How to choose a gaming console joystick without problematic chemicals

All I want is … EDC-free gifts!

All I want for Christmas is … EDC-Free gifts!, Health and Environment Alliance, 19 December 2016.

Another regular gift each year are gaming consoles. Yet, these popular games may contain hormone disruptors, also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, an EDC-Free campaign partner, has put several gaming consoles controllers to the test. They examined the content of unwanted chemicals in popular joysticks.

Two gaming controllers received the best mark for being without any problematic substances. Six joysticks received an average mark because of traces of unwanted chemicals were found. Four controllers could not be recommended ; they got the lowest mark as they contain a number of chemicals suspected of cancer-causing.

BPS plastics compound may alter behavior and brain regions

Bisphenol S (BPS) alters maternal behavior and brain in mice exposed during pregnancy/lactation and their daughters

BPS, found in baby bottles, personal care products and thermal receipts, is a replacement chemical for BPA and was introduced when concern was raised about possible health effects of that plastic compound. As with BPA, there is evidence that BPS is an endocrine disruptor.

In the first study of its kind, environmental health scientist Laura Vandenberg and neuroscientist Mary Catanese at the University of Massachusetts Amherst examined the effects of the compound bisphenol S (BPS) on maternal behavior and related brain regions in mice. They found subtle but striking behavior changes in nesting mothers exposed during pregnancy and lactation and in their daughters exposed in utero.

Abstract

Estrogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been shown to disrupt maternal behavior in rodents. We investigated the effects of an emerging xenoestrogen, bisphenol S (BPS), on maternal behavior and brain in CD-1 mice exposed during pregnancy and lactation (F0 generation) and in female offspring exposed during gestation and perinatal development (F1 generation).

BPS affects maternal behavior as well as maternally relevant neural correlates

We observed different effects in F0 and F1 dams for a number of components of maternal behavior including time on the nest, time spent on nest-building, latency to retrieve pups, and latency to retrieve the entire litter. We also characterized expression of estrogen receptor (ER) alpha (α) in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) and quantified tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactive cells in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), two brain regions critical for maternal care. BPS-treated females in the F0 generation had a significant increase in ERα expression in the caudal subregion of the central MPOA (cMPOA) in a dose dependent manner. In contrast, there were no significant effects of BPS on the MPOA in F1 dams or the VTA in either generation.

Uncovering effects of environmental chemicals that might influence proper maternal care have broad social and public health implications

This work demonstrates that BPS affects maternal behavior and brain with outcomes depending on generation, dose and postpartum period. Many studies examining effects of EDCs view the mother as a means by which offspring can be exposed during critical periods of development. Here, we demonstrate that pregnancy and lactation are vulnerable periods for the mother. We also show that developmental BPS exposure alters maternal behavior later in adulthood. Both findings have potential public health implications.

How to choose a child’s car seat without problematic chemicals

Flame Retardants and Other Chemicals in Children’s Car Seats

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Ecology Center has tested child car seats periodically for ten years, tracking changes in chemical additives. Car seats are a required product in which babies and children typically spend hours per day. The flame retardant (FR) chemicals historically used in car seats are known to be carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and developmental toxicants. Exposure occurs through contamination of air and dust. Safer alternatives are available, and while our testing has shown trends away from the worst chemicals, companies can do much better.

In fact, one company has answered our longtime call. Uppababy unveiled a new seat for 2017 specially designed to contain no added FRs. To our knowledge, the MESA Henry will be the first flame retardant-free car seat on the market, and its story and test results are included as a sidebar in this report.

In this study, we analyzed flame retardants and other chemicals in fifteen infant and toddler car seats purchased in 2016, including two from the United Kingdom. The brands are BabyTrend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Cosco, Diono, Evenflo, Graco (two models), Joie, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Orbit, Recaro, and Safety 1st. The seats represent a broad price range and about half were brands also tested by our team in 2014.

Three different analytical techniques were used: X-ray fluorescence, infrared spectroscopy, and gas chromatography with mass spectrometry.

It is to be understood throughout this report that 1) vehicle interiors are chemically flame-retarded to begin with and 2) that car seats provide vital crash protection, and children should always ride in a properly installed seat, regardless of chemical hazard.

