Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch

Ottawa, Canada

Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch

Ottawa, Canada
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Walker S.R.,Queen's University | Walker S.R.,Environment Canada | Jamieson H.E.,Queen's University | Rasmussen P.E.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011

Determination of the source and form of metals in house dust is important to those working to understand human and particularly childhood exposure to metals in residential environments. We report the development of a synchrotron microprobe technique for characterization of multiple metal hosts in house dust. We have applied X-ray fluorescence for chemical characterization and X-ray diffraction for crystal structure identification using microfocused synchrotron X-rays at a less than 10 μm spot size. The technique has been evaluated by application to archived house dust samples containing elevated concentrations of Pb, Zn, and Ba in bedroom dust, and Pb and As in living room dust. The technique was also applied to a sample of soil from the corresponding garden to identify linkages between indoor and outdoor sources of metals. Paint pigments including white lead (hydrocerussite) and lithopone (wurtzite and barite) are the primary source of Pb, Zn, and Ba in bedroom dust, probably related to renovation activity in the home at the time of sampling. The much lower Pb content in the living room dust shows a relationship to the exterior soil and no specific evidence of Pb and Zn from the bedroom paint pigments. The technique was also successful at confirming the presence of chromated copper arsenate treated wood as a source of As in the living room dust. The results of the study have confirmed the utility of this approach in identifying specific metal forms within the dust. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Bouchard M.F.,University of Quebec at Montréal | Bouchard M.F.,University of Montréal | Sauve S.,University of Montréal | Barbeau B.,Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2011

Background: Manganese is an essential nutrient, but in excess it can be a potent neurotoxicant. Despite the common occurrence of manganese in groundwater, the risks associated with this source of exposure are largely unknown. Objectives: Our first aim was to assess the relations between exposure to manganese from drinking water and children's intelligence quotient (IQ). Second, we examined the relations between manganese exposures from water consumption and from the diet with children's hair manganese concentration. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 362 children 6-13 years of age living in communities supplied by groundwater. Manganese concentration was measured in home tap water (MnW) and children's hair (MnH). We estimated manganese intake from water ingestion and the diet using a food frequency questionnaire and assessed IQ with the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence. Results: Te median MnW in children's home tap water was 34 μg/L (range, 1-2,700 μg/L). MnH increased with manganese intake from water consumption, but not with dietary manganese intake. Higher MnW and MnH were significantly associated with lower IQ scores. A 10-fold increase in MnW was associated with a decrease of 2.4 IQ points (95% confidence interval: -3.9 to -0.9; p < 0.01), adjusting for maternal intelligence, family income, and other potential confounders. Tere was a 6.2-point difference in IQ between children in the lowest and highest MnW quintiles. MnW was more strongly associated with Performance IQ than Verbal IQ. Conclusions: The findings of this cross-sectional study suggest that exposure to manganese at levels common in groundwater is associated with intellectual impairment in children.

Peters P.A.,Statistics Canada | Peters P.A.,University of New Brunswick | Tjepkema M.,Statistics Canada | Wilkins R.,University of Ottawa | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2013

The 1991 Canadian Census Cohort is the largest population-based cohort in Canada (N=2 734 835). Prior to the creation of this Cohort, no national population-based Canadian cohort was available to examine mortality by socioeconomic indicators. The 1991 Canadian Census Cohort was created via the linkage of a subsample of respondents from the mandatory 1991 Canadian Census long-form to historical tax summary files, Canadian Mortality Database, Canadian Cancer Database, 1991 Health and Activity Limitation Survey and a sub-sample of the Longitudinal Worker File. Overall ascertainment of mortality and cancer is anticipated to be nearly complete and the Cohort is broadly representative of most groups in the Canadian population. The Cohort has been used to examine mortality outcomes by different indicators of socioeconomic status, occupational categories, ethnic groups, educational attainment, and for exposure to ambient air pollution. Results have shown that the estimated remaining years of life at age 25 differed substantially by income adequacy quintile, educational attainment, housing type and Aboriginal ancestry. © The Author 2013; all rights reserved.

