ResearchPad - dust https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Examination of the ocean as a source for atmospheric microplastics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13804 Global plastic litter pollution has been increasing alongside demand since plastic products gained commercial popularity in the 1930’s. Current plastic pollutant research has generally assumed that once plastics enter the ocean they are there to stay, retained permanently within the ocean currents, biota or sediment until eventual deposition on the sea floor or become washed up onto the beach. In contrast to this, we suggest it appears that some plastic particles could be leaving the sea and entering the atmosphere along with sea salt, bacteria, virus’ and algae. This occurs via the process of bubble burst ejection and wave action, for example from strong wind or sea state turbulence. In this manuscript we review evidence from the existing literature which is relevant to this theory and follow this with a pilot study which analyses microplastics (MP) in sea spray. Here we show first evidence of MP particles, analysed by μRaman, in marine boundary layer air samples on the French Atlantic coast during both onshore (average of 2.9MP/m3) and offshore (average of 9.6MP/m3) winds. Notably, during sampling, the convergence of sea breeze meant our samples were dominated by sea spray, increasing our capacity to sample MPs if they were released from the sea. Our results indicate a potential for MPs to be released from the marine environment into the atmosphere by sea-spray giving a globally extrapolated figure of 136000 ton/yr blowing on shore.

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<![CDATA[New Approaches to Identifying and Reducing the Global Burden of Disease From Pollution]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nbf7723dd-5647-4f8e-be7f-e9600ebe8e30

Abstract

Pollution from multiple sources causes significant disease and death worldwide. Some sources are legacy, such as heavy metals accumulated in soils, and some are current, such as particulate matter. Because the global burden of disease from pollution is so high, it is important to identify legacy and current sources and to develop and implement effective techniques to reduce human exposure. But many limitations exist in our understanding of the distribution and transport processes of pollutants themselves, as well as the complicated overprint of human behavior and susceptibility.

New approaches are being developed to identify and eliminate pollution in multiple environments. Community‐scale detection of geogenic arsenic and fluoride in Bangladesh is helping to map the distribution of these harmful elements in drinking water. Biosensors such as bees and their honey are being used to measure heavy metal contamination in cities such as Vancouver and Sydney. Drone‐based remote sensors are being used to map metal hot spots in soils from former mining regions in Zambia and Mozambique. The explosion of low‐cost air monitors has allowed researchers to build dense air quality sensing networks to capture ephemeral and local releases of harmful materials, building on other developments in personal exposure sensing. And citizen science is helping communities without adequate resources measure their own environments and in this way gain agency in controlling local pollution exposure sources and/or alerting authorities to environmental hazards. The future of GeoHealth will depend on building on these developments and others to protect a growing population from multiple pollution exposure risks.

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<![CDATA[Impact of Deadly Dust Storms (May 2018) on Air Quality, Meteorological, and Atmospheric Parameters Over the Northern Parts of India]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8387ef6b-b75b-4aaa-bb39-241535d00866

Abstract

The northern part of India, adjoining the Himalaya, is considered as one of the global hot spots of pollution because of various natural and anthropogenic factors. Throughout the year, the region is affected by pollution from various sources like dust, biomass burning, industrial and vehicular pollution, and myriad other anthropogenic emissions. These sources affect the air quality and health of millions of people who live in the Indo‐Gangetic Plains. The dust storms that occur during the premonsoon months of March–June every year are one of the principal sources of pollution and originate from the source region of Arabian Peninsula and the Thar desert located in north‐western India. In the year 2018, month of May, three back‐to‐back major dust storms occurred that caused massive damage, loss of human lives, and loss to property and had an impact on air quality and human health. In this paper, we combine observations from ground stations, satellites, and radiosonde networks to assess the impact of dust events in the month of May 2018, on meteorological parameters, aerosol properties, and air quality. We observed widespread changes associated with aerosol loadings, humidity, and vertical advection patterns with displacements of major trace and greenhouse gasses. We also notice drastic changes in suspended particulate matter concentrations, all of which can have significant ramifications in terms of human health and changes in weather pattern.

