[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we investigated the accumulation of polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorodibenzofurans (PCDFs), and the chlorinated pesticides 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-ethene (DDE), 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-ethane (DDT), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in the breast muscle, liver, lung, heart and brain tissues of adult common swifts (Apus apus, a long-lived aerial feeder bird). Individuals were collected in an urban area located in Rome during the breeding period. As shown by lipid-base normalized data, in general analytes had a significant minimum concentration in the brain. PCDD and PCDF concentration values in such tissue were approximately one order of magnitude lower than those found in breast muscle, heart, and lung tissues, and as much as two orders of magnitude below the relatively high levels found in the liver. PCB levels followed the same accumulation patterns. Of all analytes, HCB exhibited the most uniform distribution pattern over the five matrices assayed. DDE and DDT were by far the most and the least concentrated pesticide. In the urban environment of Rome, an air-to-swift bioconcentration factor (lipid based) in the order of 5 x 10(6) (2 x 10(5), fresh tissue base) was estimated for PCDDs and PCDFs. Our study suggests that airborne arthropod feeders, such us the common swift, are suitable biomonitors for air quality assessment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The results are presented of a survey planned to assess the presence of high concern chemicals in sediments collected in a northern sector of the Adriatic sea neighboring the Venice lagoon. For the assessment, persistent marker chemicals were selected from the families of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorobiphenyls, polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorodibenzofurans (PCDFs), and chlorinated pesticides. Based on the chemical-specific concentrations and PCDD+PCDF profiles determined in the sediments analyzed, dumping zones appear to have existed approximately 5-6km away from lagoon shoreline. Contamination levels exceed the quality criteria established by the pertinent Italian national regulation at many sampling sites, eventually reflecting ("fingerprinting") industrial activities once performed in the industrial settlement of Porto Marghera within the Venice lagoon. In coastal samples, concentration levels appear to be lower than those determined at offshore sampling sites.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The levels of selected polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were measured in human milk samples from the areas of Venice and Rome, primarily in order to characterize the current levels of infant exposure to PCBs and PBDEs due to breast feeding in Italy. Sixteen non-dioxin-like PCBs, including the traditional indicator congeners, and 11 PBDEs, comprising the relevant PBDE-47, PBDE-99, and PBDE-153, were determined. Congeners were selected for analysis according to their relative abundance in human tissues, toxicological relevance, and diffusion in the environment. Dietary habits of the milk donors were recorded by questionnaires; mothers of the Venice area were classified into three groups according to their consumption of local fish, molluscs, and other fishery products. Sigma(16)(PCBs) and Sigma(11)(PBDEs) (ng g(-1) fat) for the areas of Venice and Rome were respectively, 250-390 and 240, and 1.6-2.8 and 4.1. An increase of fish and fishery product consumption could not be associated with an increase of PCB and PBDE levels in milk.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endometriosis is a gynaecological disorder characterized by the presence and growth of endometrial tissue in ectopic sites. In this study we examined the immunological functions of patients with endometriosis and serum level of PCBs and p,p'-DDE to verify the impact of these environmental contaminants on the dysregulation of immune functions. We found that proliferative responses and immunoglobulin production were not dysregulated in patients with endometriosis while NK cell activity was significantly down-regulated in these patients. Moreover, a significant down-regulation of IL-1beta and IL-12 production was found in patients with respect to controls. Serum levels of PCBs and p,p'-DDE were found to be significantly higher in women with endometriosis than in the control group, with respect to the sum of the congeners most prominent in human tissues. In particular, total PCBs concentration in patients with endometriosis and controls was respectively 330 and 160 ng/g fat with respect to the most abundant congeners, while p,p'-DDE concentration was of 770 and 310 ng/g fat. Moreover, we found that normal human PBMC pulsed with PCBs, p,p'-DDE and their combination showed a significant down-regulation of NK cell cytotoxic activity and IL-1beta and IL-12 production. These findings suggest that changes in specific immune parameters correlate with elevated serum PCBs and DDE levels and endometriosis.