Arbuckle T.E.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | Kubwabo C.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | Walker M.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Davis K.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health | Year: 2013

Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are persistent organic pollutants representing two classes of environmental contaminants of toxicological concern, especially for infants. Canadian biomonitoring data on these chemicals are limited. The objectives of this study were to measure PFAAs and PBDEs in umbilical cord blood from approximately 100 hospital deliveries in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) and examine associations with characteristics of the mother and infant. Geometric means were 1.469. ng/mL for perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) (95% confidence interval of 1.292-1.671. ng/mL), 4.443. ng/mL for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) (95% CI of 3.735-5.285. ng/mL), 0.359. ng/mL for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) (95% CI of 0.318-0.404. ng/mL), and 0.579. ng/mL for perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS) (95% CI of 0.473-0.709. ng/mL). The final multiple regression models indicated that lower gravida, term gestational age, smoking during pregnancy and vaginal delivery were significantly associated with higher levels of PFOS. Similarly, a vaginal delivery was significantly associated with higher PFOA, while weak associations were found with lower gravida and birth weight less than 2500. g. Furthermore, higher PFNA concentrations were significantly associated with older mothers, and vaginal delivery, while weakly associated with term gestational age. Elevated PFHxS concentrations were significantly associated with smoking during pregnancy and lower gravida. Similar to reports from other countries, the preponderant PBDE congener measured in the cord blood was PBDE-47. Questions remain on why various studies have reported conflicting results on the association between PFAAs and birth weight. © 2012 .

Ashley-Martin J.,Dalhousie University | Dodds L.,Dalhousie University | Arbuckle T.E.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | Levy A.R.,Dalhousie University | And 2 more authors.
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology | Year: 2015

Background: The fetal immune system is a critical window of development. The epithelial cell-derived cytokines, thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), and interleukin-33 (IL-33) have received attention for their role in allergic responses but not been studied during this critical window. The objectives were to assess correlations among IL-33, TSLP, and IgE in umbilical cord blood samples and identify prenatal predictors of these biomarkers. Methods: This study utilized data and banked cord blood collected in the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study, a trans-Canada cohort study of 2001 pregnant women. Our analytic sample comprised the 1254 women with a singleton, term birth with a cord blood sample. Spearman correlation coefficients (SCC) and logistic regression models were used to examine associations between biomarkers and identify potential predictors of elevated biomarker levels. Results: Thymic stromal lymphopoietin and IL-33 were more strongly correlated with each other (SCC = 0.75, p < 0.0001) than with IgE (IL-33 SCC = 0.14, TSLP SCC = 0.21). Maternal allergy, heavy street traffic, and elevated birth weight were significantly associated with jointly elevated TSLP and IL-33 levels, whereas maternal age and female infant sex were inversely associated with elevated IgE. Conclusions: In this population of Canadian women and infants, TSLP and IL-33 were detectable in cord blood, more strongly correlated with each other than with IgE, and associated with maternal characteristics indicative of inflammatory responses. This study motivates investigation into the value of cord blood IL-33 and TSLP levels as childhood allergy predictors and raises interesting questions regarding in utero coordinated regulation of these cytokines. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Rasmussen P.E.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | Rasmussen P.E.,University of Ottawa | Levesque C.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | Chenier M.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | And 5 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2013

The Canadian House Dust Study was designed to obtain nationally representative urban house dust metal concentrations (μgg-1) and metal loadings (μgm-2) for arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn). Consistent sampling of active dust of known age and provenance (area sampled) also permitted the calculation of indoor loading rates (mgm-2day-1 for dust and μgm-2day-1 for metals) for the winter season (from 2007 to 2010) when houses are most tightly sealed. Geomean/median indoor dust loading rates in homes located more than 2km away from industry of any kind (9.6/9.1mgm-2day-1; n=580) were significantly lower (p<.001) than geomean (median) dust loading rates in homes located within 2km of industry (13.5/13.4mgm-2day-1; n=421). Proximity to industry was characterized by higher indoor metal loading rates (p<.003), but no difference in dust metal concentrations (.29≥p≤.97). Comparisons of non-smokers' and smokers' homes in non-industrial zones showed higher metal loading rates (.005≥p≤.038) in smokers' homes, but no difference in dust metal concentrations (.15≥p≤.97). Relationships between house age and dust metal concentrations were significant for Pb, Cd and Zn (p<.001) but not for the other four metals (.14≥p≤.87). All seven metals, however, displayed a significant increase in metal loading rates with house age (p<.001) due to the influence of higher dust loading rates in older homes (p<.001). Relationships between three measures of metals in house dust - concentration, load, and loading rate - in the context of house age, smoking behavior and urban setting consistently show that concentration data is a useful indicator of the presence of metal sources in the home, whereas dust mass is the overriding influence on metal loadings and loading rates. © 2012.

