide a fundamentally new and improved method for doing source tracking,” Andersen said.

A Library of Poop

Determining the source of any particular pathogen is not a straightforward task. In most cases, a single microbe is not a definitive marker of an animal or other source. “A microbial community is complex,” Dubinsky said. “A cow may have 1,000 different organisms.”

So Andersen and Dubinsky had an idea. “We had Laleh Coté, an intern at the time and now a Lab employee, run around and basically collect poop from all sorts of animals,” said Andersen. “What we’ve done since then is develop a reference library of the microbial communities that occur in different types of poop—we have cows, horses, raccoons, humans, different types of birds, pigs, sea lions, and other animals, as well as sewage and septage. We used that library to develop a model.”

The new method takes the unknown sample and compares it against this microbial reference library. “We’ve used the PhyloChip in a way that it hasn’t been used before by using machine learning models to analyze the data in order to detect and classify sources,” Andersen said. “It’s essentially giving you a statistical probability that a microbial community came from a particular source.”

They validated their method by comparing it to about 40 other methods of microbial source tracking in a California study. “We were the only method that could detect all sources and get them right,” Dubinsky said.

If the source is an animal that is not in the reference library, their method can still point you in the right direction. “For example, in that study, one sample was a chicken,” said Dubinsky. “We hadn’t analyzed chickens, but we had geese, gulls, and pigeons. We were still able to determine that the sample was a bird.”

In extensive testing throughout the Russian River watershed, which is out of compliance with the Clean Water Act, the Berkeley Lab researchers found widespread contamination by human sources close to areas where communities rely on aging septic tanks.

They also found significant human contamination immediately after a weekend jazz festival, whereas testing by conventional methods yielded a much weaker signal after a time lag of a couple days. “Our method is more sensitive to human contamination than those fecal indicator tests are,” Dubinsky said.

Next Steps

The team is now working on characterizing the microbial community of naturally occurring E. coli and Enterococci, using Hawaii with its warm waters as a testing ground. “They can occur naturally in sediments and decaying kelp and vegetation,” Dubinsky said. “It is known that they do, but nobody has developed a test to definitively show that.”

The researchers will also be able to study whether climate affects microbial communities. “Does a Hawaiian cow look like a California cow in terms of fecal bacteria composition? That’s a good question and something we’ll be able to find out,” he said.

They are working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is looking at new technologies for what it calls “next generation compliance.” Ultimately the goal is to develop their method—possibly with a downsized version of the PhyloChip—to the point where it can be universally used in any location and by non-experts.

Dubinsky says the method should also be useful with the burgeoning issue of algal blooms, to understand, for example, the processes by which they form, the microbial dynamics before and after a bloom, and specifically, whether runoff from livestock production in the Midwest is related to algal blooms in the Great Lakes, a question they’re investigating with the EPA.

# # #

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit www.lbl.gov.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

Updated: October 5, 2016

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 ©

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University of Miami Miller School of Medicine study: Links between neighborhood greenness and reduction in chronic diseases

24 Apr

Cheryl Katz wrote the 2012 Scientific American article, People in Poor Neighborhoods Breathe More Hazardous Particles:

Tiny particles of air pollution contain more hazardous ingredients in non-white and low-income communities than in affluent white ones, a new study shows.

The greater the concentration of Hispanics, Asians, African Americans or poor residents in an area, the more likely that potentially dangerous compounds such as vanadium, nitrates and zinc are in the mix of fine particles they breathe.

Latinos had the highest exposures to the largest number of these ingredients, while whites generally had the lowest.

The findings of the Yale University research add to evidence of a widening racial and economic gap when it comes to air pollution. Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards, according to the article published online in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Fresno are among the metropolitan areas with unhealthful levels of fine particles and large concentrations of poor minorities. More than 50 counties could exceed a new tighter health standard for particulates proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment may face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards. A pervasive air pollutant, the fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 is a mixture of emissions from diesel engines, power plants, refineries and other sources of combustion. Often called soot, the microscopic particles penetrate deep into the lungs.

