September News Bulletin
Drugging the Environment. Humans have spiked ecosystems with a flood of active pharmaceuticals. The drugs are feminizing male fish, confusing birds, and worrying scientists. “Legislation is not protecting ecosystems at the moment,” says Kathryn Arnold, an ecologist at the University of York in the U.K., where there are also no regulations for pharmaceuticals in water. (The Scientist)
Supermarkets and garden centres ban Roundup weedkiller suspected of causing cancer. In Germany, for example, retailers have started removing glyphosate herbicides from their shelves, with one state protection minister calling for a ban on the use of the chemical by the general public. “This pesticide should not be found in gardens, parks or on children’s playgrounds. I also do not think use in private gardens is appropriate,” explained Lower Saxony’s consumer protection minister Christian Meyer. (The Guardian)
September Science Bulletin #2: developmental toxicity research needs; “manufacturing doubt” around EDCsSeptember 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
September Science Bulletin #2:
Science policy and non-human research
Developmental toxicity | Life-Long Implications of Developmental Exposure to Environmental Stressors: New Perspectives. Current testing paradigms do not allow proper characterization of developmental risk factors and their interactions. Thus, relevant exposure levels and combinations for testing must be identified from human exposure situations and outcome assessments. Testing of potential underpinning mechanisms and biomarker development require laboratory animal models and in vitro approaches. Only few large-scale birth cohorts exist, and collaboration between birth cohorts on a global scale should be facilitated.
EDCs, science and policy | Manufacturing doubt about endocrine disrupter science – A rebuttal of industry-sponsored critical comments on the UNEP/WHO report “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012”. We conclude that Lamb et al.’s attempt of deconstructing the UNEP/WHO (2013) report is not particularly erudite and that their critique is not intended to be convincing to the scientific community, but to confuse the scientific data. Consequently, it promotes misinterpretation of the UNEP/WHO (2013) report by non-specialists, bureaucrats, politicians and other decision makers.
Pesticides, public health | GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians’ worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive.
Safer alternatives | Alternatives Assessment Frameworks: Research Needs for the Informed Substitution of Hazardous Chemicals. While alternatives assessment is becoming an important science policy field, there is a need for greater cross-disciplinary collaboration to refine methodologies in support of the informed substitution and design of safer chemicals, materials, and products. Case studies can provide concrete lessons to improve alternatives assessment.
Glyphosate, liver | Transcriptome profile analysis reflects rat liver and kidney damage following chronic ultra-low dose Roundup exposure. A 2-year study in rats administering 0.1 ppb Roundup (50 ng/L glyphosate equivalent) via drinking water (giving a daily intake of 4 ng/kg bw/day of glyphosate) was conducted. A marked increased incidence of anatomorphological and blood/urine biochemical changes was indicative of liver and kidney structure and functional pathology. In order to confirm these findings we have conducted a transcriptome microarray analysis of the liver and kidneys from these same animals.
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)