Highlights of Medichem 2011

Titles of lectures are numbered. Hyperlinks are to websites or journal articles that were either mentioned in the lecture or are directly related to the topic.

Shift Work and Cancer

1. Shift work and cancer: principles, perspectives and pitfalls of "white-box" epidemiology

IARC Monographs (Vol. 98): Shiftwork

Why most published research findings are false.

2. Shift work and cancer--state of science and practical consequences

"Published evidence is widely seen as suggestive but not conclusive for an adverse association between night work and breast cancer, and limited and inconsistent for cancers at other sites and all cancers combined."

3. The carcinogenicity of shift work--the IARC evaluation and beyond

"Exposure to light at night disturbs the circadian system with alterations of sleep-activity patterns, suppression of melatonin production, and deregulation of circadian genes involved in cancer-related pathways. In animals, melatonin suppression can lead to changes in the gonadotrophin axis. In humans, sleep deprivation and the ensuing melatonin suppression lead to immunodeficiency."

REACH and Other Regulations

1. Labelling of hazardous chemicals under GHS

What is GHS?

Online chapters from GHS

2. Biological reference values for exposure assessment of chemical substances at the workplace

"BAR relate to background levels of substances present in biological materials in a reference population of persons of working age who are not additionally occupationally exposed to the substances. . . . Since 2008, BAR have been established for 14 chemical compounds . . ."

What are BAR values?

3. The concept of SCOEL to set OELs

What is SCOEL?

The Scientific Committee is composed of 21 experts in chemistry, toxicology, epidemiology, occupational medicine, and industrial hygiene.

4. The role of expert judgement and conceptional approaches in setting OELs by the German MAK Commission

"Extrapolation from animal data and the establishment of the margin between NOAEL and MAK/BAT values is done by expert judgement, not by general extrapolation factors."

What are MAK values?

Recent evaluations by MAK Commission including Bisphenol A

5. Occupational exposure limits and REACH

"REACH regulations require the registrant to determine "derived no-effect-levels" (DNELs) when preparing the chemical safety report."

What is REACH?

How will REACH work?

6. Management of chemicals: the global context

What is SAICM?


1. Exposure assessment strategies of engineered nanomaterials in the workplace


Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are used mainly as additives to polymers and to improve metals, e.g., aeronautical.

There is no evidence that nanoparticles are released from the abrasion of ENMs embedded in a matrix material.

There is no good data that ultrafine particles cause cardiovascular disease. The olfactory nerve can uptake inhaled nanoparticles, but no evidence yet that ENMs can pass through the blood-brain barrier.

The penetration of a dust mask actually decreases as particles approach the nanoparticle size due to increased random motion of these smaller particles.

BAuA: Nanotechnology

2. Evaluation of nanoparticles by the German MAK Commission

"Within this task, the principal question to be answered is whether or not there are modes of action and/or target organs unique for nanomaterials as compared to particles in the microscale range."

3. Nanotechnology--challenges for and solutions via inhalation toxicology

"The specific effects of a particle are determined by its solubility, biopersistence, surface characteristics, crystallinity and chemical composition."

4. Nanotoxicology, a challenge for nanotechnology

OECD: Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials

5. Studies on the carcinogenicity of carbon nanotubes

"We found clear evidence of length-related inflammation in the pleural space with long amosite asbestos and two long nanotube samples, while all the short fibres samples of asbestos and nanotubes failed to elicit significant inflammation."

Durability and inflammogenic impact of carbon nanotubes compared with asbestos fibres.

Quantification of the pathological response and fate in the lung and pleura of chrysotile in combination with fine particles compared to amosite-asbestos following short-term inhalation exposure.

For mesothelioma, the relative toxicity of chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite are 1, 100, and 500.

For lung cancer, the relative toxicity of chrysotile and amphibole (amosite and crocidolite) are 1 and 10-50.


1. Protein adduct analysis after short-term exposure to alkylating chemicals

“An accidental exposure of six workers to ethylene oxide (EO) provided the rationale for follow-up biomonitoring . . . “

Follow-up biomonitoring after accidental exposure to acrylonitrile:- implications for protein adducts as a dose monitor for short-term exposures.

Quantification of N-(3-chloro-2-hydroxypropyl)valine in human haemoglobin as a biomarker of epichlorohydrin exposure by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry with stable-isotope dilution.

Ambient and biochemical effect monitoring of workers exposed to ethylene oxide.

2. Assessing chemical exposures to improve health

What is the California Biomonitoring Program?

What are "emerging chemicals of concern" according to the Calif. Dept. of Toxic Substances Control?

3. Uroscreen--tumor markers for early detection of bladder cancer in chemical workers

"The low bladder cancer incidence resulted in low PPVs of all tumor tests. However, the marker panel performed well in the detection of bladder cancer at early stages. NMP22 resulted in a larger fraction of false-positive results that the other tests due to a variety of confounding factors."

UroVysion FISH


Other Topics

1. Dose-response at very low exposures: Biological rhymes and reasons

"The European Union and many of its members make a distinction between carcinogens that are genotoxic and those believed to produce tumors by non-genotoxic mechanisms, and treat them differently with respect to risk assessment models."

2. Exposure to ethyl methane sulfonate in a pharmaceutical: Risk assessment for patients and workers

"The toxicological investigations of this incident may give rise to the hypothesis that it might be time to question the existence of non-threshold mutagens altogether."

3. Ototoxic substances at the workplace

EU-OSHA: Combined exposure to noise and ototoxic substances

Nordic Expert Group: Occupational exposure to chemicals and hearing impairment

Ototoxicity of industrial chemicals alone or in combination with noise

4. The European social dialogue on crystalline silica

The European Network on Silica

5. Particulate matter in new technology diesel exhaust versus traditional  diesel exhaust

Diesel exhaust from advanced technology (post 2006) diesel engines consists of an integrated system of advanced engine design, exhaust after-treatment, and reformulated fuel and lube oil.

6. Psychosocial risks at the workplace

Is job strain a major source of cardiovascular disease risk?



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