Chemicals, pesticides, microplastics added to supermarket food

The Honest Supermarket – What’s Really in Our Food ?

Can we trust our supermarkets to tell us the truth about what we are buying and how it was produced ?

For every pound we spend on food shopping, 77p goes to the supermarkets, giving them a huge influence over what we eat. Do their profits come first ?

In an experiment to discover the hidden truths about our everyday foods, Horizon has built the first ever truly ‘honest supermarket’. Drawing on the latest scientific research and leading experts from across the UK, the team have built a supermarket where the products are labelled with the real story of how they are produced and their effect on us and the environment. We invite the British public to come in and discover the truth about their favourite foods. And in our on-site lab, new scientific discoveries reveal the food facts the supermarkets aren’t telling you.

Presented by Dr Hannah Fry and dietician Priya Tew, The Honest Supermarket takes a cold hard look at what’s really going on with the food we eat. From new research that reveals you’re likely to be ingesting plastic particles along with your bottled water to the lab tests that uncover the disturbing truth about just how old your ‘fresh’ supermarket fish really is…

You’ll never look at the food on your supermarket shelves in the same way again says BBC2 Horizon, Jul 2019.

Maternal exposure to workplace solvents may increase the risk for ASD in children

The CHARGE study : an assessment of parental occupational exposures and autism spectrum disorder

Children whose mothers are exposed to solvents at work are at higher risk of autism, shows new research.

The study found that women who are exposed to workplace solvents are 1.5 times more likely to have a child on the autistic spectrum, newnationnews reports. Image credit @ATEN_Int.

2019 Study Abstract

The aim of this study is to determine if parental occupational exposure to 16 agents is associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Demographic, health and parental occupational data were collected as part of the CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE) study. The workplace exposure assessment was conducted by two experienced industrial hygienists for the parents of 537 children with ASD and 414 typically developing (TD) children. For each job, frequency and intensity of 16 agents were assessed and both binary and semi-quantitative cumulative exposure variables were derived. Logistic regression models were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to assess associations between parental occupational exposures 3 months pre-pregnancy until birth.

The OR of ASD in the children of mothers exposed to any solvents was 1.5 times higher than the mothers of TD children (95% CI=1.01–2.23). Cumulative exposure indicated that the OR associated with a moderate level of solvent exposure in mothers was 1.85 (95% CI=1.09, 3.15) for children with ASD compared with TD children. No other exposures were associated with ASD in mothers, fathers or the parents combined.

Maternal occupational exposure to solvents may increase the risk for ASD. These results are consistent with a growing body of evidence indicating that environmental and occupational exposures may be associated with ASD. Future research should consider specific types of solvents, larger samples and/or different study designs to evaluate other exposures for potential associations with ASD.

Environmental Chemicals and Autism

A Scoping Review of the Human and Animal Research, 2019

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange newest scoping review finds that 152 environmental chemicals have been investigated in humans or animals for their association with autism. TEDX highlight the need for systematic review of lead, PCBs, and chlorpyrifos.


Estimates of autism prevalence have increased dramatically over the past two decades. Evidence suggests environmental factors may contribute to the etiology of the disorder.

This scoping review aimed to identify and categorize primary research and reviews on the association between prenatal and early postnatal exposure to environmental chemicals and the development of autism in epidemiological studies and rodent models of autism.

PubMed was searched through 8 February 2018. Included studies assessed exposure to environmental chemicals prior to 2 months of age in humans or 14 d in rodents. Rodent studies were considered relevant if they included at least one measurement of reciprocal social communicative behavior or repetitive and stereotyped behavior. Study details are presented in interactive displays using Tableau Public.

The search returned 21,603 unique studies, of which 54 epidemiological studies, 46 experimental rodent studies, and 50 reviews were deemed relevant, covering 152 chemical exposures. The most frequently studied exposures in humans were particulate matter (n=14), mercury (n=14), nonspecific air pollution (n=10), and lead (n=10). In rodent studies, the most frequently studied exposures were chlorpyrifos (n=9), mercury (n=6), and lead (n=4).

