#Blood #screening for heavy #metals and organic #pollutants in #cancer #patients exposed to #toxic #waste in southern #Italy: A pilot study (J Cell Physiol., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Cellular Physiology, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Blood screening for heavy metals and organic pollutants in cancer patients exposed to toxic waste in southern Italy: A pilot study

Iris Maria Forte,  Paola Indovina,  Aurora Costa,  Carmelina Antonella Iannuzzi,  Luigi Costanzo,  Antonio Marfella,  Serena Montagnaro,  Gerardo Botti,  Enrico Bucci,  Antonio Giordano

First published: 15 December 2019 / DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/jcp.29399



In Italy, in the eastern area of the Campania region, the illegal dumping and burning of waste have been documented, which could potentially affect the local population’s health. In particular, toxic waste exposure has been suggested to associate with increased cancer development/mortality in these areas, although a causal link has not yet been established. In this pilot study, we evaluated blood levels of toxic heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in 95 patients with different cancer types residing in this area and in 27 healthy individuals. While we did not find any significant correlation between the blood levels of POPs and the provenance of the patients, we did observe high blood concentrations of heavy metals in some municipalities, including Giugliano, where many illegal waste disposal sites have previously been documented. Our results showed that patients with different cancer types from Giugliano had higher blood levels of heavy metals than healthy controls. Despite the obvious limitations of this exploratory study, our preliminary observations encourage further research assessing the possible association between exposure to hazardous waste, increased blood metals, and increased risk of cancer.


Open Research

DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT: The data sets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.

Keywords: Toxic chemicals; Environmental pollution; Environmental disasters; Italy; Cancer.


#PCB levels in #adipose tissue of #dogs from illegal #dumping sites in #Campania region (Italy) (Chemosphere, abstract)

[Source: Chemosphere, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Chemosphere / Volume 244, April 2020, 125478

PCB levels in adipose tissue of dogs from illegal dumping sites in Campania region (Italy)

Maria Carmela Ferrante b1, Paola Di Vaio a1, Elisa Magli a, Francesco Frecentese a, Rosaria Meli a, Giuseppe Caliendo a, Angela Corvino a, Ferdinando Fiorino a, Flavia Giordano a, Anna Monnolo b, Irene Saccone a, Vincenzo Santagada a, Beatrice Severino a, Giacomo Calabria d, Cosimo Manzo c, Elisa Perissutti a

{a} Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, Via D. Montesano, 49, 80131, Naples, Italy; {b} Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, University of Naples Federico II, Via Delpino, 1, 80137, Naples, Italy; {c} Avantech Group s.r.l, Via Masuccio Salernitano, 28, 84012, Angri (SA), Italy; {d} Veterinary Clinic “Giacomo Calabria VET”, Via S. Francesco D’Assisi, 41, 80034, Marigliano (NA), Italy

Received 1 April 2019, Revised 19 November 2019, Accepted 25 November 2019, Available online 27 November 2019.

Handling Editor: Andreas Sjodin

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.125478



  • PCB concentrations in dog’s adipose tissue from an area with illegal waste dumping.
  • Animals like sentinels for biomonitoring of PCBs.
  • PCB concentrations positively related to cancer disease.



The aim of the study is to investigate the potential relationship between exposure to PCBs and cancer. In doing so we relied on a sample of dogs coming from a peculiar area of the Campania region (Italy), that has been suffering for illegal waste dumping and open air burning of plastic waste for many years. The latter determined the release of organic and inorganic pollutants, such as the PCBs. By comparing dogs with cancer and healthy dogs, we found much higher PCB concentrations in the former, with a significant difference (p < 0.05) for the non-indicator ∑10NDL-PCB and the DL-PCBs. A regression analysis, controlling for three potentially confounding factors, that are sex, age and weight, confirmed the higher ∑10NDL-PCB concentration in dogs with cancer. Hence, our evidence suggests a potential health hazard for animals and likewise people living in a risky area due to the presence of environmental organic pollutants.

Keywords: Sentinel animals – Dogs – Campania region – Polychlorinated biphenyls – Cancer

(1) These two authors equally contributed.

