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)
June 2015 Science Bulletin #2
Non-human and policy research
Pesticides, pollution levels | Agricultural insecticides threaten surface waters at the global scale. Despite widespread insecticide application to croplands worldwide, no comprehensive field data-based evaluation of their risk to global surface waters exists. Our data show, for the first time to our knowledge at the global scale, that more than 50% of detected insecticide concentrations (n = 11,300) exceed regulatory threshold levels. This finding indicates that surface water pollution resulting from current agricultural insecticide use constitutes an excessive threat to aquatic biodiversity.
PFAS, regulation | The Madrid Statement on Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs). A group of scientists call for phase out of PFASs. See here for an extended commentary on the Statement.
EDCs, low-dose effects | Assessing dose-response relationships for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs): a focus on non-monotonicity. The fundamental principle in regulatory toxicology is that all chemicals are toxic and that the severity of effect is proportional to the exposure level. An ancillary assumption is that there are no effects at exposures below the lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL), either because no effects exist or because they are not statistically resolvable, implying that they would not be adverse. Chemicals that interfere with hormones violate these principles in two important ways: dose-response relationships can be non-monotonic; and effects are often observed below the LOAEL.
BPA, diabetes | Long-term oral exposure to bisphenol A induces glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. In this study, 4- to 6-week old male mice on a high-fat diet (HFD) were treated with 50 µg/kg body weight/day of BPA orally for 12 weeks. Long-term oral exposure to BPA along with an HFD for 12 weeks induced glucose intolerance in growing male mice. Intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests showed that the mice receiving an HFD and BPA exhibited a significantly larger area under the curve than those receiving an HFD only.
EDCs, exposure | Effect-directed identification of endocrine disruptors in plastic baby teethers. This study demonstrates that plastic teethers can be a source of infant exposure to well-established and unknown EDCs. Because of their limited value to the product, but potential toxicity, manufacturers should critically revisit the use of parabens in plastic teethers and further toys. Moreover, plastic teethers might leach EDCs that escape routine analysis and, thus, toxicological evaluation.
June 2015 Science Bulletin #1: EDC exposure in ICU patients; flame retardants associated with delay in puberty; and moreJune 11, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment
Tags: air pollution, exposure, intensive care unit
June 2015 Science Bulletin #1
EDCs, exposure | Considerable exposure to the endocrine disrupting chemicals phthalates and bisphenol-A in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Plastic-containing medical devices were the main source of DEHP exposure: post-operative patients on hemofiltration, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or both showed serum levels 100-or 1000-fold higher than the levels in the general population reported in the literature. The serum and some of the urinary levels of the DEHP metabolites are the highest ever reported in humans; some at biologically highly relevant concentrations of ≥10-50μM.
Air pollution, diabetes | Association between Ambient Air Pollution and Diabetes Mellitus in Europe and North America: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Existing evidence indicates a positive association of air pollution and T2DM risk, albeit there is high risk of bias. High-quality studies assessing dose-response effects are needed. Research should be expanded to developing countries where outdoor and indoor air pollution are high.
Flame retardants, delayed puberty | Brominated Flame Retardants and Other Persistent Organohalogenated Compounds in Relation to Timing of Puberty in a Longitudinal Study of Girls. Exposure to hormonally active chemicals could plausibly affect pubertal timing, so we are investigating this in the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program. This first longitudinal study of puberty in girls with serum POPs measurements (to our knowledge) reveals a delay in onset with higher concentrations.
EDCs, obesity | Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals during Pregnancy and Weight at 7 Years of Age: A Multi-pollutant Approach. In single pollutant models, HCB, βHCH, PCB138, and PCB180 were associated with increased child BMI z-scores; HCB, βHCH, PCB138, and DDE with overweight risk. PCA generated four factors that accounted for 43.4% of the total variance. The organochlorine factor was positively associated with BMI z-scores and with overweight (adj RRs tertile 3 vs 1: 2.59; 95% CI: 1.19, 5.63) and these associations were robust to adjustment for other EDCs. Exposure in the second tertile of the phthalate factor was inversely associated with overweight.