Selected tags: inhalation

The Sweet Smell of … Cardiovascular Hazards?

Kyle Ward is an intern in EDF's Health Program.  Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

When you think of air fresheners what is the first thing that comes to mind?  Fresh spring flowers?  French vanilla?  Reduced Heart Rate Variability?  While that last one may not be on everyone’s mind, it certainly has been for one team of scientists.  They have recently conducted the first study ever to examine the potential for exposure to household cleaning sprays, air fresheners and scented products to adversely affect people’s cardiovascular systems.  Their findings, published in last month’s Environmental Health Perspectives, show a linkage between long-term use of household sprays and scented products and reduced heart rate variability (HRV).  Reduced HRV is associated with increased risk for a host of negative health effects ranging from heart attack to death.   Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Health Science| Also tagged , , | Comments closed

The beat goes on with 13 new additions to the Candidate List under REACH

Allison Tracy is a Chemicals Policy Fellow. Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

The number of chemicals identified as “substances of very high concern” (SVHCs) in the European Union continues to grow.  With today’s addition of 13 new chemicals, there are now 84 entries (representing 92 Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) registration numbers) on REACH’s Candidate List for Substances of Very High Concern for Authorisation.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) added the 13 chemicals based on each chemical’s classification as Carcinogenic, Mutagenic, or Toxic for Reproduction (CMR).  [UPDATE:  Of the new batch, two are among the 83 TSCA workplan chemicals recently identified by EPA as priorities for risk assessment, and five were reported as being in U.S. commerce in 2006.  With the new addition, a total of 48 of the 92 CAS numbers on the Candidate List were reported as in commerce in the U.S. in 2006.  Additionally, 20 of the 92 CAS numbers on the Candidate List are included among the TSCA workplan chemicals.] Read More »

Posted in EU REACH, Health Policy| Also tagged , , , | 1 Response, comments now closed

Twin dangers from TCE: Widespread exposure, and now a strong link to Parkinson disease

Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

A study published online in the Annals of Neurology last week, “Solvent Exposures and Parkinson Disease Risk in Twins,” adds to scientific evidence linking exposure to the solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, and other common solvents with onset of Parkinson disease.  Parkinson disease is a debilitating condition well known for symptoms of trembling but can also include slowed motion, impaired posture and balance, and loss of automatic movements (e.g. blinking, arm swaying when walking).  Most unfortunately, it has no cure. 

According to the authors, this new twin study is the first confirmation in a population-based study of a significant association between exposure to TCE and incidence of Parkinson disease.    Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Health Policy, Health Science, Regulation| Also tagged , , , , , , | 1 Response, comments now closed

Gasping for breath: Asthma-inducing diisocyanates enter our homes and schools

Johanna Katz is a Cornell Iscoll intern at EDF.  Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

Toxic chemicals called diisocyanates are long-established as occupational hazards known to cause severe respiratory problems to workers who use or are otherwise exposed to them (see here).  In fact, diisocyanates are the number one cause of workplace-induced asthma (see here and here).  Recently, potential exposure of the general public to diisocyanates has grown, as these chemicals are increasingly used in consumer products.  This is certainly a troubling trend considering that the primary health effect of these chemicals, asthma, is a massive and growing public health problem, especially among children.  And some of the newest uses of diisocyanates are in products to which children are quite likely to be exposed.

Asthma is at an all-time high, affecting more than 24 million Americans, and creating astronomical health and productivity costs upwards of $20 BILLION each year.  And while diisocyanates are but one of many contributors to the increasing rate of asthma in the general population, we surely don’t need to be bringing more products containing such chemicals into our homes, schools, and workplaces. That will only make matters worse.

