The Concern about Overdiagnosis

A clear insight about over diagnosis in less than 3 mns

Video published on 19 Nov 2016 by Show More Spine.

Paul Glasziou’s Interview by Alan Cassels at Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

Watch more videos about overdiagnosis on YouTube.

The European Chemicals Agency’s role in the EU-wide classification of glyphosate

What is happening with glyphosate in the EU?

Video published on 7 February 2017 by EUchemicals.

Glyphosate is one of the most widely used substances in pesticides. The authorisation for using it in the EU has expired and authorities are deciding whether to renew it for a further 15 years.

The European Commission has in the meantime extended the authorisation temporarily until the end of 2017 while waiting for the classification of the substance by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Corporate Europe Action

Sign the petition here.

EurActiv Statement

Read the press release here.

HEAL Campaign

Join the initiative here.

Science Mag Position

Read the press release here.

EDCs, Pesticides and EU Lobbying…
  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.

EWG’s Healthy Living App

Healthy shopping got much easier

EWG’s ratings for more than 120,000 food and personal care products, now at your finger tips.

Download

More Information

Let’s Reduce the Number of People that get Breast Cancer by Decreasing the Environmental Risk

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and Breast Cancer

It is possible to reduce the number of people that get Breast Cancer in the first place.

The following video explains Breast Cancer UK position and the science behind it.

More Information

Brexit and The Future of Chemicals Regulation

Will Brexit risk our health and our environment?

The Environmental Audit Committee is launching a second inquiry into the future of environmental law and policy following the result of the EU Referendum. It will focus on the future of the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). Please send written submissions using this form.

The EU has adopted several pieces of legislation on chemicals, which are primarily ‘trade regulations’ harmonising the conditions under which chemicals can be placed on the market. The aim of REACH is to protect human health and the environment. REACH shifts the responsibility from public authorities to industry with regards to assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals and providing appropriate safety information for their users. REACH is constantly evolving, having been amended 38 times since it was enacted in 2006. REACH is enforced by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and relatively little of its regulation has been transposed into UK law.

The Future of Chemicals Regulation after the EU Referendum, parliament uk, 21 December 2016.

Will Brexit risk our health? UK MPs start inquiry into chemicals regulation after the EU referendum, chem trust, JANUARY 11, 2017.

Image credit Javier Díaz Barrera.

It has been estimated that the chemicals industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing exporter. The industry produces products which are fundamental to many other sectors of the economy – from energy to clothing, motor manufacturing to agriculture, food standards to children’s toys.

The Prime Minister has said that leaving the EU will involve converting the body of EU law into British law (via a “Great Repeal Bill”). However, the Government has said that up to a third of EU environmental law cannot be simply ‘copy pasted’ into UK law and will require additional work to ensure that the UK maintains the current level of environmental protection. REACH was cited in the evidence to our Future of the Natural Environment inquiry as one of these challenging areas.

This inquiry will examine the future of chemicals regulation in the UK after the Referendum result, with a particular focus on the possible impacts on environmental protection, public safety and the UK chemicals industry.

The Committee invites submissions on some or all of the questions below:

Transposition

  • What particular challenges will the UK Government face when it seeks to transpose REACH into UK law through the “Great Repeal Bill”?
  • How far will the UK’s ability to effectively transpose REACH depend on negotiations with other Member States and the nature of the UK’s future relationship with the EU (e.g. Single Market membership)?
  • What role should the devolved administrations play in setting the regulatory environment in this area? How should any divergences in policy be managed?

Administrative, Policy and Regulatory Implications

  • How should administrative and enforcement responsibilities, which are currently being carried out by the European Commission or EU Agencies (such as ECHA), be transferred to domestic bodies?
  • What are the likely implications for industry in terms of regulation, environmental and safety standards?
  • Does the UK Government have the requisite expertise and resources to take on these tasks?

Future of Chemical Industry

  • What scope is there for the UK to pursue a divergent approach to chemicals regulation from the EU once the process of leaving has been completed?
  • What principles should a UK chemicals regulation regime follow?
  • What are the likely practical implications of having a UK-only chemicals regulatory policy for:
    1. The Environment?
    2. Public Safety?
    3. UK Industry
  • What key features should any new regime have to ensure these are not compromised?