Coogan P.F.,Boston University | White L.F.,Boston University | Jerrett M.,University of California at Berkeley | Brook R.D.,University of Michigan | And 5 more authors.
Circulation | Year: 2012

Background-Evidence suggests that longer-term exposure to air pollutants over years confers higher risks of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality than shorter-term exposure. One explanation is that the cumulative adverse effects that develop over longer durations lead to the genesis of chronic disease. Preliminary epidemiological and clinical evidence suggests that air pollution may contribute to the development of hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Methods and Results-We used Cox proportional hazards models to assess incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for incident hypertension and diabetes mellitus associated with exposure to fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and nitrogen oxides in a cohort of black women living in Los Angeles. Pollutant levels were estimated at participants' residential addresses with land use regression models (nitrogen oxides) and interpolation from monitoring station measurements (PM 2.5). Over follow-up from 1995 to 2005, 531 incident cases of hypertension and 183 incident cases of diabetes mellitus occurred. When pollutants were analyzed separately, the IRR for hypertension for a 10-μ g/m 3 increase in PM 2.5 was 1.48 (95% CI, 0.95-2.31), and the IRR for the interquartile range (12.4 parts per billion) of nitrogen oxides was 1.14 (95% CI, 1.03-1.25). The corresponding IRRs for diabetes mellitus were 1.63 (95% CI, 0.78-3.44) and 1.25 (95% CI, 1.07-1.46). When both pollutants were included in the same model, the IRRs for PM 2.5 were attenuated and the IRRs for nitrogen oxides were essentially unchanged for both outcomes. Conclusion-Our results suggest that exposure to air pollutants, especially traffic-related pollutants, may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and possibly of hypertension. Copyright © 2012 American Heart Association. All rights reserved.

Velez M.P.,University of Montréal | Arbuckle T.E.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | Fraser W.D.,University of Montréal
Fertility and Sterility | Year: 2015

Objective: To assess the potential effect of bisphenol A (BPA), triclosan (TCS), and phthalates on women's fecundity, as measured by time to pregnancy (TTP). Design: Pregnancy-based retrospective TTP study. Setting: Not applicable. Patient(s): A total of 2,001 women during the first trimester of pregnancy recruited between 2008 and 2011 (the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study), with 1,742 women included in the BPA analysis, 1,699 in the TCS analysis, and 1,597 in the phthalates analysis. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Fecundability odds ratios (FORs) estimated using the Cox model modified for discrete time data. Result(s): The BPA concentrations were not statistically significantly associated with diminished fecundity either in crude or adjusted models. Women in the highest quartile of TCS (>72 ng/mL) had evidence of decreased fecundity (FOR 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.72-0.97) compared with the three lower quartiles as the reference group. Exposure to phthalates was suggestive of a shorter TTP, as indicated by FORs greater than 1, although the 95% confidence interval always included 1. Conclusion(s): Elevated TCS exposure may be associated with diminished fecundity. BPA and phthalates showed no negative impact; on the contrary, some phthalates might be associated with a shorter time to pregnancy. A major limitation of the study was that only one measurement of exposure was available for each woman after conception. Further research is necessary to test these findings.

Bielecki A.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch
Journal of analytical toxicology | Year: 2012

Although several methods have been reported on the analysis of the oxidative stress marker 15(S)-8-iso-prostaglandin-F2alpha (8-iso-PGF2α) in biological fluids, they either involve extensive sample preparation and costly technology or require high sample volume. This study presents a sample preparation method that utilizes low sample volume for 8-iso-PGF2α analysis in plasma and urine by an enzyme immunoassay (EIA). In brief, 8-iso-PGF2α in deproteinized plasma or native urine sample is complexed with an antibody and then captured by molecular weight cut-off filtration. This method was compared with two other sample preparation methods that are typically used in the analysis of 8-iso-PGF2α by EIA: Cayman's affinity column purification method and solid-phase extraction on C-18. The immunoaffinity purification method described here was superior to the other two sample preparation methods and yielded recovery values of 99.8 and 54.1% for 8-iso-PGF2α in plasma and urine, respectively. Analytical precision (relative standard deviation) was ±5% for plasma and ±15% for urine. The analysis of healthy human plasma and urine resulted in basal 8-iso-PGF2α levels of 31.8 ± 5.5 pg/mL and 2.9 ± 2.0 ng/mg creatinine, respectively. The robustness and analytical performance of this method makes it a promising tool for high-throughput screening of biological samples for 8-iso-PGF2α.