Life Sciences 07/2006; 79(5):491-8. · 2.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endometriosis has been hypothesised to be linked to persistent and toxic organochlorinated chemicals. Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds have in particular been associated with the disease, mainly on the basis of experimental studies. Data in women are conflicting. A case-control study on 80 Italian nulliparous women of reproductive age was carried out to assess whether there is a correlation between the presence of endometriosis and blood levels of polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), a family of ubiquitary environmental pollutants which comprises congeners with dioxin-like activity. Higher levels of PCBs were found in women with endometriosis. A mean cumulative value of 410 ng g(-1), lipid base, was found in cases versus the value of 250 ng g(-1) observed in the control group (odds ratio for upper tertile 4.0, CI 95% 1.3-13; p = 0.0003). PCB increase involved both dioxin-like (PCBs 105, 118, 156, and 167) and non-dioxin-like congeners (PCBs 101, 138, 153, 170, 180).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ratification of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a departure point for several considerations on their presence in environmental matrices. In this paper, the Italian situation is presented with emphasis on the most toxic compounds--chemicals with dioxin-like toxic action, and the activity in the area of interest of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità. Biotic, as well as abiotic matrices have been taken in consideration and, where possible, a comparation between their contamination levels with the levels reported on similar matrices by other European countries has been reported.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compounds with dioxin-like toxicity are suspected to adversely affect human reproduction even at current background exposures. Endometriosis, a gynecological disorder often associated with infertility, has been hypothesized to be linked to dioxins and similar chemicals, a hypothesis supported by the outcome of experimental studies on animal models. Endometriosis severity and incidence in Belgium is one of the highest of the world: in this country, the general population exposure to dioxin-like compounds has been, on average, higher than in most industrialized countries. Here we show the results of a pilot case-control study carried out on 22 Italian and 18 Belgian women of reproductive age, with and without endometriosis. No significant differences were found in dioxin-like compound body burdens between cases and controls on a country basis, whereas the body burdens of the Italian women resulted to be significantly lower than that of the Belgian. In particular, total TEQs in Italian and Belgian women without endometriosis were respectively 18 and 45 pg WHO-TE/g lb.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on observations in animals, there is an increasing evidence that a number of persistent organochlorine pollutants can alter the endocrine homeostasis, this resulting in toxic effects in particular in the developing organism. However, the role of these chemicals in determining endocrine-related diseases in humans, and possibly a decrease of fertility, is still controversial. Exposure data concerning the human reproductive system are essential for risk assessment. Based on this, the occurrence in follicular fluid of polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), 2,3,7,8-chlorosubstituted polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs), 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-ethane (p,p'-DDT) and its metabolites, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) was investigated. With respect to PCBs, the sum of the three most abundant congeners (PCBs 138, 153 and 180) was 1230 ng/g, lipid basis (0.37 ng/g, wet weight). Congener distribution profile overlapped what is usually observed in other human tissues, as blood and milk. PCDDs, PCDFs, p,p'-DDT and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-ethane (p,p'-DDD) were below their determination limits. 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-ethene (p,p'-DDE) and HCB were detected in concentrations respectively in the order of 700 and 70 ng/g, lipid basis (approximately 0.2 and approximately 0.02 ng/g, wet weight).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human exposure to persistent toxic substances (PTS) occurs daily, mainly through diet. As a consequence of continuous exposure, and because of their biological persistence, PTS are virtually present in all individuals, stored in their fatty tissues. The exposure of the Italian general population to PTS is a fact of relevance from a public health perspective, because of the number of toxic effects associated to these compounds, possibly occurring even at the current background level of exposure. In spite of this, data on PTS concentrations in humans, considered the best dose metric to carry out an adequate risk assessment, are scarce, as shown by the overview of available information we hereafter present. The Convention of Stockholm on persistent organic pollutants (POP), a group of highly toxic PTS, has entered into force last May. This will oblige parties to develop national implementation plans, thus creating a new opportunity to develop more efficient policies to control POP and other PTS present in food, humans and the environment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: (Alkylphenols: evaluation of the risk to aquatic ecosystems and human health with reference to endocrine effects).--Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) are a heterogeneous group of substances that can interfere with many endocrine functions. Their effects have been demonstrated in different taxa and they are suspected to affect human health. Alkylphenols are an important group of EDC. They are formed from the degradation of alkylphenol polyethoxylates in the environment or in the sewage treatment plants. They are generally characterized by a high bioconcentration factor (BCF) and accumulate both in sediments and aquatic species. Alkylphenols (APE) show estrogenic activity: studies on fish and rodents put into evidence on both reproductive and developmental effects. In a recent study, the levels of APE detected in seafood from the Adriatic Sea showed a no negligible human health risk for strong fish consumers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Major determinants of TCDD half-life in organisms are lipophilicity, metabolism, and hepatic binding sites. In addition, half-life seems to be empirically correlated to organism body weight. In this paper, this correlation is evaluated by a regression analysis of half-life measures and body weight data selected from the literature. Single exposure studies on laboratory mammals and human half-life data were specifically taken in consideration. The analysis outcome appears to be highly significant probably owing to the stability and generally slow metabolism of the substance in the organisms considered. The effect on half-life of factors other than body weight does not seem to influence significantly data dispersion around the regression line. The potential effects of a dose-dependent excretion cannot be excluded as toxicokinetic studies have been usually carried out at high exposure doses.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hexachlorobiphenyls 149 (2,2′,3,4′,5′,6-HxCB) and 153 (2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-HxCB) are among the more abundant congeners in many heavy chlorobiphenyl industrial mixtures. The former appears to be one of the most readily degradable congeners in several biotic matrices. In this paper experimental clues suggesting that the ratio of the two congeners cited varies gradually in matrices at different levels in the food chain are reported; in certain matrices the same ratio seems to be under metabolic control, and an abnormally high ratio can indicate possible outside contamination of the sample.
Microchemical Journal - MICROCHEM J. 01/1997; 55(1):1-11.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three positional isomers for each polychlorobiphenyl (PCB) homologous group tetra-, penta-, and hexachlorosubsubstituted were irradiated in a TiO2 (anatase) semiconductor aqueous suspension. Parent PCB disappearance was studied as a function of irradiation time, and a correlation between isomer substitution pattern and the photodegradative behavior was shown. In each group, the slowest disappearance trend was exhibited by the isomer with unsubstituted ortho positions, thereby capable of adapting into a planar structural configuration with minimum (estimated) energy requirement. In general, photodegradation rate increased with increasing degree of ortho chlorosubstitution.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Forty‐two dielectric fluids from long‐operated heavy‐duty electrical appliances still in service were assayed for polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs); findings ranged from < 10 μg/kg to =1000 g/kg. A subset of 11 fluids with PCB levels > 5 g/kg was also tested for polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs). Cumulatively, these chemicals were seen to fall in the range of 0.76–77 mg/kg of PCBs; and UCL (95%) were estimated as 7.8 and 20 mg/kg, respectively. PCB, PCDD, and PCDF levels were also measured in 17 heterogeneous matrices from accidents involving electrical equipment. With reference to the above background values, no increases in the PCB‐normalized cumulative PCDD and PCDF levels were detected in connection with explosion‐type accidents, whereas matrices from electrical facilities affected by a fire exhibited PCDD and PCDF level increases which were up to four orders of magnitude (140 g/kg of PCBs, in one case). A set of six wipe specimens from the same accident site yielded the following (cumulative PCDD and PCDF contents given as g/kg of PCBs): range 0.92–25; , 5.9; UCL (95%), 29. PCDD and PCDF concentrations were also converted to TCDD toxicity equivalents: owing to the considerable toxic potential found in some matrices from accident settings involving PCBs, PCB risk management issues were discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PCBs have gained worldwide reputation as hazardous environmental contaminants due to their physico‐chemical and toxic properties, and as possible precursors of the much more toxic polychlor‐inated dibenzofurans. This paper describes an accident where a PCB‐based dielectric mixture was spilled on a long stretch of a State road in southern Italy, and the emergency period thereafter. The actions and policies taken to prevent harm to the population and define the extent of contamination for reclamation operations are also reported.