CHEM Trust will be submitting its views on this important issue, emphasising :

  • the importance for public health & the environment of having effective regulation of chemicals;
  • the role of REACH as a world-leading regulation system, even though it is not perfect;
  • potential risks from the UK becoming detached from REACH, and the challenges of creating a new regulatory system.

Initially potable groundwater used by several households contaminated by high-volume hydraulic fracturing

Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water

Significance

New techniques of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) are now used to unlock oil and gas from rocks with very low permeability. Some members of the public protest against HVHF due to fears that associated compounds could migrate into aquifers.

Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water, nytimes, MAY 4, 2015.

Image credit vshioshvili.

We report a case where natural gas and other contaminants migrated laterally through kilometers of rock at shallow to intermediate depths, impacting an aquifer used as a potable water source. The incident was attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development.

The organic contaminants—likely derived from drilling or HVHF fluids—were detected using instrumentation not available in most commercial laboratories. More such incidents must be analyzed and data released publicly so that similar problems can be avoided through use of better management practices.

Abstract

Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development, National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1420279112, April 2, 2015.

High-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) has revolutionized the oil and gas industry worldwide but has been accompanied by highly controversial incidents of reported water contamination. For example, groundwater contamination by stray natural gas and spillage of brine and other gas drilling-related fluids is known to occur. However, contamination of shallow potable aquifers by HVHF at depth has never been fully documented.

We investigated a case where Marcellus Shale gas wells in Pennsylvania caused inundation of natural gas and foam in initially potable groundwater used by several households. With comprehensive 2D gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS), an unresolved complex mixture of organic compounds was identified in the aquifer. Similar signatures were also observed in flowback from Marcellus Shale gas wells. A compound identified in flowback, 2-n-Butoxyethanol, was also positively identified in one of the foaming drinking water wells at nanogram-per-liter concentrations. The most likely explanation of the incident is that stray natural gas and drilling or HF compounds were driven ∼1–3 km along shallow to intermediate depth fractures to the aquifer used as a potable water source. Part of the problem may have been wastewaters from a pit leak reported at the nearest gas well pad—the only nearby pad where wells were hydraulically fractured before the contamination incident. If samples of drilling, pit, and HVHF fluids had been available, GCxGC-TOFMS might have fingerprinted the contamination source. Such evaluations would contribute significantly to better management practices as the shale gas industry expands worldwide.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Scientists call for industry intervention to reduce toxicological footprint

Drivers of U.S. toxicological footprints trajectory 1998–2013

Scientists are calling for an increase in sustainable and less toxic material in global manufacturing as one way of firms reducing their toxicological footprint and combating climate change.

Research led by Professor Lenny Koh at the University of Sheffield’s Management School and published in Nature Scientific Reports highlights toxicity and its impact on climate change.

  • The toxicological footprint of major sectors must be accounted for and addressed through industry intervention to combat climate change
  • Population, the economy and consumption also impact on a country’s toxicological footprint
  • Investment should be made in research around sustainable advanced treatment plans, and efficient techniques to reduce toxicological footprint

Abstract

By exploiting data from the Toxic Release Inventory of the United States, we have established that the toxicological footprint (TF) increased by 3.3% (88.4 Mt) between 1998 and 1999 and decreased by 39% (1088.5 Mt) between 1999 and 2013. From 1999 to 2006, the decreasing TF was driven by improvements in emissions intensity (i.e. gains in production efficiency) through toxic chemical management options: cleaner production; end of pipe treatment; transfer for further waste management; and production scale. In particular, the mining sector reduced its TF through outsourcing processes. Between 2006 and 2009, decreasing TF was due to decrease in consumption volume triggered by economic recession. Since 2009, the economic recovery increased TF, overwhelming the influence of improved emissions intensity through population growth, consumption and production structures. Accordingly, attaining a less-toxic economy and environment will be influenced by a combination of gains in production efficiency through improvement in emissions mitigation technologies and changes in consumption patterns. Overall, the current analysis highlights the structural dynamics of toxic chemical release and would inform future formulation of effective mitigation standards and management protocols towards the detoxification of the environment.

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.

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.

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.