November 2015 News Bulletin: Transparency at EU food agency; getting harder to lose weight; safer textiles.

November 9, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment
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November 2015 News Bulletin

Risk assessment methods | Europe’s food watchdog embraces transparency. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) plans to make public the data it uses to assess whether products such as pesticides, food additives, and genetically modified (GM) crops are safe to use, eat, or grow. “We want to make our data as open as possible and make it reusable,” EFSA Executive Director Bernhard Url pledged on 14 October at the opening session of EFSA’s second scientific conference here. Industry, however, worries that the openness—which will extend to detailed industry reports—could threaten trade secrets, and some say it could stir unwarranted concerns. (Science)

Obesity | It’s gotten harder to lose weight and not for the reasons you think. When comparing people with the same diets in 1971 and 2008, the more recent counterpart was on average 10 percent heavier. Looking at physical activity data, which was only available between 1988 and 2006, those born later were five percent heavier even if they exercised just as much people two decades earlier. (Washington Post)

Safer textiles | Cutting Out Textile Pollution. In 2012, more than half of India’s $1.25 billion worth of textile exports to the U.S. came from the southern city of Tiruppur. While the business has brought economic benefits, its environmental and social costs are many. Downstream of Tiruppur and its more than 300 textile factories, the Noyyal River has become foamy and discolored. Pollution from this industry is blamed for causing illness among local people and sapping the productivity of nearby farms. (C&EN)

Safer food contact materials | What’s poppin’ in Denmark? Popcorn with safer packaging. Denmark’s largest retailer months earlier yanked microwave popcorn off its more than 1,200 stores because suppliers couldn’t come up with a way to rid the packaging of fluorinated chemicals. But then something happened: innovation. Just last week, Coop Denmark unveiled fluorinated-free microwave popcorn, made by Spanish snack company Liven. (Environmental Health News)

Pesticides | French wine industry’s love affair with pesticides blamed for worker health problems. But the French wine industry’s love affair with pesticides is coming under scrutiny over concerns about its health and social impacts. Earlier this year, a landmark legal action was launched by lawyers acting for the daughter of a vine grower, James-Bernard Murat, who died from cancer linked to his use of pesticides over a 40 year period. (The Guardian)

November Science Bulletin #2: BPA “may be reasonably anticipated” to act as breast carcinogen; FIGO statement

November 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment

November Science Bulletin #2:
Literature reviews

BPA, cancer | A review of the carcinogenic potential of bisphenol A. We conclude that there is substantial evidence from rodent studies indicating that early-life BPA exposures below the RfD lead to increased susceptibility to mammary and prostate cancer. Based on the definitions of “carcinogen” put forth by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program, we propose that BPA may be reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen in the breast and prostate due to its tumor promoting properties.

Chemicals, reproductive health | International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals. On the basis of accumulating robust evidence of exposures and adverse health impacts related to toxic environmental chemicals, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) joins other leading reproductive health professional societies in calling for timely action to prevent harm. FIGO recommends that reproductive and other health professionals advocate for policies to prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, work to ensure a healthy food system for all, make environmental health part of health care, and champion environmental justice.

See media coverage here: Major Medical Groups Increasingly Warning Of Toxic Chemical Risks To Unborn Babies. While still frequently dismissed as fringe beliefs, concerns over chemicals are attracting increased attention from professional medical associations. (Huffington Post)

November Science Bulletin #1: flame retardants and attention disorders; PFCs and low birth weight

November 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment

November Science Bulletin #1:
Human Research

Flame retardants, thyroid function | Maternal Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Exposure and Thyroid Hormones in Maternal and Cord Sera: The HOME Study, Cincinnati, USA. Median maternal serum concentrations of BDEs 28 and 47 were 1.0 and 19.1 ng/g lipid, respectively. A 10-fold increase in BDEs 28 and 47 concentrations was associated with a 0.85-μg/dL [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.05, 1.64] and 0.82-μg/dL (95% CI: 0.12, 1.51) increase in maternal total thyroxine concentrations (TT4), respectively. Both congeners were also positively associated with maternal free thyroxine (FT4).

Flame retardants, attention disorders | Prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and child attention problems at 3-7years. Our findings demonstrate a positive trend between prenatal PBDE exposure and early childhood attention problems, and are consistent with previous research reporting associations between prenatal PBDE exposure and disrupted child behaviors.

PFCs, birth weight | The Association of Prenatal Exposure to Perfluorinated Chemicals with Maternal Essential and Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids during Pregnancy and the Birth Weight of Their Offspring: The Hokkaido Study. Fatty acids (FAs) are essential for fetal growth. Exposure to perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) may disrupt FA homeostasis, but there are no epidemiological data regarding associations of PFCs and FA concentrations. Our data suggest an inverse association between PFOS exposure and polyunsaturated FA levels in pregnant women. We also found a negative association between maternal PFOS levels and female birth weight.

PFCs, fetal growth | Perfluoroalkyl Acids in Maternal Serum and Indices of Fetal Growth: The Aarhus Birth Cohort. Overall, we did not find strong or consistent associations between PFAAs and birth weight or other indices of fetal growth, though estimated mean birth weights were lower among those with exposures above the lowest quartile for some compounds.

Air pollution, blood pressure | Long-Term Air Pollution Exposure and Blood Pressure in the Sister Study. Long-term PM2.5 and NO2 exposures were associated with higher blood pressure. On a population scale, such air pollution-related increases in blood pressure could, in part, account for the increases in cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality seen in prior studies.

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