The new study is the first to reveal major racial and economic differences in exposures to specific particle ingredients, some of which are linked to asthma, cardiovascular problems and cancer….                                                                   http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/people-poor-neighborhoods-breate-more-hazardous-particles/

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine expands upon the link between neighborhood greenness and disease.

Science Daily reported in Study links neighborhood greenness to reduction in chronic diseases:

A new study of a quarter-million Miami-Dade County Medicare beneficiaries showed that higher levels of neighborhood greenness, including trees, grass and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, particularly in low-to-middle income neighborhoods. Led by researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, and the School of Architecture, the study showed that higher greenness was linked to significantly lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as fewer chronic health conditions.

The findings, published online April 6 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are based on 2010 — 2011 health data reported for approximately 250,000 Miami-Dade Medicare beneficiaries over age 65, and a measure of vegetative presence based on NASA satellite imagery. The study was the first of its kind to examine block-level greenness and its relationship to health outcomes in older adults, and the first to measure the impact of greenness on specific cardio-metabolic diseases.

“This study builds on our research group’s earlier analyses showing block level impacts of mixed-use and supportive building features on adults and children,” said lead study author Scott Brown, Ph.D., research assistant professor of public health sciences. Brown was a co-principal investigator on the study with Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, M.Arch., a Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor in Architecture. Plater-Zyberk, who was responsible for the rewrite of the City of Miami’s zoning code in 2010, said the study results “give impetus to public agencies and property owners to plant and maintain a verdant public landscape.”

Study findings revealed that higher levels of greenness on the blocks where the study’s Medicare recipients reside, is associated with a significantly lower chronic disease risk for the residents of high greenness blocks, including a 14 percent risk reduction for diabetes, a 13 percent reduction for hypertension and a 10 percent reduction for lipid disorders…..                                                   https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421171345.htm

Citation:

Study links neighborhood greenness to reduction in chronic diseases

Date:       April 21, 2016

Source:   University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Summary:

Higher levels of greenness (trees, park space and other vegetation) in neighborhoods is linked with significantly lower chronic illnesses, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, public health researchers has shown. The findings were based on 250,000 Medicare recipients age 65 and vegetation presence measured by NASA satellite imagery.

Journal Reference:

  1. Scott C. Brown, Joanna Lombard, Kefeng Wang, Margaret M. Byrne, Matthew Toro, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Daniel J. Feaster, Jack Kardys, Maria I. Nardi, Gianna Perez-Gomez, Hilda M. Pantin, José Szapocznik. Neighborhood Greenness and Chronic Health Conditions in Medicare Beneficiaries. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.02.008

Am J Prev Med. 2016 Mar 31. pii: S0749-3797(16)00065-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.02.008. [Epub ahead of print]

Neighborhood Greenness and Chronic Health Conditions in Medicare Beneficiaries.

Brown SC1, Lombard J2, Wang K3, Byrne MM3, Toro M3, Plater-Zyberk E2, Feaster DJ3, Kardys J4, Nardi MI4, Perez-Gomez G3, Pantin HM3, Szapocznik J2.

Author information

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Prior studies suggest that exposure to the natural environment may impact health. The present study examines the association between objective measures of block-level greenness (vegetative presence) and chronic medical conditions, including cardiometabolic conditions, in a large population-based sample of Medicare beneficiaries in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

METHODS:

The sample included 249,405 Medicare beneficiaries aged ≥65 years whose location (ZIP+4) within Miami-Dade County, Florida, did not change, from 2010 to 2011. Data were obtained in 2013 and multilevel analyses conducted in 2014 to examine relationships between greenness, measured by mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Index from satellite imagery at the Census block level, and chronic health conditions in 2011, adjusting for neighborhood median household income, individual age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

RESULTS:

Higher greenness was significantly associated with better health, adjusting for covariates: An increase in mean block-level Normalized Difference Vegetation Index from 1 SD less to 1 SD more than the mean was associated with 49 fewer chronic conditions per 1,000 individuals, which is approximately similar to a reduction in age of the overall study population by 3 years. This same level of increase in mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Index was associated with a reduced risk of diabetes by 14%, hypertension by 13%, and hyperlipidemia by 10%. Planned post-hoc analyses revealed stronger and more consistently positive relationships between greenness and health in lower- than higher-income neighborhoods.

