Feb 2014 chemicals & health news digest

February 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment

Endocrine Disruptors, Toxicity Mechanisms | Birnbaum twist on Paracelsus: “Does dose make the poison? A current assessment of nonmonotonicity.” Increasingly, toxicologists in the field of environmental health science, such as Birnbaum, are recognizing that for some compounds, especially hormones and hormone-like chemicals, the reverse may hold true. In these cases, a much smaller dose may have a disproportionate impact on toxicity, while greater doses may actually blunt effects through several antagonistic mechanisms, including the saturation of receptors.

Hazardous Chemicals, Taxation | Sweden proposes hazardous chemical tax on consumer goods. Consumer goods subjected to the tax would be those containing hazardous substances on a list that would be drafted for each product group, according to Kemi. For example, clothing and footwear items containing certain phthalates, allergenic or carcinogenic dyestuffs and antibacterial substances should be taxed.

Flame retardants, Regulation | Calif. law change sparks debate over use of flame retardants in furniture (video). Flame retardants are commonplace in most upholstered furniture to help prevent house fires. But studies have linked the chemicals to cancer and fertility problems, prompting California to change the state’s furniture flammability standards which could have a ripple effect across the country. (Read about how manufacturers are mounting legal challenges to the new law.)

Early Puberty | Trend Towards Early Puberty in Girls Continues, Researchers Ask Why. Obesity alone doesn’t explain the phenomenon. Though girls with a higher body mass index showed the most dramatic changes, even girls with a healthy body weight are developing earlier than in decades past.

Safer Substitutes, Formaldehyde | The ‘No More Tears’ Shampoo, Now With No Formaldehyde. In reformulating some of its iconic products, J&J is navigating a precarious path, investing tens of millions of dollars to remove problem chemicals while at the same time insisting that they are safe – all the while meeting the demand of the marketing department that the new formulations are functionally indistinguishable from the old.

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