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Environmental pollution; Environmental disaster; Cancer; Italy; Dogs.


#Development, #environmental #degradation, and #disease spread in the #Brazilian #Amazon (PLOS Biol., abstract)

[Source: PLOS Biology, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Development, environmental degradation, and disease spread in the Brazilian Amazon

Marcia C. Castro , Andres Baeza, Cláudia Torres Codeço, Zulma M. Cucunubá, Ana Paula Dal’Asta, Giulio A. De Leo, Andrew P. Dobson, Gabriel Carrasco-Escobar, Raquel Martins Lana, Rachel Lowe, Antonio Miguel Vieira Monteiro, Mercedes Pascual, Mauricio Santos-Vega


Published: November 15, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000526 / This is an uncorrected proof.



The Amazon is Brazil’s greatest natural resource and invaluable to the rest of the world as a buffer against climate change. The recent election of Brazil’s president brought disputes over development plans for the region back into the spotlight. Historically, the development model for the Amazon has focused on exploitation of natural resources, resulting in environmental degradation, particularly deforestation. Although considerable attention has focused on the long-term global cost of “losing the Amazon,” too little attention has focused on the emergence and reemergence of vector-borne diseases that directly impact the local population, with spillover effects to other neighboring areas. We discuss the impact of Amazon development models on human health, with a focus on vector-borne disease risk. We outline policy actions that could mitigate these negative impacts while creating opportunities for environmentally sensitive economic activities.


Citation: Castro MC, Baeza A, Codeço CT, Cucunubá ZM, Dal’Asta AP, De Leo GA, et al. (2019) Development, environmental degradation, and disease spread in the Brazilian Amazon. PLoS Biol 17(11): e3000526. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000526

Published: November 15, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Castro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under funding from the National Science Foundation (DBI-1639145) supported this work. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Abbreviations: DETER, Detection of Deforestation in Real Time; EIA, environmental impact assessment; EMBRAPA, Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation; INPE, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais; NMCP, National Malaria Control Program; OTCA, Organización del Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica; PAHO, Pan American Health Organization

Provenance: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Keywords: Public Health; Environmental disasters; Emerging Diseases; Infectious Diseases; Brazil; Amazon.


#Surge of #respiratory #illnesses in #children due to #fires in #Brazil’s #Amazon region (Lancet Resp Med., summary)

[Source: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Surge of respiratory illnesses in children due to fires in Brazil’s Amazon region

Lise Alves

Published: October 29, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(19)30410-2


As thousands of kilometres of forest burned in the Amazon during the months of June through August, the world cried out for the preservation of the largest rainforest in the world. Environmentalists denounced the widespread deforestation of the area, with fires being set in protected areas and even very near indigenous reserves.


This article is available free of charge.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Environmental disasters; Environmental pollution; Brazil.


#Impacts of #environmental and #socioeconomic #factors on emergence and #epidemic potential of #Ebola in #Africa (Nat Commun., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Nat Commun. 2019 Oct 15;10(1):4531. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12499-6.

Impacts of environmental and socio-economic factors on emergence and epidemic potential of Ebola in Africa.

Redding DW1, Atkinson PM2, Cunningham AA3, Lo Iacono G4, Moses LM5, Wood JLN6, Jones KE7,8.

Author information: 1 Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK. d.redding@ucl.ac.uk. 2 Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA4 1YW, UK. 3 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK. 4 School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK. 5 Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA. 6 Department of Veterinary Medicine, Disease Dynamics Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. 7 Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK. kate.e.jones@ucl.ac.uk. 8 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK. kate.e.jones@ucl.ac.uk.



Recent outbreaks of animal-borne emerging infectious diseases have likely been precipitated by a complex interplay of changing ecological, epidemiological and socio-economic factors. Here, we develop modelling methods that capture elements of each of these factors, to predict the risk of Ebola virus disease (EVD) across time and space. Our modelling results match previously-observed outbreak patterns with high accuracy, and suggest further outbreaks could occur across most of West and Central Africa. Trends in the underlying drivers of EVD risk suggest a 1.75 to 3.2-fold increase in the endemic rate of animal-human viral spill-overs in Africa by 2070, given current modes of healthcare intervention. Future global change scenarios with higher human population growth and lower rates of socio-economic development yield a fourfold higher likelihood of epidemics occurring as a result of spill-over events. Our modelling framework can be used to target interventions designed to reduce epidemic risk for many zoonotic diseases.

