[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The growing concern about air quality in harbours is a result of the high impact of the operations on human health and environment.
Harbour activities such loading, unloading and transport of dusty materials are important emission sources of Atmospheric
particulate matter (APM). The assessment of these fugitive emissions is a difficult task because they depend on the materials,
the type of operation and the meteorological scenarios. The main objectives of this work were (1) to evaluate if the techniques
k0-based Instrumental neutron activation analysis (k0-INAA) and Particle induced X-ray emission (PIXE) are suitable techniques to assess fugitive emissions in harbours and (2)
to estimate the impact of harbour activities on APM levels and composition. Several experimental campaigns were carried out
in a Portuguese harbour, during unloading operations of fertilizer and phosphorite provided from Syria and Morocco. PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 were collected, in polycarbonate filters, by Gent samplers. The techniques k0-INAA and PIXE were applied as sensitive analytical tools to perform a complete chemical characterization of the collected
samples. Results showed that manipulation of these materials during harbour operations resulted in high emissions of particles,
principally from the coarse fraction. These emissions were very affected by the granulometry and nature of the handled materials.
Fertilizer emissions were characterized by high concentration of Ca, P, K, Cr, Br and Zn, whereas phosphorite handling contributed
principally for the increase of Ca, P and Cr levels.
Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 08/2013; · 1.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Harbour activities such as loading, unloading and transport of materials may be an important source of Atmospheric Particulate Matter (APM). Depending on the materials, the type of operation and the meteorological conditions, these activities may have an impact on the levels of APM around harbour areas. The aim of this work was to characterize the emissions of dust providing from operations associated with phosphorite handling in harbours. Phosphorite is a non-detrital sedimentary rock which contains high amounts of phosphate bearing minerals and is used for the production of phosphorous based fertilizers. When handled in harbours frequently cause visual and environment impacts due to its physical and chemical characteristics. The techniques Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis and Particle Induced X-ray Emission were applied as sensitive analytical tools for the determination of heavy metals and rare earth elements in phosphorite and in the APM sampled in the harbour during the unloading operations. Results showed that manipulation of phosphorite during harbour operations resulted in high emissions of particles, principally from the coarse fraction. These emissions were enriched in rare earth elements and heavy metals and were very affected by the provenience of the phosphorite.
Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 08/2013; 294(2). · 1.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the scope of a monitoring program to assess the environmental impact of automobile traffic over one main bridge in Lisbon, both water and duckweed (Lemna minor L.) were sampled from the road drainage tanks and analyzed for chemical elements. Plants uptake Cr, Mn, Cu, and Zn metals from rain water draining the bridge road. Nuclear microprobe elemental maps of cryosections of L. minor tissues showed that incorporated elements were internalized in fronds of the plant. This approach at micrometer level allows a better knowledge of the elemental tissue partitioning in this biomonitor organism.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 07/2013; 306:150–152. · 1.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Measurement of the concentration of iron in the skin, if correlated with total body iron stores, may enable better informed decisions on when to initiate, change or stop therapy in hereditary heamochromatosis. Naïve haemochromatosis patients with iron overload and with C282Y and/or H63D HFE mutations were evaluated at the following time-points: disease diagnosis, end of the therapy programme, and 6 months after the end of therapy. The distribution and concentration of iron in the skin were assessed by quantitative nuclear microscopy methods, in parallel with serum and plasma iron concentration. Iron content in the liver was determined by nuclear magnetic resonance. Iron accumulated in the epidermis; its concentration increased from outer to inner layers, being maximal in the basal layer (7.33 ± 0.98 µmol/g). At all 3 time-points, most of the iron was associated with the extracellular space. During the phlebotomy programme the iron content of the skin and the liver decreased by a factor of 2. These data suggest that measurements of iron concentration in the epidermis, which is a readily accessible tissue, reflect iron overload in the liver.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT In occupational assessments where workers are exposed to metal dust, the liquid condensate of exhaled breath (EBC) may provide unique indication of pulmonary exposure. The main goal of this study was to demonstrate the quality of EBC to biological monitoring of human exposure. A pilot study was performed in a group of metal dust-exposed workers and a group of nonexposed individuals working in offices. Only metal dust-exposed workers were followed along the working week to determine the best time of collection. Metal analyses were performed with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Analytical methodology was tested using an EBC sample pool for several occupationally exposed metals: potassium, chromium, manganese, copper, zinc, strontium, cadmium, antimony, and lead. Metal contents in EBC of exposed workers were higher than controls at the beginning of the shift and remained augmented throughout the working week. The results obtained support the establishment of EBC as an indicator of pulmonary exposure to metals.
Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health 01/2013; 68(2):72-9. · 1.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Auto-immune responses are associated with oxidized LDL (ox-LDL) release, a key factor in plaque destabilization. Data on the relationship between ox-LDL and T lymphocytes in human populations remains scarce. T cells also react with other molecules from the lesion and/or damage the myocardium. Objective: The objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between circulating T lymphocytes, ox-LDL, markers of myocardial necrosis (cTnT), myocardial dysfunction (N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide - NT-proBNP) and inflammation (C-reactive protein - CRP) in the setting of acute myocardial infarction. Methods: A longitudinal study of 55 patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) were evaluated at three time points: admission, 2 and 40 days following admission, together with 30 patients with stable angina (SA) and 56 subjects without coronary artery disease serving as controls (CTR). Results: STEMI patients had maximal ox-LDL values and minimal levels of CD3+ T lymphocytes at admission, which was normalized during the recovery period. The increasing trend of CD3+ T cells was positively associated with an ox-LDL decline over time. CRP and cTnT longitudinal variations were negatively associated with the CD3+ T-cell increasing trend. These associations were not found in SA patients or controls. Conclusions: The associations found between CD3+ T lymphocytes, ox-LDL and cTnT suggest a specificity of the immune response in AMI towards arterial and myocardial inflammation and remodelling.
Clinical hemorheology and microcirculation 12/2012; · 3.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of plasma lipid overload on pancreatic islet function and on mineral imbalance are issues under debate. However, the outcomes may be biased by the different metabolisms of different species. This prospective study evaluated whether a high fat diet intake changed the distribution of physiologically relevant elements within pancreatic endocrine and exocrine tissues of Sprague Dawley rats and New Zealand White rabbits. Nuclear microscopy techniques provided images of the specimen density and structure as well as the elemental distributions and quantification of P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Fe, and Zn using unstained cryosections of pancreas. Our results indicate that pancreatic islets in normal rats and rabbits had lower tissue density and higher Ca, Fe, and Zn content compared to exocrine tissue, and that rabbit islets exhibit the highest Zn content (3,300 μg/g in rabbits versus 510 μg/g in rats). Fat diet intake resulted in large deposits of fat in the pancreas, which modified the density contrast of tissues and also resulted in a twofold decrease of Ca and Zn concentrations in islets of both rats and rabbits. This result indicates that a fat diet leads to a reduction in essential trace element concentrations in pancreas, which in turn may hamper endocrine function.
