Disrupted Development: The Dangers of Prenatal Estrogen Exposure
” The drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) provides a striking andtragic example of the effects of prenatal exposures to chemicals that disrupt our hormones. DES was initially synthesized by a research team in London that had been searching for compounds that could be used for estrogen replacement during menopause, then referred to as deficiency disease. DES was approved by the FDA in 1941 to prevent miscarriages. It was prescribed to pregnant women for this purpose until 1971.
Early systematic studies failed to find evidence that DES was effective at preventing miscarriages but it continued to be prescribed to pregnant women. The wide use of DES created an accidental experiment that led to 5 to 10 million pregnant women – and the children born from those pregnancies – being exposed to this synthetic estrogen.
From 1966 to 1969, doctors at the Vincent Memorial Hospital in Boston noted a pattern of rare vaginal cancers in young women. These cancers were rare even in women over 50, and the hospital had never seen a single case of that specific type of cancer in younger women prior to 1966. The doctors conducted a study to determine similarities among the women, and found that the common thread was their mothers’ use of DES during their pregnancies. The doctors published a paper reporting their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1971, after which DES prescriptions were halted.
Since 1971, further research has linked prenatal DES exposure to a nearly two-fold increase in breast cancer among women over 40, and even higher rates among women over 50. Women who were presumed to have the highest exposures to DES (estimated based upon how much their vaginal cells were altered) had a higher risk of breast cancer.
The story of DES provides a cautionary tale about prenatal exposures to chemicals that can mimic the body’s own hormones. BPA is one such compound – In fact, BPA was even considered as an estrogen replacement by the same London laboratory that first created DES. As the DES story underscores, it can take decades to recognize the long-term health effects of early exposures to hormone-disrupting compounds in the general population, making it even more critical that we act on early warnings of harm. ”
Breast cancer risk in relation to occupations with exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors: a Canadian case–control study
Despite concern about the harmful effects of substances contained in various plastic consumer products, little attention has focused on the more heavily exposed women working in the plastics industry. Through a review of the toxicology, industrial hygiene, and epidemiology literatures in conjunction with qualitative research, this article explores occupational exposures in producing plastics and health risks to workers, particularly women, who make up a large part of the workforce. The review demonstrates that workers are exposed to chemicals that have been identified as mammary carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals, and that the work environment is heavily contaminated with dust and fumes. Consequently, plastics workers have a body burden that far exceeds that found in the general public. The nature of these exposures in the plastics industry places women at disproportionate risk, underlining the importance of gender. Measures for eliminating these exposures and the need for regulatory action are discussed.
Baby Conceived Using Oldest ‘Rainy Day’ Sperm Frozen Since 1987
Baby’s father, Richard Pott, developed testicular cancer when he was 21 and doctors advised he freeze samples of sperm before embarking on treatment that might leave him infertile…
Although becoming a father wasn’t a priority for him then, 25 years later – the longest that sperm has been kept frozen and then successfully used for IVF in the UK – Richard got to finally use his frozen sperm to become father to daughter Vivienne.
Why Are Industrial Chemicals in Food Not Safety Tested?
For the first time, a searchable list of chemical additives allowed in human food by the FDA has been developed and made publicly available with cross-references to supporting toxicology studies.
In practice, almost 80% of chemical additives directly—intentionally—added to food lack the relevant information needed to estimate the amount that consumers can safely eat in FDA’s own database and 93% lack reproductive or developmental toxicity data, although FDA requires feeding toxicology data for these chemicals.
Of the totality of FDA-regulated additives, both directly and indirectly allowed in food, almost two-thirds don’t have publicly available feeding data.
In the absence of toxicology data on the majority of chemicals added to food, the scientific basis for determinations of safety to humans may be questioned.
In the United States, chemical additives cannot be used in food without an affirmative determination that their use is safe by FDA or additive manufacturer. Feeding toxicology studies designed to estimate the amount of a chemical additive that can be eaten safely provide the most relevant information. We analyze how many chemical additives allowed in human food have feeding toxicology studies in three toxicological information sources including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) database. Less than 38% of FDA-regulated additives have a published feeding study. For chemicals directly added to food, 21.6% have feeding studies necessary to estimate a safe level of exposure and 6.7% have reproductive or developmental toxicity data in FDA’s database. A program is needed to fill these significant knowledge gaps by using in vitro and in silico methods complemented with targeted in vivo studies to ensure public health is protected.
