How to progress in endocrine disruption debate; new methods for safer chemicals; and more // Jan 2015 science digest #2

January 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Posted in 5&5 News & Science | Leave a comment
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January 2015 Science Digest #2:
Non-Human and Policy Research

Endocrine disruptors, scientific debate | A path forward in the debate over health impacts of endocrine disrupting chemicals. There are four areas fundamental to the debate about the human health impacts of EDCs. The first is about the definitions for terms such as “endocrine disrupting chemical”, “adverse effects”, and “endocrine system”. The second is focused on elements of hormone action including “potency”, “endpoints”, “timing”, “dose” and “thresholds”. The third addresses the information needed to establish sufficient evidence of harm. Finally, the fourth focuses on the need to develop and the characteristics of transparent, systematic methods to review the EDC literature.

Safer chemicals | Advancing Safer Alternatives Through Functional Substitution. This article describes a functional approach to chemicals management we call “functional substitution” that encourages decision-makers to look beyond chemical by chemical substitution to find a range of alternatives to meet product performance. We define functional substitution, outline a rationale for greater use of this concept when considering risks posed by uses of chemicals, and provide examples of how functional approaches have been applied toward the identification of alternatives.

Breast cancer, prevention | Environmental exposures, breast development and cancer risk: Through the looking glass of breast cancer prevention. This review summarizes the report entitled: Breast Cancer and the Environment: Prioritizing Prevention, highlights research gaps and the importance of focusing on early life exposures for breast development and breast cancer risk.

Endocrine disruptors, breast cancer research | Advancing Research on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Breast Cancer: Expert Panel Recommendations. The daunting tasks of identifying, characterizing, and elucidating the mechanisms of endocrine disrupting chemicals in breast cancer need to be addressed to produce a comprehensive model that will facilitate preventive strategies and public policy. An expert panel met to describe and bring attention to needs linking common environmental exposures, critical windows of exposure, and optimal times of assessment in investigating breast cancer risk.

Endocrine disruptors, reproduction | Effect of maternal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals on reproduction and mammary gland development in female sprague-dawley rats. Significant morphological/histological changes were observed at the end of lactation in the MGs of EDC-treated dams. The total transcriptome profile as well as lactation-related genes in MGs also corroborate the morphological findings as more profound gene expression changes are present only at the weaning period. The study highlights the heightened sensitivity of the MGs during critical windows of exposure, particularly pregnancy and lactation, with an impact on pups’ survival.

Phthalates lower IQ; EDCs affect thyroid function // Jan 2015 Science Digest #1 (human research)

January 13, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Posted in 5&5 News & Science | Leave a comment
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January 2015 Science Digest #1:
Human Research

Phthalates, IQ | Persistent Associations between Maternal Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates on Child IQ at Age 7 Years. Child full-scale IQ was inversely associated with prenatal urinary metabolite concentrations of DnBP and DiBP: b = -2.69 (95% confidence interval [CI] = -4.33, -1.05) and b = -2.69 (95% CI = -4.22, -1.16) per log unit increase. Among children of mothers with the highest versus lowest quartile DnBP and DiBP metabolite concentrations, IQ was 6.7 (95% CI = 1.9, 11.4) and 7.6 (95% CI = 3.2, 12.1) points lower, respectively. Associations were unchanged after control for cognition at age 3 years.

BPA, blood pressure | Exposure to Bisphenol A From Drinking Canned Beverage Increases Blood Pressure: Randomized Crossover Trial. Urinary BPA concentration increased after consuming canned beverages by >1600% compared with that after consuming glass bottled beverages. Systolic blood pressure adjusted for daily variance increased by ≈4.5 mm Hg after consuming 2 canned beverages compared with that after consuming 2 glass bottled beverages, and the difference was statistically significant. The parameters of the heart rate variability did not show statistically significant differences. The present study demonstrated that consuming canned beverage and consequent increase of BPA exposure increase blood pressure acutely.

Endocrine disruptors, thyroid function | Endocrine disruption in human placenta: expression of the dioxin-inducible enzyme, cyp1a1, is correlated with that of thyroid hormone-regulated genes. In what the author elsewhere calls “the strongest evidence to date” that endocrine disrupting chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), can interfere with thyroid hormone action in pregnant women. Here, pregnancies where the placenta contained higher levels of CYP1A1 also showed elevated levels of regulation of of two thyroid-regulated genes, even the mother’s overall thyroid hormone levels did not change (meaning the interference in thyroid function would be undetectable in conventional testing).

PCBs & pesticides, immune function | Potential effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and selected organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) on immune cells and blood biochemistry measures: a cross-sectional assessment of the NHANES 2003-2004 data. Study observing a significant association between PCB/OCP levels and blood markers in the general population. All of the levels were within normal ranges but the consistency of results may reflect subclinical effects. Largest differences were observed for NDL PCBs. Thus, routine application of toxic equivalency factors, which assume dioxin like mechanisms and aryl hydrocarbon receptor involvement, may not adequately reflect the effects of NDL PCBs in the mixture.

Endocrine disruptors, thyroid function | Prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in relation to thyroid hormone levels in infants – a Dutch prospective cohort study. Study finding that DDE and perfluorinated alkyl acids may be associated with T4 in a sex-specific manner. These results should however be interpreted with caution, due to the relatively small study population. More research is warranted, as studies on the role of environmental contaminants in this area are still limited.

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)

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