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<![CDATA[Lower allergen levels in hypoallergenic Curly Horses? A comparison among breeds by measurements of horse allergens in hair and air samples]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab852d5eed0c4840278d8

Background

Exposure to horses can cause severe allergic reactions in sensitized individuals. The breed, American Bashkir Curly Horse is categorized as hypoallergenic, primarily due to reports of allergic patients experiencing fewer symptoms while handling this special breed. The possible reasons for this phenomenon could be lower allergen production and/or reduced allergen release into the air because of increased sebum content in their skin and hair compared to other breeds. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to compare different horse breeds in relation to allergen content in hair and airborne dust samples.

Methods

In total, 224 hair samples from 32 different horse breeds were investigated. Personal nasal filters were used to collect airborne dust during the grooming of 20 Curly Horses and 20 Quarter Horses. Quantitative analysis of all samples was performed using two newly developed immunoassays for the detection of horse dander (HD) antigens and the major allergen Equ c 1 and the commercial assay for Equ c 4. Results were analyzed using multiple linear regression models for hair samples and the Mann Whitney U test for airborne samples.

Results

Horse antigen and allergen levels differed up to four orders of magnitude between individual animals. Despite enormous variability, levels of HD antigen, Equ c 1 and Equ c 4 in hair were significantly related to the breed and gender combined with the castration status of male animals. Curly Horses had significantly higher concentrations of all three tested parameters compared to the majority of the investigated breeds (medians: 11800 μg/g for HD antigen, 2400 μg/g for Equ c 1, and 258 kU/g for Equ c 4). Tinker Horses, Icelandic Horses and Shetland Ponies were associated with approximately 7-fold reduced levels of HD antigen and Equ c 1, and up to 25-fold reduced levels of Equ c 4 compared to Curly Horses. Compared to mares, stallions displayed increased concentrations of HD antigens, Equ c 1 and Equ c 4 by a factor 2.2, 3.5 and 6.7, respectively. No difference was observed between mares and geldings. No differences in airborne allergen concentrations collected with personal nasal filters during grooming were found between Curly and Quarter Horses.

Conclusion

Breed and castration status had a significant influence on the antigen and allergen levels of horse hair. However, these differences were smaller than the wide variability observed among individual horses. Compared to other breeds, Curly Horses were not associated with lower allergen levels in hair and in air samples collected during grooming. Our approach provides no molecular explanation why Curly Horses are considered to be hypoallergenic.

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<![CDATA[Emphysema in active farmer’s lung disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be1076

Background

Farmer’s lung (FL) is a common type of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It is often considered that fibrosis is the most frequent finding in chronic FL. Nevertheless, three cohort studies have suggested that some patients with chronic FL may develop emphysema. We aimed to evaluate the current prevalence of emphysema in active FL, to describe the radiological and functional features of emphysema in active FL, and to identify risk factors associated with emphysema in this population.

Methods

Patients aged over 18 years with active FL were prospectively recruited through the SOPHIA study (CPP Est; P-2009-521), between 2007 and 2015. Each patient had complete medical history screening, clinical examination, high resolution computed tomodensitometry, bronchoalveolar lavage, pulmonary function tests and serum precipitins.

Results

Among 33 patients with active FL, the prevalence of emphysema in this series of incident active FL cases was higher (48.5%) than that of fibrosis (12%) and was not dependent on smoking habits. Most patients with emphysema did not have lung hyperinflation. The possible risk factors for emphysema in active FL were a longer duration of exposure to organic dusts, and at a higher level.

Conclusion

Emphysema is found in half of patients with active FL and may be influenced by exposure patterns.

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<![CDATA[Intensity of African Humid Periods Estimated from Saharan Dust Fluxes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc917

