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  • Author: Blanka Tariba x
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Reproductive Toxicity of Metals in Men

A combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors contributes to adverse effects on the reproductive health in men. Metals are pervasive in food, water, air, tobacco smoke, and alcoholic beverages. Experimental studies suggest that many metals have adverse effects on the male reproductive function. However, information about reproductive effects of human exposure to metals is scarce and/or inconsistent. This review summarises the information from epidemiological studies of the effects of metal exposure on reproductive function in men. Factors capable of affecting these relationships were identified and discussed. A particular attention is given to the studies considering influence of concomitant exposure to various metals.

These studies have generally confirmed that even moderate- to low-level exposure to lead affects certain reproductive parameters, and that exposure to cadmium affects the prostate function and serum testosterone levels. Adverse effects of mercury, manganese, chromium and arsenic on semen quality and altered serum hormone are less well documented. There is no clear evidence that boron exposure may impair reproductive health in men. Only a few studies have investigated reproductive effects of concomitant exposure to several metals and controlled for potential confounders. Future studies should consider the contribution of combined exposure to various metals and/or other factors that may influence individual susceptibility to reproductive health impairment in men.

Determination of Lead in Croatian Wines by Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry

A method has been developed for direct determination of lead in wine by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS) with Zeeman-effect background correction. The thermal behaviour of Pb during pyrolysis and atomisation stages was investigated without matrix modifier and in the presence of Pd(NO3)2, Pd(NO3)2 + Mg(NO3)2 × 6H2O, and NH4H2PO4 + Mg(NO3)2 × 6H2O as matrix modifiers. A simple 1:1 dilution of wine samples with Pd(NO3)2 as a matrix modifier proved optimal for accurate determination of Pb in wine. Mean recoveries were 106 % for red and 114 % for white wine, and the detection limit was 3 μg L-1. Within-run precision of measurements for red and white wine was 2.1 % and 1.8 %, respectively. The proposed method was applied for analysis of 23 Croatian wines. Median Pb concentrations were 33 μg L-1, range (16 to 49) μg L-1 in commercially available wines and 46 μg L-1, range (14 to 559) μg L-1 in home-made wines. There were no statistically significant differences (P<0.05) in Pb concentration between commercial and home-made wines or between red and white wines.

Estimation of Copper Intake in Moderate Wine Consumers in Croatia

To estimate Cu exposure level from wine consumption and to assess possible health risk for moderate wine consumers, wine samples were collected from different wine-growing areas of Croatia. Median concentrations were 180 μg L-1, range (76 to 292) μg L-1, in commercial wines and 258 μg L-1, range (115 to 7600) μg L-1, in homemade wines (P>0.05). Maximum permitted level of 1000 μg L-1 was exceeded in three homemade wines. However, daily intake of Cu from wine (in the range from 0.02 mg d-1 to 1.52 mg d-1) estimated from Cu concentration in all wine samples is lower than the tolerable upper intake level of 5 mg d-1 proposed by the EU Scientific Committee on Food and does not present a risk to moderate wine consumers.


In this 28 day-study, we evaluated the effects of herbicide glyphosate administered by gavage to Wistar rats at daily doses equivalent to 0.1 of the acceptable operator exposure level (AOEL), 0.5 of the consumer acceptable daily intake (ADI), 1.75 (corresponding to the chronic population-adjusted dose, cPAD), and 10 mg kg−1 body weight (bw) (corresponding to 100 times the AOEL). At the end of each treatment, the body and liver weights were measured and compared with their baseline values. DNA damage in leukocytes and liver tissue was estimated with the alkaline comet assay. Oxidative stress was evaluated using a battery of endpoints to establish lipid peroxidation via thiobarbituric reactive substances (TBARS) level, level of reactive oxygen species (ROS), glutathione (GSH) level, and the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px). Total cholinesterase activity and the activities of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) were also measured. The exposed animals gained less weight than control. Treatment resulted in significantly higher primary DNA damage in the liver cells and leukocytes. Glyphosate exposure significantly lowered TBARS in the liver of the AOEL, ADI, and cPAD groups, and in plasma in the AOEL and cPAD group. AChE was inhibited with all treatments, but the AOEL and ADI groups significantly differed from control. Total ChE and plasma/liver ROS/GSH levels did not significantly differ from control, except for the 35 % decrease in ChE in the AOEL and ADI groups and a significant drop in liver GSH in the cPAD and 100xAOEL groups. AOEL and ADI blood GSH-Px activity dropped significantly, but in the liver it significantly increased in the ADI, cPAD, and 100xAOEL groups vs. control. All these findings show that even exposure to low glyphosate levels can have serious adverse effects and points to a need to change the approach to risk assessment of low-level chronic/sub-chronic glyphosate exposure, where oxidative stress is not necessarily related to the genetic damage and AChE inhibition.