Groot MSM; Bronswijk JJB; Leeuwen TC van(LEI-DLO, 2003-07-04)
This report contains the results of the National Soil Monitoring Network of the Netherlands in 1997, the fifth year of sampling. The network represents the cooperative effort of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Agricultural Economic Research Institute (LEI) and the Research Institute for Agrobiology and Soil Fertility (Alterra). The first sampling, of soil and upper groundwater, took place in 1993 on 35 dairy-cattle farms in the sandy regions of the Netherlands. In 1994, 20 intensive cattle farms (high phosphate production) and 20 forest sites (deciduous, pine and mixed) on sandy soils were sampled, in 1995, sampling was carried out on 19 arable farms on sandy soils and 18 cattle farms on peaty soils, in 1996, 20 arable farms on sea clay and 20 cattle farms on river clay were sampled and finally, in 1997, 20 cattle farms on sea clay, 10 vegetable farms and 7 bulb farms on sandy clay soils were sampled. The objectives of the network are to establish changes in soil quality over time, and to establish the actual quality of soil and upper groundwater. Attention is focused primarily on the rural part of the country. The monitoring programme is divided into even time units and samples 40 locations yearly. Sampling has yielded information on concentrations of heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organochlorine pesticides and triazines, both in the topsoil (0-10 cm) and at a depth of 30-50 cm. Information on concentrations of macroparameters, nutrients and heavy metals in the upper groundwater is also presented. The measured concentrations are compared with the Dutch objectives for soil and groundwater quality (target values). On dairy-cattle farms, target values for lead were exceeded in a few samples of the topsoil, while on vegetable farms, targets for zinc and copper were exceeded in samples of the topsoil. On bulb farms targets for copper were exceeded in a few topsoil-samples. Target values for a number of individual PAHs and organochlorine pesticides were exceeded in soil for all categories. Atrazine was shown to greatly exceed the target value, especially on cattle farms. On cattle farms, target values for a number of heavy metals were exceeded in groundwater. The same holds for zinc, cadmium, chrome, copper, nickel and arsene on vegetable farms. On bulb farms targets for chrome, nickel and arsene were exceeded. For both categories, target values for total phosphate, ortho phosphate, ammonium (mostly on bulb farms) chloride, nitrate, sulphate and potassium were exceeded in groundwater. Heavy metal balances have been computed at farm level for cadmium, copper, lead and zinc. There is a balance surplus for all metals involved, caused by the net result of input through atmospheric deposition and farming practice and output through leaching to the groundwater. Therefore accumulation of heavy metals has been concluded to occur in both categories.
Buringh E; Opperhuizen A(Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2003-01-14)
Particulate Matter (PM) in the ambient air can lead to health effects and even to premature mortality. This result has been found in a score of epidemiological studies, but its cause is not yet clear. It is certain, however, that these effects are so serious and so extensive that further action is warranted. In the scientific literature ambient aerosols are known as PM, short for Particulate Matter. Depending on the diameter or size of the particles, they are termed PM10 (for particles with diameters of up to approximately 10 micrometres) or PM2.5 (for those less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter). One micrometre is a thousandth of a millimetre. Humans inhale particles smaller than 10 micrometres, which end up deep in our airways. Recent studies have presented well-founded assumptions concerning the biological mechanisms involved and the groups of people that are probably more susceptible to PM. Particulate Matter is a generic term for a complex mixture of large and small airborne particles. However, the causal factors within this complex mixture are difficult to disentangle and have not yet been identified. The second Section of this report looks at the different types of PM, their atmospheric behaviour and the methods of measuring them. The health effects associated with PM are also presented. Section 3 discusses the most recent epidemiological, toxicological and human clinical findings and their mutual relationships. On the basis of epidemiological studies it has been estimated that in the Netherlands some 1,700 to 3,000 people per year die prematurely as a result of inhaling ambient PM. These figures reflect only the effects of acute exposure to air pollution. If the long-term effects of chronic exposure are taken into account, premature mortality could affect 10,000-15,000 people a year in the Netherlands. These last estimates for chronic exposure are more uncertain, because chronic effect studies are much fewer in number. The estimate of the chronic effects was based on foreign studies, which are not completely comparable with the Dutch situation. Section 4 gives an overview of the most recent information relating to sources of PM and emissions in the Netherlands, while the last Section presents a critical evaluation of the current and future EU standards. It is recommended that PM10 be retained as a standard for the time being, as it