Belgium moving towards pesticide free towns

Monday the 8 June 2015 Pesticide Free Towns Conference

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Moving towards pesticide-free public areas is an important step towards a safer environment for citizens and our health.

As Belgium is one of the countries in Europe active on reducing pesticide use in public places, PAN Europe has increased its efforts with Belgian NGOs (Velt, Inter-Environment Bruxelles, Greenpeace, Natagora, Adalia, Gestion Differenciée, and Apis Bruoc Sella) and ICLEI (local governments for sustainability) to co-organising a conference in Brussels on 8 June, the first day of National Organic Week.

While the main aim of this conference is to encourage exchange between local municipalities from Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels regions, it also hopes to ensure a dialogue and exchange involving NGOs and citizens.

The conference – sign up here – will take place in English, French and Dutch.

Sources and more information
  • Conference: Belgium moving towards pesticide free towns, pan-europe.info.
  • Pesticide Free Towns, env-health.org, 7 May 2015.

Men with high oestrogen levels are more likely to develop breast cancer

Men with high oestrogen more likely to develop breast cancer

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Men with naturally high levels of the female hormone oestrogen may have a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
Those men should be warned they can develop the disease. Image by David Salafia.

2015 Study Abstract

Purpose
Although previous studies have implicated a variety of hormone-related risk factors in the etiology of male breast cancers, no previous studies have examined the effects of endogenous hormones.

Patients and Methods
Within the Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project, an international consortium comprising 21 case-control and cohort investigations, a subset of seven prospective cohort studies were able to contribute prediagnostic serum or plasma samples for hormone quantitation. Using a nested case-control design, multivariable unconditional logistic regression analyses estimated odds ratios and 95% CIs for associations between male breast cancer risk and 11 individual estrogens and androgens, as well as selected ratios of these analytes.

Results
Data from 101 cases and 217 matched controls were analyzed. After adjustment for age and date of blood draw, race, and body mass index, androgens were found to be largely unrelated to risk, but circulating estradiol levels showed a significant association. Men in the highest quartile had an odds ratio of 2.47 (95% CI, 1.10 to 5.58) compared with those in the lowest quartile (trend P = .06). Assessment of estradiol as a ratio to various individual androgens or sum of androgens showed no further enhancement of risk. These relations were not significantly modified by either age or body mass index, although estradiol was slightly more strongly related to breast cancers occurring among younger (age < 67 years) than older men.

Conclusion
Our results support the notion of an important role for estradiol in the etiology of male breast cancers, similar to female breast cancers.

Sources and more information

  • Prediagnostic Sex Steroid Hormones in Relation to Male Breast Cancer Risk, American Society of Clinical Oncology, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.59.1602, May 11, 2015.
  • Men with high oestrogen more likely to develop breast cancer, telegraph, 11 May 2015.

Breast Cancer: Know the Risks Infographic

One in six Women who were prescribed DES will develop Breast Cancer

breast_infographic
Join the National Women’s Health Week celebration and learn what you can do to lead a healthier life at any age..

National Women’s Health Week is an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on womens’s health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. The week also serves as a time to help women understand what steps they can take to improve their health.

The 16th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 10, and is celebrated until May 16, 2015.

What steps can I take for better health?

Schedule your annual well-woman visit

Join the National Women’s Health Week, learn what you can do to lead a healthier life at any age

This post content is published by The Office on Women’s Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, your well-woman visit is considered a preventive service and must be covered by most health plans at no cost to you. If your doctor or nurse says you need more than one well-woman visit in a year, the additional visits are covered too.

National Women’s Checkup Day is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The 13th annual National Women’s Checkup Day is Monday, May 11, 2015. It’s a day when we encourage women to schedule their annual well-woman visit.

What is a well-woman visit and why is it important?

A well-woman visit is a checkup. It’s a time to see your doctor or nurse to:

  • Discuss your family history, family planning, and personal habits, such as alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Get or schedule necessary tests, such as screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and colorectal cancer.
  • Set health goals, such as being active and maintaining a healthy weight.

