News digest (Sept 2013): Recent news & commentary about chemical toxicity and regulation

September 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment
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Denmark targets young people with chemicals awareness campaign. The Danish Ministry of Environment has launched a campaign to raise awareness among 20-25 year olds of problematic chemicals in consumer products. Research by the ministry indicates that three-quarters of this age group are interested in this issue.

How the chemicals in your blood can betray your wealth. A new study has found that different types of chemicals build up in people’s bodies depending on their socioeconomic status. While some chemicals, such as those associated with smoking, tend to be found in people who are poorer, they found others that are predominantly found in the rich. Levels of a chemical found in sunscreen, for example, were found to be higher in those with wealthier lifestyles.

A plan for revolutionizing toxicology testing for the 21st century. Thomas Hartung of the Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration discusses a three-pronged approach for the future of toxicology testing, utilizing organotypic cultures, pathways of toxicity (PoT), and integrated testing strategies (ITS). This 21st century toxicology toolkit seeks to revolutionize the field, opening up avenues for biomarker identification, the identification of nonhazardous chemicals, and greener design through predictive toxicology.

Science Should Guide TSCA Reform. Toxicologists identify 7 key elements of TSCA reform, including: innocent until proven guilty not applying to chemicals; the need for structural reform over single-compound replacements; the involvement of scientists in advising on reform.

UK study finds consumer triclosan use is declining. A study of the amount of triclosan entering the UK’s water environment has found that its use appears to be declining in hand wash products – the main application of the antibacterial. (Also see H&E #57 for a detailed overview of the use of triclosan in consumer goods.)

3-D images show flame retardants can mimic estrogens in NIH study. By determining the three-dimensional structure of proteins at the atomic level, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered how some commonly used flame retardants, called brominated flame retardants (BFRs), can mimic estrogen hormones and possibly disrupt the body’s endocrine system. BFRs are chemicals added or applied to materials to slow or prevent the start or growth of fire.

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