Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Even very low levels of environmental toxins can damage health

18.10.2005


Four of the most widespread environmental toxins--lead, trihalomethanes (found in drinking water), ionizing radiation from indoor radon gas, and tobacco smoke--can cause serious damage to health even at very low levels, say researchers in the international medical journal PLoS Medicine.

What this means, say the researchers Donald Wigle of the University of Ottawa and Bruce Lanphear of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is that there are simply no safe levels of exposure to these toxins and they must be "virtually eliminated to protect human health."

Children can suffer brain damage from being exposed to very low levels of lead, they say. Although the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend public health or medical action unless the blood lead level of children exceeds 0.48 micromoles/liter, several longitudinal studies of children found inverse relationships between IQ and blood lead levels over a range extending below 0.48 micromoles/liter. These studies found no evidence of a "safe" threshold.



The Canadian government has concluded that the human lifetime cancer risk associated with drinking water containing trihalomethanes at 100 micrograms per liter (the current Canadian trihalomethane drinking water guideline) would be negligible. But recent research showed that there was an excess bladder cancer risk in men exposed to trihalomethanes at levels above one microgram per liter compared to less exposed men (the excess lifetime risk was about seven per 1000). This excess risk, say Wigle and Lanphear, is "much higher than those usually designated as negligible."

The researchers say that both radon and environmental tobacco smoke can damage health at very low levels. A recent expert committee concluded that the most plausible relationship between ionizing radiation and cancer was a linear relationship with no safe threshold, while studies have shown that even low level exposure to passive smoking can reduce fetal growth.

"The public depends on decision makers, scientists, and regulators to restrict exposure to widespread toxins that have known or suspected serious potential health effects," say Wigle and Lanphear.

Paul Ocampo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plos.org
http://www.plosmedicine.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS

nachricht New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>