Overall findings
  • Flame retardants were found in all 15 car seats, and for the first time were found to be in widespread use in the fabrics of car seats.
  • Most car seats still contain brominated flame retardants. Many companies are also using phosphorus-based flame retardants, including some not previously known to be used in car seats.
  • In 2017 a car seat marketed as free of flame retardants will be on the market produced by UPPAbaby. Our testing confirmed their claim.
  • Manufacturers have stopped using some flame retardants with known hazards, but the effects of the many of the substitutes are unknown.
Change is happening, yet all seats still contained flame retardant chemicals

Our study shows that the car seat industry continues to change its approach to meeting flammability standards.
The industry continues to shift away from halogenated FRs and to choose materials that allow flammability standards to be met without hazardous chemicals.
Currently, however, chemical flame retardants are still in widespread use in car seats. Highlights of the report:

  • For the first time no car seat contained chlorinated tris or other related FRs. This is a notable improvement compared to models from 2014, when the carcinogen chlorinated tris was found in 3 of 15 seats. Two of those brands, BabyTrend and Orbit, were retested for this report.
  • We detected FRs in all tested car seats (not including UPPAbaby), including the two seats purchased in England, Graco Milestone and Joie Stages.
  • Also for the first time since we started testing in 2006, no lead was detected in any seats. No other hazardous metals such as arsenic were detected, either, with the exception of antimony, which is likely present as a flame retardant synergist.
  • Unfortunately, brominated FRs remain in frequent use, this year detected in 13 of the 15 seats (87%). This is concerning, as brominated chemicals are typically persistent, bioaccumulative, and often toxic.
  • Two seats did not contain any brominated FRs (Maxi Cosi and Britax) and two seats contained brominated chemicals only in smaller components such as warning labels or Velcro, not in fabrics or foams (Clek and Orbit).
  • Phosphorus-based, halogen-free FRs were detected in all 15 seats. Eliminating halogens is important, but even halogen-free FRs must be thoroughly studied for health hazards. Some of the phosphorus FRs found in 2016 seats may pose a lower hazard, but we found health-related data to be lacking.
Materials matter: Both fabrics and foams are frequently treated with flame retardants

To our knowledge, this study represents the most detailed assessment to date of different material in car seats. Our analysis illustrates the importance of studying components other than polyurethane foams in upholstered products.

  • Fabrics have been studied a lot less than foams, so this year we tested over 160 fabric samples and found nearly one-third (32%) contained at least one FR.
  • A quarter (25%) of fabric samples contained a brominated FR.
  • 16% of fabric samples contained phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs), including cyclic phosphonate esters and possibly ammonium polyphosphate. Although our study is the first, to our knowledge, to detect these FRs in car seat fabrics, these FRs have been available for many years. They are marketed as safer alternatives.
  • 73% of car seats had polyurethane foam containing phosphorus-based flame retardants. This likely represents an increase in the use of PFRs, as 50% of seats in 2014 contained PFRs. Of PFRs found in polyurethane foam, the majority were tris(butoxyethyl)phosphate, a possibly safer alternative than triphenyl phosphate.
  • Usage of triphenyl phosphate in the polyurethane foams of car seats appeared to decline compared to 2014.
  • With one exception (part of a plastic frame), hard plastic parts and belt straps did not contain detectable FRs.
  • Brominated FRs were found almost exclusively in polyester textiles (26%) and in rigid foams (43%), not in soft polyurethane foam. This finding is similar to the 2014 findings. Specific BFRs detected were 1) in fabrics: brominated styrenes, tris(bromopropyl) isocyanurates, and unidentified BFR; and 2) in polystyrene foam: brominated cyclododecanes (likely hexabromocyclododecane).
Flame-retardant free car seats are within reach

As long as car seats are subject to the federal flame standard for cars, the best approach is to redesign car seats so that hazardous chemicals are not necessary.

Our studies have shown manufacturers decreasing the use of chlorinated and brominated FRs in foams and increasing the use of halogen-free FRs. This is a step in the right direction. However, brominated FRs remain frequently used in car seat fabrics, and some of the halogen-free FRs such as triaryl phosphates pose health concerns as well. We now encourage companies to follow UPPAbaby’s lead by making a few material changes, such as using naturally fire-resistant wool, to avoid adding FRs.

Flammability regulations should be modified

While car seats can be designed to pass the flame test without chemical additives, this approach costs more money. Affordable car seats should not come with a chemical exposure cost.

Policy makers should consider exempting child car seats from the federal flammability standard FMVSS 302. Despite 44 years of this U.S. regulation, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can provide no evidence suggesting that the rule protects children in vehicle fires. FMVSS 302 has resulted in car seat makers adding thousands of pounds of chemical flame retardants to products that infants and children are in close contact with every day.

