Green chemistry and consumer products; furor over exit of EU science adviser; and more // December 2014 news highlights

December 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 #2

December 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.

High infant phthalate exposure in hospitals; sunscreen lowers fertility; and more // Dec 2014 science update #1

December 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 2014 Science Digest #1:
Epidemiological Research

Phthalates, exposure | Phthalates and critically ill neonates: device-related exposures and non-endocrine toxic risks. Study finding that the daily intake of DEHP for critically ill preterm infants is on the order of 4,000 and 160,000 times higher than desired for avoiding reproductive and hepatic [liver-related] toxicities, respectively.

Sunscreen, male fertility | Urinary Concentrations of Benzophenone-Type Ultraviolet Radiation Filters and Couples’ Fecundity. Male partners’ concentrations of the UV filters BP-2 and 4-hydroxybenzophenone were associated with reduced fecundity in adjusted models (fecundability odds ratio (FOR) = 0.69 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.50, 0.95) and FOR = 0.74 (95% CI: 0.54, 1.00), respectively). In models adjusting for both partners’ concentrations, male BP-2 concentration remained associated with reduced fecundity (FOR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.97). These data suggest that male exposure to select UV filters may diminish couples’ fecundity, resulting in a longer time to pregnancy.

Organophosphates, respiratory symptoms | Early-life Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and Pediatric Respiratory Symptoms in the CHAMACOS Cohort. Higher prenatal organophosphate (OP) exposures were non-significantly associated with respiratory symptoms in the previous 12 months at 5 or 7 years of age. This association was strongest for some OP compounds in the second half of pregnancy. Childhood OP concentrations were associated with respiratory symptoms and exercise-induced coughing in the previous 12 months at age 5 or 7 years.

Methodology, epidemiology | Thinking One Step Ahead: Strategies to Strengthen Epidemiological Data for Use in Risk Assessment. Risk assessment is a cornerstone of environmental health research and policy making. A commentary in this issue of EHP presents a set of recommendations and guidelines to help researchers more effectively characterize uncertainty in epidemiological findings. Not only will this provide more transparency for the science itself, says coauthor Jennifer Pierson, a scientific program manager at the ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, it should also lead to more sound policies when those findings are integrated into risk assessments.

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