"Published Occasionally at Irregular Intervals"
~ Dr. Arthur L. Craigmill ~
Carbon Monoxide Poisonings Resulting from Open Air Exposures to Operating Motorboats
FDA Releases Acrylamide Data and Final Acrylamide Action Plan
Department of Pesticide Regulation's Top 10 Pesticide Blunders at Home
OEHHA Publishes Health Goal for Arsenic in Drinking Water
2003 Residues in Fresh Produce
Regarding CDC Foodborne Illness Data
New Regulations to Prevent Ground Water Contamination
~~TOXICOLOGY TIDBITS ~~
During February 1997-August 2002, two fatal and
cases of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning occurred in vacationers who
were wading in or boating near the Bridgewater Channel of Lake Havasu
(Lake Havasu City [LHC], Arizona). The vacationers were near
primarily in the channel area, where large numbers of boaters
congregate during holiday weekends.
One person had a carboxyhemoglobin (%COHb) level of 40% on
autopsy. Follow-up environmental surveys were conducted during
June-September 2003. This report summarizes the findings of these
surveys, which documented excessive CO exposure and confirmed the
health risk among vacationers and employees working in the channel near
crowded motorboat gatherings.
Among 46 nonsmoking vacationers, the estimated
from a mean of 1% in the morning to 11% in the afternoon. Among 16
smoking vacationers, the average estimated %COHb increased from 3% in
the early afternoon to 13% in the late afternoon. The maximum estimated
%COHb level among vacationers was 23% for nonsmokers and 26% for
Since the initial investigation in September 2002 (Labor Day weekend), one fatal and four nonfatal, hospital-treated CO poisonings involving loss of consciousness have occurred among channel vacationers, with %COHb levels ranging from 19% to 47%. One poisoning occurred on the back of a boat; the other four (including the fatality) occurred while persons were wading near boats in the channel.
During June 26-September 9, 2003, meteorologic conditions
and CO concentrations were measured at fixed locations on the banks of
the channel, on police and fire boats operating in and near the
channel, and on police four-wheel, all-terrain vehicles patrolling the
east and west banks of the channel. Concentrations in the channel and
nearby onshore were higher (maximum 8-hour averages of 20-40 ppm at a
typical onshore site) on the holiday weekends, when many boats were in
the channel. Concentrations were highest when wind speeds were lower
Concentrations declined considerably
with distance from the channel.
The highest CO concentrations occurred in the late afternoon and early
evening, usually during 5-9 p.m., when wind speeds typically
Persons in communities with lakes and rivers where boats
congregate in large numbers should be aware of the dangers of open air,
boat-related CO poisoning and the need to evaluate CO exposures during
high-traffic periods. Boat manufacturers should improve emission
controls to reduce consumer CO exposure. The risk for boat-related CO
poisonings should be reduced by considering measures such as limiting
the number of boats in certain areas; enforcing a "no idle" policy when
boats are stationary; and warning vacationers of 1) the signs and
symptoms of CO poisoning; 2) the hazards related to occupying the back
of the boat any time the motor is running; and 3) the risk for CO
poisoning in areas of boat congestion, especially during calm weather
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released new data on acrylamide levels in more than 750 new food samples. These data expand the agency's ability to assess the extent to which this chemical is present in the food supply and its public health impact. In addition, the FDA has made available the final version of its action plan to evaluate the risk associated with acrylamide and examine ways to potentially reduce levels of acrylamide in food.
The chemical acrylamide was reported in food in April 2002 by Swedish scientists. Acrylamide is a natural byproduct in certain carbohydrate-rich foods that forms when these foods are fried, baked, or roasted at high temperatures. Although initial reports of acrylamide's presence in some foods raised concerns because of possible links with increased risk of cancer in some laboratory animals, it was largely unknown how pervasive it was in the food supply, and its true public health significance for humans.
To date, Acrylamide is known to cause cancer and reproductive problems in animals at high doses and is a neurotoxin in humans at high doses. Based on the current understanding of the science, FDA continues to advise consumers to eat a balanced diet, choosing a variety of foods that are low in trans and saturated fat and rich in high fiber grains, fruits and vegetables.
Since 2002, FDA has released an Action Plan to guide activities on acrylamide; performed research in the areas of methodology, toxicology, and acrylamide formation; and periodically released new data on acrylamide levels in food.
These new data results almost triple FDA's database of acrylamide levels in food. The new data are consistent with previous findings showing higher levels of acrylamide in potato-based and other carbohydrate-rich products processed at high temperatures and lower levels of acrylamide in dairy foods and infant formulas. The novel finding in the most recent sampling is the presence of acrylamide in black olives, prune juice and Postum, a powdered beverage.
"Acrylamide is an issue that FDA has followed very closely and has made rapid progress in understanding the science," said FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester M. Crawford, D.V.M., Ph.D. "The action plan and the new samples illustrate FDA's proactive stance with the issue of acrylamide in food, which until recently was relatively unknown in foods."
FDA is expanding its acrylamide testing program and plans to conduct tests on approximately 40 new infant formula samples. Although results from other infant formula samples tested by FDA indicated the products contain no acrylamide or trace amounts of acrylamide, the FDA will conduct further tests because of the importance of formula as a sole source food for many infants.
Most of the new data were taken from samples used as part of the FDA's FY03 Total Diet Study (TDS) survey. The TDS is an ongoing FDA program that determines levels of various contaminants and nutrients in more than 200 core foods (ready-to-eat) in the U.S. diet. Foods are collected from grocery stores and fast food restaurants and prepared table ready (i.e., cooked if required by TDS recipe) for analysis. Looking at the level of acrylamide in these foods will more accurately assess exposure to the U.S. consumer.
The final version of the Action Plan for Acrylamide in Food reflects the progress of research on acrylamide at FDA and the recommendations from a 2003 Food Advisory Committee meeting. In response to the committee's recommendations, the action plan contains more details about planned toxicology and epidemiology studies, risk communication activities, and coordination of acrylamide research. Specifically, the action plan addresses details on study timelines; the rationale for the use of brand-name data versus blinded data; and plans to incorporate factors such as ethnic and geographic groups into future exposure assessments.
FDA will share its expanded insights on acrylamide with the scientific community through the publication. In contribution to the acrylamide research community, the FDA is also citing publication of two recent research papers on FDA's methodology for measuring acrylamide and analytical issues associated with measuring acrylamide in coffee, a technically challenging food matrix. In addition, FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) has completed the first two of a series of studies, to support FDA's risk assessment, in its research initiative on acrylamide toxicology.For More Information
The FDA's updated data on acrylamide in food based on the most
recent Total Diet Study results
A summary of the FDA's action plan on acrylamide
The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced the publication of a final Public Health Goal (PHG) for arsenic in drinking water.
The PHG identifies 4 parts per trillion as a level of arsenic in drinking water that would not be expected to pose a significant human health risk.
“Our public health goal establishes a long-term objective for the reduction of arsenic in California’s drinking water,” OEHHA Director Dr. Joan E. Denton said. “Arsenic is one of the most toxic substances commonly found in drinking water, and it occurs naturally in many parts of the world, including California.”
In developing the PHG, OEHHA conducted an exhaustive analysis of all available scientific studies on the health effects of arsenic. The PHG is based upon studies of hundreds of thousands of patients in Taiwan, Chile and Argentina with lung and bladder cancers associated with elevated levels of arsenic in drinking water. OEHHA estimates that a level of 4 parts per trillion of arsenic in drinking water would cause not more than one additional cancer case in a population of one million people drinking two liters of water daily for 70 years.
Arsenic is found naturally in air, water, soil, mineral deposits, and food. While arsenic in water typically is naturally occurring, the improper disposal of waste chemicals can also contaminate water supplies with arsenic. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water can increase the risk of lung and bladder cancer and, to a lesser extent, increase the risk of skin, liver and kidney cancer.
State law requires OEHHA to develop PHGs for all regulated drinking water contaminants. A PHG is not a regulatory drinking water standard, and it is not a boundary between “safe” and “dangerous” levels of a chemical in drinking water. A PHG represents a health-protective level of a chemical in drinking water that can serve as a long-term goal for California’s drinking water providers and regulators. The Department of Health Services (DHS) will develop a new state drinking-water standard for arsenic that, by law, must be as close to the PHG as is economically and technically feasible.
The existing state and federal drinking water standards for arsenic have been set at 50 parts per billion for many years. A new federal arsenic standard of 10 parts per billion will take effect in 2006. States may adopt a new standard that is equal to or more stringent than the federal standard. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a long-term Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (the federal counterpart to OEHHA’s PHG) of no arsenic in drinking water.
A legislative bill authored by Senator Don Perata and enacted into law in 2001 specifically requires OEHHA to develop a PHG for arsenic. The same bill also requires DHS to revise its drinking water standard for arsenic after the PHG is finalized.
The arsenic PHG document and an accompanying fact sheet can be viewed or downloaded from OEHHA’s Web site, www.oehha.ca.gov.
REF: California EPA/OEHHA News Release No. 04-02,
April 23, 2004
The Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) Residue Monitoring Program is the most extensive state residue-monitoring program in the nation. It is the final check in an integrated network of programs designed to ensure the safe use of pesticides in California. In 2003 this program analyzed 3,424 samples of fresh produce. (As a result of ongoing budgetary constraints, the number of samples collected in 2003 was reduced from previous years.) Samples were collected throughout the channels of trade: at seaports and other points of entry into the State, packing sites, wholesale, and retail outlets.
The findings are consistent with those from previous years: there are few violative residues, and pesticide detections in produce are generally well below the allowable levels.
Our marketplace surveillance program is designed to monitor compliance with pesticide laws and to help ensure that any detected pesticide residues are within the established tolerance levels. This program is also designed to provide data on pesticide dietary exposure. This data helps make more realistic assessments of dietary pesticide risk.
In 2003 there were 3424 samples of more than 72
kinds of commodities. Domestic and imported produce were tested. All
samples were tested with multi-residue screens capable of detecting
more than 200 pesticides and breakdown products. No residues were
detected in 68.3 percent of the samples. Residues within tolerance (the
legal limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [U.S.EPA])
were found in about 30.8 percent of the samples. The majority of these
samples had residues at less than 10 percent of the tolerance level.
Illegal residues were found in 0.88 percent of samples. Of these, 0.06
percent had residues that were over the tolerance level, and 0.82
percent had residues of a pesticide not authorized for use on the
DPR concentrates monitoring on commodities with: Findings and Significance The validity of any sampling program lies in its
design and in its ability to replicate the results. Over the past
decade, even as the number of samples varied, the findings have been
consistent from year to year. Most residues are below detectable
limits. Residues that are found are usually at levels that are measured
at a fraction of a part per million (ppm). Less than one percent of
samples have residues over the tolerance levels. A tolerance is the
highest residue level of the particular pesticide that is legally
allowed on the particular commodity. A tolerance is set by U.S. EPA for
regulatory purposes and is established at a level that incorporates a
margin of safety, and usually assumes a lifetime of consumption of the
commodity at the maximum allowable residue level. While the goal of DPR's regulatory program is to
ensure that all food is in compliance with pesticide safety standards,
an occasional produce item slightly above tolerance should not
automatically be considered a health hazard. The results from years of
DPR residue monitoring document the safety of produce grown and
consumed in California. The data
collected in 2003 are extensive and available for downloading. REF: California
Department of Pesticide Regulation website.
DPR concentrates monitoring on commodities with:
Findings and Significance
The validity of any sampling program lies in its design and in its ability to replicate the results. Over the past decade, even as the number of samples varied, the findings have been consistent from year to year. Most residues are below detectable limits. Residues that are found are usually at levels that are measured at a fraction of a part per million (ppm). Less than one percent of samples have residues over the tolerance levels. A tolerance is the highest residue level of the particular pesticide that is legally allowed on the particular commodity. A tolerance is set by U.S. EPA for regulatory purposes and is established at a level that incorporates a margin of safety, and usually assumes a lifetime of consumption of the commodity at the maximum allowable residue level.
While the goal of DPR's regulatory program is to ensure that all food is in compliance with pesticide safety standards, an occasional produce item slightly above tolerance should not automatically be considered a health hazard. The results from years of DPR residue monitoring document the safety of produce grown and consumed in California.
collected in 2003 are extensive and available for downloading.
Department of Pesticide Regulation website.
Regarding CDC Foodborne Illness DataDr. Elsa Murano, USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety
REF: FSIS website, 2004.
In 2003 80,100 women in the U.S. were diagnosed
with lung cancer--a
60 percent increase from 1990--and 68,800 of them died. Over the same
time period, the number of new cases among males was constant. Much of
the discrepancy can be attributed to differences in smoking behavior,
Mark G. Kris of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and his
colleagues report. Since the 1960s, the number of male smokers has
decreased by about half, whereas the number of female smokers declined
by only 25 percent. In addition, the disease behaves differently in
some female patients, leading to increased protein expression,
decreased rates of DNA repair and increased incidence of mutation in
specific genes. "Many of these women stopped smoking 20 years ago yet
still get cancer," Kris says. "However, their response to some targeted
therapies is more favorable than men and we are trying to figure out
In the U.S. lung cancer now kills as many women
as breast cancer and all gynecological cancers combined. "The
extraordinary increase in lung cancer rates seen among U.S. women in
the 20th century will be repeated among women in developing countries
during this century unless effective tobacco control measures are
implemented," the team concludes. "Curtailing the increase in
tobacco use among women in developing countries represents one of the
greatest opportunities for disease prevention in the world today."
