EDF Health

Selected tag(s): carcinogen

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 »

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Not a silly question: Is Halloween mischief worth risking toxic exposures?

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

Growing up in the 1970s, Mischief Night was a big deal for me.  When I was in grade school, hoards of us kids took to our neighborhood just after dark to wreak innocent havoc.  More fun than Halloween, I recall soaping up car windows and decorating neighbors’ trees with toilet paper.  (What were our parents thinking?)

When a wonder toy called Silly String hit the stores, Mischief Night turned psychedelic with crazy vibrant colors issuing in long streams from an aerosol can!  And what was the harm?  Silly String simply dried up and blew away.  Who knew that we might actually be spewing a brew of toxic chemicals?  Read More »

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Questionable risk decisions under ChAMP: Chlorobenzenes Category

Cal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist and Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Our analysis of EPA’s risk decision under ChAMP for this category of toxic chemicals vividly illustrates how EPA has failed to adopt a health-protective approach to its screening of HPV chemicals.  Rather, it misclassifies or understates these chemicals’ hazards, asserts that existing regulations are sufficient even when they are quite old or do not cover identified exposures, and naively assumes that children will not be as exposed as adults to consumer products used in the home unless they are intended for their use.  Finally, this case demonstrates that manufacturers are not reporting to EPA even readily available information on their chemicals’ uses.  Read More »

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Are Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes More Like Asbestos Than We Thought?

John BalbusJohn Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Health Scientist.

We and many others have made analogies between nanoparticles and asbestos.  The purpose of the analogy has generally been to emphasize the long latency that can occur between exposure to toxic materials and the development and subsequent recognition of disease arising from that exposure.  And, of course, the enormous legal and financial burden of failing to adequately consider risks before allowing widespread exposure.  But a new study suggests that the analogy may be even stronger than we thought:  It may extend to the capacity to cause mesothelioma, the rare form of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. Read More »

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