CHEEC Seed Grants: FY 1992

Pilot studies of the possible relationship between intrauterine growth retardation, birth defects, fish kills, and the genotoxic properties of herbicides following plant activation 
EP Isacson, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, WJ Hausler, University Hygienic Laboratory, The University of Iowa; MJ Plewa, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Illinois; T Jennings, M Mason, Fisheries Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

The impact of ozone depletion on the flux of ultraviolet radiation in Iowa 
GR Carmichael, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, The University of Iowa

Validation of family history information obtained through parental interview 
TL Burns, PA Romitti, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa

Improving and expanding computerized municipal water supply and water quality data in the state of Iowa 
P VanDorpe, R Talcott, Iowa Department of Natural Resources-Geological Survey Bureau

Comparison of sampling methods for lead in dust 
SJ Reynolds, MI Selim, Institute of Agricultural Medicine and Occupational Health, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa

The potential use of vegetation for bioremediation of surface soils contaminated with pesticide wastes: implications for Iowa 
JR Coats, TA Anderson, Pesticide Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Entomology, Iowa State University

 


Pilot studies of the possible relationship between intrauterine growth retardation, birth defects, fish kills, and the genotoxic properties of herbicides following plant activation 
Investigators: EP Isacson, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health; WJ Hausler, University Hygienic Laboratory, The University of Iowa; MJ Plewa, Institute for Environmental Studies, The University of Illinois; T Jennings, M Mason, Fisheries Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources 
The purpose of this study was to determine whether plant activated mutagens could be detected and quantitated from drinking water samples obtained from the Rathbun Rural Water Association. Plant activation refers to the process in which a non-mutagenic agent is transformed by biological action of a plant into a mutagen. Water samples collected were fractionated and concentrated with a 0.2 m tangential flow ultrafiltration membrane, then passed through a NA+ charged cation column. Aliquots were taken after the 0.2 m filter and cation exchange to measure DOC adsorption. The sample was then passed through in a series, a polysulfone 30 kDa ultrafiltration membrane, a poly sulfone 1 kDa ultrafiltration membrane, and a polyamide reverse osmosis membrane. A mass balance analysis based on total organic carbon was conducted on the drinking water and each size fraction. Weak positive responses were observed in one 1 kDa retentate and in two reverse osmosis retentates. In all three cases, there was an initial yet weak statistically significant increase in the mutagenicity of the tested samples. The research concluded that concentrated fractions of Lake Rathbun were rather benign. Even after many fold concentration and analysis with highly sensitive Salmonella mutation tester strains, only a weak positive response was observed with two fractions.

The impact of ozone depletion on the flux of ultraviolet radiation in Iowa
Investigators: GR Carmichael, KC Krist, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, The University of Iowa 
Anthropogenic emissions of chloroflurocarbons have been associated with the destruction of stratospheric ozone documented over the last decade. Stratospheric ozone depletion was originally associated with the polar regions of the southern hemisphere, but recent data have shown a decline in the total ozone column over a majority of the globe. A downward trend of 0.4-0.8% per year over the last decade has been documented. Such decreases potentially will have negative effects on human health (skin cancer, cataracts, and immunological impacts), and terrestrial plant life, including agricultural products. Measuring ground level ultra-violet radiation, specifically UV-B has proven problematic due to an incomplete global collection system. Measurements in populated areas tended to show no decrease in the total ozone column due to increased amounts of ozone in the troposphere as a result of pollution. This negated decreases of ozone in the stratosphere. Analysis of total ozone measurements in Iowa over the last decade showed significant seasonal downward trends. Surface level ozone concentrations remained relatively constant, while negative trends in the stratospheric ozone continued for this period. Under current negative trends in stratospheric ozone loss and the relatively low ground level pollution Iowa experiences, Iowa is susceptible to ground level radiative increases. During the summer months, total ozone over Iowa is at a minimum. This trend may have significant health impacts. The Department of Energy provided additional funding to continue research.

Publication:  Crist KC, Carmichael GR, Kuruvilla J; UV-B Exposure and Atmospheric Ozone Evaluation of Radioactive Flux to Changes in Ambient Ozone Levels. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 1994; 37:527-538

