5&5: News and science highlights from March

April 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

News

Cancer rise and sperm quality fall ‘due to chemicals’: “The best working theory we have to explain why sperm counts may be declining is that chemicals from food or the environment are affecting the development of testicles of boys in the womb or in their early years of life,” says Dr Allan Pacey, University of Sheffield (UK).

Scientists want to help regulators decide safety of chemicals: The NYT reports on groups representing 40,000 researchers and clinicians which are urging federal agencies responsible for the safety of chemicals to examine the subtle impact a chemical might have on the human body, rather than simply ask whether it is toxic.

Food sold in recycled cardboard packaging ‘poses risk’: Leading food manufacturers are changing their packaging because of health concerns about boxes made from recycled cardboard, reports the BBC.  Recycled cardboard can be contaminated with toxic inks.

UCSF Team Shows How to Make Skinny Worms Fat and Fat Worms Skinny: Researchers exploring human metabolism at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have uncovered a handful of chemical compounds that regulate fat storage in worms, offering a new tool for understanding obesity and finding future treatments for diseases.

Chemical-free pest management cuts rice waste: Science Daily describes a “novel way of bringing sustainable, pesticide-free processes to protect stored rice and other crops from insects and fungi can drastically cut losses of stored crops and help increase food security for up to 3 billion daily rice consumers” – not to mention reducing risks to health posed by pesticide use.

Science

Combating Environmental Causes of Cancer: An important contribution in the New England Journal of Medicine from Harvard’s David Christiani, MD, MPH, emphasising the importance of improving our understanding of how chemicals in the environment may be contributing to cancer incidence.

Several current-use, non-PBDE brominated flame retardants are highly bioaccumulative: Study finding that non-PBDE BFRs have similar bioaccumulative properties as PBDEs. PBDEs are currently being phased out due to environmental concerns – it may be the case that their substitutes are no better.

Endocrine disruptors: from endocrine to metabolic disruption. A good review of endocrine disrupting compounds and metabolism, including diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and more. It includes both epidemiological and mechanistic studies, and is particularly helpful for not assuming detailed knowledge on the part of the reader.

Food Packaging and Bisphenol A and Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate Exposure: Findings from a Dietary Intervention: Evidence that exposure to BPA and DEHP can be substantially reduced by restricting the consumption of packaged food.

Environmental pollutants and type 2 diabetes: a review of mechanisms that can disrupt beta cell function: A new review of the association between chemical exposure and diabetes, finding that clear evidence that “some environmental pollutants affect pancreatic beta cell function.”

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