World Cancer Day 2016: there is a lot you can do!

Hashtags: for #WCD2016, the #WorldCancerDay 2016 year theme is #WeCanICan

A truly global event taking place every year on 4 February, World Cancer Day unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer.

Taking place under the tagline “We Can. I Can.“, World Cancer Day 2016 will explore how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

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How drugs can permanently alter behavior

Scientists turned guard ants into scout ants with one brain injection

Video published on 31 Dec 2015 via wwwAAASorg.

Researchers Shelley Berger and Daniel Simola describe how they used epigenetics to change the behavior of ants.

Sources and more information

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Healthcare

HCWH Europe held a webinar on EDCs in the healthcare sector in Sept. 2014

HCWH Europe held a webinar on endocrine disruptors in the healthcare sector in September 2014. The discussion was moderated by Laurel Berzanskis, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Policy Officer for HCWH Europe. Speakers included Dr Gavin ten Tusscher (Westfriesgasthuis, the Netherlands) and Dr R. Thomas Zoeller (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA).

Sources and more information

Beware of certain cocktails! We need safe cosmetics

Unforgettable Cinderella, behind the dialogue

Unforgettable Cinderella, behind the dialogue

For a healthier life, consume chemicals in moderation!
@HealthandEnv 2012.

Unforgettable Cinderella, the comic strip


Au nom de tous les seins

Incertain dépistage organisé

Porté par des enjeux humains et de santé publique, le documentaire suit le parcours de quatre femmes confrontées, un jour, à la peur du cancer du sein. Leurs histoires sont le point de départ d’une enquête scientifique qui bouscule nos certitudes..

Tous les ans au mois d’octobre, la campagne pour le dépistage bat son plein. Mais depuis quelques années, la controverse monte:

En savoir plus

Some breast implants can cause damage to a developing fetus

Small-sized molecules identified as endocrine disrupting chemicals can be part of some breast implants and are capable of affecting developing neurons in vitro at extremely low concentrations

A report published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2013 revealed that some breast implants do in fact pose health threats, and can cause damage to a developing fetus. Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson © image left: silicone breast implant, right: saline breast implant.

Chemical composition of some breast implants and concerns

The PIP scandal: an analysis of the process of quality control that failed to safeguard women from the health risks, The Royal Society of Medicine, doi: 10.1177/0141076813480994, May 2013.

… “ The significant component of breast implants is silicone (polydimethylsiloxane), not to be confused with the chemical element silicon. Although silicone does contain silicon, the former does not occur in nature and is entirely synthetic. Due to the production method, commercial silicone products will contain variable concentrations of molecular weights and sizes including a subgroup of small-sized molecules referred to as D4, D5, D6.

D4 (octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane) was identified as an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) of ‘high concern’ in 2007 by a report commissioned by the European Commission entitled ‘Study on enhancing the Endocrine Disrupter priority list with a focus on low-production chemicals’. The effects of low doses of such chemicals, particularly on the developing fetus, have been well documented. While most regulatory levels of impurities in breast implants are considered acceptable in the range of a few parts per million, studies have showed that EDCs are capable of affecting developing neurons in vitro at concentrations of less than one part per trillion.

In addition, the normal manufacturing process may result in traces of platinum, used as an essential catalyst. Small traces of platinum may be an acceptable find in medical grade silicone, unlike heavy metals such as tin, zinc, chromium, arsenic, lead, antimony, nickel or copper. In addition to specific health concerns associated with these heavy metals, there is also the risk that they may induce platinum toxicity. ” …

Unforgettable Cinderella. Comic strip about the need for safe cosmetics

Taken from “Choosing our future” comic book, 2012 edition

Beware of certain cocktails! Page 3

Unforgettable-Cinderella comic strip image
For a healthier life, consume chemicals in moderation! @HealthandEnv 2012.

Unforgettable Cinderella, the comic strip


Unforgettable Cinderella. Comic strip about the need for safe cosmetics

Taken from “Choosing our future” comic book, 2012 edition

Beware of certain cocktails! Page 2

Unforgettable-Cinderella comic strip image
For a healthier life, consume chemicals in moderation! @HealthandEnv 2012.

Unforgettable Cinderella, the comic strip


The Full Old Moon 22nd FullMoonEngageMe Social Media Event on EmpireKred

Join us to have fun, “get bought”, connect, super charge your social networking!

image of january-full-moon
Between Friday the 22nd and Tuesday the 26th of January 2016, join our free social media event taking place at each Full Moon – via #EmpireKred – and give a boost to your social networking!  willowhousechronicles.

January Full Moon

Full Moon names have been used by many cultures to describe the full moon throughout the year.

The full moon that appears in January was sometimes referred to as the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule.

It was usually called the Wolf Moon : during January the wolf packs howled hungrily outside of native American villages in the cold and deep snows.

22nd #FullMoonEngageMe Schedule

full moon icons
Join us to have fun, “get bought”, connect, super charge your social networking!

Our free event will start on Friday the 22nd of January 2016 at +/- 07:00 UTC and will last until Tuesday the 26th at +/- 24:00 in HERE.