Validation of family history obtained through parental interview
Investigators: TL Burns, PA Romitti, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa
Collection of family history data is important when evaluating environmental and genetic risk factors associated with epidemiologic studies. The aims of this study were to determine the percent concordance between maternal interview responses for family history information and blood relative questionnaire responses, and assess the independent effects of maternal age, education, income, marital status, gravidity, and study group status (case or control) on the validity of family history information provided by maternal interview. The results of the research suggest blood relative birth defect and cancer diagnoses provided by study mothers should be viewed with caution. Sensitivity estimates of maternal responses for blood relative birth defect diagnoses were low for both case and control groups. In contrast, sensitivity estimates of maternal responses for blood relative cancer diagnoses were higher for case mothers than control mothers. No independent factors of maternal age, education, income, marital status, gravidity, and study group status on the sensitivity of maternal telephone interview responses were found to be associated with sensitivity for blood relative birth defect diagnoses. For blood relative cancer diagnoses, analyses suggest that study group status was a significant factor in the determination of sensitivity with control mother reports being less accurate than case mother reports. Results of this study will be used to establish subject recruitment protocol and to design the family history questionnaire for an upcoming multi-state genetic epidemiologic case-control investigation of facial clefts.

Publications:   Romitti P, Burns TL; Feasibility of collecting disease reports from relatives for genetic epidemiologic investigations. Human Heredity. 1997; 47(6):351-357

Romitti P, Burns TL, Murray JC; Maternal interview reports of family history of birth defects: evaluation from a population-based case-control study of orofacial clefts. Am J Med Genet.1997; 12(72): 422-429

Improving and expanding computerized municipal water supply and water quality data in the state of Iowa
Investigators: P VanDorpe, RL Talcott, Iowa Department of Natural Resources-Geological Survey Bureau 
This project assembled and updated a Well Identification Table (WIT) for Iowa's Municipal Water Supply Inventory (MWSI). The MWSI combines municipal well and water supply data from the Environmental Protection Division of DNR with geological and aquifer data from the Iowa Geological Survey and raw water quality data obtained from the University Hygienic Laboratory and the US Geological Survey. Every municipality and rural water supply in the MWSI has been updated through communication with DNR field offices, consultants, municipalities, and others. Historical and current water quality analyses are linked with information on active and abandoned municipal wells. The WIT will be a dynamic database providing scientists with an interactive system to conduct water-quality research.

Comparison of sampling methods for lead in dust
Investigators: SJ Reynolds, MI Selim, PS Thorne, Institute of Agricultural Medicine and Occupational Health, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa 
Understanding the relationship between environmental exposure and blood lead concentration in children has been complicated by the lack of standardized sampling methodology. The specific goal of this project was to evaluate and compare three methods for sampling lead-containing dust on interior surfaces. Lead-containing dust at three different concentrations was generated in a cubic-meter chamber and uniformly deposited onto a variety of surfaces typically found in the home environment (painted wood, unpainted wood, varnished wood, linoleum, and carpet). Surface dust samples were collected using Whatman filter paper #42 wetted with distilled water (OSHA method), commercial wipes with a non-alcohol wetting agent (the wipe method recommended by HUD for dust clearance after lead abatement), and a vacuum filter method using cellulose acetate filters in 35 mm cassettes at a flow rate of 2 Lpm (vacuum method). Results showed on most surfaces (painted wood, unpainted wood, varnished wood and linoleum) the recovery of the HUD method was significantly higher than the vacuum method and the OSHA method. On carpet, the recovery using the vacuum method was significantly higher. For all wipe sampling methods the recovery depends on the surface characteristics.

Publications:  Reynolds SJ; Laboratory Comparison of Vacuum, OSHA, and HUD Sampling Methods for Lead in Household Dust. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. 1997; 58(6): 439-446

Etre LA, Reynolds SJ, Burmeister LF, Whitten PS, Gergely R; An evaluation of the effectiveness of lead paint hazard reduction when conducted by homeowners and landlords. Applied Occupational & Environmental Hygiene. 1999; 14(8):522-529

The potential use of vegetation for bioremediation of surface soils contaminated with pesticide wastes: Implications for Iowa 
Investigators: JR Coats, TA Anderson, Pesticide Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Entomology, Iowa State University 
The purpose of this study was to investigate sites contaminated by pesticides, and determine whether vegetation can have a positive effect on microbial degradation of hazardous compounds in soils as a result of the rhizosphere effect. Enhanced microbial degradation of hazardous chemicals in the rhizosphere suggests that plants could be managed at contaminated sites to facilitate microbial degradation of unwanted organics. Experiments on the influence of vegetation on microbial degradation of pesticides were conducted utilizing nonvegetated and vegetated scenarios in environmental chambers. The study tested degradation of atrazine, metolachlor, and trifluralin using the herbicide resistant plant Kochia sp. Degradation tests with sterile soil, edaphosphere soil, and rhizosphere soil collected from the root zone of Kochia sp. indicated a significantly enhanced microbial degradation of the pesticides. Degradation of the parent compounds was significantly accelerated in the rhizosphere soil. Project continuation see FY 1994.