5&5: News and Science Highlights from July

August 9, 2011 at 8:29 am | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment

Stay up-to-date with newly-published science and news stories about chemicals and health with our on-line archive. You can filter items according to subject and even create custom RSS feeds for your website.


How to design a safer chemical. Nature discusses a new paper in which researchers show how obeying two key rules of thumb greatly reduces the chances of a molecule being acutely toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.

Global Prevention of Environmental and Occupational Cancer. Prof Philip Landrigan presents the thrust of the recent Asturias Declaration, identifying priority areas for action to further develop strategies for prevention of environmental causes of cancer.

Melting Arctic ice releasing banned toxins, warn scientists. In an example of how one environmental problem can make another worse – and the unpredictable consequences of environmental pollution – scientists are warning that an unknown amount of trapped persistent organic pollutants poses threat to marine life and humans as temperatures rise

Patrolling Cancer’s Borderlands. An interesting NYT op-ed on how limiting exposure to carcinogens is beset by scientific, political and social challenges – all of which need to be overcome.

The cocktail of up to 20 chemicals in a glass of milk. A glass of milk can contain a cocktail of up to 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones, scientists have shown. It should not necessarily be assumed, as the coverage states, that the doses of drugs are too small to affect anyone drinking them, but the results do highlight how man-made chemicals are now found throughout the food chain.


Graph showing rise in number of autism diagnosesGenetic Heritability and Shared Environmental Factors Among Twin Pairs With Autism. Although autism is considered the most heritable of neurodevelopmental disorders, this twin-pair study finds only moderate genetic heritability but a substantial shared twin environmental component, providing strong evidence that the environment plays a significant role in the onset of autism. Also see this editorial explaining the importance of the study and the NIH media briefing which summarises key findings.

Comparison of four different methods for reliability evaluation of ecotoxicity data. A paper exploring whether or not evaluation and reporting criteria for individual studies can contribute to making the risk assessment of chemicals more systematic, predictable, and transparent and facilitate the use of data from non-standard, but more sensitive, assays.

Food Packaging and Bisphenol A and Bis(2-Ethyhexyl) Phthalate Exposure: Findings from a Dietary Intervention. To evaluate the contribution of food packaging to exposure, this study measured urinary BPA and phthalate metabolites before, during, and after a “fresh foods” dietary intervention. BPA and DEHP exposures were substantially reduced when participants’ diets were restricted to food with limited packaging.

Shorter Anogenital Distance Predicts Poorer Semen Quality in Young Men in Rochester, New York. AGD in rodents is an indicator of healthy reproductive development in males. This study finds that humans with shorter AGD will also show lower semen quality, suggesting “that the androgenic environment during early fetal life exerts a fundamental influence on both AGD and adult sperm counts in humans”

Association of Osteoarthritis With Serum Levels of the Environmental Contaminants Perfluorooctanoate and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate in a Large Appalachian Population. This large cross-sectional study finds a strong association between exposure to PFCs and osteoarthritis.

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