2005 Progress Report: Exposure Assessment and Intervention Project (EAIP)

EPA Grant Number: R829391C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829391
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: CECEHDPR - University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Center for Childhood Neurotoxicology and Assessment
Center Director: Lambert, George H.
Title: Exposure Assessment and Intervention Project (EAIP)
Investigators: Lioy, Paul J.
Current Investigators: Lioy, Paul J. , Georgopoulos, Panos G. , Shalat, Stuart L. , Weisel, Clifford P.
Institution: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey , University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
EPA Project Officer: Louie, Nica
Project Period: November 1, 2001 through October 31, 2006
Project Period Covered by this Report: November 1, 2004 through October 31, 2005
RFA: Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Children's Health , Health Effects , Health

Objective:

The research being conducted within the Exposure Assessment and Intervention Project (EAIP) is continuing to address specific objectives associated with our first hypothesis: the unique behaviors of neurologically impaired children lead to higher exposures from single and multiple neurotoxicants in their personal or residential environment. The specific objectives of this research project are to: (1) implement a phased, community-based field study on neurotoxicant exposures and intervention strategies among community groups with families who have children identified with neurological disorders or deficits or diagnosed with the early indicators of such diseases; (2) document the exposure pathways that can lead to contact with neurotoxicants by the affected children using questionnaires and geographical information system (GIS) mapping (each will be used to qualitatively identify personal pathways or environmental sources, respectively); (3) implement an exposure measurement program based on the preceding analyses to establish the levels of specific neurotoxicants in the residence or personal environment of children at risk to neurological disorders or deficits; and (4) complete a detailed video assessment of the routine activities of these children and link directly with clinically based neurobehavioral assessments of children.

This year’s goal is to implement intervention strategies and educational programs within the affected families to reduce environmental residential exposures.

Progress Summary:

The EAIP team continued the community-based field study in collaboration with the recruitment and subject evaluation efforts of the Clinical Science Project. As of June 1, 2004, we have completed 30 environmental assessments. Videotaping has been completed on 29 children. There has been less videotaping because of a change in recruitment design, which allows the option of not having videotaping because of personal concerns. As seen below, the analyses of samples have been proceeding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conduct most of the biological sample analyses; urine and blood and the reporting of their data lag somewhat behind the environmental samples. Also, difficulties associated with collection of urine samples by the Clinical Project from the autistic children has resulted in the analyses of urine samples on a much slower basis.

Our efforts to complete GIS maps for the areas around the home of each child have begun. The analyses are directed by Dr. Georgopoulos. These will be used to determine the influence of sources of neurotoxicants in the community environment immediately around the neighborhood in which the child was born and resides. Currently, we have completed a major effort to acquire all necessary databases for conducting comprehensive GIS analysis of environmental conditions around each child’s residence. The database is listed below and each of the geospatial data sources are relevant for characterizing individual and population exposures to neurotoxicants, and the analysis for each study child is underway.

Data sources for emissions, concentrations in multiple media, and concentrations encountered in different pathways such as drinking water and food intake, collected for New Jersey are listed below.

Toxic Releases

  • Air: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Toxics Inventory /National Emissions Inventory
  • Multimedia: EPA Toxics Release Inventory; Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Hazardous Substance Release and Health Effects Database (HazDat)

Outdoor Air Quality

  • Observed: EPA Aerometric Information Retrieval System; New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Air Toxics Sites; New Jersey Atmospheric and Deposition Network
  • Calculated: EPA Cumulative Exposure Project; EPA National Air Toxics Assessment

Drinking Water

  • EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System/Federal Version; EPA Arsenic Occurrence and Exposure Database; United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Arsenic Occurrence Survey, EPA National Inorganic and Radionuclide Survey; NJDEP Bureau of Safe Drinking Water; USGS National Water Information System

Surface and Ground Water

  • USGS Water Quality Network; EPA Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP); USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Data Warehouse; EPA Storage and Retrieval (STORET) Database
  • NJDEP, New Jersey Geological Survey (NJGS)

Soils and Sediments

  • National Geochemical Atlas (NGA); USGS NAWQA; EPA EMAP; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ocean Resources Conservation and Assessment; EPA STORET
  • NJDEP, NJGS

Dietary

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration Total Diet Survey; U.S. Department of Agriculture Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals.

CHC Behavioral Analyses

A team of investigators lead by Dr. Shalat from the EAIP have been administering questionnaires and carrying out the videography on the children enrolled in the study with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The children are videorecorded continuously on a single day for approximately 4 hours with the exception of the time the child is in the bathroom, napping, or when the parent requests privacy. The study video protocol has been upgraded through the acquisition (with non-Center funds) of a Hitachi DZMZ580A mini-DVD camcorder. This device records directly on a DVD (1.4gb) and allows videos to be played back directly on the study’s computers and eliminates the computer intensive activity of videotape conversion to DVD media. This has decreased the computer time necessary to evaluate videos by approximately 50 percent and brings with it a significant technical improvement in video quality as well.