Microscopy and Microanalysis 10/2012; 18(5):1060-6. · 2.50 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhalation of particulate matter in industrial environments has been associated with respiratory symptoms and lung diseases, which continues to lead to long- and short-term hazardous health effects on exposed subjects. The main objectives of this study were (a) to determine the dust exposure of workers from the lead industry in different operations and (b) to evaluate if the Exhaled Breath Condensate (EBC) can be used as a non-invasive tool to evaluate this exposure. Therefore, this cross-sectional study not only measured the exposure to Airborne Particulate Matter (APM) and to the associated elements but also analysed the EBC elemental composition. APM was collected in Ind1, Ind2, Offices and outdoor with Gent samplers, which delivers two size fractions: fine particulate matter (<2.5μm), and coarse particulate matter (between 2.5 and 10μm). EBC samples were collected from the workers and from a non-exposed group working in Offices. The techniques INAA and PIXE were used for the APM element characterization and ICP-MS for EBC elemental content. The PM(2.5) and PM(2.5-10) mass concentrations were significantly higher in the industries studied than in Offices and in the environment. At the industrial sites surveyed the coarse fraction dominated and both factories had different fingerprints: APM elements with higher expression were Pb, Sb, Na, Cl and Fe in Ind1 and Pb, Si, Br, Ca, Al, Cl and Na in Ind2. Most of these elements revealed a gradient of concentration where Ind.1>Ind.2>Offices and EBC revealed a clear translation of this exposure, suggesting the latter to be a potential good indicator of exposure to metals in occupational settings. Pb in EBC presented the most representative results. Even though EBC was found to reflect predominantly the inhaled coarser fraction it is more related to concentration levels of exposure than to the predominance of APM fraction. The present study demonstrated not only the ability of EBC to reflect environmental exposure to metals but also the importance of measuring and characterizing different fractions of APM for a correct assessment.
International journal of hygiene and environmental health 04/2012; · 2.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As previously described, Psoralen plus UVA (PUVA) therapy induces chromosome damage in psoriatic patients. This study evaluates whether these effects are transitory or persistent. In addition, we studied these effects after narrowband UVB (nUVB) and anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α treatments. Among 40 responder patients, 10 received PUVA, 10 nUVB, 10 Infliximab and 10 Etanercept. Disease activity was determined with Psoriasis Area and Severity Index. Chromosomal breakage was evaluated by the clastogenic factor (CF) test. Potential clastogenic agents, malondialdehyde (MDA) and TNF-α were measured. Before treatment, the plasma-adjusted clastogenic scores (ACS) of patients were increased. During treatment, a further increase in ACS was observed in both phototherapy groups. Chromosome damage persisted for PUVA patients at week 32, while it diminished after nUVB to ACS values lower than before treatment. MDA and TNF-α values were also increased at baseline. MDA decreased during treatment in all groups, but without reaching normal levels. Plasma TNF-α remained unchanged in PUVA and nUVB but decreased in both anti-TNF-α treatment groups. Psoriasis is accompanied by CF-induced chromosomal breakage that increases during PUVA and nUVB treatments. Plasma clastogenic activity persisted in the follow-up after PUVA, while after nUVB ACS returned to values even lower than baseline. Clastogenic activity during the induction phase with anti-TNF-α remained unchanged.
Photochemistry and Photobiology 08/2011; 87(6):1427-32. · 2.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Assessing the retention of aerosol particles in the human lung, one of the most important pathways of absorption, is a demanding issue. At present, there is no direct biomarker of exposure for the respiratory system. The collection of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) constitutes a new non-invasive method for sampling from the lung. However, the heterogeneity of the sample due to particulate matter suspended in the condensed phase may influence the quality of analytical results in occupational assessments.The main objective of the study was to confirm the presence of particulate matter in the condensate, to investigate how large the particles in suspension could be and to determine their elemental contents relative to those of EBC matrix.This paper reports on preliminary nuclear microprobe data of particulate matter in EBC. The sizes and the elemental contents of particles suspended in EBC of workers of a lead processing industry and in EBC of non-exposed individuals were inspected. Results demonstrated that EBC of workers contain large aerosol particles, isolated and in agglomerates, contrasting with non-exposed individuals. The particles contained high concentrations of Cl, Ca, Zn and Pb that are elements associated to the production process. These elements were also present in the EBC matrix although in much lower levels, suggesting that a fraction of the inhaled particulate matter was solubilised or their size-ranges were below the nuclear microprobe resolution. Therefore, the morphological characterization of individual particles achieved with nuclear microprobe techniques helped describing EBC constituents in detail, to comprehend their origin and enabled to delineate methodological procedures that can be recommended in occupational assessments. These aspects are critical to the validation of EBC as a biomarker of exposure to metals for the respiratory system.