Epilepsy drug in pregnancy linked to baby’s higher autism risk
Pregnant women who took the anti-seizure drug valproate during pregnancy increased the odds that their baby would have autism, and were roughly twice as likely to give birth to a child who would go on to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, according to a large study that captured ten years of births in Denmark.
Les perturbateurs endocriniens peuvent avoir des effets nocifs à très faibles doses
Depuis plus d’une quinzaine d’années, un nombre croissant de biologistes suspectent des effets délétères de certains composés chimiques à des niveaux d’exposition très inférieurs aux doses considérées comme sûres. Publié sur Endocrine Reviews, une douzaine de chercheurs américains issus du monde académique présentent le résultat d’un travail d’analyse considérable, le plus important réalisé à ce jour sur le sujet. Leurs conclusions mettent en évidence un ensemble d’éléments scientifiques plaidant pour un profond changement de méthodologie dans l’évaluation de la toxicité de nombreuses molécules mises sur le marché.
Does author relationships with industry affect articles published on hormone therapy?
Even after the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) found that the risks of menopausal hormone therapy (hormone therapy) outweighed benefit for asymptomatic women, about half of gynecologists in the United States continued to believe that hormones benefited women’s health. The pharmaceutical industry has supported publication of articles in medical journals for marketing purposes. It is unknown whether author relationships with industry affect promotional tone in articles on hormone therapy. The goal of this study was to determine whether promotional tone could be identified in narrative review articles regarding menopausal hormone therapy and whether articles identified as promotional were more likely to have been authored by those with conflicts of interest with manufacturers of menopausal hormone therapy.
Methods and Findings:
We analyzed tone in opinion pieces on hormone therapy published in the four years after the estrogen-progestin arm of the WHI was stopped. First, we identified the ten authors with four or more MEDLINE-indexed reviews, editorials, comments, or letters on hormone replacement therapy or menopausal hormone therapy published between July 2002 and June 2006. Next, we conducted an additional search using the names of these authors to identify other relevant articles. Finally, after author names and affiliations were removed, 50 articles were evaluated by three readers for scientific accuracy and for tone. Scientific accuracy was assessed based on whether or not the findings of the WHI were accurately reported using two criteria: (1) Acknowledgment or lack of denial of the risk of breast cancer diagnosis associated with hormone therapy, and (2) acknowledgment that hormone therapy did not benefit cardiovascular disease endpoints. Determination of promotional tone was based on the assessment by each reader of whether the article appeared to promote hormone therapy. Analysis of inter-rater consistency found moderate agreement for scientific accuracy (κ = 0.57) and substantial agreement for promotional tone (κ = 0.65). After discussion, readers found 86% of the articles to be scientifically accurate and 64% to be promotional in tone. Themes that were common in articles considered promotional included attacks on the methodology of the WHI, arguments that clinical trial results should not guide treatment for individuals, and arguments that observational studies are as good as or better than randomized clinical trials for guiding clinical decisions. The promotional articles we identified also implied that the risks associated with hormone therapy have been exaggerated and that the benefits of hormone therapy have been or will be proven. Of the ten authors studied, eight were found to have declared payment for speaking or consulting on behalf of menopausal hormone manufacturers or for research support (seven of these eight were speakers or consultants). Thirty of 32 articles (90%) evaluated as promoting hormone therapy were authored by those with potential financial conflicts of interest, compared to 11 of 18 articles (61%) by those without such conflicts (p = 0.0025). Articles promoting the use of menopausal hormone therapy were 2.41 times (95% confidence interval 1.49–4.93) as likely to have been authored by authors with conflicts of interest as by authors without conflicts of interest. In articles from three authors with conflicts of interest some of the same text was repeated word-for-word in different articles.
Conclusion: There may be a connection between receiving industry funding for speaking, consulting, or research and the publication of promotional opinion pieces on menopausal hormone therapy.
Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix, the vagina’s entrance to the womb.
Described as “uncommon” by the NHS, cervical cancer claims the lives of 1,000 women in the UK each year and remains the most common form of cancer for women under 35.
To mark gynaecological cancer awareness month HuffPost UK Lifestyle spoke to Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head information nurse and Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, to find out more about symptoms, causes and prevention.