The DVDs from the cameras are loaded directly onto an Apple G4 computer for analysis. The VTD (Virtual Timing Device) software (SamaSama Consulting) and the DVD are run simultaneously on the computer. The software is a refinement of the VideoTraq software described by Zartarian, et al. (1997a) and used previously in children’s mouthing and food handling activity studies (Zartarian, et al., 1997b, 1998; Freeman, et al., 2001a,b; Akland, et al., 2000; Black, et al., in press). It provides both frequency and duration of activities. The template, which is employed, was developed based on the experience of the review of more than 400 hours of recordings during the previous studies. It allows for the recording of all activities of interest. The location grid includes inside or outside. The activity grid reflects both the child’s contact with water (i.e., use of wading pools or tubs during taping), contact with the floor, or seated at a table. Both hand-to-mouth and object-to-mouth contacts including superficial contact with the lips as well as insertion in the mouth are recorded. Dietary (food utensil, cup, and bottle) and pacifier contact with the mouth is not considered object-to-mouth contact. Food handling also is quantified. Each video is reviewed twice, first for right-hand contacts and then for left-hand contacts. When both hands are holding an object to mouth, the activity is only recorded as mouthing with the right hand.

At the present time a total of 29 children have been videorecorded (25 boys, 4 girls), with a mean age of 33 months (range 25-38 months). Video analysis has been completed on a total of 27 children as of May 26, 2004. A preliminary statistical analysis was carried out on the first 15 children, using SPSSTM version 11.5.1. An additional comparison was carried out between neurotypical children observed for a previously conducted study (Shalat, et al., 2003; Black, et al., in press) and those in the current study. Both duration and frequency of mouthing behaviors were compared. The ASD children were observed to have a higher frequency and duration of hand-to-mouth activity, whereas object-to-mouth activity was more comparable with the neurotypical children. The lower levels of object-to-mouth activity in the ASD children, however, may be explained by a far higher prevalence of the use of pacifiers in this population, in conjunction with the fact that pacifier use was not scored in either study.

Microenvironmental and Biomarker Measurements

Sampling Scheme. The samples collected included: dust by wipe and vacuum sampling for trace elemental and pesticide analyses, first morning tap water samples for metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) analyses, air samples for VOCs analyses, urine for metal and pesticide metabolites analyses, blood for lead and VOCs analyses, and hair for lead and mercury analyses. The measured concentrations were compared to health-based standards or levels commonly measured in homes in the United States, particularly New Jersey, to determine if the concentrations in these homes are elevated compared to the norm and when the results were reported to the participants to facilitate their understanding of the findings. The comparisons used were: for water, the New Jersey Department of Health and EPA maximum contaminant level (MCL); for air, New Jersey levels in urban centers; for blood, CDC reference ranges; for floor dust, New Jersey residential levels or NJDEP Soil Cleanup (Pb, floor standard); and, for hair and urine, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey results.

Problems Encountered that Resulted in Changes in Methodology

The amount of hair sample initially collected, based on previous studies on lead in hair, was not sufficient to provide the required sensitivity for determination of the mercury concentrations at the lower end of the comparison group. Tests were conducted to determine whether larger amounts of hair could be digested without mercury losses. Conditions were optimized to obtain complete digestion, recovery of spiked metals, and reproducible results. Current samples are conducted using larger quantities of hair, improving the detection limit, and additional hair samples are being requested from the previous participants.

The dust loadings in most homes were very low, resulting in the metal loadings per cm2 also being low. The concentrations of individual metals in some dust samples though were high. One reason the loading could be low while the concentration is high is the dust was from paint, which typically contains higher levels of metals in older homes and the dust was not diluted by other sources of dust generated during usual household activities. The metal concentrations have exceeded the soil cleanup standard in some homes, but dust still is not expected to be an exposure route because of the low loading. The template size, and therefore the area being sampled for dust, has been increased to try to collect more dust to decrease the number of samples containing metals at concentrations below the detection limits.

Urine collection bags could not be used as the subjects objected to having them attached to their bodies. Urine sample collection has therefore been postponed until the subjects have been toilet trained and can provide a spot urine sample.

Microenvironmental samples have been collected from 29 subjects. Biological samples have been collected from 25 participants. Hair samples have been collected from 27 participants. This was as of June 1, 2004. The lag for blood and hairs is at a typical rate. The urine samples are much more difficult to acquire and thus the longer lag period. No pollutant or class of pollutants were consistently higher than their comparison health-based regulatory standard or comparison group (95th concentration measured in New Jersey urban centers or reference population provided by the CDC). The dust loadings actually have been consistently lower than measured in other studies of the general population.

