April 2015 Science Bulletin #1: flame retardants in fatter children; pesticides linked to reduced male fertility; and more

April 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment
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April 2015 Science Bulletin #1:
Human Research

Flame retardants, child BMI | In Utero and Childhood Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Exposures and Body Mass at Age 7 Years: The CHAMACOS Study. We estimated sex-specific associations with maternal PBDE levels during pregnancy and body mass index at age 7 with positive associations in boys and negative associations in girls. Children’s serum BDE-153 concentrations were inversely associated with body mass index at age 7 with no difference by sex. Future studies should examine the longitudinal trends in obesity with PBDE exposure and changes in hormonal environment as children transition through puberty, as well as evaluate the potential for reverse causality.

Pesticides, cardiovascular disease, fat mass | Associations of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls with total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in elders with differing fat mass. The positive association between OC pesticides and CVD mortality was also observed only among elderly with low fat mass. The possibility of interaction between POPs and the amount of fat mass on risk of mortality from chronic diseases is clinically important in modern societies with an obesity epidemic and requires confirmation in other studies with larger sample size.

BPA, neonatal thyroid function | Gestational urinary bisphenol A and maternal and newborn thyroid hormone concentrations: The HOME Study. We observed no significant associations between 16-week BPA and THs in maternal or cord serum, but 26-week maternal BPA was inversely associated with TSH in girls (-42.9%; 95% CI: -59.9, -18.5%), but not boys (7.6%; 95% CI: -17.3, 40.2%; p-for-effect modification=0.005) at birth. The inverse BPA-TSH relation among girls was stronger, but less precise, among iodine deficient versus sufficient mothers. Prenatal BPA exposure may reduce TSH among newborn girls, particularly when exposure occurs later in gestation.

Biomonitoring | A pilot study on the feasibility of European harmonized Human Biomonitoring: Strategies towards a common approach, challenges and opportunities. Next steps in European harmonization in Human Biomonitoring surveys include the establishment of a joint process for prioritization of substances to cover and biomarkers to develop, linking biomonitoring surveys with health examination surveys and with research, and coping with the diverse implementations of EU regulations and international guidelines with respect to ethics and privacy.

EDCs, cancer | Occupational exposure to endocrine disruptors and lymphoma risk in a multi-centric European study. We evaluated occupational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) among 2457 controls and 2178 incident lymphoma cases and subtypes from the European Epilymph study. Over 30 years of exposure to EDCs compared to no exposure was associated with a 24% increased risk of mature B-cell neoplasms (P-trend=0.02). Associations were observed among men, but not women.

Pesticides, male fertility | Fruit and vegetable intake and their pesticide residues in relation to semen quality among men from a fertility clinic. Consumption of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residues was associated with a lower total sperm count and a lower percentage of morphologically normal sperm among men presenting to a fertility clinic. Click here for a detailed explanatory synopsis about how “whether or not pesticide residue found in our diet is another factor that affects sperm quality is an important topic that needs further study”.

March 2015 News Bulletin: Suppressed pesticide report; children’s brains; chemical enemy #1; and more

March 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | 1 Comment

March 2015 News Bulletin

‘Suppressed’ EU report could have banned harmful pesticides worth billions. The unpublished EU paper says that the risks associated with exposure to even low-potency EDCs is so great that potency alone should not serve as a basis for chemicals being approved for use. Its proposed criteria for categorisations of EDCs – along with a strategy for implementing them – was supposed to have enabled EU bans of hazardous substances to take place last year. But commission officials say that under pressure from major chemical industry players, such as Bayer and BASF, the criteria were blocked. In their place, less stringent options emerged, along with a plan for an impact assessment that is not expected to be finalised until 2016. (Guardian)

Secrets of the home: The chemical reactor you live in. Every moment of every day, chemical reactions are taking place in the air and on almost every surface of our homes. The primary driver of this indoor chemistry is ozone, a highly reactive molecule made up of three oxygen atoms. Most of it comes into our homes from outside, although relatively small amounts come from air purifiers, laser printers and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. (New Scientist)

Chemical enemy number one: how bad are phthalates really? “The Chap report is the first major regulatory document in the federal government that’s highlighting the extent of the new science on the risks of phthalates,” says Erik Olson, senior strategic director of food and agriculture and health programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The fact that the commission is looking both at phthalates as a group and at the toxicology of individual phthalates is really important,” he says. (Guardian)

What are we doing to our children’s brains? The numbers are startling. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.8 million more children in the U.S. were diagnosed with developmental disabilities between 2006 and 2008 than a decade earlier. During this time, the prevalence of autism climbed nearly 300 percent, while that of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increased 33 percent. CDC figures also show that 10 to 15 percent of all babies born in the U.S. have some type of neurobehavorial development disorder. Still more are affected by neurological disorders that don’t rise to the level of clinical diagnosis. (ensia.com)