An exposure study of farm workers and their families showed that a substantial number of workers who applied glyphosate (Roundup®) had no detectable residues, even though the detection limit was one part per billion (ppb). The study, which was cooperatively conducted between Monsanto, Exponent Corporation, Emory University, and University of Minnesota, examined urine samples of 48 South Carolina and Minnesota farmers, their spouses, and 78 children, aged four to 18. The samples were collected before application day, on the day after the application, and three days after the application. Farmers had applied glyphosate to a minimum of ten acres to over 100 acre
On the day of glyphosate application, 60 percent
of the farmers had detectable residues, with a mean of three ppb. This
yielded a theoretical dose of 0.004 mg/kg. Only four percent of spouses
were found to have detectable residues on application day and none had
residues in later monitoring. Twelve percent of the children had
detectable residues the day of application, and all but one of the
children who had detectable residues had helped with the application or
been present during mixing, loading, or application. None of the
theoretical doses approached EPA’s reference dose of two mg/kg/day. The
results are in March’s edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.
(Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News, 3/29/04).
REF: Chemically Speaking, April 2004.
a married couple was awarded $20
million for lung damage that the husband claims was due to exposure to
butter flavoring at a microwave-popcorn plant where he worked from 1997
to 1999. The man was diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, which is
characterized by inflammation and scarring in the smallest airways of
the lungs, which leads to severe and disabling shortness of breath. The
specific claim was that the manufacturer of the butter flavoring
(International Flavors and Fragrances Inc.) failed to warn their
customers about the dangers of chemicals contained in the butter
flavor. The case was the first of 30 lawsuits filed against the company
by plant workers.
A spokesperson for the plaintiff’s lawyer stated that the lung damage was probably caused by diacetyl, which is a component of the flavoring. An important part of the case was that International Flavors and Fragrances required all of its own workers to use respirators when working with butter flavoring, but did not warn its customers of the dangers of the butter flavoring or recommend that its customers afford their workers the same protections that it was using with its own workers.
The EPA has recently announced that it will
investigate the safety of diacetyl when contained in products for
consumers. The Agency hopes to complete the first phase of a study this
fall identifying a wide range of volatile organic compounds that may be
emitted when microwave popcorn is popped and opened. Work will then
begin on quantifying the amounts of these indoor air pollutants. (Chemical
Regulation Reporter, 3/22/04).
REF: Chemically Speaking, April 2004.
Smoking by California adults dropped to 16.2 percent last year, a record low, State Health Director Sandra Shewry announced today in observance of World No Tobacco Day, May 31. Adult smoking has dropped 12 percent since 1998, when the rate measured 18.4 percent.
"The continuing decline of smoking in California is one of the state's great public health achievements," Shewry said. "However, our success is tempered by the fact that those of lower socioeconomic status continue to smoke at rates that are substantially higher than other groups."
In California, the prevalence of smoking is 22.1 percent among those with low socioeconomic status. In contrast, the prevalence of smoking is 7.7 percent among those with high socioeconomic status. Men with low socioeconomic status have the highest smoking prevalence, 27.2 percent.
"The state’s comprehensive approach to tobacco education and cessation activities has proven highly effective," said Kimberly Belshé, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. "By tackling tobacco cessation through many channels – policy development, outreach and education and offering cessation services – a more informed public has made the healthy choice of not smoking."
According to the World Health Organization, low-income individuals tend to use tobacco products more than people with higher levels of income and education. Tobacco use can also cause increased illnesses, making smokers less productive, and can kill individuals at the height of their productivity, depriving families of their breadwinners. Limited family resources spent on tobacco products and medical expenses also mean less money left for food and other basic needs.
"Tobacco addiction causes devastating emotional
consequences as well as serious financial hardships for lower
socioeconomic groups," said Dian Kiser, director of RESPECT, a new
statewide project to reduce smoking among individuals with low
This year alone, more than 43,000 people in California will prematurely die from a tobacco-related disease. In addition, the cost of smoking in California is nearly $16 billion annually, or $3,331 per smoker every year, according to a report released in 2002 by the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco.
World No Tobacco Day is celebrated annually on May 31 in communities and countries throughout the world. It is designed to inform the public about the dangers of tobacco, the tobacco industry's business practices and what needs to be done to protect the health of future generations. This year’s theme is "Tobacco and Poverty – the Vicious Circle."
Californians who want more information on tobacco
prevention can visit TobaccoFreeCA.com,
an informational and interactive Web site that provides support and
tools to help break the addiction to tobacco. For free and confidential
telephone counseling, Californians can also call the California
Smokers' Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS.