CONCLUSIONS:

Greenness or vegetative presence may be effective in promoting health in older populations, particularly in poor neighborhoods, possibly due to increased time outdoors, physical activity, or stress mitigation.

Copyright © 2016 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:

27061891

[PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Here is the press release from the University of Miami:

UM Study Links Neighborhood Greenness to Reduction in Chronic Diseases

Published: April 22, 2016.
Released by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

A new study of a quarter-million Miami-Dade County Medicare beneficiaries showed that higher levels of neighborhood greenness, including trees, grass and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, particularly in low-to-middle income neighborhoods. Led by researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, and the School of Architecture, the study showed that higher greenness was linked to significantly lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as fewer chronic health conditions.

The findings, published online April 6 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are based on 2010 – 2011 health data reported for approximately 250,000 Miami-Dade Medicare beneficiaries over age 65, and a measure of vegetative presence based on NASA satellite imagery. The study was the first of its kind to examine block-level greenness and its relationship to health outcomes in older adults, and the first to measure the impact of greenness on specific cardio-metabolic diseases.

“This study builds on our research group’s earlier analyses showing block level impacts of mixed-use and supportive building features on adults and children,” said lead study author Scott Brown, Ph.D., research assistant professor of public health sciences. Brown was a co-principal investigator on the study with Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, M.Arch., a Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor in Architecture. Plater-Zyberk, who was responsible for the rewrite of the City of Miami’s zoning code in 2010, said the study results “give impetus to public agencies and property owners to plant and maintain a verdant public landscape.”

Study findings revealed that higher levels of greenness on the blocks where the study’s Medicare recipients reside, is associated with a significantly lower chronic disease risk for the residents of high greenness blocks, including a 14 percent risk reduction for diabetes, a 13 percent reduction for hypertension and a 10 percent reduction for lipid disorders.

“Going from a low to a high level of greenness at the block level is associated with 49 fewer chronic health conditions per 1,000 residents, which is approximately equivalent to a reduction in the biomedical aging of the study population by three years,” said Brown.

Jack Kardys, Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, participated in data interpretation along with Miami-Dade County Parks’ Chief of Planning, Research, and Design Excellence, Maria Nardi. Kardys said the study findings “illuminate the vital role of parks and greens to health and well-being, and point to the critical need for a holistic approach in planning that draws on research.”

The study findings suggest extensive potential for park, open space, and streetscape design in South Florida and the United States to consider health impacts in strategic planning. Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Policy Development and Research and the Health Foundation of South Florida, the research adds to a growing body of evidence that exposure to higher levels of greenness is associated with better health outcomes, by reducing stress, air pollution, humidity and heat island impacts, and encouraging physical activity, social interaction and community cohesion.

From a design standpoint, study co-author Joanna Lombard, M.Arch., professor of architecture, noted that the goals of the County’s Parks and Open Spaces Masterplan already call for residents to have access to greenspace from the minute they walk outside of their homes, through tree-lined streets, as well as greens, parks, and open spaces within a 5 to 10 minute walk of their home, all of which have been shown to be linked to better health outcomes. “There’s so much suffering involved in the time, money and energy spent on disease burden in the U.S., which we realize that we can, to some extent, ameliorate through healthy community design,” said Lombard. “We collectively need to be attentive to the health impacts of the built environment. The associated harms are evident, and most importantly going forward, the potential benefits are significant.”

In examining the results by income level and by race, the research showed that the health benefits of greenness were proportionately stronger among all racial and ethnic groups in lower income neighborhoods. Brown said this aspect of the findings suggests that incorporating more green — trees, parks and open spaces — in low income neighborhoods could also address issues of health disparities, which have been recently highlighted in research journals and the national media.

José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor and chair of public health sciences, and founder of the University of Miami Built Environment, Behavior, and Health Research Group, pointed out that augmenting greenness, particularly in warm climates, potentially contributes to the effectiveness of other aspects of walkability. “Providing a green feature,” said Szapocznik, “has been associated with safety, increased time outdoors, physical activity, and social interaction, and may potentially reduce disease burdens at the population level and enhance residents’ quality of life.”

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 ©

Resources:

What are Key Urban Environmental Problems?                                                                     http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/urbanenvironment/issues/key-UE-issues.html

Understanding Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Poverty                                                   https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/winter11/highlight2.html

Where We Live Matters for Our Health: Neighborhoods and Health                                      http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/888f4a18-eb90-45be-a2f8-159e84a55a4c/Issue%20Brief%203%20Sept%2008%20-%20Neighborhoods%20and%20Health.pdf

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Wayne State University study: Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations

4 Oct

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. 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. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is. Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?emc=eta1 The Centers for Disease Control report:

Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is committed to the Healthy People 2020 goals of eliminating blood lead levels ≥ 10 µg/dL and differences in average risk based on race and social class as public health concerns. The program is part of the National Center for Environmental Health’s Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

A Wayne State University study finds that lead exposure may affect more than one generation.

Science Daily reported in Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations:

A team of researchers at Wayne State University have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren. Their study, Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren, was published online this week in Scientific Reports.

It’s a known fact that babies in the womb can be affected by low levels of lead exposure. If a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the lead passes through the placenta into the baby’s developing bones and other organs. Pregnant women with a past exposure to lead can also affect the unborn child’s brain, causing developmental problems later in life. Previous research studies have suggested that exposure to heavy metal toxicants can influence a person’s global DNA methylation profile….

According to Ruden, epigenetic effects of environmental exposures beyond one generation have not yet been demonstrated in humans prior to this study. He and his team tested the hypothesis that human fetal germ cell exposure to environmental toxins causes epigenetic changes in the newborn blood from a grandchild of an exposed pregnant woman.
“Our results suggest that lead exposure during pregnancy affects the DNA methylation status of the fetal germ cells, which leads to altered DNA methylation in grandchildren’s neonatal dried blood spots,” said Ruden. “This is the first demonstration that an environmental exposure in pregnant mothers can have an epigenetic effect on the DNA methylation pattern in the grandchildren.”

The research team stated that this novel, two-generational study design might be able to identify the genes that may serve as possible candidate biomarkers for future transgenerational risk assessment studies…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151002191739.htm?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Citation:

Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations
Date: October 2, 2015

Source: Wayne State University – Office of the Vice President for Research

Summary:
Researchers have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren.
Journal Reference:
1. Arko Sen, Nicole Heredia, Marie-Claude Senut, Susan Land, Kurt Hollocher, Xiangyi Lu, Mary O. Dereski, Douglas M. Ruden. Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 14466 DOI: 10.1038/srep14466

Here is the press release from Wayne State University:

Wayne State researchers discover evidence that lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations
October 2, 2015

DETROIT – A team of researchers at Wayne State University have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren. Their study, Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren, was published online this week in Scientific Reports.

It’s a known fact that babies in the womb can be affected by low levels of lead exposure. If a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the lead passes through the placenta into the baby’s developing bones and other organs. Pregnant women with a past exposure to lead can also affect the unborn child’s brain, causing developmental problems later in life. Previous research studies have suggested that exposure to heavy metal toxicants can influence a person’s global DNA methylation profile.
In the recent Wayne State study led by Douglas Ruden, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, director of epigenomics, and program leader in the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors, he and his research team revealed that lead exposure can cause specific changes in DNA methylation, which can be detected in dried blood spots beyond one generation. The neonatal blood spots from both the mothers and children in this study were obtained from the Michigan Neonatal Biobank, a unique resource that has most of the neonatal dried blood spots from children born in Michigan since 1984.

