Publications by authors named "Stuart Batterman"

135 Publications

Health risk assessment of exposure to organochlorine pesticides in the general population in Seoul, Korea over 12 years: A cross-sectional epidemiological study.

J Hazard Mater 2021 Sep 30;424(Pt B):127381. Epub 2021 Sep 30.

Division of Environmental Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang 37673, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

This study evaluated the 12-year trends in serum levels of 28 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in 880 adults living in Seoul, Korea. The OCP levels decreased from 2006 to 2017, and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene was a predominant compound. OCP levels were higher in females than in males, and showed positive associations with BMI and age. The OCP concentrations had inverted U-shaped associations with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol. Concentrations of β-hexachlorocyclohexane were significantly higher in patients with hypertension than in participants that were normotensive. OCP levels showed positive associations with uric acid, creatinine, and thyroid-stimulating hormone, but negative associations with free thyroxine. Participants with diabetes had significantly higher OCP levels than those without it. Principal component analysis suggested possible differences in disease manifestation depending on the composition of OCPs. These results suggest that OCPs might disturb renal transport and thyroid homeostasis. To our knowledge, the inverted U-shaped associations of heptachlor epoxide and endosulfan with cholesterol, the epidemiological associations of trans-nonachlor and endosulfan with thyroid hormones, and the association of p,p'-DDE with hyperuricemia have not been previously reported in general population. This is the first long-term study to show trends of 28 OCPs in serum and associations with various health indicators in Korea.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.127381DOI Listing
September 2021

Feminine Hygiene Products and Volatile Organic Compounds in Reproductive-Aged Women Across the Menstrual Cycle: A Longitudinal Pilot Study.

J Womens Health (Larchmt) 2021 Sep 3. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been detected in feminine hygiene products (FHPs), especially in tampons and sanitary pads. However, little is known about whether menstrual products can contribute to VOC exposure in women. Our objectives were to: (1) examine the variations of urinary VOC concentrations during menstrual cycles; (2) evaluate the relationships between the use of menstrual products and urinary VOC concentrations; and (3) link urinary VOC concentrations to those measured in menstrual products. We measured urinary concentrations of 98 target VOCs in 25 reproductive-aged women with 100 repeated measures collected between October 2018 and February 2019. First-morning-void urine samples were collected four times for each woman during one menstrual cycle. Urinary VOC concentrations were measured using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. Of 98 target VOCs measured in the urine samples, 36 VOCs were detected. We did not see statistically significant variations in VOC concentrations across the menstrual cycle. After multivariable adjustment, tampon users had significantly higher concentrations of 2-butanone ( = 1.58 log ng/g, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.16-3.00,  = 0.03) and methyl isobutyl ketone ( = 0.63 log ng/g, 95% CI: 0.03-1.22,  = 0.04), compared with pad users. Higher n-nonane, benzene, and toluene estimated from menstrual products were associated with higher urinary concentrations in women. The use of FHPs during menses might be a potential source of VOCs. A larger cohort study is warranted to confirm our results and evaluate clinical implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2021.0153DOI Listing
September 2021

Association between global DNA methylation (LINE-1) and occupational particulate matter exposure among informal electronic-waste recyclers in Ghana.

Int J Environ Health Res 2021 Aug 17:1-19. Epub 2021 Aug 17.

Department of Biological, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Ghana, School of Public Health, Accra, Ghana.

This study examined the associations between PM (2.5 and 10) and global DNA methylation among 100 e-waste workers and 51 non-e-waste workers serving as controls. Long interspersed nucleotide repetitive elements-1 (LINE-1) was measured by pyrosequencing. Personal PM and PM were measured over a 4-hour work-shift using real-time particulate monitors incorporated into a backpack . Linear regression models were used to assess the association between PM and LINE-1 DNA methylation. The concentrations of PM and PM were significantly higher among the e-waste workers than the controls (77.32 vs 34.88, and 210.21 vs 121.92, , respectively). PM exposure was associated with increased LINE-1 CpG2 DNA methylation (β = 0.003; 95% CI; 0.001, 0.006; p = 0.022) but not with the average of all 4 CpG sites of LINE-1. In summary, high levels of PM exposure was associated with increased levels of global DNA methylation in a site-specific manner.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09603123.2021.1969007DOI Listing
August 2021

Exposures to Primary Air Pollutants Generated by Highway Traffic and the Risk of Daily Mortality in Near Road Communities: A Case-Crossover Study.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 Aug 4. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Most epidemiological studies fail to capture the impact of spatiotemporal fluctuations in traffic on exposure to traffic-related air pollutants in the near-road population. Using a case-crossover design and the Research Line Source Dispersion Model (RLINE) with spatiotemporally resolved highway traffic data, we quantified associations between primary fine particulate matter (PM2.5), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and black carbon (BC) generated by highway traffic and all non-accidental, respiratory, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular daily mortality among individuals within 1 km of major highways in the Washington Puget Sound between 2009 and 2013. We estimated these associations using conditional logistic regression, adjusting for time-varying covariates. Although highly resolved modeled concentrations of PM2.5, NOx and BC from highway traffic in the hours before death were used, we found no evidence of an association of mortality with the preceding 24-hour average exposure (odds ratio: 0.99; 95% confidence interval: 0.96-1.02) or shorter averaging periods. This work did not support the hypothesis that the risk of mortality was meaningfully higher with greater exposures to PM2.5, NOx, and BC from highways in near-road populations, though we did incorporate a novel approach to estimate exposures to traffic-generated air pollution based on detailed traffic congestion data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab215DOI Listing
August 2021

Airborne volatile organic compounds at an e-waste site in Ghana: Source apportionment, exposure and health risks.