IMPORTANT NOTE

PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS SHOULD ALWAYS PROPERLY INSTALL AND USE A CAR SEAT appropriate for a child’s age and size, regardless of concerns about chemical hazards in the seat. This applies to older children as well as infants. Vehicle child restraint systems are essential for protecting children during car accidents. Between 1975 and 2014, as car seat usage skyrocketed, the number of infants dying in vehicle crashes dropped by 80%. The decline in deaths of children ages 1-3 was 73%, and ages 4-8 was 53%.

Parents should also be aware that the inside parts of a car, including the built-in seats, contain significant flame retardant additives.

More Information
  • Flame retardants and car seats? Still a thing, environmentalhealthnews, December 13, 2016.
  • TRAVELING WITH TOXICS, Flame Retardants & Other Chemicals in Children’s Car Seats, healthy-stuff; press release and Children’s Car Seat Study 2016 – Report.

T-shape uterine cavity, typical of the DES syndrome

Utero-salpingography showing Diethylstilboestrol exposure in-utero uterus

Diethylstilboestrol (DES) exposure in-utero has been shown to have a potentially negative impact on pregnancy. Negative effects include an increased risk of early pregnancy loss, ectopic gestation and infertility.

These women may also present reproductive tract abnormalities leading to pregnancy complications. The most common anomalies include uterine defects such as T-shaped uterus or hypoplastic uterine cavity.

Image Sources

  • Estradiol and progesterone supplementation during luteal phase improved the receptivity of the endometrium in a patient with a history of diethylstilboestrol exposure in-utero, hormones.gr, 2006.
  • Watch our DES and EDCs Research album on Flickr.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

How to choose a pop star gift without problematic chemicals

Gift boxes with cosmetics are a cocktail of problematic chemicals

All I want for Christmas is … EDC-Free gifts!, Health and Environment Alliance, 19 December 2016.

Many popstars market gift boxes with cosmetics to children, making these boxes popular gifts during the festive season. Yet, these boxes may contain hormone disruptors, also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, an EDC-Free campaign partner, has put several gift boxes with cosmetics to the test. They examined the ingredient lists on gift boxes which are targeted at children in their marketing. EDCs were found in every single gift box with cosmetics.

“It is very unfortunate that all of the gift boxes we found in the stores contain substances which are suspected to be endocrine disrupting,”

says Stine Müller, project manager in the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals. Hormone disrupting chemicals are suspected to cause several ailments such as declining semen quality in boys and too early puberty in girls.

Endocrine Disruptors: The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby

The European Commission submited its proposal for regulation of chemical substances on 21.12.2016

This article by Stéphane Horel was originally published by Le Monde on December 20. This translated version published by EDC-Free Europe.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Image thecvopros.

It’s a paragraph that does not look like anything, added at the bottom of the document at the last minute. In a tortuous and impenetrable formulation, it refers to a derogation for products acting on the “moulting and / or growth of harmful organisms”. But, reformulated in common language, it is no more or less a concession from the European Commission to the pesticide lobby.

A few days before Christmas, Wednesday 21 December, three years late, the Commission is due to submit to a vote its proposed regulation on endocrine disruptors, these ubiquitous chemicals capable of interfering with the hormonal system of living beings at sometimes tiny doses. This proposal is supposed to implement a very strict provision of the European regulation on pesticides: the ban on pesticides that will be recognized as endocrine disruptors.

It is therefore the criteria that allow them to be identified which the Commission has drawn up and which the representatives of the Member States must adopt or reject. The vote will be held in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Safety after six months of negotiations.

If the devil is hiding in the details, the paragraph inserted by the Commission at the last minute is anything but anecdotal. While the “pesticides regulation” requires removing endocrine disruptors from the market, the paragraph creates a derogation from identification for a whole group of pesticides that have the particularity of … being endocrine disruptors. Indeed some pesticides wipe out insects or plants known as “pests” to crops by acting on their hormonal system to block their moulting or growth. In other words, these are pesticides that have been designed to be endocrine disruptors. Rather than using this knowledge to identify and prohibit them, the Commission proposes that they be spared.

Request from the trio BASF, Bayer and Syngenta

This major derogation is in fact an old request of the pesticide industry. It was developed by the trio of pesticide manufacturers who will be most affected by the regulation: the German giant BASF (the world leader in chemistry) and Bayer (being merged with Monsanto) and the Swiss group Syngenta. In a document dated 2013, employees of these groups argue for a “derogation” for what they refer to as “endocrine disruptors by design”:

Strictly speaking, such compounds would fulfil the endocrine disruptor definition as their endocrine mechanism and adverse population-relevant effects are intended and well-described.  (…) Consequently, an exemption category for these chemicals should be defined.. ”

The new paragraph resembles in an unmistakable way the article written by employees of pesticide manufacturers.