North Africa experienced dramatic changes in hydrology and vegetation during the late Quaternary driven by insolation-induced shifts of the tropical rain belt and further modulated by millennial-scale droughts and vegetation-climate feedbacks. While most past proxy and modelling studies concentrated on the temporal and spatial dynamics of the last African humid period, little is known about the intensities and characteristics of pre-Holocene humid periods. Here we present a high-resolution record of fine-grained eastern Saharan dust from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea spanning the last 180 kyr, which is based on the clay mineral composition of the marine sediments, especially the kaolinite/chlorite ratio. Minimum aeolian kaolinite transport occurred during the African Humid Periods because kaolinite deflation was hampered by increased humidity and vegetation cover. Instead, kaolinite weathering from kaolinite-bearing Cenozoic rocks was stored in lake basins, river beds and soils during these periods. During the subsequent dry phases, fine-grained dust was mobilised from the desiccated lakes, rivers and soils resulting in maximum aeolian uptake and transport of kaolinite. The kaolinite transport decreased again when these sediment sources exhausted. We conclude that the amount of clay-sized dust blown out of the Sahara into the Eastern Mediterranean Sea is proportional to the intensity of the kaolinite weathering and accumulation in soils and lake sediments, and thus to the strength of the preceding humid period. These humid periods provided the windows for the migration of modern humans out of Africa, as postulated previously. The strongest humid period occurred during the Eemian and was followed by two weaker phases centred at ca. 100 ka and ca. 80 ka.

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<![CDATA[Tracing Sources and Contamination Assessments of Heavy Metals in Road and Foliar Dusts in a Typical Mining City, China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e7ab0ee8fa60b6b936

Road and foliar dust samples from four land-use districts of Panzhihua City, a famous V-Ti magnetite production area of China, were collected to investigate the sources and distribution characteristics of 9 heavy metals (V, Pb, Cd, Cu, Zn, Ni, Cr, Fe, and Mn). The results suggest that foliar samples had smaller particle size and higher heavy metal contents than road dusts. The contamination assessments of heavy metals were as follows: Pb and V (significant enrichment) > Zn, Ni, Cr, Fe, and Mn (moderate enrichment) > Cd and Ni (minimal enrichment). Statistical analyses showed Pb, as the primary pollution element, originated from waste incineration and lead-fuel combustion. The sources of Zn, Ni, Cr, Fe, V, and Mn were fugitive dust and traffic activities. Potential origins of Cu were corrosion of alloys used in vehicle components, vehicle covers, or other metallic surfaces and materials. The sources of Cd were different from any other heavy metals. Traffic and industrial activities were the main anthropogenic origins of heavy metals in dusts of Panzhihua, and more attention should be paid to heavy metal pollution in agricultural area.

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<![CDATA[Detailed Distribution Map of Absorbed Dose Rate in Air in Tokatsu Area of Chiba Prefecture, Japan, Constructed by Car-Borne Survey 4 Years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdca48

A car-borne survey was carried out in the northwestern, or Tokatsu, area of Chiba Prefecture, Japan, to make a detailed distribution map of absorbed dose rate in air four years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. This area was chosen because it was the most heavily radionuclide contaminated part of Chiba Prefecture and it neighbors metropolitan Tokyo. Measurements were performed using a 3-in × 3-in NaI(Tl) scintillation spectrometer in June 2015. The survey route covered the whole Tokatsu area which includes six cities. A heterogeneous distribution of absorbed dose rate in air was observed on the dose distribution map. Especially, higher absorbed dose rates in air exceeding 80 nGy h-1 were observed along national roads constructed using high porosity asphalt, whereas lower absorbed dose rates in air were observed along local roads constructed using low porosity asphalt. The difference between these asphalt types resulted in a heterogeneous dose distribution in the Tokatsu area. The mean of the contribution ratio of artificial radionuclides to absorbed dose rate in air measured 4 years after the accident was 29% (9–50%) in the Tokatsu area. The maximum absorbed dose rate in air, 201 nGy h-1 was observed at Kashiwa City. Radiocesium was deposited in the upper 1 cm surface layer of the high porosity asphalt which was collected in Kashiwa City and the environmental half-life of the absorbed dose rate in air was estimated to be 1.7 years.