Schedule your well-woman visit every year. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it’s considered a preventive service and must be covered by most health plans at no cost to you. And if your doctor or nurse says you need more than one well-woman visit in a year, the additional visits are also covered.

A well-woman visit helps you get the preventive care you need, including screenings. Screenings can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat. Screenings can also identify other problems and help lower your risk for many conditions, such as heart disease. During your well-woman visit, you can receive or schedule many screenings free of charge.

Spread the word through social media. Use the #CheckupDay hashtag.

What steps can I take for better health?

June 1, 2015 EU Conference on Endocrine Disruptors: criteria for identification and related impacts

Conference EDCs: criteria for identification and related impacts.

EU-EDCs-conference logo
Of particular importance is that the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) will present its methodology for estimating which chemicals would fall under the different identification options.

Brussels, 01 June 2015 Conference

The European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety organises a one-day conference in Brussels on 1 June 2015 on the impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors in the context of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 and the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) 528/2012.

The aim of the conference is to inform Member States, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), third countries representatives and stakeholders about the on-going impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors and to provide a platform for further exchanges of views.

Registration

Registration is free of charge.  Please register online by 19 May 2015 at the latest.

Places are limited and therefore only the registration of one representative per country/organisation can be accepted. The submission of the registration form does not constitute a confirmation.

Sources and more information

Women Health Clinical Studies

Cartoon for Women’s Health Week

clinical-studies-cartoon
Join the National Women’s Health Week celebration and learn what you can do to lead a healthier life at any age..

National Women’s Health Week is an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on womens’s health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. The week also serves as a time to help women understand what steps they can take to improve their health.

The 16th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 10, and is celebrated until May 16, 2015.

What steps can I take for better health?

Women in the U.S. apply an average of 168 chemicals to their faces and bodies every day

Not Too Pretty. Phthalates, beauty products, and the FDA

This post content is published by EWG – a non-profit and non-partisan organization with mission to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.

women-cosmetics
Between cosmetics, perfumes, personal care products and feminine hygiene products, women in the US apply an average of 168 chemicals to their faces and bodies every day, according to new research. What’s the impact on their health?

A personal care product use survey of more than 2,300 people, conducted by EWG and a coalition of public interest and environmental health organizations, shows that the average adult uses 9 personal care products each day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients. More than a quarter of all women and one of every 100 men use at least 15 products daily. Among the findings of this survey are the following:

  • 12.2 million adults – one of every 13 women and one of every 23 men – are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products.
  • One of every 24 women, 4.3 million women altogether, are exposed daily to personal care product ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins, linked to impaired fertility or developmental harm for a baby in the womb or a child. These statistics do not account for exposures to phthalates that testing shows appear in an estimated three quarters of all personal care products but that, as components of fragrance, are not listed on product ingredient labels (EWG et al. 2002).
  • One of every five adults are potentially exposed every day to all of the top seven carcinogenic impurities common to personal care product ingredients — hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs, and acrylamide. The top most common impurity ranked by number of people exposed is hydroquinone, which is a potential contaminant in products used daily by 94 percent of all women and 69 percent of all men.
  • Women use more products than men, and are exposed to more unique ingredients daily, but men use a surprisingly high number of products as well. The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. Men, on the other hand, use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients, on average.
  • The personal care product industry’s self-policing safety panel, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, approaches each safety assessment as if consumers are exposed to just one chemical at a time, and as if personal care products are the only source of exposure for each chemical considered. The panel is often wrong on both counts.

The results of this survey in combination with other studies show that people are exposed to hundreds of chemicals over the course of a day (CDC 2003, Thornton et al. 2002, EWG 2003), and that people face multiple sources of exposure from multiple consumer products for some of the common industrial chemicals used as cosmetic ingredients. Exposures can add up. The industry’s panel does not consider the reality of patterns of human exposures — additive effects of exposures to multiple chemicals linked to common health harms — in declaring chemicals “safe as used” in cosmetics.