PMID: 31615986 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-12499-6

Keywords: Ebola; Environmental disasters; Africa Region; Society.


#Amazon #deforestation drives #malaria #transmission, and malaria burden reduces #forest clearing (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Amazon deforestation drives malaria transmission, and malaria burden reduces forest clearing

Andrew J. MacDonald and Erin A. Mordecai

PNAS first published October 14, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1905315116

Edited by Burton H. Singer, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and approved September 17, 2019 (received for review March 27, 2019)



Widespread human impacts on the environment are expected to harm human health, which may in turn alter our interactions with the environment. However, evidence for impacts of environmental changes on health, and for feedbacks between environmental change and health, remains locally specific and context dependent. Using a large, geospatial dataset encompassing the Brazilian Amazon rainforest across 13 y, we identify strong evidence for a feedback between deforestation and malaria: Deforestation significantly increases malaria transmission, while high malaria burden simultaneously reduces forest clearing. Our results put into broader context the contradictory effects of deforestation on malaria found in earlier studies and provide evidence useful to land use policy and public health interventions that provide win–win solutions for conservation and health.



Deforestation and land use change are among the most pressing anthropogenic environmental impacts. In Brazil, a resurgence of malaria in recent decades paralleled rapid deforestation and settlement in the Amazon basin, yet evidence of a deforestation-driven increase in malaria remains equivocal. We hypothesize an underlying cause of this ambiguity is that deforestation and malaria influence each other in bidirectional causal relationships—deforestation increases malaria through ecological mechanisms and malaria reduces deforestation through socioeconomic mechanisms—and that the strength of these relationships depends on the stage of land use transformation. We test these hypotheses with a large geospatial dataset encompassing 795 municipalities across 13 y (2003 to 2015) and show deforestation has a strong positive effect on malaria incidence. Our results suggest a 10% increase in deforestation leads to a 3.3% increase in malaria incidence (∼9,980 additional cases associated with 1,567 additional km2 lost in 2008, the study midpoint, Amazon-wide). The effect is larger in the interior and absent in outer Amazonian states where little forest remains. However, this strong effect is only detectable after controlling for a feedback of malaria burden on forest loss, whereby increased malaria burden significantly reduces forest clearing, possibly mediated by human behavior or economic development. We estimate a 1% increase in malaria incidence results in a 1.4% decrease in forest area cleared (∼219 fewer km2 cleared associated with 3,024 additional cases in 2008). This bidirectional socioecological feedback between deforestation and malaria, which attenuates as land use intensifies, illustrates the intimate ties between environmental change and human health.

Brazil – Plasmodium falciparum – Plasmodium vivax – instrumental variables – environmental change



1 To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: andy.j.macdon@gmail.com.

Author contributions: A.J.M. designed research; A.J.M. performed research; A.J.M. analyzed data; A.J.M. and E.A.M. wrote the paper; and E.A.M. helped in the development of the project.

The authors declare no competing interest.

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.

This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1905315116/-/DCSupplemental.

Published under the PNAS license.

Keywords: Malaria; Environmental disasters; Brazil.


Low #serum #IgA and #airway #injury in #WTC-exposed #firefighters: a 17-year longitudinal study (Thorax, abstract)

[Source: Thorax, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Low serum IgA and airway injury in World Trade Center-exposed firefighters: a 17-year longitudinal study

Barbara Putman 1,2, Lies Lahousse 2, Rachel Zeig-Owens 3,4, Ankura Singh 3,5, Charles B Hall 4, Yang Liu 3,5, Theresa Schwartz 3,5, David Goldfarb 3,5, Mayris P Webber 3,4, David J Prezant 3,5, Michael D Weiden 1,3

