Health effects following subacute exposure to geogenic dusts from arsenic-rich sediment at the Nellis Dunes Recreation Area, Las Vegas, NV

Document Type



Geogenic dust from arid environments is a possible inhalation hazard for humans, especially when using off-road vehicles that generate significant dust. This study focused on immunotoxicological and neurotoxicological effects following subacute exposure to geogenic dust generated from sediments in the Nellis Dunes Recreation Area near Las Vegas, Nevada that are particularly high in arsenic; the naturally-occurring arsenic concentrations in these surficial sediments ranged from 4.8 to 346 μg/g. Dust samples from sediments used in this study had a median diameter of 4.5 μm and also were a complex mixture of naturally-occurring metals, including aluminum, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, strontium, cesium, lead, uranium, and arsenic. Adult female B6C3F1 mice exposed via oropharyngeal aspiration to 0.01 to 100 mg dust/kg body weight, four times, a week apart, for 28 days, were evaluated 24 h after the last exposure. Peripheral eosinophils were increased at all concentrations, serum creatinine was dose responsively increased beginning at 1.0 mg/kg/day, and blood urea nitrogen was decreased at 10 and 100 mg/kg/day. Antigen-specific IgM responses and natural killer cell activity were dose-responsively suppressed at 0.1 mg/kg/day and above. Splenic CD4. +. CD25. + T cells were decreased at 0.01, 0.1, 10, and 100 mg/kg/day. Antibodies against MBP, NF-68, and GFAP were selectively reduced. A no observed adverse effect level of 0.01 mg/kg/day and a lowest observed adverse effect level of 0.1 mg/kg/day were determined from IgM responses and natural killer cell activity, indicating that exposure to this dust, under conditions similar to our design, could affect these responses. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.