By considering the human body to be a “clean slate” free of background contamination, free of related chemicals linked to common health harms, and free of exposures from other kinds of consumer products, the industry’s panel will every time underestimate the potential for a particular personal care product ingredient to harm human health.

Survey methodology

Personal care product use survey data collection
Between January and May 2004, six public interest and environmental health organizations conducted an in-depth survey on personal care product use, compiling information from more than 2,000 survey respondents. The groups involved in this effort included The Breast Cancer Fund, Women’s Voices for the Earth, Health Care Without Harm, the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, Clean Water Action, and the Environmental Working Group.

These groups and some of their affiliated organizations distributed surveys in both paper and electronic form, through membership mailings and organizational newsletters, and by canvassing college campuses, community forums, and high volume retail areas. Surveys were entered electronically; results were stored in a database housed at Environmental Working Group. The vast majority of surveys were collected in hard copy and entered electronically by the groups mentioned above. Some individual respondents chose to complete the survey online instead of on paper, in which case their responses were recorded directly into the database.

Personal care product use survey data analysis
Using Monte Carlo modeling techniques, EWG analyzed product use rates and ingredient exposure profiles from 2,335 valid survey responses (those for which all requested information essential to the analysis was completed). The model generated one million usage profiles from sequential, random selections of survey responses from among valid surveys. Using the frequency of use, product type, and brand of product, we selected products from our product database to match the survey response. When our product database did not contain the brand identified by the survey respondent, we randomly assigned the person a product of that type. From the one million generated usage profiles, we generated statistics on the ingredients contained in the products these usage profiles indicated, as well as statistics on the toxicity profiles of those ingredients.

EWG References
More press releases
  • Research lags on the health risks of women’s exposure to chemicals, theguardian, 5 May 2015.
  • Not so pretty: women apply an average of 168 chemicals every day, theguardian, 30 April 2015.

Widespread misperceptions about miscarriage and its causes

Survey identifies ‘widespread misperceptions’ about miscarriage

traumawoman
The findings of a new survey investigating American’s knowledge of miscarriage and its causes reveals there are widespread misperceptions about the condition.

2015 Study Abstract

OBJECTIVE:
To assess attitudes and perceptions of U.S. survey respondents regarding prevalence, causes, and emotional effects of miscarriage.

METHODS:
We used a questionnaire consisting of 33 questions administered in January of 2013 to men and women aged 18-69 years across the United States.

RESULTS:
Participants from 49 states completed the questionnaire: 45% male and 55% female (N=1,084).

  • Fifteen percent reported they or their partner experienced at least one miscarriage.
  • Fifty-five percent of respondents believed that miscarriage occurred in 5% or less of all pregnancies.
  • Commonly believed causes of miscarriage included
    • a stressful event (76%),
    • lifting a heavy object (64%),
    • previous use of an intrauterine device (28%),
    • or oral contraceptives (22%).
  • Of those who had a miscarriage,
    • 37% felt they had lost a child,
    • 47% felt guilty,
    • 41% reported feeling that they had done something wrong,
    • 41% felt alone,
    • and 28% felt ashamed.
    • Nineteen percent fewer people felt they had done something wrong when a cause for the miscarriage was found.
    • Seventy-eight percent of all participants reported wanting to know the cause of their miscarriage, even if no intervention could have prevented it from occurring.
  • Disclosures of miscarriages by public figures assuaged feelings of isolation for 28% of respondents.
  • Level of education and gender had a significant effect on perceptions and understanding of miscarriage.

CONCLUSION:
Respondents to our survey erroneously believed that miscarriage is a rare complication of pregnancy, with the majority believing that it occurred in 5% or less of all pregnancies. There were also widespread misconceptions about causes of miscarriage. Those who had experienced a miscarriage frequently felt guilty, isolated, and alone. Identifying a potential cause of the miscarriage may have an effect on patients’ psychological and emotional responses.

