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Hungary’s red mud no major health risk, scientists say - February 01, 2011

es-2010-04005r_0009.gifThe spill last October of around one million cubic metres of highly alkaline red sludge from a reservoir at a Hungarian aluminia plant near Ajka raised serious health concerns. But dust from the 3 to 30 centimetre-thick layer of mud is fortunately not quite as harmful as first feared, Hungarian scientists report in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The group analysed the particle size distribution and mineralogical properties of dust from red mud sediment that has gathered in the 700 hectares disaster region some 100 kilometres southwest of Budapest.

The sediment and its dust are similar in their chemical composition, both containing the minerals hematite, cancrinite, calcite, and hydrogarnet, the scientists report. The volatility and alkalinity of the dust could pose minor respiratory and eye problems to humans. But the particles, if inhaled, are too large to affect the deep regions of the lungs, they say.

“Based on its size distribution and composition red mud dust appears to be less hazardous to human health than urban particulate matter,” they conclude.

Hungarian scientists have previously reported relatively low levels of toxic heavy metals in drinking water from the contaminated area. However, soil samples taken shortly after the spill by Greenpeace contained high concentrations of Arsenic.

UPDATE 9 February: The latest samples taken by Greenpeace, on 26 January, still show contamination, the BBC is reporting. And they are threatening a local river that is part of the Danube river system.


TiO2 is used in a number of cosmetic producs, medication, clothes, upholstry, pigments and other household products. An assessment of TiO2 particles (not nansozed) has been performed by IARC

Titanium dioxide is possible carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) based on sufficient evidence in experimental animals and inadequate evidence from epidemiological studies.

The newest evidence suggest that TiO2 nanoparticles may have immunomodulating and tumor promoting effects, by interfering with the immune cells, as it was shown in an in vivo study »An increase in mouse tumor growth by an in vivo immunomodulating effect of titanium dioxide nanoparticles”

Nanosized material is believed to exert greater biological activity because of the increased surface area per particle weight. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has present the Strategic Plan for NIOSH Nanotechnology Research and Guidance: Filling the Knowledge Gaps, which includes the nanosized TiO2

A recent assessment the potential exposure risk and control for airborne titanium dioxide (TiO2-NP) and carbon black nanoparticles (CB-NP) in the workplace has shown that the cumulative dose of CB-NPs was greater than that of TiO2-NPs in human lungs; (2) there is a potential health risk to workers exposed to TiO2-NPs and CB-NPs in the absence of control measures in the workplace; and (3) the use of a ventilating system and an N95 respirator offers greater protection in the workplace and significantly reduces the health risks associated with NP exposure.

It has been shown that the assessment of toxicity to nanoparticles may be difficulet due to different particle sizes and agglomeration rates of the particles. No clear relationship was observed between the TiO2 particle-exposed groups of animals with intratracheal instialtion of TiO2 nanoparticles, with different agglomerations but the same primary size.

Much research is still ongoing and much expert discussion and evaluation is still needed to determine the safe limit of these nanoparticles for total body burden of population.

Zadnjič posodobljeno (Petek, 04 Februar 2011 09:30)


“INRS Occupational Health Research Conference 2011: Risks associated to Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials”

"The Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS), leading institute conducting research and providing guidance on the occupational safety and health in France, organizes in association with the Partnership for European Research in Occupational Safety and Health (PEROSH) a scientific conference devoted to the occupational risks associated with nanomaterials and nanoparticles.

(Nancy, France, 5-7 April, 2011) Deadline for abstract is 15 November, 2010.

More at

Zadnjič posodobljeno (Torek, 01 Februar 2011 15:54)


Sens-it-iv (Novel Testing Strategies for in vitro Assessment of Allergens) organizes the scientific congress held in Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel, Brussels (November 23-25, 2011)

More information at

Zadnjič posodobljeno (Torek, 01 Februar 2011 15:48)

Yannick Chenet, 43, is among 40 or so farmers in France whose illnesses have been officially linked to their profession and the pesticides they have sprayed on the land. In April 2004, he inadvertently breathed in noxious fumes from his agricultural spraying machine without a mask on. Immediately admitted to hospital, he fell into a coma.The pesticide he used was Lasso (Monsanto).

Material Safety Data Sheet is at

Lasso, pesticide with the active ingredient Alachlor is prohibited to place on the  EU market from December 2006. It is included under Rotterdam Convention (

It had not been demonstrated that alachlor fulfilled the safety requirements laid down in Article 5 (1) (a) and (b) of Directive 91/414/EEC. Alachlor has been classified as carcinogenic category 3, R40, based on the observation that it caused nasal turbinate tumours in rats. Even though it was considered extremely unlikely, it could not be discarded that such nasal tumours are relevant to humans.
Estimates of occupational exposure indicated that exposure would be greater than acceptable levels during the operations of mixing, loading and application even when personal protective equipment was worn. The calculations indicated an unacceptable risk to operators for all uses of alachlor. Concerns were also identified with regard to the fate and behaviour of the substance in the environment, in particular the formation of a large variety of degradation products, some of which are of toxicological and/or eco-toxicological concern.

Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) and Acceptable Operator Exposure Level (AOEL) = 0.0025 mg/kg bw/day

Complete assessment is available at

Zadnjič posodobljeno (Petek, 28 Januar 2011 16:48)