Although research is growing rapidly, wide variability exists in study design and conduct, exposures investigated, and outcomes assessed. Conclusions focus on recommendations to guide development of best practices in epidemiology and toxicology, including greater harmonization across these fields of research to more quickly and efficiently identify chemicals of concern. In particular, we recommend chlorpyrifos, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) be systematically reviewed in order to assess their relationship with the development of autism. There is a pressing need to move forward quickly and efficiently to understand environmental influences on autism in order to answer current regulatory questions and inform treatment and prevention efforts.

60 MiNueTs Toxic

UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, 2017

Video published on 18 Apr 2019 by the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE)’s mission is to create a healthier environment for human reproduction and development through advancing scientific inquiry, clinical care and health policies that prevent exposures to harmful chemicals in our environment.

More Information

PFAS chemicals found in biodegradable food containers can leach out and build up in compost

A worrisome class of chemicals called PFAS are found in some compostable food containers and many other consumer items like nonstick cookware. The compounds can leach out of the containers and build up in compost

Perfluoroalkyl Acid Characterization in U.S. Municipal Organic Solid Waste Composts


Composting the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) creates a nutrient rich soil amendment and reduces the amounts of wastes going to landfills or incineration. However, the occurrence and fate of persistent and challenging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in OFMSW composts have not been well studied.

The loads and leachability of 17 perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) were analyzed in nine OFMSW commercial composts and one backyard compost. PFAA loads ranged from 28.7 to 75.9 μg/kg for OFMSW composts that included food packaging and from 2.38 to 7.60 μg/kg for composts that did not include food packaging. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) were detected in all composts; however, OFMSW composts were dominated by short-chain PFAAs (>64%) and perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs, >68%), particularly the C6 PFCA. The total oxidizable precursor assay indicated the presence of PFAS precursors in three OFMSW composts for which 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate and 6:2 dipolyfluoroalkyl phosphate ester were identified. Of the total PFAA load in the composts, 25–49% was released to porewater (∼1 g/2 mL). PFAA porewater concentrations versus PFAA loads as well as organic carbon-normalized sorption coefficients versus the number of PFAA CF2 units are strongly correlated (R2 > 0.85).

Study. Press release. Image.

Adult and Prenatal Chemical Exposures

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, with Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., Mar 2019

  • How am I exposed to chemicals?
  • What are prenatal exposures?
  • How can I reduce my own personal exposures?
  • What more can I do to help make a change?

Featuring BCPP Science Advisory Panel member Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., Director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, University of California, San Francisco, Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF

EDC-Mix Risk policy brief

Key messages on the risks of exposure to mixtures of endocrine disrupting chemicals

Safe chemicals for future generations

EDC-MixRisk is an EU project designed to ultimately lead to a safer environment for our children, an environment where the next generation can grow old without their quality of life being threatened by environmental chemicals or their mixtures.

The endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals, and mixtures thereof, have become a global concern. A normally functioning healthy endocrine system is essential for our ability to reproduce and develop. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are linked to serious health problems such as diabetes, obesity, neurodevelopmental disorders and reproductive problems. The fact that we are exposed to complex mixtures of EDCs is of particular concern.

EDC-MixRisk is an EU Horizon 2020 research project that studied the effects of prenatal exposure to mixtures of suspected EDCs on the development and health in children. Our work emphasises potential effects of EDC mixtures during foetal development and provides new tools and approaches for mixture risk assessment.

Key findings

  • Chemicals identified in pregnant women within the general population originated from different sources and application areas which are currently regulated by different pieces of European Union legislations.
  • Epidemiological analysis showed that prenatal exposure to mixtures of EDCs was associated with various effects in children’s health and development. Some effects were sex specific.
  • The tested mixtures affected hormone-regulated and disease-relevant outcomes in a variety of experimental models at the same concentrations found in the pregnant women.
  • Applying our novel whole mixture approach indicates a higher risk for children compared to risk estimated by current methods based on a single compound assessment.