J Hazard Mater 2021 10 10;419:126353. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA 48109. Electronic address:

Informal e-waste recycling processes emit various air pollutants. While there are a number of pollutants of concern, little information exists on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) releases at e-waste sites. To assess occupational exposures and estimate health risks, we measured VOC levels at the Agbogbloshie e-waste site in Ghana, the largest e-waste site in Africa, by collecting both fixed-site and personal samples for analyzing a wide range of VOCs. A total of 54 VOCs were detected, dominated by aliphatic and aromatic compounds. Mean and median concentrations of the total target VOCs were 46 and 37 μg/m at the fixed sites, and 485 and 162 μg/m for the personal samples. Mean and median hazard ratios were 2.1 and 1.4, respectively, and cancer risks were 4.6 × 10 and 1.5 × 10. These risks were predominantly driven by naphthalene and benzene; chloroform and formaldehyde were also high in some samples. Based on the VOC composition, the major sources were industry, fuel evaporation and combustion. The concentration gradient across sites and the similarity of VOC profiles indicated that the e-waste site emissions reached neighboring communities. Our results suggest the need to protect e-waste workers from VOC exposure, and to limit emissions that can expose nearby populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126353DOI Listing
October 2021

Global DNA (LINE-1) methylation is associated with lead exposure and certain job tasks performed by electronic waste workers.

Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2021 Nov 20;94(8):1931-1944. Epub 2021 Jun 20.

Department of Biological, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon, P.O. Box LG13, Accra, Ghana.

Objective: This study assessed the associations between blood and urine levels of toxic metals; cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb), and methylation levels of the LINE-1 gene among e-waste and control populations in Ghana.

Methods: The study enrolled 100 male e-waste workers and 51 all-male non-e-waste workers or controls. The concentrations of Cd and Pb were measured in blood and urine using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, while LINE1 methylation levels were assessed by pyrosequencing of bisulfite-converted DNA extracted from whole blood. Single and multiple metals linear regression models were used to determine the associations between metals and LINE1 DNA methylation.

Results: Blood lead (BPb) and urine lead (UPb) showed higher median concentrations among the e-waste workers than the controls (76.82 µg/L vs 40.25 µg/L, p ≤ 0.001; and 6.89 µg/L vs 3.43 µg/L, p ≤ 0.001, respectively), whereas blood cadmium (BCd) concentration was lower in the e-waste workers compared to the controls (0.59 µg/L vs 0.81 µg/L, respectively, p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in LINE1 methylation between the e-waste and controls (85.16 ± 1.32% vs 85.17 ± 1.11%, p = 0.950). In our single metal linear regression models, BPb was significantly inversely associated with LINE1 methylation in the control group (β = - 0.027, 95% CI - 0.045, - 0.010, p = 0.003). In addition, a weak association between BPb and LINE1 was observed in the multiple metals analysis in the e-waste worker group (β = - 0.005, 95% CI - 0.011, 0.000, p = 0.058).

Conclusion: Continuous Pb exposure may interfere with LINE1 methylation, leading to epigenetic alterations, thus serving as an early epigenetic marker for future adverse health outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00420-021-01733-8DOI Listing
November 2021

A community noise survey in Southwest Detroit and the value of supplemental metrics for truck noise.

Environ Res 2021 06 20;197:111064. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan, 1420 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2029, USA.

Noise exposure can affect sleep, health and cognitive performance, and it disproportionately affects communities of color. This study has the objective of evaluating both conventional and supplemental noise metrics in a community noise survey examining Southwest Detroit, Michigan, a densely populated and industrialized area with extensive truck traffic on residential streets. Sound pressure level (SPL) monitors were deployed at 21 residential sites within 900 m of a major interstate highway. With assistance from youth volunteers, continuous SPL measurements were obtained for 1.5-7 days at each site, and short-term vehicle counts on local roads were recorded. We calculated conventional noise metrics, including the day-evening-night average sound level L and the 90th percentile 1-hr maximum L(h), and evaluated the effect of distance from highways, traffic volume, time-of-day, and other factors. Supplemental metrics potentially appropriate for intermittent traffic noise were calculated, including fraction of time over specific SPL thresholds using a new metric called F, which is the fraction of time over 60, 65 and 70 dB during night, evening and daytime periods, respectively, and a peak noise metric called L(h), which utilizes the 98th percentile SPL within time blocks to increase robustness. The conventional metrics indicated five sites that exceeded 70 dB, and the highest noise levels were found within ~50 m of truck routes, arterials and freeway ramps. The estimated impact of truck traffic ranged up to 17 dB for hourly averages and to 33 dB for 1-s peaks. The conventional metrics did not always capture short-term noise exposures, which may be especially important to annoyance and sleep issues. In addition to showing widespread exposure to traffic noise in the study community that warrants consideration of noise abatement strategies, the study demonstrates the benefits of supplemental noise metrics and community engagement in noise assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8194211PMC
June 2021

Opportunities and challenges in reducing personal inhalation exposure to air pollution among electronic waste recovery workers in Ghana.

Am J Ind Med 2021 05 1;64(5):381-397. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Background: Informal sector electronic waste (e-waste) recovery produces toxic emissions resulting from burning e-waste to recover valuable metals.

Objectives: To identify high-risk worker groups by measuring relative levels of personal inhalation exposure to particulate matter (PM) of fine (≤2.5 µm) and coarse (2.5-10 µm) fractions (PM and PM respectively) across work activities among e-waste workers, and to assess how wind conditions modify levels of PM by activity and site location.

Methods: At the Agbogbloshie e-waste site, 170 partial-shift PM samples and time-activity data were collected from participants (N = 105) enrolled in the GeoHealth cohort study. Personal sampling included continuous measures of size-specific PM from the worker's breathing zone and time-activity derived from wearable cameras. Linear mixed models were used to estimate changes in personal PM and PM associated with activities and evaluate effect modification by wind conditions.

Results: Mean (±standard deviation) personal PM and PM concentrations were 80 (±  81) and 123 (± 139) µg m , respectively. The adjusted mean PM concentration for burning e-waste was 88 µg m , a 28% increase above concentrations during non-recovery activities (such as eating). Transportation-related and burning activities were associated with the highest PM concentrations. Frequent changes in wind direction were associated with higher PM concentrations when burning, and high wind speeds with higher PM concentrations when dismantling e-waste downwind of the burning zone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.23229DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8046737PMC
May 2021

Urban-scale variation in pollen concentrations: A single station is insufficient to characterize daily exposure.

