Selected category: Health Science

Podcast: You Make Me Sick! Nature-rich lives and the future of environmentalism

For this month’s episode of You Make Me Sick, we broke from our usual discussion of things that might harm your health to talk about an exposure that might help your health. Specifically we talked with journalist and advocate Richard Louv about the ways in which exposure to green spaces can affect your health. Mr. Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle and founder of the non-profit Children and Nature Network, sat down with us to discuss the need to design nature rich lives and the future of environmentalism.

Want more? Subscribe to us on iTunes or Google Play, or check out our SoundCloud to listen via desktop! [Image credit Francisco Anzola]

Posted in Health Science| Tagged | Comments are closed

Toxic Exposures: 10 Americans expose the toxic chemicals in our environment

Every day we are exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals we can’t see —chemicals used in everything from the clothes we wear to the lotions we use and even the couch we sit on. Synthetic chemicals are used to make 96% of products in the United States. Yet scientific research continues to link chemicals in common use to health effects like cancer, infertility, and asthma.

EDF selected 10 individuals across the country to wear a novel wristband technology designed to detect chemicals in their environment for one week – including Gordon, Karen, and Averi.

 

Gordon is a lieutenant for the Memphis Fire Department. Gordon’s wristband detected 16 chemicals, including gamma-chlordane, a pesticide that has been banned in the U.S. since the 1980s, and 3,4-dichlorophenyl isocyanate, a “chemical intermediate,” which is reportedly used exclusively for chemical manufacturing processes. While there were no fires to fight the week he wore the wristband, Gordon wondered if he came into contact with these chemicals from a site visit to a location that formerly housed chemical stockpiles, his local auto repair shop, the nearby highway – or even his fire suit.

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Also posted in Emerging Testing Methods, Environment| Tagged | Comments are closed

Podcast: You Make Me Sick! Plasticizers, fast food, and your urine

From the shores of the Puget Sound to the inside of your colon, EDF Health’s You Make Me Sick podcast has been bringing you the latest in environmental health science. In today’s episode, we’re excited to showcase the work of Dr. Ami Zota of the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

We sat down with Dr. Zota to discuss her recent study where she looked at how certain chemicals associated with plastics show up in people’s urine after they eat fast food.

 

Want more? Subscribe to us on iTunes or Google Play, or check out our SoundCloud to listen via desktop!

Posted in Health Science| Tagged , , | Comments are closed

EPA’s ban on high-risk uses of trichloroethylene needs to get over the finish line

Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist with the Health Program.

Trichloroethylene, or TCE for short, is a very toxic chemical. No doubt about it. Among other health effects, TCE is known to cause cancer and interfere with development.  It is also toxic to the immune system and kidneys. While the vast majority of TCE in the U.S. is used to make other chemicals (i.e., is used as a chemical intermediate), approximately 15% of TCE has other commercial and consumer purposes, including as a metal degreaser and spot cleaning agent.

Over the past several years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a hard look at exposures and potential health risks—including to workers, consumers, and bystanders—resulting from certain commercial and consumer uses of TCE. It found clearly excessive risks from these uses, which prompted the agency to take steps to reduce these exposures.

In December 2016, using its authority under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA proposed a rule to ban the use of TCE as an aerosol degreaser and as a spot cleaning agent in commercial dry cleaning facilities—marking the first time in nearly 3 decades it has tried to restrict a chemical under TSCA. A second proposed rule to ban the use of TCE as a vapor degreaser followed a month later in January 2017 and is undergoing public comment.

The public comment period on the first TCE proposed rule closed recently. EDF filed extensive comments urging the agency to finalize the rule as soon as possible.

Highlights of our comments are below:   Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, Regulation, TSCA Reform| Tagged , | Comments are closed

Podcast: You Make Me Sick! Cocaine in the Puget Sound!?!

After our episodes on the impact of lead on the developing brain and how microbes teeming inside us shape our health in unbelievable ways, EDF Health is proud to present the latest episode of our podcast, You Make Me Sick. On this episode, we interviewed Dr. James Meador of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency about his research article where he found a soup of chemicals, including cocaine, in the waters of the Puget Sound. He explains how drugs and other chemicals of emerging concern can pass through wastewater treatment plants and end up in the surrounding waters and even the tissues of fish!

Click below to listen. Want more? Subscribe to us on iTunes or Google Play, or check out our SoundCloud to listen via desktop!

Also posted in Emerging Science| Tagged | Read 1 Response

EDF’s assessment of a health-based benchmark for lead in drinking water

Tom Neltner, J.D.is Chemicals Policy Director

Health professionals periodically ask me how they should advise parents who ask about what constitutes a dangerous level of lead in drinking water. They want a number similar to the one developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for lead in dust and soil (which is the primary source of elevated blood lead levels in young children). I usually remind them that EPA’s 15 parts per billion (ppb) Lead Action Level is based on the effectiveness of treating water to reduce corrosion and the leaching of lead from plumbing; it has no relation to health. Then I tell them that EPA is working on one and to hold tight. Admittedly, that is not very satisfying to someone who must answer a parent’s questions about the results of water tests today.

On January 12, EPA released a draft report for public comment and external peer review that provides scientific models that the agency may use to develop potential health-based benchmarks for lead in drinking water. In a blog last month, I explained the various approaches and options for benchmarks that ranged from 3 to 56 ppb. In another blog, I described how EPA’s analysis provides insight into the amounts of lead in food, water, air, dust and soil to which infants and toddlers may be exposed. In this blog, I provide our assessment of numbers that health professionals could use to answer a parent’s questions. Because the numbers are only a start, I also suggest how health professionals can use the health-based benchmarks to help parents take action when water tests exceed those levels.

EDF’s read on an appropriate health-based benchmark for individual action on lead in drinking water

When it comes to children’s brain development, EDF is cautious. So we drew from the agency’s estimates calculated by its model to result in a 1% increase in the probability of a child having a blood lead level (BLL) of 3.5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL).

EDF's assessment of a health-based benchmark for individual action on lead in drinking water
Age of child in home and type of exposureHouses built before 1950¹Houses built 1950 to 1978²Tests show no lead in dust or soil³
Formula-fed infant3.8 ppb8.2 ppb11.3 ppb
Other children 7 years or younger5.9 ppb12.9 ppb27.3 ppb

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Also posted in Drinking Water, Emerging Science, Flint, lead| Tagged , , , , , | Comments are closed
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