June 2015 News Bulletin

June 21, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 2015 News Bulletin

Chemical reactions: glyphosate and the politics of chemical safety. Most regulatory agencies are reluctant to acknowledge that there are choice-laden aspects to chemical safety assessment. This is partly because science is a powerful source of legitimacy, and regulators often want to portray their assessments as far more objective, reliable and consensual than is actually the case. But it is also because to do so would be an open invitation to scrutinise regulators’ technical assessments. We might reasonably want to ask how have the choice-laden aspects of those assessments been exercised: in ways that resolve ambiguities and uncertainties in favour of public health, or in favour of agribusiness? (The Guardian)

Chemical Footprinting: Identifying Hidden Liabilities in Manufacturing Consumer Products. In an unassuming low-rise in the Boston suburbs, Mark Rossi tinkers with a colorful dashboard on his laptop screen while his border collie putters around his feet. Rossi is the founder of BizNGO and Clean Production Action, two nonprofit collaborations of business and environmental groups to promote safer chemicals. He’s also the creator of tools that he hopes will solve a vexing problem—how to get a handle on companies’ overall toxic chemicals usage. (EHP)

FDA seeks more data on safety of hospital hand cleaners. “Twenty years ago you didn’t find people using antiseptic gels 100 times a day; it just didn’t happen,” Michele said. Regulators are also concerned about emerging science suggesting that antiseptics are absorbed into the body at higher levels than previously thought, showing up in the blood and urine of users. “We now understand that many of these ingredients that we thought are just put on the skin are actually systemically absorbed,” Michele said. (Washington Post)

European Commission to appoint seven to new high-level science advice panel. Putting an end to months of suspense, the European Commission today unveiled a broad plan for a new science advice system at a meeting in Brussels. As a key part of the system, the commission plans to appoint a seven-member, high-level panel of scientists to advise its policymakers. It also will create structures to better draw on the expertise of Europe’s national academies and learned societies, ScienceInsider has learned. Also see this commentary on the move. (Science)

Industry delayed EU regulation of toxic chemicals. A report out on Wednesday (20 May) shows how industry lobbied EU institutions to kill regulation on possible toxic chemicals used in everyday products. Drafted by Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory and by French journalist Stephane Horel, it shows how big chemical trade associations and firms managed to prevent restrictions from being imposed on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). See also Der Spiegel’s coverage, with the accessed documents available for download. (EU Observer)

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