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Belleudi V.,Rome E Health Authority | Faustini A.,Rome E Health Authority | Stafoggia M.,Rome E Health Authority | Cattani G.,Institute for Environmental Protection and Research | And 3 more authors.
Epidemiology | Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the short-term effects of ultrafine particles. METHODS: We evaluated the effect of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤10 μm (PM10), ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5), and ultrafine particles on emergency hospital admissions in Rome 2001-2005. We studied residents aged ≥ 35 years hospitalized for acute coronary syndrome, heart failure, lower respiratory tract infections, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Information was available for factors indicating vulnerability, such as age and previous admissions for COPD. Particulate matter data were collected daily at one central fixed monitor. A case-crossover analysis was performed using a time-stratified approach. We estimated percent increases in risk per 14 μg/m3 PM10, per 10 μg/m3 PM 2.5, and per 9392 particles/mL. RESULTS: An immediate impact (lag 0) of PM2.5 on hospitalizations for acute coronary syndrome (2.3% [95% confidence interval = 0.5% to 4.2%]) and heart failure (2.4% [0.3% to 4.5%]) was found, whereas the effect on lower respiratory tract infections (2.8% [0.5% to 5.2%]) was delayed (lag 2). Particle number concentration showed an association only with admissions for heart failure (lag 0-5; 2.4% [0.2% to 4.7%]) and COPD (lag 0; 1.6% [0.0% to 3.2%]). The effects were generally stronger in the elderly and during winter. There was no clear effect modification with previous COPD. CONCLUSIONS: We found sizeable acute health effects of fine and ultrafine particles. Although differential reliability in exposure assessment, in particular of ultrafine particles, precludes a firm conclusion, the study indicates that particulate matter of different sizes tends to have diverse outcomes, with dissimilar latency between exposure and health response. © 2010 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Russo S.,University of Western Brittany | Russo S.,Institute for Environmental Protection and Research | Sterl A.,Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres | Year: 2012

We investigate simulated changes of seasonal precipitation maxima and means in a future, warmer climate. We use data from the ESSENCE project, in which a 17-member ensemble of climate change simulations in response to the SRES A1b scenario has been carried out using the ECHAM5/MPI-OM climate model. The large size of the data set gives the opportunity to detect the changes of climate extremes and means with high statistical confidence. Daily precipitation data are used to calculate the seasonal precipitation maximum and the seasonal mean. Modeled precipitation data appear consistent with observation-based data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project. The data are split into six time periods of 25 years to get independent time series. The seasonal peaks are modeled by using the generalized extreme value distribution, while empirical distributions are used to study changes of the seasonal precipitation mean. Finally, we use an empirical method to detect changes of occurrence of very wet and dry periods. Results from these model simulations indicate that over most of the world precipitation maxima will increase in the future. Seasonal means behave differently. In many regions they are decreasing or not increasing. The occurrence of very wet periods is strongly increasing during boreal winter in the extratropics and decreasing in the tropics. In summary, wet regions become wetter and dry regions become drier. Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

Manfra L.,Institute for Environmental Protection and Research
Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE | Year: 2012

Our research activities target the use of biological methods for the evaluation of environmental quality, with particular reference to saltwater/brackish water and sediment. The choice of biological indicators must be based on reliable scientific knowledge and, possibly, on the availability of standardized procedures. In this article, we present a standardized protocol that used the marine crustacean Artemia to evaluate the toxicity of chemicals and/or of marine environmental matrices. Scientists propose that the brine shrimp (Artemia) is a suitable candidate for the development of a standard bioassay for worldwide utilization. A number of papers have been published on the toxic effects of various chemicals and toxicants on brine shrimp (Artemia). The major advantage of this crustacean for toxicity studies is the overall availability of the dry cysts; these can be immediately used in testing and difficult cultivation is not demanded. . Cyst-based toxicity assays are cheap, continuously available, simple and reliable and are thus an important answer to routine needs of toxicity screening, for industrial monitoring requirements or for regulatory purposes. The proposed method involves the mortality as an endpoint. The numbers of survivors were counted and percentage of deaths were calculated. Larvae were considered dead if they did not exhibit any internal or external movement during several seconds of observation. This procedure was standardized testing a reference substance (Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate); some results are reported in this work. This article accompanies a video that describes the performance of procedural toxicity testing, showing all the steps related to the protocol.

Genovesi P.,Institute for Environmental Protection and Research | Carboneras C.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Vila M.,CSIC - Donana Biological Station | Walton P.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland
Biological Invasions | Year: 2015

Europe has adopted innovative legislation on invasive species that could signal a step-change in the global response to biological invasion threats. The discussion that took place within EU institutions—EU Parliament, European Commission, and the Member States—permitted significant improvement on the initial proposal presented by the European Commission, including removing the initial 50 species cap, explicitly allowing national authorities to take stringent measures on invasive species of national concern, and encouraging coordinated approaches to invasive species in boundary areas. An independent “Scientific Forum” to inform implementation has been introduced, and the EU Regulation will permit only limited licensing for specific activities using invasive alien species. However, the real strength of the legislation will largely depend on the decisions of a committee of representatives of the Member States, with the risk that the real enforcement will be limited by political and economic, rather than scientific, considerations. In this regard it will be crucial to set up a framework of roles and responsibilities among the different bodies that ensure transparent and objective decision processes. Also, it will be essential that adequate resources be secured for implementing the provisions of the legislation. Finally, the regulatory approach introduced by the Regulation will have only a limited impact unless European citizens raise their awareness of this threat and adopt more responsible behaviours. © 2014, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Simberloff D.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Martin J.-L.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Genovesi P.,Institute for Environmental Protection and Research | Maris V.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 13 more authors.
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2013

Study of the impacts of biological invasions, a pervasive component of global change, has generated remarkable understanding of the mechanisms and consequences of the spread of introduced populations. The growing field of invasion science, poised at a crossroads where ecology, social sciences, resource management, and public perception meet, is increasingly exposed to critical scrutiny from several perspectives. Although the rate of biological invasions, elucidation of their consequences, and knowledge about mitigation are growing rapidly, the very need for invasion science is disputed. Here, we highlight recent progress in understanding invasion impacts and management, and discuss the challenges that the discipline faces in its science and interactions with society. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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