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<![CDATA[Effects of Heavy Metals from Soil and Dust Source on DNA Damage of the Leymus chinensis Leaves in Coal-Mining Area in Northwest China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db48ab0ee8fa60bd9341

Air and soil pollution from mining activities has been considered as a critical issue to the health of living organisms. However, few efforts have been made in distinguishing the main pathway of organism genetic damage by heavy metals related to mining activities. Therefore, we investigated the genetic damage of Leymus chinensis leaf cells, the air particulate matter (PM) contents, and concentrations of the main heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Cr, Hg) in soil and foliar dust samples collected from seven experiment points at the core mining area and one control point 20 kilometers away from the core mining area in Inner Mongolia in 2013. Comet assay was used to test the genetic damage of the Leymus chinensis leaf cells; the Tail DNA% and Tail Moment were used to characterize the genetic damage degree of the plant cells. The comet assay results showed that the cell genetic damage ratio was up to 77.0% in experiment points but was only 35.0% in control point. The control point also had the slight Tail DNA% and Tail Moment values than other experiment groups. The cell damage degree of the control group was 0.935 and experiment groups were 1.299–1.815. The geo-accumulation index and comperehensive pollution index(CPI) were used to characterize heavy metal pollution in foliar dust samples, and single factor pollution index and CPI were used to characterize the heavy metal pollution in soil samples. The CPIfoliar dust of control group was 0.36 and experiment groups were 1.45–2.57; the CPIsoil of control group was 0.04 and experiment groups were 0.07–0.12. The results of correlation analyze showed that Air Quality Index (AQI) -CPIfoliar dust(r = 0.955**)>Damage degree-CPIfoliar dust(r = 0.923**)>Damage degree-AQI(r = 0.908**)>Damage degree-CPIsoil (r = 0.824*). The present research proved that mining activity had a high level of positive correlation with organism genetic damage caused by heavy metals through comparing with the control point; soil and atmosphere were both the important action pathway for heavy metal induced genetic damage in mining area. Furthermore, heavy metal contents in foliar dust showed a higher positive correlation with genetic damage than when compared with soil. This means the heavy metal contents that L.chinensis absorbed through respiration from the atmosphere could make more serious genetic damage than when absorbed by root systems from soil in the mining area. This study can provide theoretical support for research on plant genetic damage mechanisms and exposure pathways induced by environmental pollution.

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<![CDATA[Metagenomic Analysis of Airborne Bacterial Community and Diversity in Seoul, Korea, during December 2014, Asian Dust Event]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc985

Asian dust or yellow sand events in East Asia are a major issue of environmental contamination and human health, causing increasing concern. A high amount of dust particles, especially called as particulate matter 10 (PM10), is transported by the wind from the arid and semi-arid tracks to the Korean peninsula, bringing a bacterial population that alters the terrestrial and atmospheric microbial communities. In this study, we aimed to explore the bacterial populations of Asian dust samples collected during November–December 2014. The dust samples were collected using the impinger method, and the hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene were amplified using PCR followed by pyrosequencing. Analysis of the sequencing data were performed using Mothur software. The data showed that the number of operational taxonomic units and diversity index during Asian dust events were higher than those during non-Asian dust events. At the phylum level, the proportions of Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes were different between Asian dust and non-Asian dust samples. At the genus level, the proportions of the genus Bacillus (6.9%), Arthrobacter (3.6%), Blastocatella (2%), Planomicrobium (1.4%) were increased during Asian dust compared to those in non-Asian dust samples. This study showed that the significant relationship between bacterial populations of Asian dust samples and non-Asian dust samples in Korea, which could significantly affect the microbial population in the environment.

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<![CDATA[Association between Concentrations of Metals in Urine and Adult Asthma: A Case-Control Study in Wuhan, China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7eab0ee8fa60b997e4

Background

Several metals have been reported to be associated with childhood asthma. However, the results on relationships between metals and risk of childhood asthma are inconclusive, and the research on adult asthma in the Chinese general population is rare.

Objectives

To investigate potential associations between levels of urinary metals and adult asthma.

Methods

A case-control study of 551 adult asthma cases and 551 gender- and age-matched controls was conducted in Wuhan, China. Demographic information was obtained, and lung function was assessed. The urinary concentrations of 22 metals were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

Results

After adjusting for other metalsand other covariates, urinary cadmium, molybdenum, chromium, copper, uranium and selenium were positively associated with asthma, with odds ratios (95% CI) of 1.69 (1.00, 2.85), 3.76 (2.30, 6.16), 4.89 (3.04, 7.89), 6.06 (3.27, 11.21), 6.99 (4.37, 11.19) and 9.17 (4.16, 20.21), respectively. By contrast, urinary lead, barium, iron, zinc, nickel, manganese and rubidium were negatively associated with asthma, with odds ratios (95% CI) of 0.48 (0.29, 0.80), 0.44 (0.27, 0.71), 0.41 (0.26, 0.64), 0.40 (0.24, 0.66), 0.30 (0.22, 0.41), 0.23 (0.14, 0.39) and 0.07 (0.03, 0.15), respectively. When comparing urinary metals in different subgroups of cases with those in matched controls, the associations of above 13 metals with asthma prevalence were nearly the same.