Aerobiologia (Bologna) 2020 Sep 20;36(3):417-431. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Environmental Health Sciences, 1415 Washington Heights Rd., Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Epidemiological analyses of airborne allergenic pollen often use concentration measurements from a single station to represent exposure across a city, but this approach does not account for the spatial variation of concentrations within the city. Because there are few descriptions of urban-scale variation, the resulting exposure measurement error is unknown but potentially important for epidemiological studies. This study examines urban scale variation in pollen concentrations by measuring pollen concentrations of 13 taxa over 24-hr periods twice weekly at 25 sites in two seasons in Detroit, Michigan. Spatio-temporal variation is described using cumulative distribution functions and regression models. Daily pollen concentrations across the 25 stations varied considerably, and the average quartile coefficient of dispersion was 0.63. Measurements at a single site explained 3-85% of the variation at other sites, depending on the taxon, and 95% prediction intervals of pollen concentrations generally spanned one to two orders of magnitude. These results demonstrate considerable heterogeneity of pollen levels at the urban scale, and suggest that the use of a single monitoring site will not reflect pollen exposure over an urban area and can lead to sizable measurement error in epidemiological studies, particularly when a daily time-step is used. These errors might be reduced by using predictive daily pollen levels in models that combine vegetation maps, pollen production estimates, phenology models and dispersion processes, or by using coarser time-steps in the epidemiological analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10453-020-09641-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7810344PMC
September 2020

Pollen production for 13 urban North American tree species: Allometric equations for tree trunk diameter and crown area.

Aerobiologia (Bologna) 2020 Sep 7;36(3):401-415. Epub 2020 Apr 7.

School of Public Health, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Estimates of airborne pollen concentrations at the urban scale would be useful for epidemiologists, land managers, and allergy sufferers. Mechanistic models could be well suited for this task, but their development will require data on pollen production across cities, including estimates of pollen production by individual trees. In this study, we developed predictive models for pollen production as a function of trunk size, canopy area, and height, which are commonly recorded in tree surveys or readily extracted from remote sensing data. Pollen production was estimated by measuring the number of flowers per tree, the number of anthers per flower, and the number of pollen grains per anther. Variability at each morphological scale was assessed using bootstrapping. Pollen production was estimated for the following species: x and Basal area predicted pollen production with a mean R of 0.72 (range: 0.41 - 0.99), whereas canopy area predicted pollen production with a mean R of 0.76 (range: 0.50 - 0.99). These equations are applied to two tree datasets to estimate total municipal pollen production and the spatial distribution of street tree pollen production for the focal species. We present some of the first individual-tree based estimates of pollen production at the municipal scale; the observed spatial heterogeneity in pollen production is substantial and can feasibly be included in mechanistic models of airborne pollen at fine spatial scales.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10453-020-09638-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7748260PMC
September 2020

Development of a mobile platform for monitoring gaseous, particulate, and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollutants.

Environ Monit Assess 2020 Dec 12;193(1). Epub 2020 Dec 12.

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

The Michigan Pollution Assessment Laboratory (MPAL) is a mobile air quality monitoring platform designed to measure conventional, toxic, and greenhouse gas (GHG) air pollutants. The spatially and temporally resolved data collected can be used for multiple purposes, such as mapping spatial patterns and identifying peaks. The truck-based platform includes instrumentation for 11 gaseous pollutants and for particulate matter (PM), size distribution (7 nm to 20 μm), PM, black and brown carbon, and trace metals. MPAL is equipped with meteorological instruments, a high-accuracy GPS, forward and reverse cameras, and a data logging and display system. We selected commercially available instrumentation based on sensitivity, response time, and robustness. The vehicle's power system allows ~ 6.5 h of continuous operation with all instruments operating. This article details the design, construction, and evaluation of MPAL and summarizes data collected in its first year (March 2019 to March 2020) of operation. We completed a series of runs on 84 days in Detroit, Michigan, an area with a diverse set of traffic, industrial, and commercial emission sources, and collected 265,816 1-s observations (excluding collocations, zero checks, and other quality assurance measurements). Using data from these runs as well as special tests, we present results of performance evaluations that examined the response time, PM losses, and wind measurements and compare results to stationary regulatory monitoring data. We highlight key issues and provide practical solutions to help evaluate and resolve these issues and share many lessons learned in developing and using a mobile platform.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-020-08769-2DOI Listing
December 2020

Urinary metal mixtures and longitudinal changes in glucose homeostasis: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN).

Environ Int 2020 12 12;145:106109. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States. Electronic address:

Background: Epidemiologic studies on associations between metals and insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction have been cross-sectional and focused on individual metals.

Objective: We assessed the association of exposure to metal mixtures, based on assessment of 15 urinary metals, with both baseline levels and longitudinal changes in homeostatic model assessments for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and β-cell function (HOMA-β).

Methods: We examined 1262 women, aged 45-56 years at baseline (1999-2000), who were followed through 2015-2016, from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation. Urinary concentrations of 15 metals (arsenic, barium, cadmium, cobalt, cesium, copper, mercury, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, lead, antimony, tin, thallium, and zinc) were determined at baseline. HOMA-IR and HOMA-β were repeatedly measured over 16 years of follow-up. A two-stage modeling was used to account for correlations in dependent and independent variables: In stage-1, linear mixed effects models were used to estimate the participant-specific baseline HOMA levels from random intercepts and participant-specific rates of changes from random slopes. In stage-2, adaptive elastic-net (AENET) models were fit to identify components of metal mixtures associated with participant-specific baseline levels and rates of changes in HOMA-IR and HOMA-β, respectively. An environmental risk score (ERS) was used to integrate metal mixture effects from AENET results.

Results: In multivariable adjusted AENET models, urinary zinc was associated with higher HOMA-IR at baseline, whereas molybdenum was associated with lower HOMA-IR at baseline. The estimated changes in baseline HOMA-IR for one standard deviation increase in log-transformed urinary metal concentrations were 5.76% (3.05%, 8.55%) for zinc and -3.25% (-5.45%, -1.00%) for molybdenum, respectively. Urinary zinc was also associated with lower HOMA- β at baseline. Arsenic was associated with a slightly faster rate of decline in HOMA-β in the AENET model evaluating associations between metals and rate of changes. Significant associations of ERS with both HOMA-IR and HOMA-β at baseline were observed. ERS for the rate of changes was not calculated and examined in relation to rates of changes in HOMA-IR and HOMA-β because only a single metal was selected by AENET.

Conclusion: Exposure to metal mixtures may be exerting effects on insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction, which might be mechanisms by which metal exposures lead to elevated diabetes risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.106109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7577932PMC
December 2020

Volatile organic compounds in feminine hygiene products sold in the US market: A survey of products and health risks.

Environ Int 2020 11 28;144:105740. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. Electronic address:

Feminine hygiene products (FHPs) are used on highly permeable and sensitive vaginal and vulvar tissues by many women. These products contain a variety of chemicals, and few regulations require disclosure of their ingredients. The objectives of this study are to identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may be present in these products and to evaluate the potential for exposure and health risk associated with product use. We collected 79 commercially available FHPs, including washes, tampons, menstrual pads, wipes, sprays, powders and moisturizers, and analyzed their composition using purge and trap sampling, thermal desorption, gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. Exposures and risks were modeled using reasonable upper bound exposure scenarios. The highest VOC concentrations (as total target VOCs) were found in washes, sprays and powders, with median concentrations from 25,000 to 34,000 ng/g. Benzene (maximum: 3,604 ng/g) was detected in 83% of the collected products, and 1,4-dioxane (maximum: 24,354 ng/g) in 50% of the products. VOC composition depended on the FHP type, manufacturer and brand. Products labeled as "organic," "natural," or "for sensitive skin" did not necessarily have lower VOC concentrations. For most FHPs, calculated risks were low; however, menstrual pads had hazard ratios of up to 11, sprays and powders had hazard ratios of up to 2.2 and excess cancer risks of up to 2.1 × 10, and washes had excess cancer risks of up to 3.3 × 10. Our data suggest that all tested FHPs contained some toxic VOCs, and that risks of using some products should be addressed. We recommend the elimination of toxic ingredients and the disclosure of all chemicals that are used in these products.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105740DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7958867PMC
November 2020

Air Quality Impacts at an E-Waste Site in Ghana Using Flexible, Moderate-Cost and Quality-Assured Measurements.

Geohealth 2020 Aug 1;4(8):e2020GH000247. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Environmental Health Sciences University of Michigan Ann Arbor Michigan USA.

Air quality information is scarce in low- and middle-income countries. This study describes the application of moderate cost approaches that can provide spatial and temporal information on concentrations of particulate matter (PM) needed to assess community and occupational exposures. We evaluated PM levels at the Agbogbloshie e-waste and scrap yard site in Accra, Ghana, and at upwind and downwind locations, obtaining both optical and gravimetric measurements, local meteorological data and satellite aerosol optical depth. Due to overload issues, the gravimetric 24-hr samplers were modified for periodic sampling and some optical data were screened for quality assurance. Exceptionally high concentrations (e.g., 1-hr average PM exceeding 2000 μg/m) were sometimes encountered near combustion sources, including open fires at the e-waste site and spoil piles. 24-hr PM levels averaged 31, 88 and 57 μg/m at upwind, e-waste and downwind sites, respectively, and PM averaged 145, 214 and 190 μg/m, considerably exceeding air quality standards. Upwind levels likely reflected biomass burning that is prevalent in the surrounding informal settlements; levels at the e-waste and downwind sites also reflected contributions from biomass combustion and traffic. The highest PM levels occurred in evenings, influenced by diurnal changes in emission rates, atmospheric dispersion and wind direction shifts. We demonstrate that moderate cost instrumentation, with some modifications, appropriate data cleaning protocols, and attention to understanding local sources and background levels, can be used to characterize spatial and temporal variation in PM levels in urban and industrial areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2020GH000247DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7431652PMC
August 2020

Allergenic pollen production across a large city for common ragweed ().

Landsc Urban Plan 2019 Oct 20;190. Epub 2019 Jul 20.

School of Public Health, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Predictions of airborne allergenic pollen concentrations at fine spatial scales require information on source plant location and pollen production. Such data are lacking at the urban scale, largely because manually mapping allergenic pollen producing plants across large areas is infeasible. However, modest-sized field surveys paired with allometric equations, remote sensing, and habitat distribution models can predict where these plants occur and how much pollen they produce. In this study, common ragweed () was mapped in a field survey in Detroit, MI, USA. The relationship between ragweed presence and habitat-related variables derived from aerial imagery, LiDAR, and municipal data were used to create a habitat distribution model, which was then used to predict ragweed presence across the study area (392 km). The relationship between inflorescence length and pollen production was used to predict pollen production in the city. Ragweed occurs in 1.7% of Detroit and total pollen production is 312 × 10 pollen grains annually, but ragweed presence was highly heterogeneous across the city. Ragweed was predominantly found in in vacant lots (75%) and near demolished structures (48%), and had varying associations with land cover types (e.g., sparse vegetation, trees, pavement) detected by remote sensing. These findings also suggest several management strategies that could help reduce levels of allergenic pollen, including appropriate post-demolition management practices. Spatially-resolved predictions for pollen production will allow mechanistic modeling of airborne allergenic pollen and improved exposure estimates for use in epidemiological and other applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.103615DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7442281PMC
October 2019

Demolition Activity and Elevated Blood Lead Levels among Children in Detroit, Michigan, 2014-2018.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 08 19;17(17). Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Detroit Health Department, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.

Older buildings in the United States often contain lead paint, and their demolition poses the risk of community lead exposure. We investigated associations between demolitions and elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs) among Detroit children aged <6 years, 2014-2018, and evaluated yearly variation given health and safety controls implemented during this time. Case-control analysis included incident EBLL cases (≥5 µg/dL) and non-EBLL controls from test results reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Exposure was defined as the number of demolitions (0, 1, 2+) within 400 feet of the child's residence 45 days before the blood test. We used logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and test effect modification by year. Associations between demolition and EBLL differed yearly ( = 0.07): 2+ demolitions were associated with increased odds of EBLLs in 2014 (OR: 1.75; 95% CI: (1.17, 2.55), 2016 (2.36; 1.53, 3.55) and 2017 (2.16; 1.24, 3.60), but not in 2018 (0.94; 0.41, 1.86). This pattern remained consistent in sensitivity analyses. The null association in 2018 may be related to increased health and safety controls. Maintenance of controls and monitoring are essential, along with other interventions to minimize lead exposure, especially for susceptible populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7503460PMC
August 2020

Micronutrient-rich dietary intake is associated with a reduction in the effects of particulate matter on blood pressure among electronic waste recyclers at Agbogbloshie, Ghana.

