October 2023 additions to NERDB

October 2023 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 is on the NERDB page

We will publish regular updates on new disease-exposure combinations we added to the database on the website. Currently, we have 392 entries. Ordered by the year in which the abstract is published

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New entries:

Afbeelding van Erich Westendarp via Pixabay

Alarcón R, Giménez B, Hernández AF, López-Villén A, Parrón T, García-González J, Requena M. Occupational exposure to pesticides as a potential risk factor for epilepsy. Neurotoxicology. 2023 May;96:166-173. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2023.04.012. Epub 2023 Apr 28. PMID: 37121439.

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures. In a previous study, we found that environmental exposure to pesticides was associated with a greater risk of epilepsy. The present study examined possible occupational risk factors that may contribute to the occurrence of epilepsy in farmers and pesticide applicators (sprayers).

A case-referent study was conducted on 19,704 individuals over a 17-year study period (2000-2016). Epilepsy cases (n = 5091) were collected from Hospital records and referents (non-epilepsy cases, n = 14.613) from the Centre for Prevention of Occupational Risks, both from Almería (South-Eastern Spain).

A significantly increased risk of having epilepsy was found in farmers working in intensive agriculture (high-yield greenhouse crops) compared to extensive agriculture (open-air crops). The risk was greater for farmers residing in rural areas with high pesticide use (intensive farming crops in plastic greenhouses) and for those not wearing protective gloves.

As for sprayers, the greatest risk of epilepsy was observed in those not wearing face masks, and in those living in areas with high pesticide use (greenhouse-intensive agriculture).

Overall, this study supports previous findings on the association between epilepsy and pesticide exposure in the general population and extends the risk to farmers occupationally exposed to pesticides, mainly those engaged in intensive agriculture.

Wong JY, Blechter B, Bassig BA, Dai Y, Vermeulen R, Hu W, Rahman ML, Duan H, Niu Y, Downward GS, Leng S, Ji BT, Fu W, Xu J, Meliefste K, Zhou B, Yang J, Ren D, Ye M, Jia X, Meng T, Bin P, Hosgood HD, Rothman N, Silverman DT, Zheng Y, Lan Q. Alterations to biomarkers related to long-term exposure to diesel exhaust at concentrations below occupational exposure limits in the European Union and the USA. Occup Environ Med. 2023 May;80(5):260-267. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2022-108719. Epub 2023 Mar 27. PMID: 36972977; PMCID: PMC10337808.

Background: We previously found that occupational exposure to diesel engine exhaust (DEE) was associated with alterations to 19 biomarkers that potentially reflect the mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Whether DEE is associated with biological alterations at concentrations under existing or recommended occupational exposure limits (OELs) is unclear.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study of 54 factory workers exposed long-term to DEE and 55 unexposed controls, we reanalyzed the 19 previously identified biomarkers. Multivariable linear regression was used to compare biomarker levels between DEE-exposed versus unexposed subjects and to assess elemental carbon (EC) exposure-response relationships, adjusted for age and smoking status.

We analyzed each biomarker at EC concentrations below the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) OEL (<106 µg/m3), below the European Union (EU) OEL (<50 µg/m3), and below the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) recommendation (<20 µg/m3).

Results: Below the MSHA OEL, 17 biomarkers were altered between DEE-exposed workers and unexposed controls. Below the EU OEL, DEE-exposed workers had elevated lymphocytes (p=9E-03, false discovery rate (FDR)=0.04), CD4+ count (p=0.02, FDR=0.05), CD8+ count (p=5E-03, FDR=0.03) and miR-92a-3p (p=0.02, FDR=0.05), and nasal turbinate gene expression (first principal component: p=1E-06, FDR=2E-05), as well as decreased C-reactive protein (p=0.02, FDR=0.05), macrophage inflammatory protein-1β (p=0.04, FDR=0.09), miR-423-3p (p=0.04, FDR=0.09) and miR-122-5p (p=2E-03, FDR=0.02). Even at EC concentrations under the ACGIH recommendation, we found some evidence of exposure-response relationships for miR-423-3p (ptrend=0.01, FDR=0.19) and gene expression (ptrend=0.02, FDR=0.19).

Conclusions: DEE exposure under existing or recommended OELs may be associated with biomarkers reflective of cancer-related processes, including inflammatory/immune response.

Uter W, Johansen JD, Macan J, Symanzik C, John SM. Diagnostics and Prevention of Occupational Allergy in Hairdressers. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2023 May;23(5):267-275. doi: 10.1007/s11882-023-01076-z. Epub 2023 Apr 12. PMID: 37043158; PMCID: PMC10209293.

Purpose of review: This study aims to provide an overview of current knowledge on occupational allergic diseases in hairdressers and up-to-date perspectives on prevention.

Recent findings: Hand eczema (dermatitis) is common in hairdressers, often caused by contact allergy to one or multiple small molecules (haptens) used, e.g., for dyeing, bleaching, and waving/relaxing or by ancillary substances such as preservatives.

Hairdressers, compared to other patch-tested patients, have an up to fivefold increased risk of being found sensitized, e.g., against p-phenylenediamine, ammonium persulfate, and glyceryl thioglycolate. Some of these small molecules may induce respiratory sensitization causing allergic rhinitis and/or asthma, notably persulfate salts.

Occupational hazards in hairdressing are well described. This knowledge needs to be put into use for risk reduction, mainly by substitution of allergenic ingredients with less allergenic ones, education, and use of ventilation and suitable single-use gloves.

Pedersen, J. E., & Hansen, J. (2023). Parental occupational exposure to chemicals and risk of breast cancer in female offspring. Environmental Research, 227, 115817. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2023.115817

Objectives: Parental exposure to chemicals at work has been hypothesized to be a potential predisposing factor for breast cancer in the next generations. The objective of the present nationwide nested case-control study was to contribute with evidence to this area.

Methods: Women with primary breast cancer were identified using the Danish Cancer Registry and they were required to have information on either maternal or paternal employment history, which resulted in the inclusion of 5587 cases. For each case, 20 female cancer-free controls were matched by year of birth using the Danish Civil Registration System. Employment history was linked to job exposure matrices to assess specific occupational chemical exposures.

Results: For maternal exposures, we observed an association between ever exposure to diesel exhaust (OR = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.01–1.27) and exposure to bitumen fumes in the perinatal period (OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.00–2.26) and breast cancer in female offspring. Highest cumulative exposure to benzo(a)pyrene, diesel exhaust, gasoline, and bitumen fumes was further indicated to increase the risk.

Results further indicated a stronger association between diesel exhaust (OR = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.01–1.50) and benzo(a)pyrene exposure (OR = 1.23, 95% CI: 0.96–1.57) and estrogen receptor-negative tumors than tumors with ER expression, while bitumen fumes seemed to elevate the risk of both hormonal subtypes. For paternal exposures, the main results did not indicate any associations with breast cancer in female offspring.

Conclusions: Our study suggests an elevated breast cancer risk in daughters of women occupational exposed to some occupational pollutants, including diesel exhaust, benzo(a)pyrene, and bitumen fumes. These findings need to be confirmed in future large-scale studies before any firm conclusions can be reached.



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