5&5: News and science highlights from May 2012

June 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment


Harmful household chemicals must be banned – health before commerce. Andreas Kortenkamp: “The UK Health and Safety Executive’s chemicals division has tabled proposals for regulating pesticides that closely follow those developed by industry. Identifying a substance as an EDC will have a great financial impact, they say, so only the most potent substances should be given endocrine disrupter status.”

Chemical manufacturers rely on fear to push flame retardant furniture standards: An extensive investigation into “a decades-long campaign of deception that has loaded furniture and electronics in American homes with pounds of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility” with worrying implications for EU and UK fire safety policy.

For a full round-up of coverage of the US flame retardant scandal, plus other relevant stories and recent science, see our flame retardants stack on delicious.

See our flame retardants coverage, aggregated on delicious

Household chemical ‘cocktail effect’ raises cancer concerns for watchdog: Common chemicals found in household products, cosmetics and medicines may be causing cancers, fertility problems and other illnesses including diabetes and obesity, according to a new review by the European Environment Agency.

Data Diving: Fascinating insight into moves towards accessing raw trials data which, although for assessment of pharmaceutical efficacy, is pertinent to toxicological data access for chemical regulation. Illustrates many of the obstacles (such as commercial confidentiality) and how some researchers are seeking to overcome them.

Euro MPs criticise managers of EU agencies: The BBC reports on how the European Parliament has delayed approval of three major EU agency budgets, criticising EFSA for links to the food industry, considered a possible risk to EFSA’s independence. (See Le Monde for coverage in more detail.)


Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Exposure and Diabetes: Demonstration of a statistically significant association of serum PCB levels with increased diabetes prevalence overall, especially among women. Additionally, the most highly exposed individuals < 55 years of age had an elevated risk of diabetes.

Weak estrogenic transcriptional activities of Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S: Using two standardised transactivation assays, this study shows the estrogenic activity of Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S is of comparable potency.

Bisphenol A alters the development of the rhesus monkey mammary gland: Dense tissue changes, a risk factor for breast cancer, were found in the mammary glands of female offspring of rhesus monkeys fed BPA while pregnant.

Expression and DNA methylation changes in human breast epithelial cells after bisphenol A exposure: This study suggests that the breast tissue of women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations could be more susceptible to the effects of BPA. Previous studies have shown that, age by age, breast cancer risks for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers born after 1940 are significantly higher than risks for mutation carriers in the same families born before 1940.

Phthalates in PVC floors taken up by the body in infants: New data showing that uptake of phthalates in infants, including DEHP and BBzP, can be related to flooring materials using softened PVC in the home. DEHP and BBzP are banned for use in toys for small children owing to health risks.

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