5&5: News and science highlights from September 2011

October 13, 2011 at 11:12 am | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment

For daily updates on the latest news and science about how chemicals affect health and developments in chemicals policy, visit our archives on delicious (now containing over 1,300 links to scientific studies and news stories): http://delicious.com/contaminanthealthscience

Assay - Dionysios Theofilopoulos - WikimediaNews

Safety testing. New screen IDs vascular system’s chemical enemies: Cell-based tests can predict with a high success rate if chemicals will damage the developing vessels that carry blood throughout the body, according to research published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The laboratory tests are being developed and refined as a way to allow more rapid testing of chemical safety and to reduce the use of animals in toxicity testing of chemicals.

Chemicals Policy. American Medical Association – Time for new policy on environmental risk: The attention surrounding problems associated with bisphenol A is but an indication that more needs to be done to assess the risk of chemicals in the environment, says the AMA in a call for “a national, modern and comprehensive policy”. Such an approach “require[s] a full evaluation of the health impacts of newly developed chemicals and those now in use”.

Green chemistry. Are Flame Retardants Safe? Growing Evidence Says ‘No’: Solid overview of the use of halogenated flame retardants, industry’s reliance on them for preventing oil-based materials from burning (some estimate that 1/3 of the weight of plastics in aeroplanes is deca-BDE), and the potential alternatives.

BPA. Bisphenol A: ANSES issues call to reduce exposure of the most susceptible populations: The French food safety agency ANSES has contradicted EFSA’s position on BPA, concluding from its own review of the evidence that “wherever it may be replaced, it must be done,” and “immediately in materials in contact with food.” Unlike EFSA, AMSES appears to regard evidence of toxicity in animals as sufficient for limiting human exposure; EFSA generally dismisses animal data unless it can be interpreted into a TDI calculation.

Disease Prevention. Scientists and health professionals urge UN to tackle non-communicable diseases: In an open letter, more than 100 scientists, health professionals, civil society representatives and other stakeholders, led by Dr Annie J Sasco and André Cicolella from France, urge the UN and WHO to tackle the challenge of non-communicable diseases by global action, especially in low-and-medium income countries, including environmental health factors and occupational disease prevention.


Interpreting Evidence. Bisphenol a and adult disease: making sense of fragmentary data and competing inferences: Discussion of Chinese epidemiological research which did not find a dose-response relationship between BPA exposure and incidence of diabetes, including limitations of the study, how to interpret the fragmented data we have on BPA, and the direction research needs to go to provide clearer answers.

Diabetes. Consumption of POPs via Farmed Salmon Causes Insulin Resistance and Obesity in Mice: Study indicating “that intake of farmed salmon fillet contributes to several metabolic disorders linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity, and suggest a role of POPs in these deleterious effects.” Fish feeds based on fish oil are heavily contaminated with POPs, and this study adds to evidence that POPs play a role in obesity and diabetes.

Endocrine disruption. Environmental endocrine disruptors and endocrine diseases in children: A French medical review of the mechanisms by which EDCs may cause harm and why they are such a cause of concern. “The impact of EEDs depends on their number and on the period and duration of exposure. […] Environmental endocrine disruptors are a major public health concern as is confirmed by the mobilization of international health agencies on the matter.”

Thyroid. Monitoring of PBDEs concentration in umbilical cord blood and breast milk from Korean population: This study of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in umbilical cord blood and breast milk from a Korean population have found exposure levels to be similar to those in Europe, and also identified a link to increased levels of thyroid hormone.

Flame Retardants. Not enough data to risk assess 50% of flame retardant substances in consumer products in domestic environments: For 22 of the 42 flame retardants currently in use in domestic goods, there is not enough data to allow a REACH risk assessment to be prepared, finds this EU study.

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