So what exactly are diisocyanate chemicals, where are they found, and what’s the federal government trying to do about them?  Read on to find out.  Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Health Science| Also tagged , , , , , , | 1 Response, comments now closed

More progress under REACH: 13 more chemicals en route to the Authorization list

Allison Tracy is a Chemicals Policy Fellow.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the agency responsible for implementation of the EU’s REACH Regulation, posted a press release last week listing 13 chemicals it proposes to advance from its list of "Substances of Very High Concern" (SVHCs), also known as the Candidate List for Authorization, to its list of chemicals subject to Authorization, also known as Annex XIV.

Authorization is one of the main pillars of REACH, via which use of designated SVHCs is limited to those uses specifically authorized by EU authorities. Following the public consultation period that is now underway, some or all of the 13 chemicals will move to the Authorization list.   Read More »

Posted in EU REACH, Health Policy| Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

They paved paradise, all right, and with a potent human carcinogen to boot

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Imagine if someone spread a human carcinogen across millions of acres of land.  Then imagine that the carcinogen was found to be entering surface waters due to runoff from the treated acreage.  And then that the carcinogen was found to be accumulating in the dust in homes located near the treated acres.

Far-fetched?  Hardly.  Welcome to the good ol’ US of A.   Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Health Science| Also tagged , , , , | 4 Responses, comments now closed

Won’t we ever stop playing whack-a-mole with “regrettable chemical substitutions”?

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

In recent days, two compelling cases have surfaced of so-called “regrettable substitutions” – industry responding to concerns about the use of one dangerous chemical by replacing it with another that is less well-studied, or at least not currently in the crosshairs.

Case 1:  Chinese manufacturers of children’s jewelry, responding to concerns and restrictions on the use of lead in such products produced for export to the U.S., have replaced it with cadmium, a known human carcinogen and developmental toxicant that, if anything is even more toxic to kids than lead – but is not subject to any restrictions in such kids’ products.

Case 2:  American food product manufacturers, responding to concerns about the devastating effects on the lungs of workers exposed to diacetyl – an artificial butter flavoring used in many products, most notably microwave popcorn – have begun to replace it with closely related chemicals likely to break down into diacetyl or otherwise have similar effects.

Are we destined forever to play this dangerous variant on the game of whack-a-mole, or can something be done? Read More »

Posted in Health Science| Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses, comments now closed

Study raises big questions about worker protection in nanotech labs

Cal Baier-AndersonCal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

When it comes to chemical exposures, workers are on the front line.  Workers are usually the most likely to be exposed to harmful levels of chemicals, because they are the ones producing, processing, handling, sampling and measuring, transferring and transporting chemicals in larger and more concentrated quantities.

Throughout history, workers have been the canaries in the coal mines; the first to exhibit the health effects of hazardous chemical exposures, from scrotal cancer in chimney sweeps, to mesothelioma in shipyard and construction workers to liver cancer in vinyl chloride workers.

For these reasons, EDF has argued that workers handling or otherwise likely to be exposed to nanomaterials must be protected from harm (see our earlier posts here, here and here).  Now, a new government study published in the respected journal Environmental Health Perspectives reveals that certain comfortable assumptions about nanomaterial laboratory safety may be downright wrong. Read More »

Posted in Health Science, Nanotechnology| Also tagged , , | Comments closed

Superficial science in new nano sunscreen report

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

I hate to say it, but Friends of the Earth, Consumers Union, and the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) have done a disservice to good science and policy with their new superficial report Manufactured Nanomaterials and Sunscreens: Top Reasons for PrecautionRead More »

Posted in Nanotechnology| Also tagged , | 3 Responses, comments now closed

Hiding a toxic nanomaterial's identity: TSCA's disappearing act

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

In earlier posts (here and here), I discussed a notice EPA had received in July of 2008 from BASF reporting toxic effects at very low doses of a carbon nanotube (CNT) observed in a 90-day rat inhalation study.  In that notice, BASF had declared the specific identity of its CNT to be confidential business information, hence denying that information to the public.  Now, in a setting more to its liking, it appears the company has decided to reveal the identity after all. Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, Nanotechnology, Regulation| Also tagged , , , , | 1 Response, comments now closed
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