But the exemption is problematic for living beings, which could be affected by these endocrine disrupting pesticides, from plants to ladybugs, passing by nearby squirrels,  that is all those that the law calls “non-target organisms” but are also equipped with a hormonal system liable to be hijacked by these products.

Weed killer classified as “possible human carcinogen

While there is no assessment of the consequences of this clause on the ecosystem, it will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the industry. According to information gathered by Le Monde, this exception would correspond to about 15 insecticides and a handful of herbicides including 2,4-D, a herbicide that has also been classified as a “possible human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015.

According to the calculations made by the NGO Générations futures, the derogation concerns more than 8 700 tonnes of commercial products per year, just for France. Francois Veillerette, the spokesperson of the NGO, is indignant:

“It is aberrant in a regulation that wants to remove endocrine disruptors to protect the ecosystem.”

This request doesn’t come from us but from the German authorities”, said Graeme Taylor, director of public affairs for the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA). The lobbying organization of the pesticide industry rejected the Commission’s proposal “as a whole”, considering that it “does not go far enough”.

Uncertain majority, proposal cut in half

Uncertain to get a majority on Wednesday, the European Commission cut off its contested proposal in two. The first scientific part contains an environmental component, including this new derogation, and a human health component, which is also the subject of strong criticism from the relevant scientific community, NGOs and certain Member States, including France.

They all denounced the inadequacy of the text to protect the population from diseases linked to exposure to endocrine disruptors (cancers, brain development problems, infertility, diabetes, etc.).

The second part of the proposal, on regulatory aspects, also contains a substantial derogation. If kept, the risks posed by endocrine disrupting pesticides would be assessed on a case-by-case basis after being placed on the market, whereas the law requires their a priori prohibition. This part is not only considered illegal by the European Parliament, NGOs and certain countries, but Le Monde revealed at the end of November, with supporting documents, that it was based on conclusions written in advance by an official European agency.

“These proposals are unacceptable and they do not respond to growing public concern or mobilization for genuine action that would reduce the presence of endocrine disruptors in our daily lives”,

said the coalition of NGOs EDC- Free Europe. An online petition from SumOfUs, calling to reject the proposal, has collected more than 260,000 signatures.

At the highest political level in Europe, where “good work” is considered to have been done, it is argued that there was a “scientific controversy” about endocrine disruptors to deal with. Yet a hundred respected scientists have warned decision-makers against a “manufacturing of doubt” financed by industries whose commercial interests are threatened, in the manner of the oil industry with climate change (Le Monde, November 30). Facts that a European official sweeps away, however, as “conspiracy theories”.

What happened on the 21.12.2016

MORE INFORMATION

The Investigation
    1. The Manufacture of a Lie.
    2. A Denial of the State of the Science.
    3. The Interference of the United States.
    4. The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.

 

Endocrine Disruptors

Occurrence and migration of a wide range EDCs from intact surfaces of baby teethers

Migration of Parabens, Bisphenols, Benzophenone-Type UV Filters, Triclosan, and Triclocarban from Teethers and Its Implications for Infant Exposure

Certain teething products often used for young children and babies may contain bisphenols, parabens, triclosan and harmful chemicals – including those marked BPA-free – all materials that are used in personal care products and plastics that have been banned or restricted by the EU and US governments.

Abstract

Parabens (p-hydroxybenzoic acid esters), bisphenols, benzophenone-type UV filters, triclosan, and triclocarban are used in a variety of consumer products, including baby teethers. Nevertheless, the exposure of infants to these chemicals through the use of teethers is still unknown.

In this study, 59 teethers, encompassing three types, namely solid plastic, gel-filled, and water-filled (most labeled “bisphenol A-free”), were collected from the U.S. market and analyzed for 26 potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from intact surfaces through migration/leaching tests performed with Milli-Q water and methanol.

Migration of Parabens, Bisphenols, Benzophenone-Type UV Filters, Triclosan, and Triclocarban from Teethers and Its Implications for Infant Exposure Environmental Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04128, December 7, 2016.

baby booty by pinprick.

