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)
Green chemistry and consumer products; furor over exit of EU science adviser; and more // December 2014 news highlightsDecember 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
December 2014 news highlights
Green chemistry | Making Chemistry Green. For nearly 40 years, the Food and Drug Administration has wrestled with regulating the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban as they have become among the world’s most ubiquitous environmental contaminants. Designed to kill bacteria, they have been added to antibacterial soaps, cosmetics and other consumer products despite longstanding concerns about their impacts on humans and the environment. (NYT)
Science advice | Exit of E.U. science adviser triggers furor. A balanced overview of the reasons for scrapping the position of Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission and concerns that, in the absence of new proposals for integrating science into policy-making, the new Commission is devaluing science in the decision-making process. (Science)
Independence of science | Public health is the bottom line / Good science, bad science? A debate about whether conflicts of interest matter in policy-making and science advice, or whether the data should just be allowed to speak for itself, vs. the case for independence policies at EFSA, in the socioeconomic context of regulating powerful industries which are responsible for determining the safety of the product they are selling. (Chemistry World)
Endocrine disruption | Is it safe to microwave food in plastic? According to concerned scientists gathering in Brussels, the risks are very real — and raise worrying questions about our increasing reliance on a group of chemicals present in almost everything we use, from plastic water bottles, drinks cans and paints to clothing, cosmetics, toothpaste and hairspray. (Daily Mail)
Triclosan promotes liver tumors, health costs of EDC exposure, and more // Dec 2014 science update #2December 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
December 2014 Science Digest #2:
Non-Human and Policy Research
Obesity, flame retardants | Ligand Binding and Activation of PPARγ by Firemaster® 550: Effects on Adipogenesis and Osteogenesis in Vitro. Study suggesting that FM550 components bind and activate PPARγ, initiating adipocyte differentiation and antagonizing osteogenesis. Triphenyl phosphate (TPP), a component of FM550, likely is a major contributor to these biological actions. Given that TPP is ubiquitous in house dust, further studies are warranted to investigate the health effects of FM550.
Liver cancer, triclosan | The commonly used antimicrobial additive triclosan is a liver tumor promoter. A long-term feeding study finding that TCS enhances hepatocyte proliferation, fibrogenesis, and oxidative stress, which may be the driving force for developing advanced liver disease in mice. TCS strongly enhanced hepatocarcinogenesis after diethylnitrosamine initiation, accelerating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. Although animal studies require higher chemical concentrations than predicted for human exposure, this study demonstrates that TCS acts as a HCC tumor promoter.
EDCs, health costs | The Cost of Inaction : A Socioeconomic analysis of costs linked to effects of endocrine disrupting substances on male reproductive health. A Nordic Council of Ministers report on costs of EDC exposure. “Assuming that EDs constitute 2, 20 or 40% the total costs for the selected health effects are 3.6, 36.1 or 72.3 million Euros/year of exposure in the Nordic countries, this corresponds to 59, 592 and 1,184 million Euros/year at EU-level. As these costs only represent a fraction of the endocrine related diseases there are good reasons to continue the work to minimize exposure to EDs.”
BPA, exposure estimates | Evidence that bisphenol A (BPA) can be accurately measured without contamination in human serum and urine and that BPA causes numerous hazards from multiple routes of exposure. NIH and industry-sponsored round robin studies have demonstrated that serum BPA can be accurately assayed without contamination; however, the FDA lab has acknowledged uncontrolled assay contamination and suggested all BPA research suffers from this problem. In reviewing the published BPA biomonitoring data, the authors find that assay contamination is, in fact, well controlled in most labs, and cannot be used as the basis for discounting evidence that significant and virtually continuous exposure to BPA must be occurring from multiple sources.