Lindsay McCormick is a Research Analyst. Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Lead Senior Scientist.
Today EDF submitted comments supporting EPA’s proposal to limit the use of two groups of toxic chemicals that have historically been widely used as, or to make, surfactants in consumer and commercial cleaning products. The chemicals, nonylphenols (NPs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), are produced in high volumes for a variety of industrial uses and consumer products, some of which have led to widespread water pollution. The chemicals are highly toxic to aquatic organisms, and also pose significant potential human health risks.
In October, EPA proposed a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for these chemicals that would require any company intending to begin manufacture or import of these chemicals to notify EPA prior to doing so, thereby allowing EPA to evaluate the risks associated with the proposed use of the chemical and to take action if appropriate.
SNURs are one of the few regulatory tools that EPA has to seek to restrict the use of chemicals under the nation’s outdated chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
While EDF’s comments generally support EPA’s proposed rule, they also raise some concerns. Some highlights of our comments are described below. Read More
Sarah Vogel, Ph.D. is Director of EDF's Health Program.
It was late September and we were driving up and over the Kebler Pass, which takes you from the dry desert environment of the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains near Paonia, Colorado to the high mountain town of Crested Butte. We traveled through green meadows up through groves of quaking aspens, bright gold at the higher altitudes, up towards the pass, already covered in snow, blindingly bright under a brilliant Colorado sun and clear blue sky.
These were the mountain ranges where Theo Colborn, scientist and environmental health advocate, began her studies; where she lived for much of her life; the mountains that she loved; where she recently passed away at 87 years of remarkable age; and, where I suspect her spirit now resides.
Rachel Shaffer is a research assistant.
Our mothers are no doubt on our minds right now, after Mother’s Day weekend. And I am no exception, especially since, as I blogged about last year, this month is the anniversary of my own mother’s breast cancer diagnosis.
This year though, in addition to celebrating my mother’s recovery, I can find hope in a new report from researchers at the Silent Spring Institute that provides guidance to improve our ability to screen for and study potential breast carcinogens — thereby enhancing efforts to prevent this widespread disease. Good news, certainly… and a timely gift for all of the women in our lives.
This new report describes biomonitoring methods for 102 breast carcinogens with high exposure potential and identifies existing cohort studies into which these methods could be integrated immediately. These chemicals are among the 216 previously identified by the authors as chemicals linked to mammary gland tumors in rodents. By testing for exposure markers of these priority breast carcinogens in the population, researchers should be able to better identify and study high-risk groups, and regulators will be better able both to limit dangerous exposures and to demonstrate the public health benefits of these exposure reductions.
The full report is available online, but I want to highlight a few key themes that are particularly relevant to current scientific and political debates. Read More
Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.
Today the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced its first three draft priority products—the next major milestone in the implementation of its Safer Consumer Product (SCP) regulations to address chemicals of concern in the marketplace. While we’re still at the start of a long process, today’s announcement is the clearest indicator to date of the impact these regulations may have on consumer products.
The release of the draft priority products follows DTSC’s release last September of its candidate chemicals list and from within this list, the subset initial candidate chemicals list. Together with the initial candidate chemical list, the identification of the draft priority products now defines the possible set of chemical-product combinations that may head toward alternatives assessment. Read on for a description of the chemicals and products and of the next phase of regulatory actions. Read More
Sarah Vogel, Ph.D., is Director of EDF's Health Program.
Add liver cancer—a childhood cancer on the rise in the US—to the growing list of potential health effects associated with bisphenol A (BPA) exposure that are under scrutiny by researchers. A recent study by scientists at the University of Michigan, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first ever to report a dose-dependent, statistically significant relationship between perinatal (before and just after birth) exposures to environmentally relevant levels of BPA and development of cancerous liver tumors later in life.
There are three particularly notable features of this study: first, the dose levels used; second, the timing of when those doses were delivered; and third, the age at which effects were observed. Read More
Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.
We’ve blogged here before about the growing evidence that environmental exposures can cause changes in gene expression – not to be confused with mutations, which are changes in the DNA itself. We’ve noted that these changes in how and when our genes are turned on and off may actually be heritable, along with any biological or behavioral changes they induce. That is, not only might the individual who is directly exposed suffer effects, but – and here’s the kicker – so might descendants who never experienced the original exposure.
Now, several new studies add even more evidence that epigenetic changes may be transgenerational. In the past 10 days, the Washington Post has run articles detailing three new studies in mice, each of which strongly indicate that dietary deficiencies and environmental exposures can reprogram DNA in ways that can be passed along to reside in the DNA of the offspring of the affected individuals. Read More