WASHINGTON-Phenols in aquarium fish had effects on the human respiratory system similar to those seen with pollutants linked to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a study published today in Toxicological Sciences.
This study unravels the significance of phenols-colloidal compounds released by certain organisms into the environment where they act as an antioxidant-in the fish diet and raises questions about exposure to various components of the aquatic environment, said the study’s lead author, Anand Vasudevan, director of the Center for Environmental Safety Research at the National Cancer Institute.
“Phenols are modestly toxic to the environment and can accumulate in aquariums because of a wide range of fish species, ” Vasudevan said. “But the aforementioned toxins affect certain respiratory structures, raising the question: does phenols disrupt pathogenesis and may thereby increase the risk of acute lung injury relevant for COPD?”
Funding for this research came in part from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Grant Number SR068-487356. The study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (R01ES026578), an inter-institutional awards program of the National Institutes of Health.
The study was conducted on 13 patients without asthma but the lead author recommended it, because “we observed changes in the respiratory patterns of the patients so we could obtain objective information about the safety of phenols. ”