covers the effects of both fine and coarse particles. In view of the emerging evidence implicating fine particles in health effects, it is recommended that a standard for fine PM and/or a source-related fraction be developed as well. Even with PM concentrations well below European Union (EU) standards, people's health will still be affected because no threshold has been found for the occurrence of health effects. PM is a complex mixture containing fractions that are to a greater or lesser extent health-relevant. This differentiation in potency has profound implications for an efficient and effective reduction of health impacts through PM emission abatement. PM abatement can be justified by the precautionary principle. Further source- oriented actions could focus on reduction of the total PM10 aerosol mass or, first of all, on those PM fractions that are expected to be more health-relevant. This last option is preferred. These fractions are probably transport-related (diesel soot) and, more generally, combustion- related primary PM emissions. Abatement should therefore focus on these sources. In this respect, the abatement of uncontrolled shipping emissions has been identified as one of the more cost-effective control options. Abatement of other combustion sources such as industrial combustion, wood burning in fireplaces, and off-road machinery are also possible, but less cost-effective. The European Union has decided on two standards for PM, a daily and an annual average value. The current EU standards for daily and annual average values are not equivalent, as was originally intended. In the Netherlands the following options are equivalent to the EU annual standard of 40 ug/m3: a daily level of 50 ug/m3 with 80 exceedances (while the EU allows 35 exceedances) or a daily level of 100 ug/m3 with 7 permitted exceedances per year. For practical reasons a daily standard of 100 ug/m3 is preferred. Although the EU has proposed two standards for PM, there are several arguments that only one standard would suffice - annual mean concentrations being the best choice. However, for reasons of communication to the public daily standards may be appropriate. Compliance with the annual average EU standard seems feasible for PM10 in the Netherlands in 2005, although local exceedances at 'hot spots' cannot be ruled out. Compliance in 2010 with the indicative annual average EU standard of 20 ug/m3 is not feasible, even at high cost. Expectations are that there will still be 36-40 exceedances per year of the EU daily standard of 50 ug/m3 even after all planned abatement measures (Current Legislation of Emissions (CLE)) have been taken in 2010. Therefore, compliance with the current EU daily standards for 2005 and 2010 does not seem feasible in the Netherlands and adverse health effects will continue to occur.<br>
Tabak C; Tijhuis MAR(Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2003-06-05)
This report, commissioned by the Dutch Asthma Foundation, gives an overview of available information on the health-related quality of life of persons with asthma or COPD in comparison with other groups. One of the means used was a literature search selecting Dutch studies that compared the quality of life in the Netherlands of persons with asthma or COPD to that of the general population or persons with other (chronic) diseases. In total 27 relevant studies were selected, 9 for children and 18 for adults. The other means was to carry out secondary analyses on data collected in three epidemiological studies. Health-related quality of life is a concept with multiple dimensions: the state of health, consequences of health for functioning and the appreciation given to levels of functioning are all important dimensions. Asthma and COPD may lead to physical and emotional complaints, and to limitations in physical, emotional and social functioning. The way functional limitations are experienced may vary from patient to patient. In children, asthma was associated with a deterioration of physical, emotional and social functioning. This relation was stronger for girls than for boys, stronger for 10 to 13-year-olds than for 7 to 9-year-olds, and stronger for children of parents with a lower education than for children of parents with a higher education. In children with asthma, having recent asthma complaints was associated with worse physical and emotional functioning. Compared to children with diabetes mellitus, children with asthma reported their physical functioning to be worse, but they were less worried about their disease. Children with asthma reported physical and social functioning to be worse than that reported by children with epilepsy. In adults, asthma and COPD were associated with a deterioration of health-related quality of life in terms of physical, emotional and social functioning. Persons with asthma or COPD also rated their health as being worse than that of the general population. Similar to the results for children, the reduction of quality of life associated with asthma and COPD was larger for women than for men; similarly, it was larger for older compared to younger persons and for lower educated people compared to higher educated people. The quality of life for those with COPD seemed worse than for persons with asthma, especially in terms of physical functioning, self-rated health and subjective experience. Compared to those with other diseases, adults with asthma or COPD reported, in general, a good quality of life, especially socially. As expected, quality of life was inversely associated with the severity of asthma or COPD. We conclude that future research into monitoring of, and changes in, quality of life in persons with asthma or COPD promises to be worthwhile, also in relation to course and severity of the disease, and to use and costs of care. A number of ongoing studies will be able to contribute to this. Further research is also needed for detection of specific risk factors for a poor quality of life in persons with asthma or COPD.<br>
