5&5: Monthly news and science highlights, May 2013

June 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment

News

Decades-old question: Is antibacterial soap safe? It’s a chemical that’s been in U.S. households for more than 40 years, from the body wash in your bathroom shower to the knives on your kitchen counter to the bedding in your baby’s basinet. But US federal health regulators are just now deciding whether triclosan — the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75 percent of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the U.S. — is ineffective, or worse, harmful.

Global Ban For Flame Retardant. Under the Stockholm Convention members of the United Nations agree to stop using the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane  (HBCDD).

France notifies EU of decree to ban BPA in baby food packaging. The French Ministry of Economy and Finance has notified the EU of a decree that the ban on bisphenol A (BPA) used in food contact packaging for children under the age of three, and pregnant and feeding mothers, which will enter into force on 1 October 2013. France will also propose a restriction on the use of BPA in thermal paper.

Scientists warning over poisons in your home: Experts say chemicals in items including tin cans and till receipts should face stricter controls. Household chemicals blamed for everything from cancer to obesity should face stricter controls, leading scientists say. A declaration signed by almost 89 experts, many of them from the UK, warns the existing regulation of phthalates and bisphenol A is ‘entirely inadequate’. (See less sensationalist coverage in Euractiv.)

Study shows dangers of BPA chemical used in plastic packaging. The Indepedent: Researchers have found that feeding BPA to pregnant rats is associated with lasting alterations to the “epigenetic” structure of genes in the brain tissue of their offspring, causing possible changes to certain aspects of sex-specific behaviour, such as chasing, sniffing and aggression.

Science

Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Flame Retardants: Temporal Variability and Correlations with House Dust Concentrations. A reduction in the use of PBDEs because of human health concerns may result in an increased use of and human exposure to organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs). Human exposure and health studies of OPFRs are lacking; this study finds that household dust may be an important source of exposure to the OPFRs TDCPP but not TPP.

Effects of Low Doses of Bisphenol A on the Metabolome of Perinatally Exposed CD-1 Mice. Metabolomics, the analysis of “metabolic fingerprints”, shows here that low doses of BPA disrupt global metabolism, including energy metabolism and brain function, in perinatally exposed CD-1 mouse pups.

Environmental exposures: an under-recognized contribution to non-communicable diseases. A paper arguing that, since environmental factors contribute significantly more to NCDs than previous reports have suggested, prevention needs to shift focus from individual responsibility to societal responsibility, and that effective prevention of NCDs ultimately relies on improved environmental management to reduce exposure to modifiable risks.

Perinatal Bisphenol A Exposure and Adult Glucose Homeostasis: Identifying Critical Windows of Exposure. Study finding that BPA exposure alters end-points relevant to glucose homeostasis and differently depending on dose, sex and timing of administration.

Chemical Regulation on Fire: Rapid Policy Advances on Flame Retardants. Through a case study of advocacy around flame retardant chemicals, this paper traces the pathways through which scientific evidence and concern is marshalled both by advocacy groups and media sources to affect policy change.

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