Velez M.P.,University of Montréal | Arbuckle T.E.,Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch | Fraser W.D.,University of Montréal
Human Reproduction | Year: 2015

study question: What is the effect of maternal exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) on female fecundity? summaryanswer: Increasing concentrations of PFOA or PFHxS in maternal plasma were associated with reduced fecundability and infertility. what is known already: Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are a group of synthetic compounds used in industrial production. There is a concern about the effect of PFCs on fecundity, as measured by time-to-pregnancy (TTP). Although some recent studies suggest that increasing concentrations of PFCs may decrease fecundity, divergence in the methodological approaches used to evaluate this association have prevented firm conclusions being reached. study design, size, duration: The Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study is a cohort study of 2,001 women recruited before 14 weeks of gestation in 10 cities across Canada between 2008 and 2011. participants/materials, setting, methods: A questionnaire was administered and medical chart data and biospecimens were collected from participants. After excluding women who withdrew, those for whom data were incomplete, those whose pregnancies followed birth control failure, and accounting for male fertility, 1743 participants remained.TTPwas defined as the numberof months of unprotected intercourse needed to become pregnant in the current pregnancy, as self-reported in the first trimester of pregnancy. Plasma concentrations of PFOA, PFOS and PFHxS measured in the first trimester were considered as a surrogate of preconception exposure. Fecundability odds ratios (FORs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazard models for discrete time. FOR, 1 denote a longer TTP and FORs.1 denote a shorter TTP. The odds of infertility (TTP < 12 months or infertility treatment in the index pregnancy) were estimated using logistic regression. Each chemical concentration (ng/ml) was log-transformed and divided by its SD. main results and the role of chance: The cumulative probabilities of pregnancy at 1, 6 and 12 months were 0.42 (95% con-fidence interval (CI) 0.40-0.45), 0.81 (95% CI 0.79-0.83) and 0.90 (95% CI 0.89-0.92), respectively. The mean maternal agewas 32.8 (SD 5.0) years.The geometric means (ng/ml) ofPFOA, PFOSand PFHxSwere 1.66 (95% CI 1.61-1.71), 4.59 (95% CI 4.46-4.72) and 1.01 (95% CI 0.97- 1.05), respectively. After adjustment for potential confounders, PFOAand PFHxS were associated with a 11 and 9% reduction in fecundability per one SD increase (FOR = 0.89; 95% CI 0.83-0.94; P < 0.001 for PFOA and FOR = 0.91; 95% CI 0.86-0.97; P = 0.002 for PFHxS), while no significant association was observed for PFOS (FOR = 0.96; 95% CI 0.91-1.02; P = 0.17). In addition, the odds of infertility increased by 31% per one SD increase of PFOA (odds ratio (OR) = 1.31; 95% CI 1.11-1.53; P = 0.001) and by 27% per one SD increase of PFHxS (OR = 1.27; 95% CI 1.09-1.48; P = 0.003), while no significant association was observed for PFOS (OR = 1.14; 95% CI 0.98-1.34; P = 0.09). limitations, reasons for caution:Women with the highest concentrations of PFCs might have been excluded from the study if there is a causal association with infertility. The MIREC study did not assess concentrations of PFCs in males, semen quality, menstrual cycle characteristics or intercourse frequency. wider implications of the findings: Our results add to the evidence that exposure to PFOA and PFHxS, even at lower levels than previously reported, may reduce fecundability. study funding/competing interest(s): The MIREC study is supported by the Chemicals Management Plan of Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR, grant no.MOP - 81285) and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. M.P.V. was supported by a CIHR FellowshipAward, and a CIHR-QuebecTraining Network in Perinatal Research (QTNPR) Ph.D. scholarship.W.D.F. is supported by a CIHR Canada Research Chair. There are no conflicts of interest to declare. © 2015 The Author.

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