March 2022 additions to NERDB

March 2022 additions to NERDB

NERDB is the New and emerging risks database. This bibliographic database is an initiative of Nicole Palmen and Annet Lenderink with the support of Modernet and is currently powered by Airtable.

More information on this database on the NERDB page

On the website, we will publish regular updates on new disease-exposure combinations we added to the database. Currently, we have 330 entries. Ordered by year in which the abstract is published

unknown year620223

Last new entries:

No new entries this time, but some older ones that not were published here before.


Moshiran, V. A., Karimi, A., Golbabaei, F., Yarandi, M. S., Sajedian, A. A., & Koozekonan, A. G. (2021). Quantitative and Semiquantitative Health Risk Assessment of Occupational Exposure to Styrene in a Petrochemical IndustrySafety and health at work12(3), 396-402.

Styrene is one of the aromatic compounds used in acetonitrile–butadiene–styrene (ABS) producing petrochemicals, which has an impact on the health of workers. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the health risks of styrene emitted from the petrochemical industry in Iran. The researchers collected air samples based on NIOSH 1501 method. The samples were analyzed by the Varian-cp3800 gas chromatograph. Finally, risk levels of styrene’s health effects on employees were assessed by the quantitative method of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the semi-quantitative way by the Singapore Occupational Safety and Health Association.

Based on the results, the employees had the highest average exposure to styrene vapors (4.06×10−1mg.(kg−day)−1) in the polybutadiene latex (PBL) unit. Therefore, the top predictors of cancer and non-cancer risk were 2.3×10−4 and 7.26×10−1, respectively. Given that the lowest average exposure (1.5×10−2mg.(kg−day)−1) was in the dryer unit, the prediction showed a moderate risk of cancer (0.8×10−6) and non-cancer (2.3×10−3) for the employees.

The EPA method also predicted that there would be a definite cancer risk in 16% and a probable risk in 76% of exposures. However, according to the semi-quantitative approach, the rate of risk was at the “low” level for all staff. The results showed that there was a significant difference (p < 0.05) between the units in exposure and the health risk of styrene (p < 0.05). The authors conclude that given the high risk of styrene’s health effects, appropriate control measures are required to reduce the exposure level.

Brand, P., Beilmann, V., Krichel, T., Merizian, J., Schmidt, K., Kraus, T., & Krabbe, J. (2020). No Observed Effect Level (NOEL) for Systemic Inflammation by Copper and Zinc in Welding FumesJournal of occupational and environmental medicine62(9), 718-723.

Copper and zinc-containing welding fumes are able to induce systemic inflammation in healthy subjects. In this study, the no observed effect levels (NOEL) for welding fumes containing either copper or zinc were assessed. Fifteen healthy male volunteers participated in an exposure. Each subject was exposed to two different concentrations of both, copper and zinc-containing welding fumes. Exposure was performed in the Aachen Workplace Simulation Lab.

The NOEL was found at metal concentrations between 0.2 and 0.3 mg/m for copper and between 0.8 and 1.2 mg/m for zinc. The NOEL identified in this study was about a factor of 10 higher than the German workplace threshold limit values (TLV). However, TLV in other countries was in the same range or even higher than the NOEL indicating a considerable risk for workers.

Istvan, M., Rahban, R., Dananche, B., Senn, A., Stettler, E., Multigner, L., … & Garlantézec, R. (2021). Maternal occupational exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals during pregnancy and semen parameters in adulthood: results of a nationwide cross-sectional study among Swiss conscriptsHuman Reproduction36(7), 1948-1958.

The main question of the study is whether there is a relationship between maternal occupational exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) during pregnancy and the semen quality of their sons?

It is already known that sexual differentiation, development, and proper functioning of the reproductive system are largely dependent on steroid hormones. Although there is some animal evidence, studies on maternal exposure to EDCs during pregnancy and its effect on the semen quality of sons are scarce and none have focused on maternal occupational exposure.

In this cross-sectional study, the aim is to evaluate semen quality among Swiss conscripts aged 18 to 22 years between 2005 and 2017. Conscript and parent questionnaires were completed prior to the collection of a semen sample. Semen parameters were categorised according to the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Data on maternal employment during pregnancy were provided by the parent questionnaire. Maternal occupational exposure to potential EDC categories was defined using a job-exposure matrix (JEM). Logistic regressions were used to analyse the relationship between maternal occupational exposure to EDCs and each semen parameter adjusted for potential confounding factors. Results are presented using odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. In total, 1,737 conscripts provided a conscript and parent questionnaire, as well as a semen sample; among these 1,045 of their mothers worked during pregnancy.

The study suggests an association between occupational exposure of mothers during pregnancy to potential EDCs and low semen volume and total sperm count, particularly for exposure to pesticides (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.11-3.86 and OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.05-4.35), phthalates (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.10-3.37 and OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.01-3.55), and heavy metals (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.14-3.60 and OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.21-4.35). Maternal occupational exposure to heavy metals was additionally associated with a low sperm concentration (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.06-3.37).

Several limitations should be noted, such as the indirect method for maternal occupational exposure assessment during the pregnancy (JEM) and the cross-sectional design of the study. Our observations reinforce the need to inform pregnant women of potential hazards during pregnancy that could impair their child’s fertility. Additional studies are needed to confirm the involvement of EDCs.

Summary answer: Our results suggest an association between maternal occupational exposure to potential EDCs, especially to pesticides, phthalates, and heavy metals, and a decrease in several semen parameters.

%d bloggers like this: