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Archive for August, 2012

The number of American children with learning and developmental disabilities has been climbing over the past decade, reaching nearly one in six by 2008.[1] The increasing prevalence of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder accounts for most of this change.[2]The National Academy of Sciences estimates that combinations of environmental factors, including exposure to toxic chemicals, along with genetic susceptibility, cause or contribute to at least 25% of learning and developmental disabilities in American children.[3]

Intellectual disability (formerly referred to as mental retardation) affects 2%, or approximately 1.4 million, children in the United States.[4] As of 2009, 9% of children—roughly 50 million kids—were diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).[5][6] According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 88 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder.[7] Between 1997 and 2008, the prevalence of autism increased nearly 300% nationally.[8] In a seminal study of California’s dramatic rise in autism rates, researchers found that about 30% of the rise could not be explained by changes in the age of diagnosis or the inclusion of milder cases.[9] (more…)

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By Lindsey Konkel Environmental Health News August 31, 2012

Girls exposed to high levels of a common household chemical had their first period seven months earlier than girls with lower exposures, according to new research by federal scientists. “This study adds to the growing body of scientific research that exposure to environmental chemicals may be associated with early puberty,” said lead author Danielle Buttke of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Age of menarche – when a girl has her first period – has fallen over the past century, from an average of 16-17 years to 12-13 years. Evidence points to chemicals in consumer products that can mimic estrogen. The CDC study is the first to link dichlorobenzene and the age of girls’ first period. Dichlorobenzene, a solvent, is used in some mothballs and solid blocks of toilet bowl deodorizers and air fresheners. It is found in the bodies of nearly all people tested in the U.S.

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Together, we can get  toxic chemicals out of children’s school supplies once and for all!  Read the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ), (a national environmental health organization), brand new report that found toxic chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects widespread in children’s vinyl back-to-school supplies. The chemicals found, phthalates, are so toxic they’ve been banned in toys, yet are widespread in children’s vinyl school supplies. http://chej.org/2012/08/backtoschool2012/

See what CBS News has to say about this new report. The new investigation found 75% of children’s “back-to-school” supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates, including popular branded school supplies (vinyl lunch boxes, backpacks, 3-ring binders, raincoats, and rain boots.)

The levels of phthalates would be illegal if these products were toys. For instance, we found:

  • A Backpack contained phthalates 69 times the limit set by the federal ban.
  • A Backpack contained phthalates 52 times the limit set by the federal ban.
  • A Lunchbox contained phthalates 29 times the limit set by the federal ban.
  • A Lunchbox contained phthalates 27 times the limit set by the federal ban.

Just like toys, school supplies like these are used by young children vulnerable to chemical exposure.

And none of the products had any labels on them indicating they were chock full of these nasty substances. Don’t we have a right to know?  (more…)

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Big Chem, Big Harm?  by Nicolas Kristof NY Times
NEW research is demonstrating that some common chemicals all around us may be even more harmful than previously thought. It seems that they may damage us in ways that are transmitted generation after generation, imperiling not only us but also our descendants. Following the script of Big Tobacco a  generation ago, Big Chem has, so far, blocked any serious regulation of these endocrine disruptors, so called because they play havoc with hormones in the body’s endocrine system. (more…)

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In the summer of 2005, the lives of Kristen Hayes-Yearick  and her family were forever changed by their Nippenose Valley neighbor’s use of an Organophosphate pesticide, Dimethoate 4EC. The exposure killed their Golden Retriever, Tanner. Shortly after the exposure, each of her  children started developing health problems. Kristen was lost, confused and angry as she began an investigative journey that led  her into our past, our present and our future. This is her story in her own words  (more…)

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Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2012 Research by : Robin E. Dodson1, Marcia Nishioka2, Laurel J. Standley1,3, Laura J. Perovich1, Julia Green Brody1, Ruthann A. Rudel1  1 Silent Spring Institute, Newton, Massachusetts, USA, 2 Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, USA, 3 Clear Current LLC, Belmont, California, USA

Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products

Chemicals contained in consumer products are ubiquitous in human tissues, sometimes at high concentrations [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2009] and in household air and dust (Rudel and Perovich 2009Rudel et al. 20032010Weschler 2009). Studies of pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in homes provide some information about sources, exposure pathways, and exposure reduction options (Dodson et al. 2008Lorber 2008Rudel et al. 2008Zota et al. 2008). However, for many common commercial chemicals, limited information is available about how specific consumer products contribute to exposure. In particular, little information is available about exposures from personal care and cleaning products.

Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2012 Research by : Robin E. Dodson1, Marcia Nishioka2, Laurel J. Standley1,3, Laura J. Perovich1, Julia Green Brody1, Ruthann A. Rudel1  1 Silent Spring Institute, Newton, Massachusetts, USA, 2 Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, USA, 3 Clear Current LLC, Belmont, California, USA (more…)

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As reflected in the new strategic plan (NIEHS 2012), the NIEHS has a fresh vision, not because our values have changed but because our research has been so successful—and many of you have made a huge contribution to that progress.

The NTP is moving beyond the traditional approaches of testing one chemical at a time and are taking on the significant challenge of evaluating mixtures. We are also looking at the effects of exposures throughout the life span, expanding our research and testing to include prenatal exposures and how they may link to adult disease. It is clear that there are multiple windows of susceptibility and that exposures early in life may have long-lasting consequences to both health and disease.  

Finally, the antiquated idea that the dose makes the poison is overly simplistic. The newest research clearly shows that biology is affected by low doses of chemicals, often within the range of general population exposure, and that these biological changes can be harmful, especially during periods of development. Therefore, low-dose research must go hand in hand with our life-span approach.

http://niehs.nih.gov/about/strategicplan/strategicplan2012_508.pdf

(more…)

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