Our Planet, Making Our Future Chemical Safe

How Harmful are Chemicals? UNEP Focuses on Chemical Safety, 2015

image of our-planet-making-our-future-chemical-safe
How Harmful are Chemicals?

The September 2015 issue of UNEP’s flagship magazine “Our Planet” highlights how sound management of chemicals and wastes is at the core of achieving sustainable development, with contributions from a number of distinguished policy makers and experts including the BRS Executive Secretary, Rolph Payet, together with useful infographics and an introductory overview by the UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.

The Bitterest Pill

How Drug Companies Fail to Protect Women and How Lawsuits Save Their Lives

Click to download the whole study.

Women across the country have suffered tremendously as a result of defective and dangerous drugs and medical devices. History shows that many FDA-approved drugs and devices that have caused some of the most serious injuries and death have been marketed specifically for women. This is largely due to the number of products routinely prescribed to otherwise healthy women to control some aspect of their reproductive system. In addition, some drugs have had a disproportionate impact on pregnant women and their children.

Many drugs and devices were made safer only after women and their families filed lawsuits against those responsible. Sometimes, companies that have been hit with large verdicts or settlements act immediately to change their unsafe product or practice. Lawsuits also have had a tremendously beneficial role spurring medical research and alerting the public – and ultimately pressuring regulators – to act on larger health risks and problems. As a result, the lives of countless other women have been saved.

In addition, unlike the regulatory scheme, which provides no direct benefit to victims, civil cases hold companies directly accountable to those whom they have hurt, and provide their victims with compensation to help rebuild their lives. Drug company immunity would remove the most significant and effective financial consequence to a company for choosing to keep a dangerous drug or device on the market.

DES was a synthetic estrogen approved by the FDA to prevent miscarriages. DES did not work but instead caused cancer, infertility and other serious physical problems for the women who took it, and the children they carried. For almost two decades after the drug was proven ineffective, manufacturers continued to push the drug and expose hundreds of thousands of women and their offspring to risk. Until women started bringing lawsuits, many DES exposed women did not know about the risks they faced.

  • Download the Center for Justice & Democracy whole study.
  • See more DES books on this Flickr album.
DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

How Harmful are Chemicals? Deaths Attribution

UNEP’s ‘Our Planet’ Focuses on Chemical Safety, 2015

The September 2015 issue of UNEP’s flagship magazine “Our Planet” highlights how sound management of chemicals and wastes is at the core of achieving sustainable development, with contributions from a number of distinguished policy makers and experts including the BRS Executive Secretary, Rolph Payet, together with useful infographics and an introductory overview by the UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.

Pesticide exposure, a major threat to biodiversity

One third of all reptile species in EU at high risk of pesticide exposure

Reptiles are one of many groups facing population decline. In the EU, 18% of reptile species on the IUCN Red List are considered threatened. The major cause of this is the loss and degradation of habitat, but a close second is the use of agricultural chemicals.

Pesticides can have negative effects on biodiversity. Although studies have shown negative impacts on reptiles, data on their toxicity — especially in natural habitats — are scarce. Furthermore, current EU processes for pesticide admission do not include any risk assessment for reptiles.

In order to protect reptiles, it is important to understand how pesticides affect them and which populations are most likely to be exposed. Although some studies have looked at reptile biodiversity in croplands, none has investigated pesticide exposure on a large scale. Before this, only one study had investigated the pesticide exposure risk of European reptiles, and only covered species listed under Annex II of the Habitats Directive.

One third of all reptile species in EU at high risk of pesticide exposure, Science for Environment Policy, September 2016.

Building on past work, this study performed a risk evaluation for as many reptile species as possible within the EU. The researchers used the same general method as the previous study, calculating exposure risk based on: occurrence in agricultural areas with regular pesticide application, physiological factors that increase pesticide uptake (such as body mass) and life-history traits that increase exposure (such as number of offspring).

Turtle & frog image by usfwshq.

The researchers conducted a risk assessment for 102 species in total. Based on their physiology and life history, the majority of species were categorised as high risk. This is because most species were relatively small, increasing pesticide exposure due to greater pesticide intake via food, and via a larger body surface area, (which increases pesticide uptake via the skin) relative to an individual’s body mass. Populations with fewer offspring are also more threatened by pesticides. Species that produce fewer clutches (groups of eggs), and fewer descendants per year, for example, are more vulnerable to detrimental effects caused by pesticides than those with multiple clutches. The majority of high-risk species also showed a high degree of overlap between their habitat and agricultural areas with regular pesticide use (50% on average).

Overall, around half of all the species evaluated here — and thus at least a third of all European species — showed high exposure risk, two of which (the Greek tortoise, Testudo graeca, and Mediterranean turtle, Mauremys leprosa) are already threatened with extinction.