Health Services website.
One minute you hear that eating fish is good for your heart. The next, you find out that eating certain types of fish can be harmful.
Actually, there are benefits and risks to eating fish. Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet. They contain high-quality protein, other essential nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids, and fish are low in saturated fat. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to a healthy heart and to healthy, well-developed children.
However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of methylmercury, a type of mercury found in water that can be harmful, especially to unborn babies and young children whose nervous systems are still developing. Some types of fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury. The risks depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the seafood.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through a joint consumer advisory, warn that women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children should avoid the types of fish and shellfish with higher levels of mercury and eat only those that have lower levels.
For more information link to: mercury in
fish and shellfish
REF: FDA Consumer May-June 2004.
But her worst summer memory was when she took a sip from a can of soda and gulped down a bee that had crawled into the can when she wasn't looking. "I knew I swallowed something," Kane says. "I got so hysterical that I threw up." Out came the bee, and she went straight to the emergency room where she was treated for difficulty breathing.
Experts say there's a lot people can do to
minimize the risks of health problems related to summertime activities.
"While treatment with FDA-approved products is good, prevention is even
better," says Jonathan Wilkin, M.D., director of the FDA's Division of
Dermatologic and Dental Drug Products. So before you pack your swimsuit
or hit the hiking trail this year, brush up on these summer hazards.
Topics covered in this report include:
REF: FDA Consumer May-June 2004.
On April 2, the Center for Veterinary Medicine
announced that it was implementing special public safety measures in
response to recent evidence of illegal use of growth-promoting hormone
implants in veal calves.
Growth-promoting hormones are approved for use
in ruminating cattle, but they have never been approved for use in
non-ruminating veal calves. CVM believes there are differences between
the way ruminating and nonruminating cattle process and eliminate such
On April 2, CVM issued a guidance that describes
the four conditions veal producers must meet to be able to sell
implanted calves for veal:
During an April 2 teleconference with reporters, CVM Director Dr. Stephen Sundlof explained, “We researched all the information we have and came up with a very conservative estimate of the time it would take for any residues of these drugs to fall below any concentration that we would consider to be of public health concern. That very conservative estimate is 63 days.”
CVM’s analysis was based on the best information
available at the time and on the conditions outlined in the guidance,
including that this is a one-time event and that illegal implants will
not continue to occur.
The problem came to light earlier this year when USDA inspectors found indications of hormone treatment in veal calves brought to slaughter. The growth promoting hormones were implanted as small pellets in the ear of the calf. The hormones involved may include progesterone, testosterone, estradiol, zeranol, and trenbolone.
Information about the requirements and a copy of
the guidance document are available on CVM’s website. (Search under
“Guidances” for Guidance for Industry #172.)
Veterinarian, March-April, 2004.
This report presents summary data on samples and tests conducted during the Fiscal Year 2003, October 1, 2002 to September 30, 2003. Fifty States and Puerto Rico submitted data for this report.
The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), the rules which State agencies use to implement their milk program, requires that all bulk milk tankers be sampled and analyzed for animal drug residues before the milk is processed. Any tanker found positive is rejected for human consumption.
During this period 4,382,974 samples were
analyzed for animal drug residues. Of these samples 2,945 were
positive for a residue. A total of 4,456,141 tests were
reported on the samples for 11 different groups of families or
individual drugs. Thirty-four testing methods were used to a
analyze the samples for residues. Details are presented in the tables in this report.
A SAMPLE is defined as representing a load or lot of milk sampled and analyzed, e.g. a bulk milk pick-up tanker, producer, or over-the-road tanker, a silo, etc.
Table 1 shows the results of the samples tested by source.
Data are reported by four SOURCES OF SAMPLES:
A POSITIVE result, as used in this report, means that the sample was found to be positive for a drug residue by a test acceptable for taking regulatory action in a certified laboratory by a certified analyst or the milk was rejected on the basis of an initial test by the milk processor.
The DISPOSITION Per PMO column represents the amount of milk contained in the tank or lot found to be positive and disposed of in accordance with the PMO and/or applicable State regulations.
|Source of Sample||Total
|Bulk MilkPick-Up Tanker||3,571,834||1,899||0.053%||70,106,000|
|Pasteurized Fluid Milk
and Milk Products
The asterisk (*) notes that a summary of the percent positive cannot be provided because there is no uniformity in terms of sampling in the four categories. For example, the PMO sets forth specific sampling requirements for Beta lactams testing as follows:
Table 5 shows the number of tests conducted by family and by
The full report is located at: www.cfsan.fda.gov
REF: FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied