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Cadmium / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization
World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1992 )
Ecotoxicology and climate : with special reference to hot and cold climates / edited by Philippe Bourdeau ... [et al.]
Bourdeau, Philippe; Haines, J. A; Klein, Werner; Krishna Murti, C. R; International Council of Scientific Unions. Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1989 )
Alpha- and beta- hexachlorocyclohexanes / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization
World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1992 )
Abstract

Evaluates the risks to human health and the environment posed by exposure to alpha- and beta-hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCH). These two isomers are by-products in the manufacturing of lindane, and may be present in this pesticide as impurities. Alpha- and beta-HCH are also present in technical-grade HCH, which is used in agriculture and wood protection. Most environmental releases are linked to the use of technical-grade HCH and to the inappropriate disposal of residues produced when lindane is purified. Alpha- and beta-HCH are evaluated in separate monographs, which cover sources of human and environmental exposure, levels detected in different environmental media, behaviour in the environment, metabolic fate in different organisms, and toxic effects on experimental animals, humans, and plant and animal species. Both isomers are noted to be universal environmental contaminants, with concentrations detected in samples of air, rain water, fresh water, sea water, soil, sediment, and numerous plant and animal species, as well as in several important food items. A review of studies on environmental behaviour and metabolic fate concludes that alpha- and beta-HCH, when compared with lindane, are characterized by a higher bioconcentration in the environment, a slower rate of biodegradation by ultraviolet light, and a slower rate of elimination from organisms. Concerning sources of human exposure, studies show that, in industrialized countries, more than 90% of human intake occurs through the consumption of contaminated food, with the highest concentrations found in fat-containing food items. Current exposures via food are judged to be low and gradually decreasing, supporting the conclusion that these isomers pose no serious health threat to the general public. A review of findings from toxicity studies in laboratory animals identifies growth retardation and effects on the liver and kidney as the major consequences of acute exposure. Although a neoplastic response was observed in some studies, the report concludes that this response is most likely due to a non-genotoxic mechanism. In its concluding section, the report expresses serious concern over the widespread pollution of the environment with these isomers. As neither has any insecticidal action, the report concludes that use of technical-grade HCH products containing high concentrations of alpha- and beta-HCH is never justified

1,1,1-Trichloroethane
World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1992 )
Abstract

Evaluates the risks to human health and the environment posed by 1,1,1-trichloroethane, a chlorinated hydrocarbon widely used in the cleaning and degreasing of metal and as a solvent in many industrial and consumer products. The abuse of this solvent has resulted in a large number of fatalities. A review of data on the environmental behaviour of 1,1,1-trichloroethane documents its ubiquitous presence in the atmosphere, its rapid transport to the troposphere, its long residence time, its depletion of ozone, and its contribution to global warming. Leaching into ground water and deep aquifers occurs and persistent contamination has been documented. While contamination of the atmosphere is judged to be the most important route of exposure for the general population, the report notes that indoor air may cause considerably higher exposures due to the use of numerous consumer products containing this solvent. Air is also noted to be the main source of exposure at the workplace. An evaluation of effects on humans draws upon studies of occupationally exposed workers and cases of fatal exposure following accidents and intentional abuse. Both acute and long-term inhalation exposures are noted to affect the central nervous system, with signs ranging from slight behavioural changes to unconsciousness. Exposure may also cause damage to the heart and liver. A review of accidents at the workplace underscores the especially dangerous conditions in poorly ventilated areas and confined spaces, such as tanks and vaults, caused by the compounds greater density than air. The final section evaluates effects on organisms in the field, concluding that environmental conamination is unlikely to pose a significant hazard for environmental organisms. Because of its many other hazards, including its ozone-depleting potential, the report recommends that the release of 1,1,1-trichloroethane be reduced to the greatest extent possible

Polybrominated biphenyls / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization
World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1994 )
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Inorganic mercury / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization ; first draft prepared by L. Friberg
World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1991 )
Abstract

Evaluates recent research findings useful in assessing the risk to human health posed by the use of inorganic mercury in dental amalgam and in soaps and creams used to lighten the skin. Although such skin-lightening products are now banned throughout the European Economic Community, in North America, and in many African states, the report reveals that mercury-containing soap continues to be manufactured in several European countries, is sold as germicidal soap to the Third World, and is illegally re-imported from African countries to European cities having a substantial black population. Concerning exposure of the general population, dental amalgam and food, most notably seafood, are identified as the main sources of exposure. Although exposure of the general population is judged to be low, toxic levels may arise from the mishandling of liquid mercury, mercury dispensed from jars, broken thermometers, fluorescent lamps, and accidental ingestion of mercury batteries. The use of skin-lightening soap and creams results in substantial exposure. The most extensive sections review findings from toxicology studies in experimental animals and clinical reports and epidemiological studies in humans. Results from experimental studies show that inorganic mercury can induce autoimmune glomerulonephritis in all species tested, but not in all strains, indicating a genetic predisposition which is in good agreement with clinical findings. Experimental evidence of adverse effects on the menstrual cycle and on fetal development is also supported by observations in humans. Clinical manifestations of mercury poisoning are described in full detail. Concerning the health hazards posed by dental amalgam, no firm conclusions could be reached in the light of severe weaknesses in the design of most epidemiological studies. The book also includes information on reported levels of mercury vapour in dental clinics and the corresponding occupational risk to the dental profession

Polychlorinated biphenyls and terphenyls
World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1993 )
Abstract

Evaluates the vast body of evidence demonstrating the serious threat to human and environmental health posed by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These chemicals, which are now ubiquitous in the environment, have been used commercially since 1930 as dielectric and heat-exchange fluids and in a variety of other applications. Over 1,300 studies were critically assessed. The book also contains a brief review of the limited data on polychlorinated terphenyls. A section devoted to the environmental behaviour of PCBs assesses the mechanisms by which these highly persistent chemicals, previously introduced into the environment, are gradually being redistributed towards increased contamination of the marine environment. For the general population, the most important sources of exposure are identified as food items and, for babies, breast-milk. The well-documented signs of poisoning in occupationally-exposed workers are also reviewed. A section devoted to the metabolic fate of PCBs cites evidence of accumulation in the liver and the adipose tissues of various organs, placental transport, fetal accumulation, and distribution to milk. The most extensive section, which runs some 100 pages, evaluates findings from studies of toxicity in experimental animals and in vitro systems. Findings suggest that PCBs are immunosuppressive and act as tumour promoters. An assessment of effects on humans draws upon studies of two large outbreaks of poisoning from contaminated food, and of occupational exposures. Concerning risks to the environment, the report cites reproductive failure in sea mammals as the most important hazard, further concluding that the predicted redistribution of residues towards the marine environment will pose an increasing hazard for sea mammals in the future. A review of the hazards of polychlorinated terphenyls concludes the report

Mercury : environmental aspects / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization
World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety; WHO Task Group on Environmental Health Criteria for Mercury: Environmental Aspects ( 1989 )
Abstract

Evaluates the effects of mercury on populations of organisms in the environment. Both natural sources of mercury and sources associated with mining and the burning of fossil fuels are considered. Emphasis is placed on the importance of understanding the many environmental variables that affect the uptake and toxicity of mercury, the numerous factors that influence the susceptibility of different organisms, and the great variations in the physico-chemical properties and environmental behaviour exhibited by different species of mercury. Studies are also evaluated on the basis of whether the doses and exposure routes used are compatible with likely conditions in the field. The most extensive sections present illustrative examples of research into the toxic and sublethal effects of inorganic and organic mercury on microorganisms, aquatic organisms, and terrestrial organisms. For all species considered, mercury is noted to be most hazardous in its methyl form. An evaluation of the effects of mercury in the field concentrates on the effects on ecosystems following sea pollution in Japan and the use of organomercury fungicides as seed dressings in Europe

Triphenyl phosphate / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization
World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1991 )
Abstract

Evaluates risks to human health and the environment posed by the production and use of triphenyl phosphate, a compound widely used as a flame retardant in phenolic and phenylene-oxide-based resins for the manufacture of electrical and automobile components. Triphenyl phosphate is also used as a non-flammable plasticizer in cellulose acetate for photographic films, and as a component of hydraulic fluids and lubricant oils. Main sources of release into the environment are identified as leakage or spills of hydraulic fluid, leaching from plastics, and manufacturing processes. A review of data on effects on organisms in the environment concentrates on risks to the aquatic environment, concluding that triphenyl phosphate is the most acutely toxic of te various triaryl phosphates to fish, shrimp, and daphnids. The remaining sections evaluate toxic effects as determined through studies in experimental models and observations in humans. The book notes that triphenyl phosphate exhibits low toxicity in short-term studies, is not mutagenic, and has not been shown, in several well-designed studies, to cause delayed neuropathy or other neurotoxic changes. Studies of exposed workers found no evidence of neurological disease or other abnormalities. Risks to the environment are likewise judged to be low, though spills of hydraulic fluid could result in fish kills

Beryllium / published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Health Organization
International Programme on Chemical Safety; World Health Organization ( 1990 )
Abstract

Evaluates risks to human health and the environment posed by the use of beryllium, a brittle metal having major applications in the electronics and micro-electronics industries, in nuclear energy, and in the production of military devices, including satellites, missiles, atomic bombs, and other weapons. Beryllium has also proved its superiority as a structural material for aircraft and spacecraft. An evaluation of sources of exposure cites the combustion of fossil fuels as the most important source of atmospheric beryllium, with coal singled out as the main pollutant source. Concerning sources of human exposure, the report notes that toxicologically relevant exposure is almost exclusively confined to the work-place. Only two applications pose a risk to the general population: mantle-type camping lanterns and the use of beryllium in dentistry.The most extensive section evaluates data from the large number of toxicological studies documenting the development of acute chemical pneumonitis and a highly species-specific induction of pulmonary cancer. An evaluation of effects on humans, which concentrates on occupational exposures, summarizes findings on the occurrence of both acute and chronic beryllium disease. The review also yields clinically useful information on exposure levels, characteristic signs and symptoms, and the most reliable diagnostic tests. In view of the controversy concerning the carcinogenicity of beryllium, particularly careful attention was given to several studies reporting a signifcantly elevated risk of lung cancer in exposed workers. Evidence was judged sufficient to confirm the role of beryllium in the development of human lung cancer. The report further concludes that the potential of beryllium to provoke contact allergic reactions, supported by several reports of allergic contact stomatitis in dental patients, calls for a reconsideration of the use of this metal in dentistry