5&5: News and Science Selections from January 2011

February 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment


Food coloring: Do synthetic food colors cause hyperactivity? Helpful article in the Chicago Tribune outlining concern generated by UK research into effects of food colour on behaviour, subsequent legislative controls in the UK and EU, and its ripple effect in the US.

Chemistry: It’s not easy being green. Nature describes how, in the past two decades, the green-chemistry movement has helped industry become cleaner. The article discusses the slow pace of change and why the revolution still has a long way to go.

US company settles ‘landmark’ bisphenol A case. A leading US polycarbonate baby bottle maker has become the first to settle a lawsuit over failure to tell consumers its products contained bisphenol A (BPA), in what lawyers have dubbed a “landmark” development.

Childhood Leukemia, Brain Cancer on the Rise. Childhood leukemia and brain cancer are on the rise, and exposure to chemicals in our environment such as chlorinated solvents and the head lice treatment lindane may be partially to blame, according to experts speaking at a conference call sponsored by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

Scented Products Emit a Bouquet of VOCs. A survey of selected scented consumer goods showed the products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by US federal laws.


Partition of Environmental Chemicals between Maternal and Fetal Blood and Tissues. An international team of researchers has for the first time quantified how effectively mothers pass 87 common environmental contaminants to their children. Their findings prioritise for regulation compounds that are hazardous to unborn and nursing babies. (See synopsis in C&EN.)

Combinations of Physiologic Estrogens with Xenoestrogens Alter ERK Phosphorylation Profiles in Rat Pituitary Cells. Study looking at how BPA and other xenoestrogens interfere with signalling from cell membrane receptors, important because it shows how BPA may have endocrine disrupting affects without directly affecting signalling in the cell nucleus. (See synopsis from EHP.)

Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women in the US: NHANES 2003-2004. Study concluding that pregnant women in the U.S. are exposed to multiple chemicals. The authors say further efforts are warranted to understand sources of exposure and implications for policy-making.

The ovarian dysgenesis syndrome. A new take on the testicular dysgenesis hypothesis (TDS), which postulates an in utero origin for adverse male reproductive outcomes, wherein evidence for similar origins of female reproductive disorders is reviewed.

Rotenone, Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease. PD was positively associated with two groups of pesticides defined by mechanisms which impair mitochondrial function or which increase oxidative stress, supporting a role for these mechanisms in PD pathophysiology.

Don’t forget! H&E maintains a comprehensive archive of news and science about how environmental chemicals may be affecting health, which you can view here.

Images: Ultrasound from Wikimedia / Nevit Dilmen; Sweets from Flickr / Stefano Mortellaro

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