More Information

Our first #FullMoonEngageMe event launched in May 2014 ; it’s about networking and having fun. By meeting and connecting with top social media engagers, you may grab a unique opportunity to super charge your social networking – on #EmpireKred and beyond.

On Empire Kred, the Full Pink Moon brought some extravaganza – such as special achievements, moon pies, and daily drawings… so let’s see what happens this time! Recent joiners can expect to receive some extra support during the five days.

For more information, please read our FAQs page, and use the comment section to ask any question about the event. If you are not using the EK platform – yet – you can join for FREE Empire.Kred at anytime.

Time for some “serious buzz” and serious FUN!
See you soon 😉

More than 95% of experts in EU glyphosate review refuse public scrutiny of their interests

EU review of weedkiller glyphosate adds secrecy to controversy

This article is a brief follow-up to Corporate Europe Observatory previous investigations on the EU glyphosate review: see “The Glyphosate Saga” and “EFSA and Member States vs. IARC on Glyphosate: Has Science Won?. Image Hide away.

EU review of weedkiller glyphosate adds secrecy to controversy, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), challenging the influence of big business and business lobby groups in EU policy making, January 14th 2016.

More than 80 per cent of the national experts involved in the EU’s official assessment of glyphosate refused to have their names disclosed to the public. Their review concluded, in contrast to the WHO’s International Agency for Research Against Cancer, that the most used herbicide in the world was “unlikely” to cause cancer to humans.

“I can assure you that this product is not dangerous, but I’d rather have my name not being published.” @sfoucart

Almost 95 per cent did not accept to have their interests published. National food safety organisations involved are listed, with the number of experts representing them. A consequence is that, for the moment, the only public authors of this EU’s review are governmental agencies, not individual scientists. The European Commission and Member States need to decide whether or not to re-authorise glyphosate on the EU market before June 2016.

A conflict has erupted between, on the one hand, the International Agency for Research against Cancer (IARC) and, on the other hand, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and Germany’s Federal Risk Assessment Institute (BfR) over their opposite assessments of the risks of glyphosate. Soon after EFSA and BfR published their conclusion in November 2015, several members of the IARC working group and dozens of scientists sending a very critical open letter to the European Commission to complain about the way the two agencies had treated their work. The two agencies replied early January 2016, insisting that IARC’s work was only a “first screening” and that their work was “a more comprehensive hazard assessment”. And so did the European Commissioner for Public Health, V. Andriukaitis, acknowledging that “diverging scientific opinions on such a widely used product is indeed disconcerting” and urging the two camps to work together to “resolve or at least clarify the contentious scientific issues”. A meeting seems scheduled between EFSA and IARC in February 2016 to discuss further.

Finding out who is right and who isn’t in this conflict is difficult for non-toxicologists but the differences in the two processes, however, are interesting. Our analysis showed that IARC only used publicly available data, with meetings accessible to observers (including industry) and a panel filled with top specialists while excluding all conflicts of interest. On the other hand, BfR and EFSA also relied on industry-sponsored studies to which they attributed much importance in explaining their difference with IARC, but that only them and industry could see1… The work was carried out by officials from their own respective pesticides units, as well as from several national agencies, and most of the work was done in teleconferences without external witnesses.

Were these officials independent from the pesticides industry and political pressures from their governments? EFSA’s independence policy is far from perfect but at least bans obvious conflicts of interest with industry for its staff during their employment, and the agency is meant to be independent from both Member States and the European Commission – whether it actually is independent from the Commission would be a long story. Evaluating the independence of the national experts involved in the work is even more difficult.

An access to documents request at EFSA by CEO delivered the following results: among the 73 national experts who participated in EFSA’s peer review on glyphosate, only 14 agreed for their names to be disclosed as their country’s representative in the process. At least, EFSA detailed the name of the national organisations these experts belonged to. See the table provided by EFSA, and our own with links to DOIs. Among the 14 who accepted the publication of their name, only five filled a declaration of interest (DOI) and only four accepted that their DOI is published. That is, 5.5% of the experts involved in the review.

The most striking outcome of this access to documents request was perhaps that not a single expert from the rapporteur state, Germany, was named. This is all the more problematic given that BfR has a policy allowing industry employees on its panels (its current pesticides panel for instance includes employees of chemical giants Bayer and BASF). BfR refused to comment on the identity of the five officials contributing to EFSA’s peer review (an anonymous source had sent five names to CEO, all BfR officials), stating that “BfR assessments in general are made by BfR staff” and that “external experts from the BfR Committes merely advise BfR […] and were not involved at any stage in the re-assessment of the active substance glyphosate”.

Why such a secrecy? No reason was provided. As far as other countries were concerned, EFSA said that since these individuals were not EFSA staff, the agency could not impose to them to fill a DOI. EFSA would not disclose the name of its own staff involved, claiming institutional authorship and the need to protect its employees against undue influence. That last argument can have some merit during the process (less so afterwards), but secrecy precisely allows undue influence to remain unnoticed…

The European Commission and the Member State (whose representatives at the Standing Committee are likely to resemble some of our unknown experts) need to decide whether or not to re-authorise glyphosate on the EU market before June 2016.