Conclusions

Our results suggested that asthma prevalence in the Chinese adults was positively associated with urinary chromium, chromium, selenium, molybdenum, cadmium, and uranium, and negatively associated with urinary manganese, iron, nickel, zinc, rubidium, barium and lead. Additional research with larger populations in different regions is required to support our findings.

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<![CDATA[Exposure to Indoor Allergens in Different Residential Settings and Its Influence on IgE Sensitization in a Geographically Confined Austrian Cohort]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab6ab0ee8fa60bad0f5

Background

Exposure to indoor allergens is crucial for IgE sensitization and development of allergic symptoms. Residential settings influence the allergen amount in house dust and hence allergic sensitization. Within this study, we investigated allergen exposure and molecule-based IgE levels in a geographically confined region and evaluated the impact of housing, pets and cleaning.

Methods

501 adolescents from Salzburg, Austria participated in this cross-sectional study. House dust samples were examined regarding major mite, cat, dog, and mold allergens using a multiplex assay. Serum samples of participants were analyzed for specific IgE to Der p 1, Der p 2, Fel d 1, Can f 1 and Alt a 1 using the multiplex array ImmunoCAP ISAC. Information on allergies, living areas, dwelling form (house, flat, farm), pets, and household cleanliness were obtained by a questionnaire.

Results

In investigated house dust samples, the concentration of cat allergen was highest while the prevalence of mold allergens was very low. Participants showed IgE sensitization to Der p 1 (13.2%), Der p 2 (18.2%), Fel d 1 (14.4%), Can f 1 (2.4%) and Alt a 1 (2.0%). In alpine regions, lower mite allergen concentrations were detected which correlated with reduced IgE levels. A trend for increased sensitization prevalence from rural to alpine to urban regions was noted. Living on farms resulted in lower sensitization prevalence to mite and cat allergens, even though exposure to mites was significantly elevated. The presence of cats was associated with a lower sensitization rate and IgE levels to cat and mite allergens, and less frequent allergic diseases. Cleaning did not impact allergen concentrations, while IgE reactivity to mites and allergic diseases were more pronounced when living in cleaner homes.

Conclusion

Allergen exposure to indoor allergens was influenced by setting of homes. Living in a farm environment and having a cat at home showed a protective effect for IgE sensitization and allergies. This cross-sectional study in combination with hereditary and lifestyle factors enables development of risk schemes for a more efficient management and potential prevention of allergic diseases.

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<![CDATA[Three Millennia of Southwestern North American Dustiness and Future Implications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db16ab0ee8fa60bcd27e

Two sediment records of dust deposition from Fish Lake, in southern Colorado, offer a new perspective on southwest United States (Southwest) aridity and dustiness over the last ~3000 years. Micro scanning X-ray fluorescence and grain size analysis provide separate measures of wind-deposited dust in the lake sediment. Together these new records confirm anomalous dustiness in the 19th and 20th centuries, associated with recent land disturbance, drought, and livestock grazing. Before significant anthropogenic influences, changes in drought frequency and aridity also generated atmospheric dust loading. Medieval times were associated with high levels of dustiness, coincident with widespread aridity. These records indicate the Southwest is naturally prone to dustiness. As global and regional temperatures rise and the Southwest shifts toward a more arid landscape, the Southwest will likely become dustier, driving negative impacts on snowpack and water availability, as well as human health.

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<![CDATA[The influence of the Great East Japan earthquake on microscopic polyangiitis: A retrospective observational study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf782

Background

Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis is triggered by environmental factors, including silica dust exposure. Repeated tsunami waves brought a large volume of silica-containing sludge inland after the Great East Japan earthquake in 2011. We aimed to determine if the serious disaster influenced the clinical features of the microscopic polyangiitis.

Methods

This is an observational retrospective study conducted in a single institute. A total of 43 patients were included based on the CHCC2012 criteria for microscopic polyangiitis from 2007 to 2015. We used the Poisson regression model to determine the incidence of microscopic polyangiitis within the annual population of the medical district. The participants were selected during a 3-year period from before (N = 13) to after the disaster (N = 20). The differences of parameters and the overall survival between the groups were analyzed.

Results

The incidence of microscopic polyangiitis increased after the disaster (λ = 17.4/million/year [95%CI: 7.66–39.6] before the disaster and λ = 33.1/million/year [17.7–61.7] after the disaster, P = 0.044). A high Birmingham Activity Score was associated with a high incidence of microscopic polyangiitis after the disaster. The overall survival of the patients with microscopic polyangiitis declined significantly after the disaster.

Conclusions

The Great East Japan earthquake influenced the development of the microscopic polyangiitis in our restricted area. The patients who developed after the disaster had severe symptoms and a high mortality rate.

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<![CDATA[Estimates and Predictions of Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Cases among Redeployed Coal Workers of the Fuxin Mining Industry Group in China: A Historical Cohort Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da81ab0ee8fa60b9a891

This research was aimed at estimating possible Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) cases as of 2012, and predicting future CWP cases among redeployed coal workers from the Fuxin Mining Industry Group. This study provided the scientific basis for regulations on CWP screening and diagnosis and labor insurance policies for redeployed coal workers of resource-exhausted mines. The study cohort included 19,116 coal workers. The cumulative incidence of CWP was calculated by the life-table method. Possible CWP cases by occupational category were estimated through the average annual incidence rate of CWP and males’ life expectancy. It was estimated that 141 redeployed coal workers might have suffered from CWP as of 2012, and 221 redeployed coal workers could suffer from CWP in the future. It is crucial to establish a set of feasible and affordable regulations on CWP screening and diagnosis as well as labor insurance policies for redeployed coal workers of resource-exhausted coal mines in China.

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<![CDATA[The Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Particulate Matter during Natural Dust Episodes at an Urban Scale]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db40ab0ee8fa60bd663a

Dust storms are a common phenomenon in arid and semi-arid areas, and their impacts on both physical and human environments are of great interest. Number of studies have associated atmospheric PM pollution in urban environments with origin in natural soil/dust, but less evaluated the dust spatial patterns over a city. We aimed to analyze the spatial-temporal behavior of PM concentrations over the city of Beer Sheva, in southern Israel, where dust storms are quite frequent. PM data were recorded during the peak of each dust episode simultaneously in 23 predetermined fixed points around the city. Data were analyzed for both dust days and non-dust days (background). The database was constructed using Geographic Information System and includes distributions of PM that were derived using inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation. The results show that the daily averages of atmospheric PM10 concentrations during the background period are within a narrow range of 31 to 48 μg m-3 with low variations. During dust days however, the temporal variations are significant and can range from an hourly PM10 concentration of 100 μg m-3 to more than 1280 μg m-3 during strong storms. IDW analysis demonstrates that during the peak time of the storm the spatial variations in PM between locations in the city can reach 400 μg m-3. An analysis of site and storm contribution to total PM concentration revealed that higher concentrations are found in parts of the city that are proximal to dust sources. The results improve the understanding of the dynamics of natural PM and the dependence on wind direction. This may have implications for environmental and health outcomes.

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<![CDATA[Sources of cosmic dust in the Earth's atmosphere]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b3729d6463d7e652cbde160

Abstract

There are four known sources of dust in the inner solar system: Jupiter Family comets, asteroids, Halley Type comets, and Oort Cloud comets. Here we combine the mass, velocity, and radiant distributions of these cosmic dust populations from an astronomical model with a chemical ablation model to estimate the injection rates of Na and Fe into the Earth's upper atmosphere, as well as the flux of cosmic spherules to the surface. Comparing these parameters to lidar observations of the vertical Na and Fe fluxes above 87.5 km, and the measured cosmic spherule accretion rate at South Pole, shows that Jupiter Family Comets contribute (80 ± 17)% of the total input mass (43 ± 14 t d−1), in good accord with Cosmic Background Explorer and Planck observations of the zodiacal cloud.

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<![CDATA[Occupational Risk Factors for COPD: A Case-Control Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db15ab0ee8fa60bcceb1

Objectives

The aim of this research was to examine the occupational risk factors for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) in a range of occupations.

Methods

Eleven occupations involving different types of exposure were observed in this multicenter case-control study. Controls and cases were matched for sex, age and smoking. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs).

Results

A total of 1,519 participants were initially recruited between September 2004 and September 2012. After matching, 547 pairs were obtained. The mean age was 56.3 +/- 10.4 years. Smelter workers were the only ones with an increased risk of COPD in this study (OR = 7.6, p < 0.0001, 95% CI [4.5, 12.9]). Physical activity was protective (OR = 0.7), while living in the city was a risk (OR = 1.6). The main used metals were cast iron, aluminum and alloys. Molds and cores were mainly made from sand and synthetic resins. Machine maintenance (65.2%), molding (49.6%), finishing (41.1%) and casting (41.0%) were the most common activities. Almost all workers (95.1%) cleaned the floors and machines with a brush or compressed air.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates the importance of occupational factors in the genesis of COPD, especially among smelter workers. As with the fight against smoking-related disease, the removal or substitution of recognized hazardous agents is the best way of preventing the onset of COPD. This is why it is essential to continue research on its occupational risk factors.

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<![CDATA[Messinian age and savannah environment of the possible hominin Graecopithecus from Europe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60bdff65

Dating fossil hominids and reconstructing their environments is critically important for understanding human evolution. Here we date the potentially oldest hominin, Graecopithecus freybergi from Europe and constrain the environmental conditions under which it thrived. For the Graecopithecus-bearing Pikermi Formation of Attica/Greece, a saline aeolian dust deposit of North African (Sahara) provenance, we obtain an age of 7.37–7.11 Ma, which is coeval with a dramatic cooling in the Mediterranean region at the Tortonian-Messinian transition. Palaeobotanic proxies demonstrate C4-grass dominated wooded grassland-to-woodland habitats of a savannah biome for the Pikermi Formation. Faunal turnover at the Tortonian-Messinian transition led to the spread of new mammalian taxa along with Graecopithecus into Europe. The type mandible of G. freybergi from Pyrgos (7.175 Ma) and the single tooth (7.24 Ma) from Azmaka (Bulgaria) represent the first hominids of Messinian age from continental Europe. Our results suggest that major splits in the hominid family occurred outside Africa.

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<![CDATA[Elimination of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus in an Animal Feed Manufacturing Facility]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fcab0ee8fa60b7277c

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) was the first virus of wide scale concern to be linked to possible transmission by livestock feed or ingredients. Measures to exclude pathogens, prevent cross-contamination, and actively reduce the pathogenic load of feed and ingredients are being developed. However, research thus far has focused on the role of chemicals or thermal treatment to reduce the RNA in the actual feedstuffs, and has not addressed potential residual contamination within the manufacturing facility that may lead to continuous contamination of finished feeds. The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the use of a standardized protocol to sanitize an animal feed manufacturing facility contaminated with PEDV. Environmental swabs were collected throughout the facility during the manufacturing of a swine diet inoculated with PEDV. To monitor facility contamination of the virus, swabs were collected at: 1) baseline prior to inoculation, 2) after production of the inoculated feed, 3) after application of a quaternary ammonium-glutaraldehyde blend cleaner, 4) after application of a sodium hypochlorite sanitizing solution, and 5) after facility heat-up to 60°C for 48 hours. Decontamination step, surface, type, zone and their interactions were all found to impact the quantity of detectable PEDV RNA (P < 0.05). As expected, all samples collected from equipment surfaces contained PEDV RNA after production of the contaminated feed. Additionally, the majority of samples collected from non-direct feed contact surfaces were also positive for PEDV RNA after the production of the contaminated feed, emphasizing the potential role dust plays in cross-contamination of pathogen throughout a manufacturing facility. Application of the cleaner, sanitizer, and heat were effective at reducing PEDV genomic material (P < 0.05), but did not completely eliminate it.

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