BMC Public Health 2020 Jul 6;20(1):1067. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Department of Biological, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, P. O. Box LG13, Legon, Accra, Ghana.

Background: Informal recycling of electronic waste (e-waste) releases particulate matter (PM) into the ambient air. Human exposure to PM has been reported to induce adverse effects on cardiovascular health. However, the impact of PM on the cardiovascular health of e-waste recyclers in Ghana has not been studied. Although intake of micronutrient-rich diet is known to modify these PM-induced adverse health effects, no data are available on the relationship between micronutrient status of e-waste recyclers and the reported high-level exposure to PM. We therefore investigated whether the intake of micronutrient-rich diets ameliorates the adverse effects of ambient exposure to PM on blood pressure (BP).

Methods: This study was conducted among e-waste and non-e-waste recyclers from March 2017 to October 2018. Dietary micronutrient (Fe, Ca, Mg, Se, Zn, and Cu) intake was assessed using a 2-day 24-h recall. Breathing zone PM was measured with a real-time monitor. Cardiovascular indices such as systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP), and pulse pressure (PP) were measured using a sphygmomanometer. Ordinary least-squares regression models were used to estimate the joint effects of ambient exposure to PM and dietary micronutrient intake on cardiovascular health outcomes.

Results: Fe was consumed in adequate quantities, while Ca, Se, Zn, Mg, and Cu were inadequately consumed among e-waste and non-e-waste recyclers. Dietary Ca, and Fe intake was associated with reduced SBP and PP of e-waste recyclers. Although PM levels were higher in e-waste recyclers, exposures in the control group also exceeded the WHO 24-h guideline value (25 μg/m). Exposure to 1 μg/m of PM was associated with an increased heart rate (HR) among e-waste recyclers. Dietary Fe intake was associated with a reduction in systolic blood pressure levels of e-waste recyclers after PM exposure.

Conclusions: Consistent adequate dietary Fe intake was associated with reduced effects of PM on SBP of e-waste recyclers overtime. Nonetheless, given that all other micronutrients are necessary in ameliorating the adverse effects of PM on cardiovascular health, nutrition-related policy dialogues are required. Such initiatives would help educate informal e-waste recyclers and the general population on specific nutrients of concern and their impact on the exposure to ambient air pollutants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09173-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7339459PMC
July 2020

Occupational exposure and health risks of volatile organic compounds of hotel housekeepers: Field measurements of exposure and health risks.

Indoor Air 2021 01 24;31(1):26-39. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Hotel housekeepers represent a large, low-income, predominantly minority, and high-risk workforce. Little is known about their exposure to chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This study evaluates VOC exposures of housekeepers, sources and factors affecting VOC levels, and provides preliminary estimates of VOC-related health risks. We utilized indoor and personal sampling at two hotels, assessed ventilation, and characterized the VOC composition of cleaning agents. Personal sampling of hotel staff showed a total target VOC concentration of 57 ± 36 µg/m (mean ± SD), about twice that of indoor samples. VOCs of greatest health significance included chloroform and formaldehyde. Several workers had exposure to alkanes that could cause non-cancer effects. VOC levels were negatively correlated with estimated air change rates. The composition and concentrations of the tested products and air samples helped identify possible emission sources, which included building sources (for formaldehyde), disinfection by-products in the laundry room, and cleaning products. VOC levels and the derived health risks in this study were at the lower range found in the US buildings. The excess lifetime cancer risk (average of 4.1 × 10 ) still indicates a need to lower exposure by reducing or removing toxic constituents, especially formaldehyde, or by increasing ventilation rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ina.12709DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8020495PMC
January 2021

Associations of Perfluoroalkyl Substances with Incident Natural Menopause: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2020 09;105(9)

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Context: Previous epidemiologic studies of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and menopausal timing conducted in cross-sectional settings were limited by reverse causation because PFAS serum concentrations increase after menopause.

Objectives: To investigate associations between perfluoroalkyl substances and incident natural menopause.

Design And Setting: A prospective cohort of midlife women, the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, 1999-2017.

Participants: 1120 multiracial/ethnic premenopausal women aged 45-56 years.

Methods: Serum concentrations of perfluoroalkyls were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry. Natural menopause was defined as the bleeding episode prior to at least 12 months of amenorrhea not due to surgery or hormone use. Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: Participants contributed 5466 person-years of follow-up, and 578 had incident natural menopause. Compared with the lowest tertile, women at the highest tertile of baseline serum concentrations had adjusted HR for natural menopause of 1.26 (95% CI: 1.02-1.57) for n-perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (n-PFOS) (Ptrend = .03), 1.27 (95% CI: 1.01-1.59) for branched-PFOS (Ptrend = .03), and 1.31 (95% CI: 1.04-1.65) for n-perfluorooctanoic acid (Ptrend = .01). Women were classified into four clusters based on their overall PFAS concentrations as mixtures: low, low-medium, medium-high, and high. Compared with the low cluster, the high cluster had a HR of 1.63 (95% CI: 1.08-2.45), which is equivalent to 2.0 years earlier median time to natural menopause.

Conclusion: This study suggests that select PFAS serum concentrations are associated with earlier natural menopause, a risk factor for adverse health outcomes in later life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa303DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7418447PMC
September 2020

Effect of Particulate Matter Exposure on Respiratory Health of e-Waste Workers at Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 04 27;17(9). Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Department of Biological, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG13 Accra, Ghana.

: Direct and continuous exposure to particulate matter (PM), especially in occupational settings is known to impact negatively on respiratory health and lung function. : To determine the association between concentrations of PM (2.5, 2.5-10 and 10 µm) in breathing zone and lung function of informal e-waste workers at Agbogbloshie. : To evaluate lung function responses to PM (2.5, 2.5-10 and 10 µm), we conducted a longitudinal cohort study with three repeated measures among 207 participants comprising 142 healthy e-waste workers from Agbogbloshie scrapyard and 65 control participants from Madina-Zongo in Accra, Ghana from 2017-2018. Lung function parameters (FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC, PEF, and FEF 25-75) and PM (2.5, 2.5-10 and 10 µm) concentrations were measured, corresponding to prevailing seasonal variations. Socio-demographic data, respiratory exposures and lifestyle habits were determined using questionnaires. Random effects models were then used to examine the effects of PM (2.5, 2.5-10 and 10 µm) on lung function. : The median concentrations of PM (2.5, 2.5-10 and 10 µm) were all consistently above the WHO ambient air standards across the study waves. Small effect estimates per IQR of PM (2.5, 2.5-10 and 10 µm) on lung function parameters were observed even after adjustment for potential confounders. However, a 10 µg increase in PM (2.5, 2.5-10 and 10 µm) was associated with decreases in PEF and FEF 25-75 by 13.3% % [β = -3.133; 95% CI: -0.243, -0.022) and 26.6% [β = -0.266; 95% CI: -0.437, 0.094]. E-waste burning and a history of asthma significantly predicted a decrease in PEF by 14.2% [β = -0.142; 95% CI: -0.278, -0.008) and FEV1 by 35.8% [β = -0.358; 95% CI: -0.590, 0.125] among e-waste burners. : Direct exposure of e-waste workers to PM predisposes to decline in lung function and risk for small airway diseases such as asthma and COPD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7246629PMC
April 2020

Time series analysis of total and direct associations between high temperatures and preterm births in Detroit, Michigan.

BMJ Open 2020 02 5;10(2):e032476. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Objectives: Preterm births (PTBs) represent significant health risks, and several studies have found associations between high outdoor temperatures and PTB. We estimated both the total and natural direct effects (independent of particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen dioxide air pollutants) of the prior 2-day mean apparent temperature (AT) on PTB. We evaluated effect modification by maternal age, race, education, smoking status and prenatal care.

Design And Setting: We obtained birth records and meteorological data for the Detroit, Michigan, USA area, for the warm months (May to September), 1991 to 2001. We used a time series Poisson regression with splines of AT, wind speed, solar radiation and citywide average precipitation to estimate total effects. To accommodate multiple mediators and exposure-mediator interactions, AT inverse odds weights, predicted by meteorological and air pollutant covariates, were added in a subsequent model to estimate direct effects.

Results: At 24.9°C relative to 18.6°C, 10.6% (95% CI: 3.8% to 17.2%) of PTBs were attributable to the total effects of AT, and 10.4% (95% CI: 2.2% to 17.5%) to direct effects. Relative excess risks of interaction indicated that the risk of PTB with increasing temperature above 18.6°C was significantly lower among black mothers and higher among mothers less than 19, older than 30, with late or no prenatal care and who smoked.

Conclusion: This additional evidence of a direct association between high temperature and PTB may motivate public health interventions to reduce extreme heat exposures among pregnant women, particularly among those who may have enhanced vulnerability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032476DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7045030PMC
February 2020

Longitudinal trends in perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances among multiethnic midlife women from 1999 to 2011: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation.

Environ Int 2020 02 13;135:105381. Epub 2019 Dec 13.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States. Electronic address:

Background: Limited information exists regarding longitudinal trends in midlife women's exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Further, little is known about how patterns of exposure differ by race/ethnicity and reproductive characteristics including parity and menopause.

Objective: We aimed to examine temporal variations in serum PFAS concentrations among midlife women from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation.

Methods: Serum concentrations of 11 PFAS homologues were measured in 75 White, Black and Chinese women with blood samples collected in 1999-2000, 2002-2003, 2005-2006, and 2009-2011. Rates of changes in PFAS concentrations were calculated assuming a first-order elimination model. Associations between PFAS concentrations and race/ethnicity, menstruation and parity were evaluated with linear mixed models, adjusting for age, body mass index and study site.

Results: Serum concentrations of linear-chain perfluorooctanoic acid (n-PFOA), linear- and branched-chain perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (n-PFOS and sm-PFOS) decreased significantly (-6.0%, 95% CI: -8.3%, -3.6% per year for n-PFOA; -14.8%, 95% CI: -17.3%, -12.3% per year for n-PFOS; -16.9%, 95% CI: -19.1%, -14.6% per year for sm-PFOS); whereas perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) increased (16.0%, 95% CI: 10.6%, 21.6% per year). Detection rates of perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDeA) and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUA) doubled. Temporal trends varied significantly by race/ethnicity. Chinese women tended to have consistently higher PFNA concentrations at each follow-up visit, compared with White and Black women. Serum PFHxS concentrations significantly decreased in White and Black women, but not in Chinese. Menstruating women consistently had lower concentrations. Parity was associated with lower concentrations at baseline but the differences between nulliparous and parous women became smaller over time.

Conclusions: Our results suggest longitudinal declines in serum concentrations of legacy PFAS and increases in serum concentrations of emerging compounds from 1999 to 2011 in midlife women. Temporal trends in PFAS concentrations are not uniform across race/ethnicity and parity groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.105381DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7374929PMC
February 2020

Environmental impacts of commuting modes in Lisbon: a life-cycle assessment addressing particulate matter impacts on health.

Int J Sustain Transp 2019 23;13(9):652-663. Epub 2018 Sep 23.

ADAI-LAETA, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Coimbra, Pólo II Campus, Rua Luís Reis Santos, 3030-788 Coimbra, Portugal.

A life-cycle assessment of commuting alternatives is conducted that compares six transportation modes (car, bus, train, subway, motorcycle and bicycle) for eight impact indicators. Fine particulate matter (PM) emissions and health impacts are incorporated in the assessment using intake fractions that differentiate between urban and non-urban emissions, combined with an effect factor. The potential benefits of different strategies for reducing environmental impacts are illustrated. The results demonstrate the need for comprehensive approaches that avoid problem-shifting among transportation-related strategies. Policies aiming to improve the environmental performance of urban transportation should target strategies that decrease local emissions, life-cycle impacts and health effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15568318.2018.1501519DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6777580PMC
September 2018

Effect modifiers of lung function and daily air pollutant variability in a panel of schoolchildren.

Thorax 2019 11 18;74(11):1055-1062. Epub 2019 Sep 18.

Occupational and Environmental Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Background: Acute pollutant-related lung function changes among children varies across pollutants and lag periods. We examined whether short-term air pollutant fluctuations were related to daily lung function among a panel of children and whether these effects are modified by airway hyperresponsiveness, location and asthma severity.

Methods: Students from randomly selected grade 4 classrooms at seven primary schools in Durban, participated, together with asthmatic children from grades 3-6 (n=423). The schools were from high pollutant exposed communities (south) and compared with schools from communities with lower levels of pollution (north), with similar socioeconomic profiles. Interviews, spirometry and methacholine challenge testing were conducted. Bihourly lung function measurements were performed over a 3-week period in four phases. During all schooldays, students blew into their personal digital monitors every 1.5-2 hours. Nitrogen dioxide (NO), nitrogen oxide (NO), sulphur dioxide and particulate matter (<10 μm diameter) (PM) were measured at each school. Generalised estimating equations assessed lag effects, using single-pollutant (single or distributed lags) models.

Results: FEV declines ranged from 13 to 18 mL per unit increase in IQR for NO and 14-23 mL for NO. Among the 5-day average models, a 20 mL and 30 mL greater drop in FEV per IQR for NO and NO, respectively, among those with airway hyperresponsiveness compared with those without. Effects were seen among those with normal airways.

Conclusions: This first panel study in sub-Saharan Africa, showed significant declines in lung function, in response to NO and NO with effects modified by airway hyperresponsiveness or persistent asthma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2017-211458DOI Listing
November 2019

Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds and Use of Feminine Hygiene Products Among Reproductive-Aged Women in the United States.

J Womens Health (Larchmt) 2020 01 18;29(1):65-73. Epub 2019 Sep 18.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Feminine hygiene products (FHPs) are personal care products widely used by women. A few studies have detected some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in FHPs, but no previous epidemiological studies have linked use of these products to human exposure to VOCs using biomarkers. Therefore, we evaluated whether the use of FHPs was associated with VOC exposures among reproductive-aged women in the United States. Data on 2432 women aged 20-49 years from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2004 were utilized. Self-reported use of feminine products (tampons, sanitary napkins, vaginal douches, sprays, powders, wipes/towelettes, and other products) was obtained from questionnaires. Survey-weighted linear regression models were used to estimate percent changes in VOC whole blood concentrations and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Black women had significantly more use of vaginal douching and significantly higher whole blood concentrations of 1,4-dichlorobenzene (DCB) ( < 0.0001). After adjusting for confounders, we observed a dose-response relationship between the frequency of vaginal douching in the past 6 months and 1,4-DCB concentrations. Compared with never users, women with occasional use (≤1 time/month) of vaginal douching had 18% (95% CI: -12% to 59%) higher concentrations, and those with frequent use (≥2 time/month) had 81% (95% CI: 2% to 221%) higher concentrations of 1,4-DCB ( for trend = 0.04). Use of feminine powder in the past month was significantly associated with 36% (95% CI: 0.4% to 83%) higher concentrations of ethylbenzene. Our findings suggest that differences in whole blood VOC concentrations might be explained by feminine hygiene practices. The presence of environmental chemicals in FHPs warrants further examination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2019.7785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6998054PMC
January 2020

Derivation of Time-Activity Data Using Wearable Cameras and Measures of Personal Inhalation Exposure among Workers at an Informal Electronic-Waste Recovery Site in Ghana.

Ann Work Expo Health 2019 10;63(8):829-841

Department of Biological, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Ghana, School of Public Health, Accra, Ghana.

Objectives: Approximately 2 billion workers globally are employed in informal settings, which are characterized by substantial risk from hazardous exposures and varying job tasks and schedules. Existing methods for identifying occupational hazards must be adapted for unregulated and challenging work environments. We designed and applied a method for objectively deriving time-activity patterns from wearable camera data and matched images with continuous measurements of personal inhalation exposure to size-specific particulate matter (PM) among workers at an informal electronic-waste (e-waste) recovery site.

Methods: One hundred and forty-two workers at the Agbogbloshie e-waste site in Accra, Ghana, wore sampling backpacks equipped with wearable cameras and real-time particle monitors during a total of 171 shifts. Self-reported recall of time-activity (30-min resolution) was collected during the end of shift interviews. Images (N = 35,588) and simultaneously measured PM2.5 were collected each minute and processed to identify activities established through worker interviews, observation, and existing literature. Descriptive statistics were generated for activity types, frequencies, and associated PM2.5 exposures. A kappa statistic measured agreement between self-reported and image-based time-activity data.

Results: Based on image-based time-activity patterns, workers primarily dismantled, sorted/loaded, burned, and transported e-waste materials for metal recovery with high variability in activity duration. Image-based and self-reported time-activity data had poor agreement (kappa = 0.17). Most measured exposures (90%) exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) 24-h ambient PM2.5 target of 25 µg m-3. The average on-site PM2.5 was 81 µg m-3 (SD: 94). PM2.5 levels were highest during burning, sorting/loading and dismantling (203, 89, 83 µg m-3, respectively). PM2.5 exposure during long periods of non-work-related activities also exceeded the WHO standard in 88% of measured data.

Conclusions: In complex, informal work environments, wearable cameras can improve occupational exposure assessments and, in conjunction with monitoring equipment, identify activities associated with high exposures to workplace hazards by providing high-resolution time-activity data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/annweh/wxz056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6788341PMC
October 2019

Evaluation of Changes in Lead Levels in Drinking Water Due to Replacement of Water Mains: A Comprehensive Study in Chicago, Illinois.

Environ Sci Technol 2019 Aug 24;53(15):8833-8844. Epub 2019 Jul 24.

Ramboll , 333 West Wacker Drive, Suite 2700 , Chicago , Illinois 60606 , United States.

Disturbances to water treatment and distribution systems using lead service lines have been reported to increase water lead levels. This study evaluates effects from one type of physical disturbance, namely, water mains replacement. Lead concentrations at 542 homes in Chicago, Illinois were measured using partial profile sampling (1, 4, 6 and 5 min 1-L samples) after 6-h stagnation, both before and after mains replacement; a subset had monthly follow-up sampling for an additional 12 months. Concentrations were correlated from month-to-month and depended on household water consumption, temperature, residence age, and other factors. The sampling event maximum yielded considerably higher concentrations than first-draw samples, and 5 min flush samples had the lowest concentration at nearly all homes. Mains replacement was associated with less than a 1 μg/L increase in median and 90 percentile concentrations; changes were smaller or not seen after controlling for other factors. Transient lead peaks were identified in a subset of residences and visits. These findings in Chicago indicate that mains replacement did not produce large changes in Pb concentrations in samples collected 1 to 12 months following the disturbance. We recommend continued outreach to promote flushing and other actions to minimize lead exposure, and routine use of profile sampling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b02590DOI Listing
August 2019

Urinary metals and metal mixtures in midlife women: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN).

Int J Hyg Environ Health 2019 06 15;222(5):778-789. Epub 2019 May 15.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Little is known about the extent of exposure to metals and metal mixtures among midlife women.

Objectives: We assessed exposure to multiple metals in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a multi-site, multi-racial/ethnic cohort of women at midlife.

Methods: We measured urinary concentrations of 21 metals (arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, cesium, copper, mercury, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, lead, platinum, antimony, tin, thallium, uranium, vanadium, tungsten and zinc) using high-resolution inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry among 1335 white, black, Chinese and Japanese women aged 45-56 years at the third SWAN annual visit (1999-2000). Least squared geometric mean concentrations were compared across race/ethnicity, education, financial hardship, smoking, secondhand smoking, seafood intake and rice intake groups. Overall exposure patterns of multiple metals were derived using k-means clustering method.

Results: The percentage of women with detectable concentrations of metals ranged from 100% for arsenic, cesium, molybdenum and zinc, to less than 5% for platinum; 15 metals had detection rates of 70% or more. Asian women, both Chinese and Japanese, had higher urinary concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, copper, mercury, molybdenum, lead and thallium, compared with other race/ethnic groups, independent of sociodemographic, lifestyle, dietary, and geographic characteristics. Seafood and rice intake were important determinants of urinary arsenic, cesium, mercury, molybdenum and lead levels. Two distinct overall exposure patterns- "high" vs. "low" -- were identified. Women in the "high" overall exposure pattern were more likely to be Asians, current smokers, and to report high consumption of seafood and rice. Black women were less likely to have the high exposure pattern.

Conclusions: Metal exposure of midlife women differs by racial/ethnic, sociodemographic, lifestyle, dietary, and geographic characteristics. Asian women may be experiencing the highest exposures to multiple metals compared with other racial/ethnic groups in the United States.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2019.05.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6583796PMC
June 2019

High plasma concentrations of organic pollutants negatively impact survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2019 08 13;90(8):907-912. Epub 2019 Feb 13.

Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Objective: To determine whether persistent organic pollutants (POP) affect amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) survival.

Methods: ALS participants seen at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) provided plasma samples for measurement of POPs. ALS disease and clinical features were collected prospectively from the medical records. Survival models used a composite summary measure of exposure due to multiple POPs (environmental risk score or ERS).

Results: 167 participants (40.7% female, n=68) with ALS were recruited, of which 119 died during the study period. Median diagnostic age was 60.9 years (IQR 52.7-68.2), median time from symptom onset to diagnosis was 1.01 years (IQR 0.67-1.67), bulbar onset 28.7%, cervical onset 33.5% and lumbar onset 37.7%. Participants in the highest quartile of ERS (representing highest composite exposure), adjusting for age at diagnosis, sex and other covariates had a 2.07 times greater hazards rate of mortality (p=0.018, 95% CI 1.13 to 3.80) compared with those in the lowest quartile. Pollutants with the largest contribution to the ERS were polybrominated diphenyl ethers 154 (HR 1.53, 95% CI 0.90 to 2.61), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) 118 (HR 1.50, 95% CI 0.95 to 2.39), PCB 138 (HR 1.69, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.90), PCB 151 (HR 1.46, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.10), PCB 175 (HR 1.53, 95% CI 0.98 to 2.40) and p,p'-DDE (HR 1.39, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.81).

Conclusions: Higher concentrations of POPs in plasma are associated with reduced ALS survival, independent of age, gender, segment of onset and other covariates. This study helps characterise and quantify the combined effects of POPs on ALS and supports the concept that environmental exposures play a role in disease pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2018-319785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6625908PMC
August 2019

Effect of intra-urban temperature variation on tree flowering phenology, airborne pollen, and measurement error in epidemiological studies of allergenic pollen.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Feb 5;653:1213-1222. Epub 2018 Nov 5.

School of Public Health, University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Temperature gradients in cities can cause inter-neighborhood differences in the timing of pollen release. However, most epidemiological studies examining allergenic pollen utilize daily measurements from a single pollen monitoring station with the implicit assumption that the measured time series of airborne pollen concentrations applies across the study areas, and that the temporal mismatch between concentrations at the counting station and elsewhere in the study area is negligible. This assumption is tested by quantifying temperature using satellite imagery, observing flowering times of oak (Quercus) and mulberry (Morus) trees at multiple sites, and collecting airborne pollen. Epidemiological studies of allergenic pollen are reviewed and temperatures within their study areas are quantified. In this one-year study, peak oak flowering time was well explained by average February nighttime temperature (R = 0.94), which varied by 6 °C across Detroit. This relationship was used to predict flowering phenology across the study region. Peak flowering ranged from April 20-May 13 and predicted a substantial portion of relative airborne oak pollen concentrations in Detroit (R = 0.46) and at the regional pollen monitoring station (R = 0.61). The regional pollen monitoring station was located in a cooler outlying area where peak flowering occurred around May 12 and peak pollen concentrations were measured on May 15. This provides evidence that the timing of pollen release varies substantially within a metropolitan area and challenges the assumption that pollen measurements at a single location are representative of an entire city. Across the epidemiological studies, 50% of study areas were not within 1 °C (equal to a lag or lead of 4 days in flowering time) of temperatures at the pollen measurement location. Epidemiological studies using a single pollen station as a proxy for pollen concentrations are prone to significant measurement error if the study area is climatically variable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6402594PMC
February 2019
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