The total amount of the sum of six parent parabens (Σ6 Parabens) leached from teethers ranged from 2.0 to 1990 ng, whereas that of their four transformation products (Σ4 Parabens) ranged from 0.47 to 839 ng. The total amount of the sum of nine bisphenols (Σ9 bisphenols) and 5 benzophenones (Σ5 benzophenones) leached from teethers ranged from 1.93 to 213 ng and 0.59 to 297 ng, respectively. Triclosan and triclocarban were found in the extracts of teethers at approximately 10-fold less amounts than were bisphenols and benzophenones.

Based on the amount leached into Milli-Q water, daily intake of these chemicals was estimated from the use of teethers by infants at 12 months of age. This is the first study to document the occurrence and migration of a wide range EDCs from intact surfaces of baby teethers.

Endocrine disruptors: EFSA and ECHA outline Guidance plans

How to identify substances with endocrine disrupting properties in pesticides and biocides

EFSA and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have published an outline of the Guidance they are developing on how to identify substances with endocrine disrupting properties in pesticides and biocides.

The outline includes a projected table of contents, as well as a plan of the drafting process, including timelines, responsibilities, consultations with relevant parties and an explanation of how the document will be endorsed.

The Guidance will enable applicants and regulatory authorities to identify endocrine disruptors among chemical substances proposed as pesticides and biocides using hazard-based scientific criteria currently being finalised by EU Member States and the European Commission.

The Guidance is to be drafted by a joint team of scientific staff from ECHA and EFSA, supported by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. Minutes of meetings of this drafting group will be published.

Endocrine disruptors: EFSA and ECHA outline Guidance plans, European Food Safety Authority, 20 December 2016.

Additional support to the group will be provided by a specially constituted Consultation Group, which will include members of ECHA’s Endocrine Disruptors Expert Group, and pesticide experts from EU Member States and other stakeholder groups. The drafting group may also consult other scientific bodies, such as EFSA’s Scientific Committee or its Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR) and this panel’s working groups.

A public consultation on the draft Guidance is scheduled for the summer of 2017.

More Information

  • Outline of draft Guidance for the implementation of hazard-based criteria to identify endocrine disruptorsefsa.europa.eu, 16 December 2016.
  • Request from the European Commission, ec.europa.eu, 17/10/2016
  • Minutes of joint EFSA/ECHA/JRC kick-off meeting on endocrine disruptors guidance, efsa.europa.eu.
  • European Commission’s proposed criteria for endocrine disruptors, ec.europa.eu.

Perturbateurs endocriniens : la proposition de la Commission Européenne est très insuffisante et constitue un recul

Engager dès maintenant une réflexion globale pour la mise en place d’une classification des perturbateurs endocriniens ambitieux

La Commission européenne envisage de soumettre ce mercredi 21 décembre sa proposition de critères d’identification des perturbateurs endocriniens dans les pesticides. Cette proposition est inacceptable.

Ségolène Royal rappelle l’engagement de la France pour protéger la santé de nos concitoyens et de notre environnement ; Ségolène Royal a fait adopter la stratégie nationale sur les perturbateurs endocriniens en avril 2014. La France s’est associée à la Suède pour mettre la Commission européenne devant ses responsabilités.

Dernièrement, un appel de 100 scientifiques spécialistes du sujet a été publié dans le journal Le Monde, et repris largement par les médias, intitulé “Halte à la manipulation de la science !”, et qui rappelle que “jamais l’humanité n’a été confrontée à un fardeau aussi important de maladies en lien avec le système hormonal”.

Perturbateurs endocriniens : Ségolène Royal estime que la proposition de la Commission européenne est très insuffisante et constitue un recul, developpement-durable.gouv, France Écologie Énergie, 20 décembre 2016.

Ségolène Royal tient à rappeler les résultats de l’étude menée par l’agence nationale de santé publique, publiés au début du mois de décembre, qui montrent qu’on trouve des perturbateurs endocriniens (tels que le Bisphénol A et des pesticides) chez la totalité des femmes enceintes.

Ségolène Royal a demandé ce jour par courrier au président de la Commission européenne d’engager dès maintenant une réflexion globale pour la mise en place d’une classification des perturbateurs endocriniens ambitieux (qu’ils soient avérés, présumés ou suspectés).

Elle rappelle que l’Union européenne avait pris cet engagement dans le cadre du septième Programme d’action pour l’environnement

What is the Polycare Project?

A project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Polycare is an Horizon 2020 European project that aims for better conditions of life and care for older chronic patients and the improvement of the sustainability of the health and social care systems.

The POLYCARE project aims to develop and test an integrated care model, patient-centred, supported by the use of advanced ICT systems and services that allows the monitoring and care of older chronic patients in acute phases at home.