Decomposition analysis is a method for dis-entangling the different key-factors that determine temporal changes in emission levels. It is a 'top-down' method starting from general available statistical data. This report explores the role decomposition diagrams can play in national and international policy analysis and evaluation. For this purpose a case study has been performed. The case study concerns the reduction of NOx emissions from combustion plants in industries in the Netherlands and Belgium in the 1985-1999 period. NOx emission reduction policies have been studied and linked with the effect of NOx emission abatement that is the technique effect in the decomposition analysis. Policy instrument characteristics have been used to describe the likely effect of studied instruments. The case study shows that observed changes in the NOx-technique effect in the Netherlands could be closely linked to specific policy events, such as the introduction and stepwise further improvement of the Dutch Decree on emission limits for large combustion plants (BEES). Hardly any technique effect was observed in Belgium in the period 1985-1999. On the condition that monitoring results of Belgium are reliable, this implies that no clear technical improvement in emission abatement of NOx has occurred in this period in industrial combustion plants in Belgium. This may be explained by the less ambitious emission regulation in Belgium i.e. emission standards are less stringent and the scope of action of the national regulation is more confined (less installations are regulated). One of the most important conclusions of the case study is that decomposition analysis can play an important role in policy analysis. On the one hand, decomposition figures may confirm expected changes in emissions, and in doing so, underpin the results of policy analysis. On the other hand, changes observed in decomposition figures may indicate changes in policies, and in doing so, direct policy analysis. Finally, it may be concluded from the case study that the use of decomposition figures alone already gives a fair idea about the overall effectiveness of NOx emission reduction policies in different countries. A broad-based and in-depth study as performed in this study produces more detailed knowledge but also requires much more effort. This time-consuming aspect has to be taken into account when considering and planning these kind of studies.
The study documented here deals with the technical potential of sustainable energy sources to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the long term (2050) by more than 80% compared to their use in 1990. Biomass alone was shown to have insufficient potential to reach this goal where CO2 emissions are concerned. Fossil fuels combined with CO2 storage do have this potential, but only for a limited time period. The technical potential of renewable solar/wind/water sources to reduce CO2 emissions is more than sufficient on a global scale. Besides, wind turbines and solar collectors can be located on arid lands, precluding competition with food production and threats to biodiversity. Further conclusions can be summarised as follows: 1) other emissions than CO2 can, technically speaking, be reduced by more than 95% compared to 1990 levels; fuel-cell electric or battery-operated vehicles are not necessary for this because the emission reduction potential of the internal combustion engine too is still large; 2) a shift to sustainable energy will, in consequence, make a large claim on land, in which case CO2 capture will be precluded as an option for sustainability; 3) under optimistic assumptions, the per kilometre costs of sustainable energy chains may be slightly lower than those of the reference energy chain ('fossil fuel + combustion engine'), and 4) external safety problems may occur if hydrogen is stored under pressure, although these can be eliminated using other means of transportation and hydrogen storage. In cases where policy makers see land use in relation to competition with food production, drinking-water supply and biodiversity as important indicators for sustainability, it would appear obvious to focus attention in the long term on electricity or hydrogen from solar/wind/water. This is because of the large potential of renewable energy and the ability of wind and solar energy to be produced on wastelands and even in deserts, precluding threats to food production, drinking-water supply and biodiversity. In the time that renewable energy production capacity is being built up, the underground storage of CO2 option can be set in to attain a reasonable CO-2 emission reduction in the short term. Neither should biomass be precluded in the short term, since a transition to biomass combined with combustion engines in the transport sector is much easier to achieve than, for example, a transition to renewable hydrogen combined with fuel cells.
