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Honolulu, HI, United States

Windham G.C.,DEODC | Pinney S.M.,University of Cincinnati | Sjodin A.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Lum R.,Impact Assessment Inc. | And 5 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2010

Background: Levels of brominated flame retardants are increasing in US populations, yet little data are available on body burdens of these and other persistent hormonally active agents (HAAs) in school-aged children. Exposures to such chemicals may affect a number of health outcomes related to development and reproductive function. Objective: Determine the distribution of biomarkers of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and organo-chlorinated pesticides (OCPs), such as DDT/DDE, in children, and their variation by key descriptor variables. Methods: Ethnically diverse cohorts of girls 6-8 y old at baseline are being followed for growth and pubertal development in a multi-site, longitudinal study. Nearly 600 serum samples from the California and Ohio sites were analyzed for lipids, 35 PCB congeners, 11 PBDE congeners, and 9 OCPs. The biomarker distributions were examined and geometric means compared for selected analytes across categories of age, race, site, body mass index (BMI), parental education, maternal age at delivery, and breast feeding in adjusted models. Results: Six PBDE congeners were detected among greater than 70% of samples, with BDE-47 having the highest concentration (median 42.2, range 4.9-855 ng/g lipid). Girls in California had adjusted geometric mean (GM) PBDE levels significantly higher than girls in Ohio. Furthermore, Blacks had significantly higher adjusted GMs of all six PBDE congeners than Whites, and Hispanics had intermediate values. GMs tended to be lower among more obese girls, while other variables were not strongly associated. In contrast, GMs of the six PCB congeners most frequently detected were significantly lower among Blacks and Hispanics than Whites. PCBs and the three pesticides most frequently detected were also consistently lower among girls with high BMI, who were not breast-fed, whose mothers were younger, or whose care-givers (usually parents) were less educated. Girls in California had higher GMs than in Ohio for the pesticides and most PCB congeners, but the opposite for CB-99 and -118. Conclusions: Several of these potential HAAs were detected in nearly all of these young girls, some at relatively high levels, with variation by geographic location and other demographic factors that may reflect exposure pathways. The higher PBDE levels in California likely reflect differences in fire regulation and safety codes, with potential policy implications. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

Watson T.K.,Honua Consulting | Kittinger J.N.,Impact Assessment Inc. | Walters J.S.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Schofield T.D.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Aquatic Mammals | Year: 2011

The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauin-slandi) is highly endangered, but relatively little is known about how human societies interacted with the species in the past. We reviewed historical doc-uments to reconstruct past human-monk seal rela-tionships in the Hawaiian archipelago and describe ongoing efforts to understand the significance of the species in Native Hawaiian culture. Though the prehistoric period remains poorly understood, our findings suggest that monk seals were likely rare but not unknown to Hawaiian communities in the 19th and 20th centuries. References are made to monk seals in Hawaiian-language newspapers, and oral history research with Native Hawaiian practitioners and community elders reveals new words for the species that were previously unknown. This information may prove useful in crafting culturally appropriate management plans for the species and for developing more effective outreach activities to engage with coastal commu-nities and ocean users. Our research may also aid in establishing long-term ecological baselines that can inform modern efforts to recover the species. Source

Weinberg J.,Public Health Institute | Shrem D.,Impact Assessment Inc. | Kumagai K.,Kyushu University
12th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate 2011 | Year: 2011

In California, the rate of work-related asthma among cleaning workers is nearly triple the rate reported for all occupations combined. To reduce exposures associated with cleaning, it is important to develop science-based best cleaning practice guidelines. It encompasses a much broader set of practices than simply switching to less toxic cleaning products. This paper reports the first step of our current study aiming at recommending best floor mopping practices based on quantitative airborne exposure assessment. Five repeated controlled simulated-use experiments on bucket and cotton string mops were conducted in a 29.2m3 environmental chamber. The diluted solution of an all-purpose cleaner with 2-butoxyethanol as the major ingredient was used. Quantitative exposure assessments were made for both TVOC using real-time monitors and for individual VOCs using integrated sorbent tube samples. Results show good measurement repeatability and suggest the proposed research method works. Study will continue as designed for other floor mopping procedures and to finally make best floor mopping practice recommendations. Source

Weinberg J.,Public Health Institute | Rodionova A.,University of California at Berkeley | Shrem D.,Impact Assessment Inc.
10th International Conference on Healthy Buildings 2012 | Year: 2012

Janitorial cleaning activities and the use of cleaning products are ubiquitous in buildings. To reduce exposures associated with cleaning, it is important to conduct quantitative assessments of airborne exposures and develop science-based best cleaning practice guidelines accordingly. This paper presents a study on a quantitative inhalation exposure assessment for floor mopping - one of the most basic janitorial cleaning activities. Two floor mopping methods, 1) a cotton string mop with a bucket and 2) a flat microfiber mop head with a reservoir on the mop handle, were evaluated using simulated-use full-scale chamber tests. At least five repeat tests were conducted for each procedure. Quantitative exposure assessments were made for both TVOC using real-time monitors and for individual VOCs using integrated sorbent tube samples. Reasonably good test repeatability was achieved, suggesting the testing methodology and measurement methods proposed in this study were effective for assessing airborne exposures due to different cleaning methods. The study found that the bucket and string mop method appeared to result in higher air contaminant concentrations (therefore risk of higher airborne exposure) than the flat microfiber mop head and handle with reservoir. The study also showed that the exposures can be significant for bystander workers and other occupants present after cleaning as well as for those who conduct cleaning. Source

Kittinger J.N.,Stanford University | Kittinger J.N.,Impact Assessment Inc. | Finkbeiner E.M.,Stanford University | Glazier E.W.,Impact Assessment Inc. | Crowder L.B.,Stanford University
Ecology and Society | Year: 2012

Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet but are declining because of human activities. Despite general recognition of the human role in the plight of coral reefs, the vast majority of research focuses on the ecological rather than the human dimensions of reef ecosystems, limiting our understanding of social relationships with these environments as well as potential solutions for reef recovery. General frameworks for social-ecological systems (SESs) have been advanced, but system-specific approaches are needed to develop a more nuanced view of human-environmental interactions for specific contexts and resource systems, and at specific scales. We synthesize existing concepts related to SESs and present a human dimensions framework that explores the linkages between social system structural traits, human activities, ecosystem services, and human well-being in coral reef SESs. Key features of the framework include social-ecological reciprocity, proximate and underlying dimensions, and the directionality of key relationships and feedback loops. Such frameworks are needed if human dimensions research is to be more fully integrated into studies of ecosystem change and the sustainability of linked SESs. © 2012 by the author(s). Source

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