April 2014 chemicals and health news digest

April 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment

The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics. Long feature article which starts off with an unnecessarily hysterical tone before settling into a very interesting recent history of controversies around BPA and plastics being marketed as safer alternatives.

FDA official says cosmetics industry is trying to undercut government regulations. Concerned about generations-old regulations that have left it with little power to ensure the safety of thousands of consumer products from shampoo to shaving cream, the Food and Drug Administration launched talks with the cosmetics industry more than a year ago. The goal was to reach a deal on a regulatory regime that has not changed since 1938.

Dredging up the truth. Newly uncovered documents reveal that as early as the 1960s General Electric company officials were warned of the potential serious health threats of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which their engineers described in confidential memos as “hazardous waste.” GE flushed far more PCBs into the river than government regulators have estimated and nearly a million pounds a year of additional PCBs were carted away by scavenger crews.

The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains. Forty-one million IQ points. That’s what Dr. David Bellinger determined Americans have collectively forfeited as a result of exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides.

Washington physician accused of deception testified 3 times on Alaska bills. A physician accused last week by Washington state officials of failing to disclose his ties to the chemical industry played a role in scuttling legislation in Alaska that sought to prevent toxic chemicals from being used as flame retardants in clothing, furniture and plastics.

Sorting Out the Risks of Fish. Fish is often called “brain food.” It’s an excellent source of lean protein, rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and iodine, and pregnant women are encouraged to eat it. There’s just one, ah, catch: Fish also may have mercury, which can harm the developing brain.

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