For individual homes in which a pollutant in a microenvironmental sample was higher than the comparison value, potential sources of the pollutant were considered based on the questionnaire data and the observations made by the sampling team. Subsequently, the EAIP team has suggested interventions that could be followed to reduce the concentrations and potential exposures. These are provided in the data/results update sent to each parent. The interventions recommended to date include:

  1. For high lead dust concentration, it was determined that paint around window sills was the source for these older homes and the highest levels were in the window well. EPA’s recommendations about painted windows and methods to reduce track of soil were provided. (Note: no high blood leads were identified, indicating that exposure was low as was the lead dust loading.)
  2. For high metal concentration in water, the likely source identified was the plumbing, which had recently replaced joints between the tap and the well. Recommendations of flushing the water before use and installing a filter, including replacing cartridges regularly, were provided.
  3. Air concentrations for selected VOCs were high, with the likely source being the car parked in the attached garage. The recommendations made were to allow the engine to cool before parking in garage, leave the garage door (slightly) ajar while the engine cools, keep the interior door to house closed/sealed or install exhaust fan in the garage, and make sure that gasoline/other engines were not stored in garage.

Future Activities:

No single exposure has been found to be consistently high, and the dust levels have been consistently lower than in found in previous studies. We plan to continue to collect and analyze samples, develop personalized interventions as needed, start followup for the interventions that were done, and examine data for appearance of trends in exposures as sufficient number of homes is completed.


Journal Articles on this Report : 5 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 11 publications 7 publications in selected types All 7 journal articles
Other center views: All 86 publications 50 publications in selected types All 49 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Akland GG, Pellizzari ED, Hu Y, Roberds M, Rohrer CA, Leckie JO, Berry MR. Factors influencing total dietary exposures of young children. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2000;10(6 Pt 2):710-722. R829391 (2004)
R829391 (2005)
R829391 (2006)
R829391C004 (2005)
  • Abstract from PubMed
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  • Journal Article Black K, Shalat SL, Freeman NCG, Jimenez M, Donnelly KC, Calvin JA. Children's mouthing and food-handling behavior in an agricultural community on the US/Mexico border. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2005;15(3):244-251. R829391 (2004)
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    R829391C004 (2004)
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  • Journal Article Freeman NCG, Jimenez M, Reed KJ, Gurunathan S, Edwards RD, Roy A, Adgate JL, Pellizzari ED, Quackenboss J, Sexton K, Lioy PJ. Quantitative analysis of children's microactivity patterns: the Minnesota Children's Pesticide Exposure Study. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2001;11(6):501-509. R829391 (2004)
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    R829391C004 (2005)
  • Abstract from PubMed
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  • Journal Article Freeman NCG, Sheldon L, Jimenez M, Melnyk L, Pellizzari E, Berry M. Contribution of children's activities to lead contamination of food. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2001;11(5):407-413. R829391 (2004)
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    R829391C004 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Shalat SL, Donnelly KC, Freeman NCG, Calvin JA, Ramesh S, Jimenez M, Black K, Coutinho C, Needham LL, Barr DB, Ramirez J. Nondietary ingestion of pesticides by children in an agricultural community on the U.S./Mexico border: preliminary results. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2003;13(1):42-50. R829391 (2004)
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  • Other: Nature-Full Text PDF
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  • Supplemental Keywords:

    children’s health, disease and cumulative effects, ecological risk assessment, environmental chemistry, health risk assessment, susceptibility, sensitive population, genetic susceptibility, toxicology, assessment of exposure, assessment technology, autism, behavioral assessment, behavioral deficits, childhood learning, developmental disorders, developmental effects, environmental health hazard, environmental toxicant, exposure assessment, gene-environment interaction, neurodevelopmental, neurological development, neuropathological damage, neurotoxic, neurotoxicity, outreach and education, public health,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, Ecological Risk Assessment, Biology, childhood learning, neurotoxic, behavioral assessment, gene-environment interaction, developmental effects, children, neurotoxicity, assessment of exposure, public health, behavioral deficits, environmental health hazard, autism, outreach and education, assessment technology, developmental disorders, exposure assessment, neurological development

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829391    CECEHDPR - University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Center for Childhood Neurotoxicology and Assessment

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829391C001 Neurotoxicant Effects on Cell Cycle Regulation of Neurogenesis
    R829391C002 Adhesion and Repulsion Molecules in Developmental Neurotoxic Injury
    R829391C003 Disruption of Ontogenic Development of Cognitive and Sensory Motor Skills
    R829391C004 Exposure Assessment and Intervention Project (EAIP)
    R829391C005 Clinical Sciences Project