Background: A number of applications have been developed using rare earth elements (REE), implying several human exposures and raising unsolved questions as to REE-associated health effects. Methods: A MedLine survey was retrieved from early reports (1980s) up to June 2015, focused on human and animal exposures to REE. Literature from animal models was selected focusing on REE-associated health effects. Results: Some REE occupational exposures, in jobs such as glass polishers, photoengravers and movie projectionists showed a few case reports on health effects affecting the respiratory system. No case-control or cohort studies of occupational REE exposures were retrieved. Environmental exposures have been biomonitored in populations residing in REE mining areas, showing REE accumulation. The case for a iatrogenic REE exposure was raised by the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents for nuclear magnetic resonance. Animal toxicity studies have shown REE toxicity, affecting a number of endpoints in liver, lungs and blood. On the other hand, the use of REE as feed additives in livestock is referred as a safe and promising device in zootechnical activities, possibly suggesting a hormetic effect both known for REE and for other xenobiotics. Thus, investigations on long-term exposures and observations are warranted. Conclusion: The state of art provides a limited definition of the health effects in occupationally or environmentally REE-exposed human populations. Research priorities should be addressed to case-control or cohort studies of REE-exposed humans and to life-long animal experiments.

Rare earth elements in human and animal health: State of art and research priorities

Giovanni Pagano
;
ALIBERTI, FRANCESCO;GUIDA, MARCO;Antonietta Siciliano;TRIFUOGGI, MARCO;
2015

Abstract

Background: A number of applications have been developed using rare earth elements (REE), implying several human exposures and raising unsolved questions as to REE-associated health effects. Methods: A MedLine survey was retrieved from early reports (1980s) up to June 2015, focused on human and animal exposures to REE. Literature from animal models was selected focusing on REE-associated health effects. Results: Some REE occupational exposures, in jobs such as glass polishers, photoengravers and movie projectionists showed a few case reports on health effects affecting the respiratory system. No case-control or cohort studies of occupational REE exposures were retrieved. Environmental exposures have been biomonitored in populations residing in REE mining areas, showing REE accumulation. The case for a iatrogenic REE exposure was raised by the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents for nuclear magnetic resonance. Animal toxicity studies have shown REE toxicity, affecting a number of endpoints in liver, lungs and blood. On the other hand, the use of REE as feed additives in livestock is referred as a safe and promising device in zootechnical activities, possibly suggesting a hormetic effect both known for REE and for other xenobiotics. Thus, investigations on long-term exposures and observations are warranted. Conclusion: The state of art provides a limited definition of the health effects in occupationally or environmentally REE-exposed human populations. Research priorities should be addressed to case-control or cohort studies of REE-exposed humans and to life-long animal experiments.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/609066
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