Many DES-exposed women have experienced miscarriages, and even recurrent miscarriages… Some of us want to have kids but are struggling or unable to…
Sadly for many DES daughters having their own children is not possible!
Read more about DES pregnancy risks and studies about DES and pregnancy.

Sources and more information

Cancer from Beef: DES, Federal Food Regulation, and Consumer Confidence

1994 book by Professor Alan I. Marcus

DES, Federal Food Regulation, and Consumer Confidence

Cancer-from-Beef cover image
DES, Federal Food Regulation, and Consumer Confidence.

Cancer from Beef uses the DES story to explore the intersection of institutional science, government rule making, and growing skepticism in popular attitudes toward both public protection and scientific authority. Marcus concludes that DES provides a case study in the attempt to control uncertainty in our lives when neither science nor government seem effective. The DES debate thus reflects a postmodern American accommodation with doubt, moral relativism, and the rueful calculus of cost and benefit.

Book review, muse, 1996.

DES in meat

On Flickr®
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

California OEHHA to include BPA on the state’s Prop 65 list of toxic chemicals

BPA Designation Is A Huge Victory For Californians

This post content is published by EWG – a non-profit and non-partisan organization with mission to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.

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The DART ID Committee has voted unanimously to add bisphenol-A (BPA) to the Proposition 65 list for female reproductive toxicity. @OEHHA

OAKLAND – The decision of a scientific advisory committee to add Bisphenol A  (BPA), to California’s Proposition 65 list of toxic chemicals is a huge victory in the fight to protect people from this harmful hormone disruptor, Environmental Working Group said today.

The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment voted unanimously (7-0) yesterday to include BPA on the state’s Prop 65 list. Panelists cited the strong body of evidence that the chemical is toxic to the female reproductive system in both humans and laboratory animals.

This important victory will pave the way for greater protection for California residents who are currently exposed to BPA in everyday items such as canned food and receipts,” said Renée Sharp, EWG’s director of research. “The panel affirmed what hundreds of scientists and a massive amount of evidence has consistently shown – that BPA harms the female reproductive system.”

Sharp, along with EWG’s Bill Allayaud and Tasha Stoiber, made the case before the committee to add BPA to the Prop 65 list, which is required by law and must be updated at least once a year. It has grown to include 800 chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, according to the state agency’s website.

BPA is often found in the epoxy that lines most canned food containers sold in the U.S. The chemical readily leaches into food, as testing by EWG’s demonstrated in 2007. BPA is also commonly found on store receipts, as additional testing by EWG showed in 2010. EWG led a four-year effort to ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups in California, which finally succeeded in 2011.

Today, BPA is no longer used in baby bottles or in infant formula containers, but it is still widely used in food cans and other plastic products. California’s scientific advisory board noted yesterday that essentially all Americans have BPA in their bodies and are continuously being exposed to more of the chemical. In 2009, EWG documented the presence of BPA in umbilical cord blood.

EWG has long fought for stronger policies in California and at the national level to help reduce Americans’ exposure to BPA. The federal Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly ignored the evidence that BPA is harmful.

Sharp said the Prop 65 listing could trigger manufacturers to remove BPA from their products. The state will eventually set a guideline for warning labels on items that contain the chemical.

The ongoing question is whether the chemicals used in place of BPA in products are any safer,” added Sharp. “It is one of many reasons that we need a stronger federal chemical safety law on the books.”

EWG is at the forefront of the debate in Washington to ensure that chemicals on the market are in fact safe and to protect the right of California and other states to continue safeguarding their own citizens from dangerous substances.

In the meantime, EWG recommends limiting exposure to BPA by avoiding canned foods when possible and opting for electronic receipts at the checkout line. See EWG’s Guide to BPA for more information and tips.

Note Bene: great news indeed following California’s April 2013 episode