Versteegh JFM; Stolker AAM; Niesing W; Muller JJA(Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2003-11-10)
Hundreds of active substances are used in human and veterinary drug formulas. Because pharmaceuticals are broadly applied, their residues can reach the environment via several pathways. Since pharmaceutical compounds are not completely eliminated in the sewage treatment plants, variable amounts reach surface water and groundwater. The last few years has seen a growing interest in the assessment of the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment.This report records results of the analysis to gain information on the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in surface water, groundwater, drinking water and waste water in the Netherlands. The aim is to use this information for risk assessment and risk management. All 13 pharmaceuticals in this study were analysed using a single method (LC-MS/MS). Pharmaceuticals such as acetylsalicylic acid (analgesic), carbamazepine (anti-epileptic), clofibric acid (cardiovascular agent) and sulphamethoxazol (antibiotic) are found incidentally in very low concentrations (several tens of nanograms) in drinking water. Concentrations come to a factor of 1000 lower than the (provisional) toxicological limit values. Based on the results of the survey and the current toxicological information, the risk for the drinking-water consumer is negligible. The results of samples taken after different treatment steps during drinking-water production indicate that ozonisation in combination with activated carbon filtration promotes better removal of the pharmaceuticals than chlorination followed by activated carbon filtration. To realise the aim of risk management pharmaceuticals should not be present in drinking water. Therefore taking measures to prevent the discharge of persistent pharmaceuticals into the environment is recommended.<br>
Basic groundwater values are concentrations in natural aerial deposition, multiplied by condensation factors derived from evapotranspiration in the actual landscape. They can serve as reference values for limit values and also for determining anthropogenic influences on groundwater. Groundwater basic values and basic values for atmospheric deposition in the Netherlands were derived from groundwater with long travel times in the soil, sampled in the national (LMG) and provincial groundwater monitoring networks (PMG). Groundwater from areas with natural vegetation, having resided a large time in a sandy soil, is discharged by the Veluwe sprengen, where investigations included the analysis of 50 trace elements. Comparison of the concentrations of trace elements in groundwater with travel times of more than 50 years under natural vegetation and those in Veluwe sprengen water showed the effects of variations in evapotranspiration, leading to different condensation factors. Human activities (acidification) cause high concentrations of metals in groundwater with short travel times under natural vegetation. Other trace elements and most major compounds have the highest concentrations in recent groundwater under agriculture (fertiliser). The national target levels for groundwater in LMG and PMG are often exceeded for Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn and, notably, for groundwater with the shortest travel times in the soil of both agricultural grounds and areas with natural vegetation. Recently infiltrated groundwater was observed in the National Soil Monitoring Network (LMB). Results indicated an increased aerial deposition of metal elements on natural vegetation showing a south to north trend over the Netherlands. Areas with intensive husbandry, sampled in LMB, show increased values for As and total-P, the concentrations of the other elements being only slightly higher if compared to normal agricultural soils.
Bakker M; Baars AJ; Baumann B; Boon PE; Hoogerbrugge R(Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2003-09-30)
The report presents a survey of the most recent (1998/1999) information on the occurrence of indicator-PCBs in foodstuffs in the Netherlands. The data on occurrence collected during measurement programmes on occurrence were combined with food consumption data to assess the dietary intake of the seven indicator-PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls, congeners 28, 52, 101, 118, 138, 153 and 180). The estimated median lifelong-averaged intake of indicator-PCBs in the population is 5.6 ng per kg bw per day. The 95th percentile of intake in the population is estimated at 11.9 ng per kg bw per day. The contribution of different food groups to the total intake of indicator-PCBs) is fairly uniformly distributed over the foods consumed: meat products (27%), dairy products (17%), fish (26%), eggs (5%), vegetable products (7%), and industrial oils and fats (18%). Compared with earlier intake estimations the present estimation shows a considerable reduction in intake of indicator-PCBs, albeit that this reduction flattened out during the last decade. This substantial reduction is related to the decrease in the concentration of PCBs in the majority of foodstuffs. However, a small part of the population still has a rather high intake. If this high intake only occurs for a limited period of time, it is not expected to result in adverse health effects. To provide regulators with a health-based guideline to prevent health effects of exposure to indicator PCBs, the derivation of a TDI, preferably by international bodies, is recommended. Monitoring the dietary intake of PCBs is just as important as monitoring the intake of dioxins, and attempts to decrease the exposure to both compound classes need continuous attention.<br>
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