CHEEC Seed Grants: FY 1998

Analysis of volatile organic contaminants in drinking water using a surface- acoustic wave microsensor 
W Groves, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa

Effects of bacterial DNA on expression of hypersensitivity pneumonitis 
G Hunninghake, Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Iowa

Evaluation of solanesol as a tracer for environmental tobacco smoke
SJ Reynolds, C Achutan, W Groves, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa

Prevalence and environmental risk factors for pediatric asthma 
RB Wallace Department of Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, BC Chrishilles, LJ Fuortes, KT Phillips, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa

Solid state NMR studies of the photodegradation of air pollutants on TiO2 
SC Larsen, Department of Chemistry and Center for Global and Environmental Research, The University of Iowa

Swine hepatitis E virus contamination of surface water: A possible zoonotic risk 
SJ Naides, Department of Internal Medicine, MR Gilchrist, University Hygienic Laboratory, The University of Iowa

 


Analysis of volatile organic contaminants in drinking water using a surface- acoustic wave microsensor 
Investigator: W Groves, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa
Exposure to volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in drinking water has been linked to a number of adverse health effects including cancer, liver, and kidney damage. However, the large number of potential contaminants and the cost and complexity of existing analytical methods limits the extent to which water quality is routinely characterized. This project focuses on the development and evaluation of an instrument for field analysis of VOCs in drinking water. The instrument will be based on an array of six polymer-coated surface-acoustic-wave microsensors. A test set consisting of dichloromethane, chloroform, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, perchloroethylene, and m-xylene will be used in a series of experiments designed to: 1) select and optimize the preconcentration system; 2) calibrate the instrument over the concentration range of 0.2-2 times the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL); and 3) compare results to those of a recognized laboratory. The primary goal is to develop a cost-effective alternative for on-site evaluation of VOCs in water.

Publication:  Groves WA, Grey AB, O'Shaugnessy PT; Surface accoustic wave (SAW) microsensor array for measuring VOCs in drinking water. J Eniviron Monit. 2006; 8(9):932-941

Effects of bacterial DNA on expression of hypersensitivity pneumonitis 
Investigator: G Hunninghake, Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Iowa
The goal of these studies is to determine the role of bacterial DNA in the development of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP), an environmental lung disease caused by contamination of hay by thermophilic bacteria. Previous studies have shown that Th1 responses with activation of Interleukin-12 are important in HP. Studies have shown that bacterial DNA is a powerful inducer of IL-12. The role of bacterial DNA in triggering the inflammatory response of HP is not known. To study this, a murine model of HP will be used, where mice will be intranasally installed with thermophilic bacteria. Groups of mice will be treated with thermophilic bacteria that have had the DNA destroyed and compared to groups treated with bacteria with intact DNA. The inflammatory response will be evaluated with histopathology, lung lavage cellarity and lung index. Cytokine responses will be evaluated in lung preparations. Less inflammatory and cytokine responses are expected in mice where DNA has been destroyed.

Evaluation of solanesol as a tracer for environmental tobacco smoke 
Investigators: SJ Reynolds, C Achutan, W Groves, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa 
The health risks to smokers from inhaling mainstream cigarette smoke are well know. In addition, there is growing evidence of risks posed to the health of non-smokers due to involuntary (passive) inhalation of Environmental Tobacco Smoke. However, epidemiological studies that investigate the relationship between ETS and health effects are seriously hindered for lack of a specific and sensitive tracer for ETS. The goals of this pilot project are to evaluate the use of solanesol as a suitable tracer for ETS in various indoor settings and compare it to nicotine, a widely used specific but not sensitive tracer for ETS.

Prevalence and environmental risk factors for pediatric asthma
Investigators: RB Wallace, Department of Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, BC Chrischilles, LJ Fuortes, KT Phillips, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa 
Bronchial asthma is a common clinical problem in the United States, affecting about 10 million people, or about 4% of the population. The occurrence of childhood asthma has increased in frequency, severity and rate of admisssion to hospitals in the U.S. This is in part due to greater recognition of asthma by families and health care professionals, but also appears to represent a true increase in disease, likely due to increased environmental pollution and allergens. This proposal outlines the first effort to identify prevalence, geographic distribution and seasonal patterns of childhood asthma using an asthma registry which is being initiated in Iowa. Rates of specific treatments will be calculated, based upon health care claims from three major insurers in Iowa. Secondary data representing environmental, climatological, socioeconomic and other patient factors will be analyzed to characterize their influence upon the prevalence and severity of childhood asthma in Iowa communities.

Solid state NMR studies of the photodegradation of air pollutants on TiO2 
Investigators: SC Larsen, Department of Chemistry and Center for Global and Environmental Research, The University of Iowa
Photocatalysts, such as TiO2, can be used to degrade a wide range of organic contaminants found in polluted air. TiO2 photocatalysts are active at ambient temperatures and pressures in the presence of UV irradiation and oxygen and have been shown to oxidize toluene, trichloroethylene (TCE), methanol/ethanol and many other organic compounds. In this proposal, solid state MAS NMR (magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance) techniques will be utilized to identify surface species formed during heterogeneous photocatalytic oxidation reactions on TiO2. These surface species may be reaction intermediates, surface poisons or partial oxidation products. Spectroscopic studies of TCE enhancement of toluene photooxidation will be conducted to determine the origin of the enhancement for deactivation. The proposed research will provide insight into the role of surface species in photocatalytic oxidation reactions on TiO2 that could lead to the development of improved photocatalysts.

Swine hepatitis E virus contamination of surface water: A possible zoonotic risk 
Investigators: SJ Naides, Department of Internal Medicine, MR Gilchrist, University Hygienic Laboratory, The University of Iowa
Human hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a zoonotic infection that can be passed from swine and rodents to humans. A swine HEV-like virus has been shown to be endemic in swine herds in the Midwestern United States. Recently, the first human case of HEV infection acquired in the United States has been identified; the isolate demonstrated sequence homology closer to swine HEV than to known human HEV isolates. There is increasing public concern about the risks of waste products of intense hog farming operations. The long term goal of this project is a better understanding of the role of animal reservoirs in human infectious diseases, how humans are exposed to animal viruses, and the ability of animal viruses to be transmitted through the environment to humans. The specific goal of this project is to develop an epidemiologic model of environmental cross-species transmission of swine HEV infection.

Publication:  Karetnyi YV, Gilchrist MJ, Naides SJ; Hepatitis E virus infection prevalence among selected populations in Iowa. J Clinical Virology. 1999; 14(1):51-55