According to Ruden, epigenetic effects of environmental exposures beyond one generation have not yet been demonstrated in humans prior to this study. He and his team tested the hypothesis that human fetal germ cell exposure to environmental toxins causes epigenetic changes in the newborn blood from a grandchild of an exposed pregnant woman.
“Our results suggest that lead exposure during pregnancy affects the DNA methylation status of the fetal germ cells, which leads to altered DNA methylation in grandchildren’s neonatal dried blood spots,” said Ruden. “This is the first demonstration that an environmental exposure in pregnant mothers can have an epigenetic effect on the DNA methylation pattern in the grandchildren.”

The research team stated that this novel, two-generational study design might be able to identify the genes that may serve as possible candidate biomarkers for future transgenerational risk assessment studies.
“Our pilot study provides indirect evidence that lead exposure in women during childbirth can affect the locus-specific DNA methylation status of grandchildren,” said Ruden. “However, the altered DNA methylation profiles of the grandchildren’s blood are apparently normalized during postnatal development. Also, fetal germline exposure to lead apparently has different epigenetic consequences than acute childhood exposure.”

This research was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (R01 ES012933 and R21 ES021893) to Dr. Ruden, the WSU-NIEHS Center (P30 ES020957), and a Michigan Bloodspot Environmental Epidemiology Project (BLEEP) pilot grant from the Michigan University Research Corridor to Dr. Ruden.

Contact: Julie O’Connor
Voice: (313) 577-8845
Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
Fax: (313) 577-3626
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Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune wrote about lead poisoning.

In Lead poisoning still damaging kids in poor areas, Hawthorne wrote:

One researcher working in Chicago, Anne Evens, recently published a study that draws a sharper focus on how lead is still ravaging the city years after it faded as a local and national issue.
A former chief of lead poisoning prevention at the Chicago Department of Public Health, Evens obtained the lead tests of more than 58,000 children born in the city from 1994 to 1998 and compared the results with how they performed on standardized tests in third grade.

Her peer-reviewed study, published in April in the scientific journal Environmental Health, found that exposure to lead during early childhood significantly increased the chance that a student would fail reading and math tests, even when controlling for other factors such as poverty, race, birth weight and the mother’s education level.
The scope of what Evens found is staggering: At three-quarters of Chicago Public Schools, the average lead level of third-graders exceeded a standard established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in each year from 2003 to 2006….. http://www.abqjournal.com/598520/news/lead-poisoning-still-damaging-kids-in-poor-areas.html

A 2002 Journal of Public Health article, Housing and Health: Time Again for Public Health Action:

Poor housing conditions are associated with a wide range of health conditions, including respiratory infections, asthma, lead poisoning, injuries, and mental health. Addressing housing issues offers public health practitioners an opportunity to address an important social determinant of health. Public health has long been involved in housing issues. In the 19th century, health officials targeted poor sanitation, crowding, and inadequate ventilation to reduce infectious diseases as well as fire hazards to decrease injuries. Today, public health departments can employ multiple strategies to improve housing, such as developing and enforcing housing guidelines and codes, implementing “Healthy Homes” programs to improve indoor environmental quality, assessing housing conditions, and advocating for healthy, affordable housing. Now is the time for public health to create healthier homes by confronting substandard housing…. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447157/

Substandard housing has been identified as a cause of health issues for decades. The issue is what can or will be done to address the issue.

Related:

Unequal exposures: People in poor, non-white neighborhoods breathe more hazardous particles http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/unequal-exposures

Lead Poisoning                                                                                                                                              http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/explore/pollute/lead.htm

Learn about Lead                                                                                                                                                  http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead

Poor Neighborhoods’ Influence On Parents May Raise Preschool Children’s Risk Of Problems                                http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207085613.htm

Where information leads to Hope. ©

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

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https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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