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 01/2011; 269(20):2404-2408. · 1.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Investigate the concomitant longitudinal variations of leukocytes with inflammatory, oxidative stress and cardiac markers at the onset of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and along the recovery period. Methods: A follow-up of 50 STEMI patients was evaluated at 3 time points: at admission before medication and PTCA, 2 and 40 days after together with a group of 50 subjects without coronary disease. A linear mixed effects model was applied to account the effect of repeated measures, provide a measure of the variation of each studied marker over time, and the influence of any co-variants. Results: In STEMI patients, the high neutrophil counts and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) at admission significantly decrease in the following weeks (p_0.001). Monocyte counts had a peak at day 2 that decreases to day 40 (p_0.001). Opposite, the levels of CD3_ T lymphocytes at admission were low and reverted after 40 days (p_0.001). The increasing trend of CD3_ T lymphocytes during recovery was positively associated to the ox-LDL decline (_0.07, p_0.017) and negatively to CRP (-0.51, p_0.017) and cTnT variations (-0.28, p_0.043). Conclusions: In the acute phase, high ox-LDL and neutrophil counts and low CD3_ T lymphocytes precede myocardial injury, and could be related to plaque rupture. The association of CRP and cTnT with T lymphocytes may reflect activation processes that can influence negatively the return of CD3_ T cells to normal systemic levels. The longitudinal approach used, helped identifying new links between circulating leukocytes, ox-LDL, CRP and cTnT that may assist on the disease perception.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Foundry industry has important environmental and occupational health impacts. More information is needed to properly assess occupational health risks presented by this industrial sector. This works aims at (1) characterizing the workers exposure to particulate matter in the foundry industry using k0-Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (k0-INAA) and Particle-Induced X-Ray Emission (PIXE) and (2) identifying some weakness of the k0-INAA technique when high concentrations of particulate matter and metals are involved. Filters were collected in a foundry industry which processes Pb and were analysed by k0-INAA and PIXE. In INAA, the incomplete deposition of gamma-rays in the germanium crystal due to Compton scattering elevated the spectra baseline, thus increased the background, and hindered the identification of some photopeaks. The problem was particularly important due to the high Sb contents existing in the sampled filters. The application of the Compton Suppression System for the analysis of these filters was successfully used in order to ascertain potential improvements on the detection limits for Zn and Fe. Results obtained showed that in this foundry industry workers were exposed to high concentrations of Pb, Sb, Fe, Sn, As, Ni, Br, Na and Cl.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 01/2010; 622(2):453-455. · 1.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is increasing concern over the local and systemic side effects of TiO(2) and ZnO coated nanoparticles widely used in sun blockers.
To determine the localization and possible skin penetration of TiO(2) and ZnO nanoparticles, dispersed in 3 sunscreen formulations, under realistic in vivo conditions in normal and altered skin.
Nuclear microscopy techniques provided spatially resolved quantitative analysis of Ti and Zn nanoparticle distributions in transversal cryosections of skin obtained by biopsy with no further treatment. A test hydrophobic formulation containing coated 20-nm TiO(2) nanoparticles and 2 commercial sunscreen formulations containing TiO(2) alone or in combination with ZnO were tried, taking into account realistic use conditions by consumers and compared with the recommended standard condition for the sun protection factor test. The protocols consisted of an open test.
Following a 2-hour exposure period of normal human skin to TiO(2)- and ZnO-containing sunscreens, detectable amounts of these physical blockers were only present at the skin surface and in the uppermost stratum corneum regions. Layers deeper than the stratum corneum were devoid of TiO(2) or exogenous ZnO, even after 48 h of exposure to the sunscreen, under occlusion. Deposition of TiO(2) and ZnO nanoparticles in the openings of the pilosebaceous follicles was also observed, suggesting a preferential fixation area. Penetration of nanoparticles into viable skin tissue could not be detected.
TiO(2) or ZnO nanoparticles are absent or their levels are too low to be tested under the stratum corneum in human viable epidermal layers. Therefore, significant penetration towards the underlying keratinocytes is unlikely.
Skin pharmacology and physiology 09/2009; 22(5):266-75. · 2.89 Impact Factor