Author affiliations: 1 Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA; 2 Department of Bioanalysis, Ghent University, Gent, Belgium; 3 The Bureau of Health Services, Fire Department of the City of New York, Brooklyn, New York, USA; 4 Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA; 5 Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Centre, Bronx, New York, USA

Correspondence to Dr Michael D Weiden, Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA; Michael.Weiden@nyumc.org



Serum IgA ≤70 mg/dL (low IgA) is associated with exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The association of low IgA with longitudinal lung function is poorly defined. This study included 917 World Trade Center (WTC)-exposed firefighters with longitudinal spirometry measured between September 2001 and September 2018 and IgA measured between October 2001 and March 2002. Low IgA, compared with IgA >70 mg/dL, was associated with lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) % predicted in the year following 11 September 2001 (94.1% vs 98.6%, p<0.001), increased risk of FEV1/FVC <0.70 (HR 3.8, 95% CI 1.6 to 8.8) and increased antibiotic treatment (22.5/100 vs 11.6/100 person-years, p=0.002). Following WTC exposure, early IgA ≤70 mg/dL was associated with worse lung function and increased antibiotic treatment.


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2019-213715




MDW had full access to all of the data in the study and agrees to be accountable for all aspects of the work so that questions related to the accuracy and integrity of the research are appropriately investigated and resolved. MDW conceived of the study, and designed it in conjunction with BP, LL, RZ-O, CBH and DJP. MDW, BP, AS, RZ-O, TS, YL and DG analysed and interpreted the data. MDW and BP drafted the first manuscript with critical revisions from LL, AS, RZ-O, CBH, DJP, MPW and TS. All authors approved the final manuscript.


This research was funded by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, grant number U01 OH011302, U01OH011682 and contracts #200-2011-39383, #200-2011-39378, #200-2017-93426 and #200-2017-93326.

Competing interests 

BP, RZ-O, AS, CBH, YL, TS, DG, MPW, DJP and MDW report grants and/or contracts from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, during the conduct of the study and outside the submitted work. LL reports grants from AstraZeneca and Chiesi (both awards), and expert consultation for Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH and Novartis outside the submitted work.

Patient consent for publication 

Not required.

Ethics approval 

The Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine Institutional Review Board approved this study.

Provenance and peer review 

Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Author note 

The sponsors had no role in the design and conduct of the study, the collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data, the preparation, review and approval of the manuscript, or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

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Keywords: Environmental pollution; COPD.


Rapidly expanding #nuclear #arsenals in #Pakistan and #India portend #regional and #global #catastrophe (Sci Adv., abstract)

[Source: Science Advances, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe

Owen B. Toon1,*, Charles G. Bardeen2, Alan Robock3, Lili Xia3, Hans Kristensen4, Matthew McKinzie5, R. J. Peterson6, Cheryl S. Harrison7,8, Nicole S. Lovenduski9 and Richard P. Turco10

1 Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA. 2 Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307, USA. 3  Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA. 4 Federation of American Scientists, 1112 16th St., N.W. Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, USA. 5 Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 West 20th St., 11th Floor, New York, NY 10011, USA.6 Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0390, USA. 7 School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Port Isabel, TX 78597, USA. 8 Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0450, USA. 9 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0450, USA. 10 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

*Corresponding author. Email: toon@lasp.colorado.edu

Science Advances  02 Oct 2019: Vol. 5, no. 10, eaay5478 / DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay5478



Pakistan and India may have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons by 2025 with yields from tested 12- to 45-kt values to a few hundred kilotons. If India uses 100 strategic weapons to attack urban centers and Pakistan uses 150, fatalities could reach 50 to 125 million people, and nuclear-ignited fires could release 16 to 36 Tg of black carbon in smoke, depending on yield. The smoke will rise into the upper troposphere, be self-lofted into the stratosphere, and spread globally within weeks. Surface sunlight will decline by 20 to 35%, cooling the global surface by 2° to 5°C and reducing precipitation by 15 to 30%, with larger regional impacts. Recovery takes more than 10 years. Net primary productivity declines 15 to 30% on land and 5 to 15% in oceans threatening mass starvation and additional worldwide collateral fatalities.

