Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Using Biologic Markers in Blood to Assess Exposure to Multiple Environmental Chemicals for Inner-City Children 3-6 Years of Age

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Using Biologic Markers in Blood to Assess Exposure to Multiple Environmental Chemicals for Inner-City Children 3-6 Years of Age

Article excerpt

We assessed concurrent exposure to a mixture of > 50 environmental chemicals by measuring the chemicals or their metabolites in the blond of 43 ethnically diverse children (3-6 years of age) from a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood in Minneapolis. Over a 2-year period, additional samples were collected every 6-12 months from as many children as possible. We analyzed blood samples for 11 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 2 heavy metals (lead and mercury, 11 organochlorine (OC) pesticides or related compounds, and 30 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners. The evidence suggests that numerous VOCs originated from common sources, as did many PCBs. Longitudinal measurements indicate that between-child variance was greater than within-child variance for two VOCs (benzene, toluene), for both heavy metals (Pb, Hg), for all detectable OC pesticides, and for 15 of the measured PCB congeners (74, 99, 101, 118, 138-158, 146, 153, 156, 170, 178, 180, 187, 189, 194, 195). Despite the relatively small sample size, highest measured blood levels of 1.4-dichlorobenzene, styrene, m-/p-xylene, Pb, Hg, heptachlor epoxide, oxychlurdane, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p'-DDE), trans-nonachlur, and PCB congeners 74, 99, 105, 118, 138, 146, 153, 156, 170, and 180 were comparable with or higher than 95th percentile measurements of older children and adults from national surveys. Results demonstrate that cumulative exposures to multiple environmental cardnogens and neurotoxins can be comparatively high for children from a poor inner-city neighborhood. Key words: chemical mixtures, children, cumulative exposure, environmental justice, metals, PCBs, pesticides, volatile organic compounds. Environ Health Prespect 114:453-459 (2006. doi:10.1289/ehp.8324 available via http://dx.doi.org/[Online 13 october 2005]

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It is well established that children are potentially at higher risk than adults for adverse health effects from exposure to many environmental chemicals (Adgate and Sexton 2001; Aprea et al. 2000; Bearer 1995; Brent and Weitzman 2004; Carlson 1998; Galson 1998; Guzelian et al. 1992; Landrigan et al. 2000; Needham and Sexton 2000). With rare exceptions, however--such as lead (National Research Council 1993a) and environmental tobacco smoke (Hecht et al. 2001; National Research Council 1986; Sexton et al. 2004a)--relatively little is known about health effects resulting from exposures to hazardous environmental chemicals for children of all ages, backgrounds, and circumstances (Adgate and Sexton 2001; Armstrong et al. 2000; Hubal et al. 2000; Needham and Sexton 2000; Selevan et al. 2000). Poor minority children may be at highest comparative risk because they tend to be both more exposed and more susceptible than the general population (Chew et al. 2003; Fox et al. 2002; Institute of Medicine 1999; Landrigan et al. 1999; Perlin et al. 2001; Sexton 1997, 1999; Sexton et al. 2004a). Nevertheless, our ability to make informed decisions about protecting their environmental health is limited by a shortage of scientific knowledge and understanding (Institute of Medicine 1999; Landrigan et al. 1998; National Research Council 1993a, 1993b; Needham and Sexton 2000; Sexton 1997; Sexton and Banks-Anderson 1993; Sexton et al. 2004b). Relatively few attempts have been made to measure children's environmental exposure to multiple hazardous chemicals and chemical classes (Clayton et al. 2003; Sexton et al. 2003; Wilson et al. 2003). Also, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has not assessed exposure to organochlorine (OC) pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in populations < 12 years (Needham et al. 2005a). Nonetheless, there is mounting concern that related cumulative health risks may be significant [Castorina et al. 2003; Fox et al. 2002; Mileson et al. 1999; Mukerjee 1998; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2003], particularly in economically disadvantaged communities (Landrigan et al. …

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