Matching Items (44)

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Phylogeography of Influenza in the Southwest United States

Description

Influenza remains a constant concern for public health agencies across the nation and worldwide. Current methods of surveillance suffice but they fall short of their true potential. Incorporation of evolutionary

Influenza remains a constant concern for public health agencies across the nation and worldwide. Current methods of surveillance suffice but they fall short of their true potential. Incorporation of evolutionary data and analysis through studies such as phylogeography could reveal geographic sources of variation. Identification and targeting of such sources for public health initiatives could yield increased effectiveness of influenza treatments. As it stands there is a lack of evolutionary data available for such use, particularly in the southwest. Our study focused on the sequencing and phylogeography of southwestern Influenza A samples from the Mayo Clinic. We fully sequenced two neuraminidase genes and combined them with archived sequence data from the Influenza Research Database. Using RAxML we identified the clade containing our sequences and performed a phylogeographic analysis using ZooPhy. The resultant data were analyzed using programs such as SPREAD and Tracer. Our results show that the southwest sequences emerged from California and the ancestral root of the clade came from New York. Our Bayesian maximum clade credibility (MCC) tree data and SPREAD analysis implicates California as a source of influenza variation in the United States. This study demonstrates that phylogeography is a viable tool to incorporate evolutionary data into existing forms of influenza surveillance.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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BIOREMEDIATION OF TRICHLOROETHENE AND HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM: A SITE-SPECIFIC CASE STUDY

Description

Trichloroethene (TCE) and hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] are toxic and carcinogenic contaminants found in drinking water resources across the United States. A series of Bench-scale treatability studies were conducted to evaluate

Trichloroethene (TCE) and hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] are toxic and carcinogenic contaminants found in drinking water resources across the United States. A series of Bench-scale treatability studies were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a consortium of facultative and strictly anaerobic bacteria, KB-1®, to remove TCE and Cr(VI) from a contaminated aquifer in San Diego. These series of treatability studies were also performed to prepare data and mature packed sediment columns for the deployment of the In Situ Microcosm Array (ISMA), a diagnostic device for determining optimal treatments for a contaminated aquifer, at this particular site. First, a control panel for the ISMA’s Injection Module (IM) was created in order to deliver nutrients to the columns. Then, a column treatability study was performed in order to produce columns with an established KB-1® consortium, so that all TCE in the column influent was converted to ethene by the time it had exited the column. Finally, a batch bottle treatability study was performed to determine KB-1®’s effectiveness at remediating both TCE and Cr(VI) from the San Diego ground-water samples. The results from the column study found that KB-1® was able to reduce TCE in mineral media. However, in the presence of site ground-water for the batch bottle study, KB-1® was only able to reduce Cr(VI) and no TCE dechlorination was observed. This result suggests that the dechlorinating culture cannot survive prolonged exposure to Cr(VI). Therefore, future work may involve repeating the batch bottle study with Cr(VI) removed from the groundwater prior to inoculation to determine if KB-1® is then able to dechlorinate TCE.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Plastics and Environmental Health: The Road Ahead

Description

Plastics continue to benefit society in innumerable ways, even though recent public focus on plastics has centered mostly on human health and environmental concerns, including their endocrine-disrupting properties and the

Plastics continue to benefit society in innumerable ways, even though recent public focus on plastics has centered mostly on human health and environmental concerns, including their endocrine-disrupting properties and the long-term pollution they represent. The benefits of plastics are particularly apparent in medicine and public health. Plastics are versatile, cost-effective, require less energy to produce than alternative materials like metal or glass, and can be manufactured to have many different properties. Due to these characteristics, polymers are used in diverse health applications like disposable syringes and intravenous bags, sterile packaging for medical instruments as well as in joint replacements, tissue engineering, etc. However, not all current uses of plastics are prudent and sustainable, as illustrated by the widespread, unwanted human exposure to endocrine-disrupting bisphenol A (BPA) and di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), problems arising from the large quantities of plastic being disposed of, and depletion of non-renewable petroleum resources as a result of the ever-increasing mass production of plastic consumer articles. Using the health-care sector as example, this review concentrates on the benefits and downsides of plastics and identifies opportunities to change the composition and disposal practices of these invaluable polymers for a more sustainable future consumption. It highlights ongoing efforts to phase out DEHP and BPA in the health-care and food industry and discusses biodegradable options for plastic packaging, opportunities for reducing plastic medical waste, and recycling in medical facilities in the quest to reap a maximum of benefits from polymers without compromising human health or the environment in the process.

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  • 2013-05

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Ionic Liquids: A Meta-Analysis of the Toxicity Literature

Description

A meta-analysis was conducted to compare the total amount of ionic liquid (IL) literature (n = 39,036) to the body of publications dealing with IL toxicity (n = 213), with

A meta-analysis was conducted to compare the total amount of ionic liquid (IL) literature (n = 39,036) to the body of publications dealing with IL toxicity (n = 213), with the goal of establishing the state of knowledge and existing information gaps. Publications on IL toxicity were collected from the SciFinder database and sorted by cation and model organism studied. Studies focusing on pharmacokinetics and drug development were excluded, as were structure-activity relationship methods of data collection. Total publishing activity was used as a measure to gauge research and industrial usage of ILs as well as the knowledge base of toxicology. Five of the most commonly studied IL cations were identified and used to establish a relationship between toxicity data and potential of commercial use: imidazolium, ammonium, phosphonium, pyridinium, and pyrrolidinium. Toxicology publications for all IL cations represented 1.2% ± 0.62% of the total publishing activity; compared with other industrial chemicals, these numbers indicate that there is still a paucity of studies on the adverse effects of this class of chemicals. In vitro models and marine bacteria were the most frequently studied biological systems, contributing 18% and 15%, respectively, to the total body of IL toxicity studies. Whole animal studies (n = 87) comprised 41% of IL toxicity studies, with a subset of in vivo mammalian models consisting of 8%. Human toxicology data were found to be limited to in vitro analyses, indicating substantial knowledge gaps. Risks from long-term and chronic low-level exposure to ILs have not been established yet for any model organisms, reemphasizing the need for filling crucial knowledge gaps concerning human health effects and the environmental safety of ILs. Adding to the existing knowledge of the molecular toxicity characteristics of ILs can help inform the design of greener, less toxic and more benign IL technologies.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Lessons Learned from Probing for Impacts of Triclosan and Triclocarban on Human Microbiomes

Description

Despite increasing interest in the effects of triclosan and triclocarban on human biology, current knowledge is still limited on the impact of these additives to antimicrobial personal care products on

Despite increasing interest in the effects of triclosan and triclocarban on human biology, current knowledge is still limited on the impact of these additives to antimicrobial personal care products on the human microbiome. A carefully designed recent study published in mSphere by Poole and colleagues [A. C. Poole et al., mSphere 1(3):e00056-15, 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00056-15] highlights both the power of novel methodologies for microbiome elucidation and the longstanding challenge of employing small-cohort studies to inform risk assessment for chemicals of ubiquitous use in modern society.

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  • 2016-05-18

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Cord Blood Methylmercury and Fetal Growth Outcomes in Baltimore Newborns: Potential Confounding and Effect Modification by Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Selenium, and Sex

Description

Background: Methylmercury (MeHg) may affect fetal growth; however, prior research often lacked assessment of mercury speciation, confounders, and interactions.

Objective: Our objective was to assess the relationship between MeHg and fetal

Background: Methylmercury (MeHg) may affect fetal growth; however, prior research often lacked assessment of mercury speciation, confounders, and interactions.

Objective: Our objective was to assess the relationship between MeHg and fetal growth as well as the potential for confounding or interaction of this relationship from speciated mercury, fatty acids, selenium, and sex.

Methods: This cross-sectional study includes 271 singletons born in Baltimore, Maryland, 2004–2005. Umbilical cord blood was analyzed for speciated mercury, serum omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (n-3 HUFAs), and selenium. Multivariable linear regression models controlled for gestational age, birth weight, maternal age, parity, pre-pregnancy body mass index, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, selenium, n-3 HUFAs, and inorganic mercury (IHg).

Results: Geometric mean cord blood MeHg was 0.94 μg/L (95% CI: 0.84, 1.07). In adjusted models for ponderal index, βln(MeHg) = –0.045 (g/cm[superscript 3]) × 100 (95% CI: –0.084, –0.005). There was no evidence of a MeHg × sex interaction with ponderal index. Contrastingly, there was evidence of a MeHg × n-3 HUFAs interaction with birth length [among low n-3 HUFAs, βln(MeHg) = 0.40 cm, 95% CI: –0.02, 0.81; among high n-3 HUFAs, βln(MeHg) = –0.15, 95% CI: –0.54, 0.25; p-interaction = 0.048] and head circumference [among low n-3 HUFAs, βln(MeHg) = 0.01 cm, 95% CI: –0.27, 0.29; among high n-3 HUFAs, βln(MeHg) = –0.37, 95% CI: –0.63, –0.10; p-interaction = 0.042]. The association of MeHg with birth weight and ponderal index was affected by n-3 HUFAs, selenium, and IHg. For birth weight, βln(MeHg) without these variables was –16.8 g (95% CI: –75.0, 41.3) versus –29.7 (95% CI: –93.9, 34.6) with all covariates. Corresponding values for ponderal index were –0.030 (g/cm[superscript 3]) × 100 (95% CI: –0.065, 0.005) and –0.045 (95% CI: –0.084, –0005).

Conclusion: We observed an association of increased MeHg with decreased ponderal index. There is evidence for interaction between MeHg and n-3 HUFAs; infants with higher MeHg and n-3 HUFAs had lower birth length and head circumference. These results should be verified with additional studies.

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Date Created
  • 2016-06-26

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Wastewater Treatment Plants as Chemical Observatories to Forecast Ecological and Human Health Risks of Manmade Chemicals

Description

Thousands of chemicals have been identified as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), but prioritizing them concerning ecological and human health risks is challenging. We explored the use of sewage treatment

Thousands of chemicals have been identified as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), but prioritizing them concerning ecological and human health risks is challenging. We explored the use of sewage treatment plants as chemical observatories to conveniently identify persistent and bioaccumulative CECs, including toxic organohalides. Nationally representative samples of sewage sludge (biosolids) were analyzed for 231 CECs, of which 123 were detected. Ten of the top 11 most abundant CECs in biosolids were found to be high-production volume chemicals, eight of which representing priority chemicals, including three flame retardants, three surfactants and two antimicrobials. A comparison of chemicals detected in nationally representative biological specimens from humans and municipal biosolids revealed 70% overlap. This observed co-occurrence of contaminants in both matrices suggests that the analysis of sewage sludge can inform human health risk assessments by providing current information on toxic exposures in human populations and associated body burdens of harmful environmental pollutants.

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Date Created
  • 2014-01-16

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Active Sampling Device for Determining Pollutants in Surface and Pore Water: The In Situ Sampler for Biphasic Water Monitoring

Description

We designed and evaluated an active sampling device, using as analytical targets a family of pesticides purported to contribute to honeybee colony collapse disorder. Simultaneous sampling of bulk water and

We designed and evaluated an active sampling device, using as analytical targets a family of pesticides purported to contribute to honeybee colony collapse disorder. Simultaneous sampling of bulk water and pore water was accomplished using a low-flow, multi-channel pump to deliver water to an array of solid-phase extraction cartridges. Analytes were separated using either liquid or gas chromatography, and analysis was performed using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Achieved recoveries of fipronil and degradates in water spiked to nominal concentrations of 0.1, 1, and 10 ng/L ranged from 77 ± 12 to 110 ± 18%. Method detection limits (MDLs) were as low as 0.040–0.8 ng/L. Extraction and quantitation of total fiproles at a wastewater-receiving wetland yielded concentrations in surface water and pore water ranging from 9.9 ± 4.6 to 18.1 ± 4.6 ng/L and 9.1 ± 3.0 to 12.6 ± 2.1 ng/L, respectively. Detected concentrations were statistically indistinguishable from those determined by conventional, more laborious techniques (p > 0.2 for the three most abundant fiproles). Aside from offering time-averaged sampling capabilities for two phases simultaneously with picogram-per-liter MDLs, the novel methodology eliminates the need for water and sediment transport via in situ solid phase extraction.

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  • 2016-02-24

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Pharmaceuticals in the Built and Natural Water Environment of the United States

Description

The known occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the built and natural water environment, including in drinking water supplies, continues to raise concerns over inadvertent exposures and associated potential health risks in

The known occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the built and natural water environment, including in drinking water supplies, continues to raise concerns over inadvertent exposures and associated potential health risks in humans and aquatic organisms. At the same time, the number and concentrations of new and existing pharmaceuticals in the water environment are destined to increase further in the future as a result of increased consumption of pharmaceuticals by a growing and aging population and ongoing measures to decrease per-capita water consumption. This review examines the occurrence and movement of pharmaceuticals in the built and natural water environment, with special emphasis on contamination of the drinking water supply, and opportunities for sustainable pollution control. We surveyed peer-reviewed publications dealing with quantitative measurements of pharmaceuticals in U.S. drinking water, surface water, groundwater, raw and treated wastewater as well as municipal biosolids. Pharmaceuticals have been observed to reenter the built water environment contained in raw drinking water, and they remain detectable in finished drinking water at concentrations in the ng/L to μg/L range. The greatest promises for minimizing pharmaceutical contamination include source control (for example, inputs from intentional flushing of medications for safe disposal, and sewer overflows), and improving efficiency of treatment facilities.

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Date Created
  • 2013-09-11

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Effective Strategies for Monitoring and Regulating Chemical Mixtures and Contaminants Sharing Pathways of Toxicity

Description

Traditionally, hazardous chemicals have been regulated in the U.S. on a one-by-one basis, an approach that is slow, expensive and can be inefficient, as illustrated by a decades-long succession of

Traditionally, hazardous chemicals have been regulated in the U.S. on a one-by-one basis, an approach that is slow, expensive and can be inefficient, as illustrated by a decades-long succession of replacing one type of organohalogen flame retardants (OHFRs) with another one, without addressing the root cause of toxicity and associated public health threats posed. The present article expounds on the need for efficient monitoring strategies and pragmatic steps in reducing environmental pollution and adverse human health impacts. A promising approach is to combine specific bioassays with state-of-the-art chemical screening to identify chemicals and chemical mixtures sharing specific modes of action (MOAs) and pathways of toxicity (PoTs). This approach could be used to identify and regulate hazardous chemicals as classes or compound families, featuring similar biological end-points, such as endocrine disruption and mutagenicity. Opportunities and potential obstacles of implementing this approach are discussed.

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  • 2015-08-28