5&5: News and science highlights from November 2012

December 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment


Exposures to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Age of Menarche in Adolescent Girls in NHANES (2003–2008). These findings suggest an association between 2,5-DCP, a potential EDC, and earlier age of menarche in the general U.S. population.
Dichlorophenols are metabolites of SCB, commonly used in mothballs, as fumigant, toilet-bowl deoderant, air-freshener, and insect-repellent.

Teratogenic Effects of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides: Divergence of Regulatory Decisions from Scientific Evidence. Examination of the German authorities’ draft assessment report on the safety of glyphosate reveals evidence of glyphosate’s teratogenicity, with malformations associated with retinoic acid teratogenesis. The authors argue that in approving glyphosate the German and EU authorities minimized these findings and consequently set a potentially unsafe acceptable daily intake (ADI) level for glyphosate.

Traumatic brain injury, paraquat exposure, and their relationship to Parkinson disease. People who have had a head injury and have lived or worked near areas where the pesticide paraquat was used may be three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. “While each of these two factors is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s on their own, the combination is associated with greater risk than just adding the two factors together,” said the study author.

Neurobehavioral function and low-level exposure to brominated flame retardants in adolescents: a cross-sectional study. This study is one of few and so far the largest one investigating the neurobehavioral effects of brominated flame retardants in humans. Consistently with experimental animal data, PBDE exposure was associated with changes in the motor function and the serum levels of the thyroid hormones (see also SF Chronicle coverage). Another study has profiled the flame retardants which are replacing PBDEs, and finds cause for concern.

Breast cancer risk in relation to occupations with exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors: a Canadian case-control study. Across all sectors, women in jobs with potentially high exposures to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors had elevated breast cancer risk (OR = 1.42; 95% CI, 1.18-1.73, for 10 years exposure duration).


Toxic Dangers: The Plight Of A Protective Parent In A Chemical World. Exhaustive account of the challenges of developing sensible chemicals regulation, from a US perspective – although insisting on wooden toys is an extreme response.

EFSA’s anniversary hit by protest over ‘industry capture’ of food safety. EFSA’s showpiece tenth anniversary event was overshadowed by a protest outside the conference venue by farmers, NGOs, students and local activists, accusing EFSA of “reliance” on industry studies and data to form its scientific advice to the EU institutions. There is growing interest in EFSA’s use of science in decision-making, including the following pieces: EU policymaking: Rooted in science? | EU food agency needs to restore ‘credibility’

Pesticides used on fruit and vegetables ‘may be putting young children at risk of cancer’. Pesticides and other chemicals used in growing fruit and veg could be putting young children at risk of developing cancer in later life, say scientists. In a new US study, pesticide exposure was particularly high in tomatoes, peaches, apples, peppers, grapes, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, spinach, dairy, pears, green beans and celery.

Early Arrival.Kotex’s recent success in targeting girls who start their periods before they start middle school provides the springboard for a detailed review of emerging evidence of a declining age of puberty in girls.

Drug-pollution law all washed up. Europe is set to quash a precedent-setting initiative designed to tackle a disturbing side effect of common drugs — their impact on aquatic life – even though the UK government’s Environment Agency found in 2004 that 86% of male fish sampled at 51 sites around the country were intersex

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