Read the full EDC-MixRisk policy brief on, 2019.
Read the press release, 26 March, 2019.

Why are ObGyns Talking Toxins ?

Let’s make environmental health part of health care

Doctors from 125 countries want policies to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals

Produced for PRHE by Susan Lamontagne, Public Interest Media Group, for the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) XXI World Congress on September 30, 2015.

Why are Doctors Talking Toxins ?

And how to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals worldwide ?

It’s time to shift the burden of proof, from scientists, back to the chemical industry

Video published on 5 June 2019, by UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

The effects of an EDCs cocktail of BPA + DES + NP

Analysis of individual and combined estrogenic effects of bisphenol, nonylphenol and diethylstilbestrol in immature rats with mathematical models

2019 Study Abstract

Traditional toxicological studies focus on individual compounds. However, this single-compound approach neglects the fact that the mixture exposed to human may act additively or synergistically to induce greater toxicity than the single compounds exposure due to their similarities in the mode of action and targets. Mixture effects can occur even when all mixture components are present at levels that individually do not produce observable effects. So the individual chemical effect thresholds do not necessarily protect against combination effects, an understanding of the rules governing the interactive effects in mixtures is needed. The aim of the study was to test and analyze the individual and combined estrogenic effects of a mixture of three endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), bisphenol A (BPA), nonylphenol (NP) and diethylstilbestrol (DES) in immature rats with mathematical models.

In the present study, the data of individual estrogenic effects of BPA, NP and DES were obtained in uterotrophic bioassay respectively, the reference points for BPA, NP and DES were derived from the dose-response ralationship by using the traditional no observed adverse effect (NOAEL) or lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) methods, and the benchmark dose (BMD) method. Then LOAEL values and the benchmark dose lower confidence limit (BMDL10) of single EDCs as the dose design basis for the study of the combined action pattern. Mixed prediction models, the 3 × 2 factorial design model and the concentration addition (CA) model, were employed to analyze the combined estrogenic effect of the three EDCs.

From the dose-response relationship of estrogenic effects of BPA, NP and DES in the model of the prepuberty rats, the BMDL10(NOAEL) of the estrogenic effects of BPA, NP and DES were 90(120) mg/kg body weight, 6 mg/kg body weight and 0.10(0.25) μg/kg body weight, and the LOAEL of the the estrogenic effects of three EDCs were 240 mg/kg body weight, 15 mg/kg body weight and 0.50 μg/kg body weight, respectively. At BMDL10 doses based on the CA concept and the factorial analysis, the mode of combined effects of the three EDCs were dose addition. Mixtures in LOAEL doses, NP and DES combined effects on rat uterine/body weight ratio indicates antagonistic based on the CA concept but additive based on the factorial analysis. Combined effects of other mixtures are all additive by using the two models.

Our results showed that CA model provide more accurate results than the factorial analysis, the mode of combined effects of the three EDCs were dose addition, except mixtures in LOAEL doses, NP and DES combined effects indicates antagonistic effects based on the CA model but additive based on the factorial analysis. In particular, BPA and NP produced combination effects that are larger than the effect of each mixture component applied separately at BMDL doses, which show that additivity is important in the assessment of chemicals with estrogenic effects. The use of BMDL as point of departure in risk assessment may lead to underestimation of risk, and a more balanced approach should be considered in risk assessment.


  • Full study (free access) : Analysis of individual and combined estrogenic effects of bisphenol, nonylphenol and diethylstilbestrol in immature rats with mathematical models, Environmental health and preventive medicine, NCBI PubMed PMC6515622, 2019 May 13.
  • Image credit Helena Yankovska.
DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources