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Loenersloot, Netherlands

Leijs M.M.,Emma Childrens Hospital Academic Medical Center | Leijs M.M.,RWTH Aachen | Ten Tusscher G.W.,Westfriesgasthuis | Olie K.,KWR Watercycle Research Institute | And 11 more authors.
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2012

Background: Polychlorinated dioxins and -furans (PCDD/Fs) and polychlorinated-biphenyls (PCBs) are environmental toxicants that have been proven to influence thyroid metabolism both in animal studies and in human beings. In recent years polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) also have been found to have a negative influence on thyroid hormone metabolism. The lower brominated flame retardants are now banned in the EU, however higher brominated decabromo-diphenyl ether (DBDE) and the brominated flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) are not yet banned. They too can negatively influence thyroid hormone metabolism. An additional brominated flame retardant that is still in use is tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA), which has also been shown to influence thyroid hormone metabolism. Influences of brominated flame retardants, PCDD/Fs and dioxin like-PCBs (dl-PCBs) on thyroid hormone metabolism in adolescence in the Netherlands will be presented in this study and determined if there are reasons for concern to human health for these toxins. In the period 1987-1991, a cohort of mother-baby pairs was formed in order to detect abnormalities in relation to dioxin levels in the perinatal period. The study demonstrated that PCDD/Fs were found around the time of birth, suggesting a modulation of the setpoint of thyroid hormone metabolism with a higher 3,3, 5,5tetrathyroxine (T4) levels and an increased thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). While the same serum thyroid hormone tests (- TSH and T4) were again normal by 2 years of age and were still normal at 8-12 years, adolescence is a period with extra stress on thyroid hormone metabolism. Therefore we measured serum levels of TSH, T4, 3,3,5- triiodothyronine (T3), free T4 (FT4), antibodies and thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) in our adolescent cohort. Methods. Vena puncture was performed to obtain samples for the measurement of thyroid hormone metabolism related parameters and the current serum dioxin (PCDD/Fs), PCB and PBDE levels. Results: The current levels of T3 were positively correlated to BDE-99. A positive trend with FT4 and BDE-99 was also seen, while a positive correlation with T3 and dl-PCB was also seen. No correlation with TBG was seen for any of the contaminants. Neither the prenatal nor the current PCDD/F levels showed a relationship with the thyroid parameters in this relatively small group. Conclusion: Once again the thyroid hormone metabolism (an increase in T3) seems to have been influenced by current background levels of common environmental contaminants: dl-PCBs and BDE-99. T3 is a product of target organs and abnormalities might indicate effects on hormone transporters and could cause pathology. While the influence on T3 levels may have been compensated, because the adolescents functioned normal at the time of the study period, it is questionable if this compensation is enough for all organs depending on thyroid hormones. © 2012 Leijs et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Gutleb A.C.,Center De Recherche Public Gabriel Lippmann | Ravnum S.,Norwegian Institute For Air Research | Ravnum S.,Norwegian Veterinary Institute | Krayer Von Krauss M.,WHO | And 8 more authors.
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2012

Background: The EU 6th Framework Program (FP)-funded Health and Environment Network (HENVINET) aimed to support informed policy making by facilitating the availability of relevant knowledge on different environmental health issues. An approach was developed by which scientific agreement, disagreement, and knowledge gaps could be efficiently identified, and expert advice prepared in a way that is usable for policy makers. There were two aims of the project: 1) to apply the tool to a relevant issue; the potential health impacts of the widely used plasticizers, phthalates, and 2) to evaluate the method and the tool by asking both scientific experts and the target audience, namely policy makers and stakeholders, for their opinions. Methods. The tool consisted of an expert consultation in several steps on the issue of phthalates in environmental health. A diagram depicting the cause-effect chain, from the production and use of phthalates to potential health impacts, was prepared based on existing reviews. This was used as a basis for an online questionnaire, through which experts in the field were consulted. The results of this first round of consultation laid the foundation for a new questionnaire answered by an expert panel that, subsequently, also discussed approaches and results in a workshop. One major task of the expert panel was to pinpoint priorities from the cause-effect chain according to their impact on the extent of potential health risks and their relevance for reducing uncertainty. The results were condensed into a policy brief that was sent to policy makers and stakeholders for their evaluation. Results: The experts agreed about the substantial knowledge gaps within the field of phthalates. The top three priorities for further research and policy action were: 1) intrauterine exposure, 2) reproductive toxicology, and 3) exposure from medical devices. Although not all relevant information from the cause-effect chain is known for phthalates, most experts thought that there are enough indications to justify a precautionary approach and to restrict their general use. Although some of the experts expressed some scepticism about such a tool, most felt that important issues were highlighted. Conclusions: The approach used was an efficient way at summarising priority knowledge gaps as a starting point for health risk assessment of compounds, based on their relevance for the risk assessment outcome. We conclude that this approach is useful for supporting policy makers with state-of-the-art scientific knowledge weighed by experts. The method can assist future evidence-based policy making. © 2012 Zimmer et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Legler J.,VU University Amsterdam | Hamers T.,VU University Amsterdam | Van Eck Van Der Sluijs-van De Bor M.,VU University Amsterdam | Schoeters G.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | And 6 more authors.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Year: 2011

The hypothesis of whether early life exposure (both pre- and early postnatal) to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may be a risk factor for obesity and related metabolic diseases later in life will be tested in the European research project OBELIX (OBesogenic Endocrine disrupting chemicals: LInking prenatal eXposure to the development of obesity later in life). OBELIX is a 4-y project that started in May 2009 and which has the following 5 main objectives: 1) to assess early life exposure in humans to major classes of EDCs identified as potential inducers of obesity (ie, dioxin-like compounds, non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides, brominated flame retardants, phthalates, and perfluorinated compounds) by using mother-child cohorts from 4 European regions with different food-contaminant exposure patterns; 2) to relate early life exposure to EDCs with clinical markers, novel biomarkers, and health-effect data related to obesity; 3) to perform hazard characterization of early life exposure to EDCs for the development of obesity later in life by using a mouse model; 4) to determine mechanisms of action of obesogenic EDCs on developmental programming with in vivo and in vitro genomics and epigenetic analyses; and 5) to perform risk assessments of prenatal exposure to obesogenic EDCs in food by integrating maternal exposure through food-contaminant exposure and health-effect data in children and hazard data in animal studies. © 2011 American Society for Nutrition. Source

Ravnum S.,Norwegian Veterinary Institute | Ravnum S.,Norwegian Institute For Air Research | Keune H.,University of Namur | Gutleb A.C.,Center De Recherche Public Gabriel Lippmann | And 9 more authors.
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2012

Aim. Apply a recently developed expert elicitation procedure to evaluate the state of the current knowledge of the two brominated flame retardants (BFRs) most commonly used today; decabromo-diphenyl ether (decaBDE) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and their potential impact on human health in order to support policy considerations. This expert elicitation was organized by the HENVINET (Health and Environment Network) Consortium. Method. The HENVINET expert elicitation procedure that was used in the evaluations of decaBDE and HBCD is a rapid assessment tool aimed at highlighting areas of agreement and areas of disagreement on knowledge-related key issues for environment and health policy decision making. Results: The outcome of the expert consultation on BFRs was concrete expert advice for policy makers with specific priorities for further action made clear for both stakeholders and policy makers. The experts were not in agreement whether or not the knowledge currently available on decaBDE or HBCD is sufficient to justify policy actions, but most experts considered that enough data already exists to support a ban or restriction on the use of these compounds. All experts agreed on the necessity of more research on the compounds. Priority issues for further research were, among others:. more studies on the extent of human exposure to the compounds. more studies on the fate and concentration in the human body of the compounds. © 2012 Ravnum et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Saunders M.,University of Bristol | Magnanti B.L.,University of Bristol | Correia Carreira S.,University of Bristol | Yang A.,Norwegian Institute For Air Research | And 7 more authors.
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2012

Background: Organophosphate pesticides are widely used on food crops grown in the EU. While they have been banned from indoor use in the US for a decade due to adverse health effects, they are still the most prevalent pesticides in the EU, with Chlorpyrifos (CPF) being the most commonly applied. It has been suggested CPF affects neurodevelopment even at levels below toxicity guidelines. Younger individuals may be more susceptible than adults due to biological factors and exposure settings. Methods. A literature review was undertaken to assess the evidence for CPF contributing to neurodevelopmental disorders in infants and children. Other literature was consulted in order to formulate a causal chain diagram showing the origins, uptake, and neurological effects of animal and human exposure to CPF. The causal chain diagram and a questionnaire were distributed online to scientific experts who had published in relevant areas of research. They were asked to assess their confidence levels on whether CPF does in fact contribute to adverse neurodevelopment outcomes and rate their confidence in the scientific evidence. A second questionnaire queried experts as to which kind of policy action they consider justifiable based on current knowledge. In a special workshop session at the EuroTox congress in Dresden in 2009 the results of both questionnaires were further discussed with invited experts, as a basis for a policy brief with main messages for policy makers and stakeholders. Results: Most experts who responded to the first questionnaire felt that there was already enough evidence to support a ban on indoor uses of CPF in the EU. However, most felt additional research is still required in several areas. The responses from the first questionnaire were used to formulate the second questionnaire addressing the feasibility of government action. In turn, these expert participants were invited to attend a special session at the EuroTox congress in Dresden in 2009. Conclusions: Some of the evidence that CPF contributes to neurodevelopmental disorders is still disputed among experts, and the overall sense is that further research and public awareness are warranted. There have been campaigns in North America making the potential exposure concerns known, but such information is not widely known in the EU. The ability of government action to produce change is strongly felt in some quarters while others believe better knowledge of consumer use trends would have a greater impact. © 2012 Saunders et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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