Green chemistry as leadership opportunity; BPA and behavioural abnormalities in mice; and more // October 2014 science digest #2 (non-human & policy)

October 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Posted in 5&5 News & Science | Leave a comment
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October 2014 Science Digest #2:
Non-Human and Policy Research

Green chemistry | Green Chemistry as a Leadership Opportunity for Toxicology: We Must Take the Wheel. Imagine how great it would be to be invited by Ferrari, Mercedes, or Tesla to help design their next new car. From the steering wheel to the engine, sound system, cup holders, and everything else, you would able to have everything just how you want it. Then you could have the best car builders in the world produce what you have helped them design. For a car enthusiast, it would perhaps be a dream come true, but what if you are not into cars? What if your interests lean more toward the scientific and you are more into, say, chemicals? (Tox Sci)

BPA, behavioural abnormalities | Bisphenol-A exposures and behavioural aberrations: Median and linear spline and meta-regression analyses of 12 toxicity studies in rodents. Exposures to bisphenol-A, a weak estrogenic chemical, largely used for the production of plastic containers, can affect the rodent behaviour. Thus, we examined the relationships between bisphenol-A and the anxiety-like behaviour, spatial skills, and aggressiveness, in 12 toxicity studies of rodent offspring from females orally exposed to bisphenol-A, while pregnant and/or lactating, by median and linear splines analyses. Overall, our study showed that developmental exposures to low-doses of bisphenol-A, e.g. ≤120μg/day, were associated to behavioural aberrations in offspring. (Toxicology)

Phthalates, diabetes | Phthalate exposure in utero causes epigenetic changes and impairs insulin signalling. These findings indicate that gestational DEHP exposure predisposes F1 offspring to glucometabolic dysfunction at adulthood by down-regulating the expression of critical genes involved in the insulin signalling pathway. Furthermore, DEHP-induced epigenetic alterations in Glut4 appear to play a significant role in disposition towards this metabolic abnormality. (J Endocrinol)

Epigenetics | The lure of the epigenome. The assertion that multiple mechanisms of inheritance exist, and that variation in genomic sequences alone cannot account for phenotypic differences, inevitably raises ontological concerns similar to those apparent in the days of Lamarck. If the gene is no longer understood as the fundamental force of human life and is not “part physicist’s atom and part Plato’s soul”, as the philosopher of science Evelyn Fox Keller put it, then the hoary problem of the relationship of nature and nurture must once again be confronted. (The Lancet)

Air pollution and stroke; pesticides and depression; and more // October 2014 Science Digest #1 (human studies)

October 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Posted in 5&5 News & Science | Leave a comment
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October 2014 Science Digest #1:
Human Studies

Air pollution, stroke | Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Incidence of Cerebrovascular Events: Results from 11 European Cohorts within the ESCAPE Project. A 5-μg/m3 increase in annual PM2.5 exposure was associated with 19% increased risk of incident stroke [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.19, 95% CI: 0.88, 1.62]. Similar findings were obtained for PM10. The results were robust to adjustment for an extensive list of cardiovascular risk factors and noise co-exposure.

Other recently-published epidemiological studies looking at the effects of air pollution on health:

Pesticides, depression | Pesticide Exposure and Depression among Male Private Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study. After weighting for potential confounders, the fumigants aluminum phosphide and ethylene dibromide; the phenoxy herbicide (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy)acetic acid (2,4,5-T); the organochlorine insecticide dieldrin; and the organophosphate insecticides diazinon, malathion, and parathion were all positively associated with depression in each case group, with ORs between 1.1 and 1.9.

Phthalate exposure in infants | A Longitudinal Study of Urinary Phthalate Excretion in 58 Full-Term and 67 Preterm Infants from Birth through 14 Months. Most PT infants and approximately one-third of healthy FT newborns were exposed to phthalates during early life at a potentially harmful level according to the European Food Safety Authority’s recommended limits of daily exposure.

Phthalates, asthma | Asthma in Inner-City Children at 5–11 Years of Age and Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates: The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health Cohort. Prenatal exposure to BBzP and DnBP may increase the risk of asthma among inner-city children. However, because this is the first such finding, results require replication.

Do sweeteners raise diabetes risk? Does the US EPA favour industry data? And more. October 2014 news round-up

October 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Posted in 5&5 News & Science | Leave a comment
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October 2014 News Round-Up

Do artificial sweeteners raise diabetes risk? “Artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes, claim scientists,” reports the Guardian. But before you go clearing your fridge of diet colas, the research in question – extensive as it was – was mainly in mice. [Editor's note: The fact this research was done in mice should be understood in the context that this research cannot ethically be performed in humans.] (NHS Choices)

Are parabens and phthalates harmful in makeup and lotions? Should you worry about the chemicals in your makeup, lotion, shaving cream, soap and shampoo? The answer is a clear maybe. (Washington Post)

Priorities for Breast Cancer Research: Taking Stock of Chemicals, Biomarkers, and Exposure Assessment Tools “There’s quite a lot of biological evidence that chemicals are plausibly linked to breast cancer, but very little research has been focused on this,” says study co-author Julia Brody. “We wanted to really open up the discussion about breast cancer prevention and provide a road map for considering chemicals that are mammary gland carcinogens in rodents.” (Environmental Health Perspectives)

Does the EPA Favor Industry When Assessing Chemical Dangers? Article outlining apparent over-dependence on industry input at the US EPA, in how it assesses the safety of compounds such as atrazine. (Newsweek)

Sweden and Denmark’s influence on EU policy. National strategies to tackle human health and environmental risks, triggered by exposure to chemicals, can provide a good indication of the future of European chemicals policy. Indeed, some strategies originating in Europe’s Nordic countries are now visibly beginning to guide action at the EU level. (Chemical Watch)

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