News from EOM

Why do asthma patients suffer at the beginning of each New Year?

Besides waste gas emissions from industry and vehicles the ignition of fireworks can contribute to air pollution. Massive letting-off of fireworks within a short period of time on the New Years results in an extreme pollution event. Airborne aerosols such as sulphate, nitrate, ammonium, particulate organic matter, black carbon, and other chemicals (i.e. heavy metals) are known to be associated with premature death, aggravated asthma, increased hospital admissions, increased respiratory problems, and coronary heart disease. 

Unfortunately, there is no study showing air pollution caused by New Year's Eve fireworks on global scale. We suggest such a study with short term (controlled) exposures across the globe (including with various climate zones). Such data can be extrapolated and used for other similar (less controlled) exposure scenarios.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to EOM members, supporters and readers

AHS: No association between glyphosate and NHL, but an increased risk of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Glyphosate Use and Cancer Incidence in the Agricultural Health Study.

Andreotti et al., Nov 2017

The Agricultural Health Study (AHS) is a ongoing  prospective cohort of licensed pesticide applicators enrolled in Iowa or North Carolina, Note that the authors do not provide data on exposure (no human biomonitoring no ambient monitoring data is collected within the study). The pesticide use data is based on a follow-up questionnaire that was administered five years after enrollment and completed by 63% of the participants.

In the recent data update the authors could not observe associations between glyphosate use and overall cancer risk or total lymphohematopoietic cancers, including NHL and multiple myeloma. However, there was evidence of an increased risk of AML (acute myeloid leukemia) for applicators, particularly in the highest category of glyphosate exposure compared with never users of glyphosate. The authors  truncated cancer incidence follow-up in 2005 to be concurrent with the last exposure information. Based on 26 exposed cases, there was an increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) compared with never users (RR = 2.44, 95% CI = 0.94 to 6.32, Ptrend = .11), though this association was not statistically significant.

Expeditious efforts to replicate these findings are warranted.

Pollution with particular matter (PM) in all EU states

25 November, 2017

Atmospheric Chemistry

Istvan Lagzi and his colleagues have analyzed pollution data for all 27 EU member states and show that the major pollution source represent residential heating with 21.7% for PM 10 values and 28.6 for fine PM 2.5 particles. As expected is the traffic responsible for 15.9% PM10 pollution and 17.8 PM 2.5%. To note however that for the residual 62% (PM10) and 53% (PM2.5) the sources are the industrial processes, manufacturing, metal production, mineral products and 6.5% soil emissions.

Aquatic pollution provides threats to human health

25 November, 2017

Threats to human health by great ocean garbage patches

Marine plastic pollution has been considered a remote environmental problem. However, a latent threat to marine life has become an acute threat to human health. Biochemical pathways of degraded and decomposed materials and xenobiotics released by great ocean garbage patches are clear enough to alert us and stimulate us to work on prevention of an otherwise immense health problem.

Thomas Efferth, Norbert W Paul. The Lancet Planetary Health, Vol. 1, No. 8, e301–e303


Challenges in characterizing the environmental fate and effects of carbon nanotubes and inorganic nanomaterials in aquatic systems

The release of highly persistent carbon nanotubes (CNTs) from nanocomposites is determined to be a potential source of environmental contamination. Furthermore, the nanomaterials play a role in dissolution and the contribution of ions versus particles to nanomaterials toxicity. A phenomenon of particular relevance for the environment is photoactivation of nanomaterials. This is elucidated with regard to its consequences in complex aquatic ecosystems.

Peter Laux et al., Environmental Science, 2017, in press