Danish institute say Efsa BPA exposure limit too high. The tolerable daily intake for bisphenol A should be 0.7 µg/kg of body weight/day or lower, according to an assessment by the National Food Institute of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). In a report on the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific opinion on BPA, the institute claims that Efsa’s proposed temporary TDI of 4 µg/kg of body weight/day “does not adequately protect” against the compound’s endocrine-disrupting effects. (ChemicalWatch)

March 2015 Science Bulletin: Phthalates reduce sex drive in women; BPA and phthalates change sex ratio of offspring; IARC appraised; and more

March 9, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment
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Don’t miss our recent feature article: “Science, Innovation, Politics and Controversy: How to Resolve Disagreement in Environmental Policy

Human research

Phthalates, reproduction | Environmental exposure to di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate is associated with low interest in sexual activity in premenopausal women. Women in the highest quartile of urinary concentrations of mono-2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl phthalate, a DEHP metabolite, had 2.58 (95% CI 1.33, 5.00) times the adjusted odds of reporting that they almost always or often lacked interest in sexual activity, and results were similar for mono-2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl phthalate (aOR: 2.56, 95% CI 1.32, 4.95), another DEHP metabolite. Self-reported vaginal dryness was not associated with any phthalate metabolite concentration.

Pesticides, respiratory | Early-life Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and Pediatric Respiratory Symptoms in the CHAMACOS Cohort. In this study, higher prenatal markers of organophosphate exposure were non-significantly associated with respiratory symptoms in the previous 12 months at 5 or 7 years of age [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) per 10-fold increase = 1.44; 95% CI: 0.98, 2.12]. This association was strongest with total dialkyl phosphate and dimethyl (DM) metabolytes from the second half of pregnancy (aOR per 10-fold increase = 1.77; 95% CI: 1.06, 2.95; and 1.61; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.39, respectively). Childhood DAP, diethyl and DM concentrations were associated with respiratory symptoms and exercise-induced coughing in the previous 12 months at 5 or 7 years of age.

BPA, phthalates, sex ratio | Couples’ urinary bisphenol A and phthalate metabolite concentrations and the secondary sex ratio. “When maternal and paternal chemical concentrations were modeled jointly, paternal BPA (RR, 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62-0.95) and mono-isobutyl phthalate (RR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.67-1.00) were significantly associated with a female excess. Contrarily, maternal BPA (RR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.03-1.31), mono-isobutyl phthalate (RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.06-1.54), mono-benzyl phthalate (RR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.08-1.58), and mono-n-butyl phthalate (RR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.01-1.51) were significantly associated with a male excess.”

Non-human, policy and other research

Developmental origins of disease #1 | Developmental origins of health and disease: a paradigm for understanding disease cause and prevention. “The evidence in support of the developmental origins of the health and disease paradigm is sufficiently robust and repeatable across species, including humans, to suggest a need for greater emphasis in the clinical area. As a result of these data, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular morbidity, and neuropsychiatric diseases can all be considered pediatric diseases. Disease prevention must start with improved nutrition and reduced exposure to environmental chemicals during development.”

Developmental origins of disease #2 |Evolution of DOHaD: the impact of environmental health sciences. “With mounting evidence connecting early-life exposures to later-life disease, we conclude that it is critical to expand the original DOHaD concept to include environmental chemical exposures, and to continue a research agenda that emphasizes defining sensitive windows of exposure and the mechanisms that cause disease.”

Adequacy of chemical safety test methods | Assessment of health risks resulting from early-life exposures: Are current chemical toxicity testing protocols and risk assessment methods adequate? “It is clear that sensitivity to chemical exposures during early-life can be similar, higher, or lower than that of adults, and can change quickly within a short developmental timeframe. Moreover, age-related exposure differences provide an important consideration for overall susceptibility. Differential sensitivity associated with a life stage can reflect the toxicokinetic handling of a xenobiotic exposure, the toxicodynamic response, or both. Each of these is illustrated with chemical-specific examples. The adequacy of current testing protocols, proposed new tools, and risk assessment methods for systemic noncancer endpoints are reviewed in light of the potential for differential risk to infants and young children.”

Evaluating IARC | IARC Monographs: 40 Years of Evaluating Carcinogenic Hazards to Humans. “The procedures employed by IARC to assemble Working Groups of scientists from the various discipline and the techniques followed to review the literature and perform hazard assessment of various agents provide a balanced evaluation and an appropriate indication of the weight of the evidence. Some disagreement by individual scientists to some evaluations is not evidence of process failure. The review process has been modified over time and will undoubtedly be altered in the future to improve the process. Any process can in theory be improved, and we would support continued review and improvement of the IARC processes. This does not mean, however, that the current procedures are flawed.”

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