Keywords: Environmental disasters; Environmental Pollution; Wars; Radiations; WMD.


#Prevalence of #Tuberculosis in #Children After Natural #Disasters, Bohol, #Philippines (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 25, Number 10—October 2019 / Research

Prevalence of Tuberculosis in Children After Natural Disasters, Bohol, Philippines

Kristy O. Murray, Nina T. Castillo-Carandang, Anna M. Mandalakas, Andrea T. Cruz, Lauren M. Leining, Salvacion R. Gatchalian  , and on behalf of the PEER Health Bohol Pediatric Study Team

Author affiliations: Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas, USA (K.O. Murray, A.M. Mandalakas, A.T. Cruz, L.M. Leining); University of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines (N.T. Castillo-Carandang, S.R. Gatchalian)



In 2013, a severe earthquake and typhoon affected Bohol, Philippines. To assess the postdisaster risk for emergence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in children, we conducted a cross-sectional multistage cluster study to estimate the prevalence of tuberculin skin test (TST) positivity and tuberculosis (TB) in children from 200 villages in heavily affected and less affected disaster areas. Of the 5,476 children we enrolled, 355 were TST-positive (weighted prevalence 6.4%); 16 children had active TB. Fourteen (7%) villages had >20% TST-positive prevalence. Although prevalence did not differ significantly between heavily affected and less affected areas, living in a shelter with >25 persons approached significance. TST positivity was independently associated with older age, prior TB treatment, known contact with a person with TB, and living on a geographically isolated island. We found a high TST-positive prevalence, suggesting that national programs should consider the differential vulnerability of children and the role of geographically isolated communities in TB emergence.

Keywords: Environmental disasters; Tuberculosis; Philippines; Pediatrics.


In situ #measurement of #cesium-137 #contamination in #fruits from the northern #Marshall Islands (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

In situ measurement of cesium-137 contamination in fruits from the northern Marshall Islands

Carlisle E. W. Topping, Maveric K. I. L. Abella, Michael E. Berkowitz, Monica Rouco Molina, Ivana Nikolić-Hughes, Emlyn W. Hughes, and Malvin A. Ruderman

PNAS first published July 15, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1903481116

Contributed by Malvin A. Ruderman, May 15, 2019 (sent for review March 5, 2019; reviewed by Paul Cadden-Zimansky and Katrin Karbstein)

Related Articles: Radiation maps of ocean sediment from the Castle Bravo crater – Jul 10, 2019; Background gamma radiation and soil activity measurements in the northern Marshall Islands – Jul 10, 2019



The United States performed nuclear testing on Bikini and Enewetak Atolls in the northern Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958. Fallout from the largest test Bravo, detonated in 1954, spread over a large area, exposing to radiation not only land and ocean but also Marshallese people living in neighboring atolls, including Rongelap and Utirik. Cesium-137, present in the fallout, has a half-life of approximately 30 y and is readily absorbed by food crops, thus representing a health hazard for island inhabitants. In situ measurements of cesium-137 content were made for fruits from 11 islands on four atolls. Contamination remains above limits set by international safety standards in some measured fruits, and several islands display contamination from this human-made radionuclide.



Radioactive contamination of fruits in the northern Marshall Islands, resulting from the US nuclear weapons testing program in the 1940s and 1950s, is still a human health concern, in particular pertaining to island population resettlement and the economic benefit from farming. Over 200 fruits, primarily coconuts and pandanus, were collected on 11 islands from four atolls in the northern Marshall Islands in 2017. The energy spectra from nuclear gamma decays were measured on a research vessel for each fruit in situ. From these recordings, the level of cesium-137 (137Cs) contamination was determined for individual fruits. Comparisons of the results are made to past studies and international food safety standards. There is a broad distribution of values, ranging from below detectable radiation levels to relatively high levels; safety concerns are largest for Bikini Island. A noticeable fraction of fruits from Bikini have significantly higher levels of 137Cs contamination compared with those from all other measured islands.

Marshall Islands – food – radiation – cesium-137 – Bikini

Keywords: Environmental pollution; Environmental disasters; Radiations; Radionuclides; Marhsall Islands; Food safety.