Lizards were the most sensitive group to pesticides — although this was not reflected in their overall risk because their European distribution ranges do not overlap with agriculture as much as other groups, such as snakes.

The researchers finally compared risk in the different areas where pesticides can be used (‘pesticide admission zones’) within EU Regulation3 . The area with the highest number of species occurring in agricultural areas with regular pesticide applications was southern Europe, where most reptile species occur in arable land. Apart from arable land, vineyards and olive groves were also highly occupied. Vineyards are particularly important areas for contamination in the ‘central admission zone’, as they match the habitat preferences of Mediterranean reptile species, like the common wall lizard Podarcis muralis and the western green lizard Lacerta bilineata, which live in dry and rocky areas with low vegetation in their northern distribution ranges. Vineyards are also hives of chemical activity; grape plantations use the most pesticide by crop in the EU at over 20 kg of active substance per hectare per year (with most of the remainder substance being made up by surfactants, for which toxicological data is scarce).

As well as having more reptile species and greater overlap with agricultural areas, pesticide applications are more frequent in the south, where pests are more likely to thrive than in harsher northern climates and so pesticides may have to be re-applied more often. Areas with the highest pesticide application rates include France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. It is especially important to integrate pesticide assessments into conservation practice for southern European countries, say the authors, as protecting species in these countries could help to protect biodiversity across the EU.

This study identifies species that are at high risk of pesticide exposure and could inform conservation actions for reptiles in European landscapes. If action is not taken, the number of threatened reptile species could increase. There is, therefore, an urgent need to increase the focus on reptiles in pesticide risk assessments and conservation actions to avoid further biodiversity loss, conclude the researchers.

 

Improving Mothers’ Care – MBRRACE-UK 2014 Infographic

National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, MBRRACE-UK, Oxford

MBRRACE-UK, Reports, 2016.

MBRRACE-UK is pleased to announce the publication on the 9th December 2014 of the findings of the confidential enquiry into maternal mortality and morbidity: Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care.

Read DES studies on fertility and pregnancy.

Enjoy our health infographics album on Flickr.

Agriculture en France : terre morte et pesticides

Interview de Claude Bourguignon, ingénieur agronome, 2008

Vidéo via tpredot66 diffusée le 4 May 2008.

Claude Bourguignon, ingénieur agronome, nous explique que notre terre traitée aux pesticides est en train de mourir.

En savoir plus

How Harmful are Chemicals? Deaths Estimation

UNEP’s ‘Our Planet’ Focuses on Chemical Safety, 2015

The September 2015 issue of UNEP’s flagship magazine “Our Planet” highlights how sound management of chemicals and wastes is at the core of achieving sustainable development, with contributions from a number of distinguished policy makers and experts including the BRS Executive Secretary, Rolph Payet, together with useful infographics and an introductory overview by the UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.

The fundamental roles of hormones and the effect of endocrine disrupting chemicals

Pete Myers, CE100 Annual Summit 2016

Video published on 3 August 2016 by Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Professor Pete Myers is founder, CEO and Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences.

In this video he talks through some of the health, chemical and material challenges facing the future of the economy.

More Information

Babies’ Deaths in the UK – MBRRACE-UK 2013 Infographic

National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, MBRRACE-UK, Oxford

MBRRACE-UK, Reports, 2016.

MBRRACE-UK is pleased to announce the publication on the 10th June 2015 of the findings of the UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance for 2013.

Perinatal mortality Surveillance Report – UK Perinatal Deaths for Births from January to December 2013.

Read DES studies on fertility and pregnancy.

Enjoy our health infographics album on Flickr.

Triclosan and triclocarban to be removed from over-the-counter antibacterial hand and body washes

Antibacterial soap may do more harm than good, FDA says

Summary

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA, we, or the Agency) is issuing this final rule establishing that certain active ingredients used in over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antiseptic products intended for use with water (referred to throughout this document as consumer antiseptic washes) are not generally recognized as safe and effective (GRAS/GRAE) and are misbranded.

FDA is issuing this final rule after considering the recommendations of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee (NDAC); public comments on the Agency’s notices of proposed rulemaking; and all data and information on OTC consumer antiseptic wash products that have come to the Agency’s attention.

This final rule amends the 1994 tentative final monograph (TFM) for OTC antiseptic drug products that published in the Federal Register of June 17, 1994 (the 1994 TFM). The final rule is part of the ongoing review of OTC drug products conducted by FDA.

Bio-Tag – Triclosan image by finishing-school.

Sources and more information
  • Antibacterial Soap? You Can Skip It—Use Plain Soap and Water, fda, SEPTEMBER 2016.
  • FDA issues final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps, FDA News Release, September 2, 2016.
  • Safety and Effectiveness of Consumer Antiseptics; Topical Antimicrobial Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use, federalregister, 09/06/2016.
  • Antibacterial soap may do more harm than good, FDA says, pbs newshour, september 2, 2016.