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
Joanna Slaney is an EDF consultant.
As a mom, I know what it’s like to worry about the health and safety of my children. You want to do everything you can to protect your kids, and help them stay healthy and strong. That’s why I think most parents will want to pay attention to the statement released today from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The joint opinion from two of the country’s most prestigious medical organizations details how prenatal exposure to certain chemicals is linked to miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects. These groups are urging ob-gyns to advocate for government policy changes needed to ensure we identify and reduce exposure to toxic environmental agents.
EDF Health is very pleased that ACOG and ASRM are expanding awareness of the serious threats toxic chemicals can pose to our health. We urge everyone, especially parents, to take a closer look at this joint statement.
EDF Health has issued the following statement: “Today’s statement from ACOG and ASRM is the latest reminder about the devastating impact toxic chemicals can have on our health,” said Dr. Sarah Vogel, Director, EDF Environmental Health. “Even more shocking is that most everyday chemicals have never been tested for safety. Our doctors are telling us we need to fix America’s chemical laws to protect our families’ health.”
To learn more about the health impact of toxic chemicals, please go here.
Rachel Shaffer is a research assistant.
What do waterproof jackets, car wax, and non-stick pans have in common?
Aside from being great Father’s Day presents (Dad, I’m thinking ahead this year!), they also all are made with perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs. There are hundreds of different PFCs, and their oil- and water-resistant properties make them useful in a variety of products, from cookware and carpets to food-packaging and electronics.
Unfortunately, these chemicals have less desirable properties as well. Thanks to their strong molecular bonds, PFCs do not readily break down; they persist in the environment and in our bodies. And, widespread use has led to extensive human exposure. The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) human biomonitoring program, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), detected four types of PFCs in over 98% of samples representative of the U.S. population collected in 2003-2004.
Two of the compounds detected in NHANES, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorootanoic acid (PFOA), are the focus of three new studies published this month in Environmental Health Perspectives. These studies, one reporting an association with osteoarthritis in women, another an association with semen quality in men, and a third an association with asthma in children, add to a growing concern about the potential adverse effects of these ubiquitous chemicals.
What follows is a brief overview of the findings of these new studies. Read More