5&5: News and science highlights from September 2012

October 8, 2012 at 9:02 am | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment


The Endocrine Society Issues Statement of Principles. A new position statement from The Endocrine Society provides a strong argument for scientists in industry, government, and academia to work together, across disciplines, to improve testing of chemicals as potential endocrine disruptors.

Arlene Blum’s Crusade Against Toxic Couches. An exceptional break-down of the controversies surrounding the use of flame retardants in furniture including the vested interests pushing for their unnecessary use, the dubious efficacy of chemical fire retardants, and how flammability standards prevent the use of non-chemical fire retardant technologies.

Hands off the Report on Carcinogens. Information and, importantly, access to reliable and objective information is the cornerstone of a democratic society. That is why recent efforts by the chemical industry and its allies to block Congressionally-mandated, scientific information on carcinogenic hazards by defunding the US Report on Carcinogens (ROC) have many researchers and public health officials alarmed.

Experts debate how low-dose effects should impact risk assessment. Experts from Europe and the US have begun discussing how traditional risk assessment methods should be adapted, if at all, to account for low-dose effects and non-monotonic dose responses. The group, which includes representatives from government, academia, industry and NGOs, was meeting at a workshop in Berlin hosted by the European Commission and the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Tightened Maryland restrictions on baby formula to take effect in 2014. New rules forbid Maryland from purchasing infant formula that contains more than 0.5 parts per billion of BPA and bans the manufacturing or distribution of such a product – but the chemical is so widely distributed in the environment that officials are not yet sure it is possible to meet the new standard.


Country specific comparison for profile of chlorinated, brominated and phosphate organic contaminants in indoor dust. Case study for Eastern Romania, 2010. A useful comparison of dust contamination data from different countries, with new data on presence of persistent compounds in Romanian house dust.

Perfluorooctanoic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease in US Adults. Increasing serum PFOA levels were positively associated with CVD and PAD, independent of confounders such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking status, body mass index, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and serum cholesterol level. See also a commentary on the significance of CVD as a public health problem and how elevated levels of PFC exposure may increase CVD risk, looking at corroborating evidence from a number of studies.

Persistent developmental toxicity in rat offspring after low dose exposure to a mixture of endocrine disrupting pesticides. Adverse effects including reduced prostate and epididymis weights were observed in young and adult male offspring exposed to the highest dose of a pesticide mixture. As no significant effects were seen following single compound exposure at the doses included in the highest mixture dose, these results indicate cumulative adverse effects of the pesticide mixture. A second study reported similar results.

Association between urinary bisphenol A concentration and obesity prevalence in children and adolescents. Urinary BPA concentration was found to be significantly associated with obesity in this cross-sectional study of children and adolescents. Importantly (and not prominent in media coverage) the association cannot rule out the possibility that obese children ingest food with higher BPA content or have greater adipose stores of BPA.

Bisphenol A alters early oogenesis and follicle formation in the fetal ovary of the rhesus monkey. Monkeys continuously exposed to BPA showed persistent unenclosed oocytes in the medullary region and small, nongrowing oocytes in secondary and antral follicles. Because effects on both stages of oogenesis were elicited using doses that yield circulating levels of BPA analogous to those reported in humans, these findings raise concerns for human reproductive health.

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