EDF Health

Selected tag(s): endocrine disruption

Do these chemicals make me look fat?

Woman in mirrorJennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

My colleague Richard Denison at EDF ended his last blog post asking, “The new study [Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women in the US: NHANES 2003-2004] leaves me with one question:  How many more such wake-up calls do we need before our government enacts policies to ensure the safety of chemicals to which we are exposed?”

Maybe this will help shake us awake!  The obesity epidemic in the United States is increasing at alarming rates.   So too is an associated disease, type 2 diabetes.  Researchers have attributed 70% of the risk associated with developing type 2 diabetes with being overweight or obese, a risk that increases by 4.5% for every 2.2 pounds of weight gained over 10 years.

A healthy diet and hitting the gym should keep these diseases at bay, right?  Certainly proper nutrition and exercise are good and important habits for controlling our weight and maintaining overall health.  But what if, despite all such efforts, there are contributing factors outside of our control, and even outside of our genetic makeup?  And what if those potential factors are found in us, on us, and all around us?

New research suggests that chemicals found in our environment and in everyday products may play a significant role in packing on the pounds.  Read More »

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

Hitting ’em where it hurts: BPA reduces sperm quantity and quality in male workers

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

As reported by Rob Stein in the Washington Post this morning, a NIOSH-funded study of male Chinese workers conducted by researchers at Kaiser-Permanente in Oakland, California has found that exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) significantly increases the incidence of low sperm counts and concentrations, as well as lowered sperm motility and higher mortality.

The 5-year study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Fertility and Sterility (that’s a title only slightly more cheery than the CDC’s publication Morbidity and Mortality!), shows that the same kinds of adverse effects of BPA on sperm already observed in animal studies also occur in humans with detectable levels of BPA in their urine.

And while the most pronounced effects were observed in highly exposed workers, the authors of the study note:

Similar dose-response associations were observed among participants with only environmental BPA exposure at levels comparable to men in the general United States population.

Despite a markedly reduced sample size in this group of men exposed only to low environmental BPA sources, the inverse correlation between increased urine BPA level and decreased sperm concentration and total sperm count remain statistically significant.

Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Health Science / Also tagged , , , , , | Read 2 Responses

Oil spill dispersants: What part of “contingency plan” did we not understand?

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

Now more than a month into the mammoth, out-of-control, no-end-in-sight oil spill at Deepwater Horizon, the unanswered questions, data gaps and withheld information surrounding BP’s use of dispersants are flowing in seemingly as fast as the oil is leaking.

With each passing day, it seems we know less and less about the composition and safety of these dispersants, other available dispersants, and even whether the use of dispersants– especially on this unprecedented scale – is to be advised at all.

It begs the question:  Isn’t having ready answers to such questions the reason why the federal government was required to develop a contingency plan in the first place?  Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, Regulation / Also tagged , , | Read 3 Responses

Are we ready to get sensible about triclosan use?

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

Yesterday the Washington Post reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is acknowledging that new research raises “valid concerns” about the possible health effects of triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical that can be found in dozens of consumer products as diverse as soaps, personal care products, cutting boards, plastic sandals and even bath towels.

Originally developed as a surgical scrub for use by doctors and nurses, the burgeoning uses of this pesticidal chemical have hugely expanded human and environmental exposures.  With little evidence of any actual public health benefits from such uses, FDA along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) should move quickly to limit triclosan use.  Only those uses that have a demonstrable public health benefit, when weighed against potential health and environmental risks, should be allowed. Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Health Science / Also tagged , , , | Read 3 Responses

Testing for endocrine disruption: Are we there yet?

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

After long delays, the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs recently issued endocrine disruptor screening test orders for dozens of high-priority pesticide ingredients.  Endocrine disruptors are chemicals capable of interfering with the action of hormones that regulate biological processes such as development, growth, reproduction and metabolism.  The test orders require pesticide manufacturers to evaluate their chemicals using a specific battery of tests.

Identifying which chemicals are endocrine disruptors can help protect people and the environment from harmful exposures.  So, with test orders now in the hands of pesticide manufacturers, will we finally get the data we need? Read More »

Posted in Emerging Testing Methods, Health Science / Also tagged , , , , , , | Read 2 Responses

Immaculate deception, part 2: Chemical industry front group calls for ban on bisphenol A

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

I’ll bet that got your attention.  Surely I jest, you’re thinking.  Well, on December 2, Montana Public Radio’s Evening Edition included a segment in which a spokesperson for the new chemical industry front group, the Coalition for Chemical Safety about which I blogged a few weeks ago, publicly calls for an all-out ban on the controversial endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA).  Here’s the clip (5 MB mp3 file). Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform / Also tagged , , , , | Read 3 Responses