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Summary  

Within an extensive survey of lower and higher plants in the Azores' Terceira and Santa Maria islands, this study is focused on the evaluation of ectohydric bryophytes and bark from Cryptomeria japonica as an alternative to epiphytic lichens for air-monitoring purposes. Neutron activation analysis (k 0-NAA) has been applied to all field samples for elemental determinations. Judging from the present results, and since the islands embody most features of the whole archipelago, bryophytes do not appear as an option for further campaigns in the Azores, due to scanty supply and relatively poor performance as biomonitors. On the other hand, comparisons of bark with lichens collected at the same sites seem fairly good, and elements are enriched in bark to an even greater extent than in lichens. All things considered - including material availability and ecological concern - bark stands for a sensible choice for biomonitoring in the Azores.

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Summary  

The evaluation of human nails as a measure of selenium intake and to assess selenium status in critical tissues is now being used routinely to investigate hypotheses relating selenium status to chronic disease, especially cancer. In this study we report on our observations of the major determinants of toenail selenium concentrations. Toenail specimens (3575) were, under a protocol we provided, self-collected by adult females (1940, 54.3%) and males (1635, 45.7%) living in 111 of Missouri's 114 counties. The health-conscious participants ranged in age from 18 to 94 years with means of 53.7±14.1 and 56.4±14.2 years for females and males, respectively. Selenium supplement use was over represented, 39.1% and 42.7%, and smoking was under represented, 7.5% and 7.8%, for females and males, respectively. The major determinants of toenail selenium concentration were supplement use, sex and cigarette smoking. We found no overall correlations with age, body mass index or diet selection.

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Abstract  

This paper describes the assessment of exposure levels to metals and possible workers' contamination in three galvanizing factories applying the same processes. Concerning the elements determined in air filters, 92.3% of them were also determined in hair and toenail samples: Ag, Al, As, Au, Cl, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Na, Sb and Zn. These result point out that hair and toenail reflect the influence of the polluted environment on workers' health and can be useful as bioindicators in epidemiological studies. Instrumental neutron activation analysis was applied to all matrices which confirms its status as one of the most versatile analytical techniques.

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Abstract  

In a biomonitoring study aiming to find alternatives to lower epiphytes as air-quality monitors, lichens and tree bark were exposed at different sites for discontinuous periods of 2 months and continuously. Native lichens were collected as well. The contents for 22 elements were obtained by both instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Quality control as asserted by analyzing ISE-921, NIST-1547 and TL-1 was good Losses of As and Se by volatilization during sample digestion and neutron irradiation were evident, Ca contents by ICP-MS appeared underestimated probably due to the formation of the insoluble fluoride. ICP-MS featured a better precision than INAA. Nonparametric statistics were applied to the ICP-MS replicates, to those determined by INAA, and to compare the results of both techniques. High or even excellent correlations were found between replicates in INAA, whereas, in ICP-MS, Cr and Ta were just fairly or not correlated. As an overall comparison of the techniques, biased results were found for As, Ba, Ce, Cr, Cs, Hf, La, Sc, Se, Ta, and Zn, unbiased results could be found for Ca, Co, Fe, K, Na, Rb, Sb, Sm, Tb, Th, and U.

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Abstract  

Chemical elements were determined in epiphytic lichens from Terceira and Santa Maria islands (Azores, Portugal), by k 0-standardized, instrumental neutron activation analysis. Abundance ranges were generally below those in mainland Portugal, except for Br (Terceira), Cl (Santa Maria), Na (Santa Maria), and Se (both islands). Elemental (averaged) contents of As, Br, Cl, Co, Cr, Mg, Na, Se, Hg and Zn were significantly different between the islands. Anthropogenic influence was discernible in Terceira if not in Santa Maria, where only crustal and marine sources are apparent.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: S. Almeida, C. Ramos, A. Marques, A. Silva, M. Freitas, M. Farinha, M. Reis, and A. Marques

Abstract  

The objective of this paper was to assess the air pollution and the main sources of Air Particulate Matter in the Setúbal urban/industrial area, Portugal. PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 were sampled in Nuclepore filters and lichens transplants were exposed during 9 months. The levels of elements in these two matrixes were measured by INAA and PIXE. A large data base was created and source apportionment was performed by using Principal Component Analysis. The results showed that the main sources of fine particles were anthropogenic and were related with traffic and local industry. There was an important contribution of natural sources, mainly for the coarse fraction, associated with the sea and the soil. Lichens characterization and mapping showed that different site-specific characteristics controlled the spatial distribution of different elements. This study showed that biomonitoring is an effective complementary method to traditional sampling systems.

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Abstract  

In order to assess the elemental concentration level in a galvanizing industry and alert for the need to assess the outcome of a long-term exposure, scalp hair and toenail samples were used as bioindicators and the industry environment was evaluated through airborne particulate matter. The elemental concentration results have pointed out a high exposure to pollutant at workplaces and a high elemental concentration in biomonitors suggesting endogenous contamination. The majority of the elements determined in airborne particulate matter were also determined in hair and toenail samples. The results evidence the efficiency of these matrixes as biomonitors and the importance to carry out the airborne particulate matter sampling in parallel to these biomonitors mainly in occupational epidemiological studies.

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Abstract  

The conditions for the determination of Co, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni and Pb in plant materials and As, Ba, Fe, Pb, Sr, Rb and Zr in soils by energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence analysis with americium-241 as excitation source are discussed. The applicability of the proposed method is tested by the analysis of certified reference materials and of two plant biomonitors.

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Abstract  

The present paper focuses on biomonitoring of elemental atmospheric pollution, which is reviewed in terms of larger-scaled biomonitoring surveys in an epidemiological context. Based on the literature information, today’s availability of solar-powered small air filter samplers and fibrous ion exchange materials is regarded as adequate or an even better alternative for biomonitor transplant materials used in small-scaled set-ups, but biomonitors remain valuable in larger-scaled set-ups and in unforeseen releases and accidental situations. In the latter case, in-situ biomonitoring is seen as the only option for a retrospective study: biomoniors are there before one even knows that they are needed. For biomonitoring, nuclear analytical techniques are discussed as key techniques, especially because of the necessary multi-element assessments in both source recognition and single-element interpretation. To live up to the demands in an epidemiological context, larger-scaled in-situ biomonitoring asks for large numbers of samples, and consequently, for large total sample masses, this all to ensure representation of both local situations and survey area characteristics. Possibly, this point should direct studies into new “easy-to-sample” biomonitor organisms, of which high masses and numbers may be obtained in field work, rather than continue with biomonitors such as lichens. This also means that both sample handling and processing are of key importance in these studies. To avoid problems in comparability of analytical general procedures in milling, homogenization and digestion of samples of large masses, the paper proposes to involve only few but high-quality laboratories in the total element assessment routines. In this respect, facilities that can handle large sample masses in the assessment of element concentrations are to be preferred. This all highlights the involvement of large-sample-volume nuclear facilities, which, however, should be upgraded and automated in their operation to ensure the necessary sample throughput in larger-scaled biomonitoring.

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Abstract  

The excretion kinetics of110mAg in a gastropod species contaminated through water pathway has been studied under laboratory condition. The pattern of the excretion results can be represented by a monophasic linear regression function. The excretion coefficient and biological half-life were calculated. The biological half-life was found to be 33 days. The study suggests that the excretion rate of110mAg byN. intricata may be considered as a potential biomonitor on the shoreline of the Black Sea marine environment.

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