An introduction to Persistent Organic Pollutants POPs

Why they are harmful to human health and the environment

This short animation from IPEN – Working Together for a Toxics-Free Future – provides an introduction to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and why they are harmful to human health and the environment.

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IPEN : Working Together for a Toxics-Free Future

IPEN is working to establish and implement safe chemicals policies and practices that protect human health and the environment around the world

IPEN’s mission is a toxics-free future for all

image of IPEN brochure cover page
Click to download IPEN’s brochure

IPEN: toxic-fee is a global network of public interest organizations aiming to eliminate toxic substances.

IPEN is working to establish and implement safe chemicals policies and practices that protect human health and the environment around the world.

More Information

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Meet the twelve known Toxic Chemicals that damage our Children’s Brains

Illustration by Jackie Lay for The Atlantic post:
The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains

neurotoxins infographics
Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread neurodevelopmental disabilities, including #autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments.

Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments.
But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is likely even greater.

In 2006, Dr Philippe Grandjean did a systematic review and identified six industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants:

  • arsenic
  • ethanol
  • lead
  • methylmercury
  • polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs
  • and toluene.

Seven years later, the number of chemicals known to be toxic to children’s developing brains has doubled with these six additional ones:

  • chlorpyrifos,
  • dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane DDT/DDE,
  • fluoride,
  • manganese,
  • tetrachloroethylene PERC,
  • and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers PBDEs.

Dr Philippe Grandjean – who wrote the book Only One Chance, how to protect the Brains of the Next Generation – assumes that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered and proposes a global prevention strategy.

Sources and Press Articles:
  • The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains, The Atlantic 284466, by James Hamblin, MARCH 18, 2014.
  • Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity, NCBI, PMID: 24556010, 2014 Feb 17.
  • Full text: The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 330 – 338, March 2014, doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70278-3
  • More Toxic Chemicals Damaging Children’s Brains, HuffingtonPost, n_4790229, by Lynne Peeples, 02/14/2014
  • Putting the next generation of brains in danger, CNNchemicals-children-brains, by Saundra Young, February 17, 2014

Secret Toxic Chemicals in Feminine Products, Tampons and Pads

Toxic chemicals do not belong in feminine products.
Tell Tampax and Always to Detox the Box!

Toxic chemicals don’t belong in feminine products. Period.

image of Secret Toxic Chemicals in Tampons and Pads
Toxic chemicals don’t belong in feminine products. Period.

Tell Tampax and Always to Detox the Box!

Women’s Voices for the Earth November 2013 Chem Fatale report found toxic chemicals commonly used in feminine care products like pads and tampons. ” Unfortunately, because pads and tampons are regulated as “medical devices” and not “personal care products,” companies aren’t required by law to disclose any of the ingredients used in these products. We know that Procter & Gamble, makers of Tampax and Always, uses some toxic fragrance chemicals – and we have a right to know what else they’re using in pads and tampons. ”

Sources and More Information

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Download the 2013 Chem Fatale Report, by Women’s Voices for the Earth

Toxic chemicals were found in pads and tampons

Chem Fatale Report front cover image
The Women’s Voices for the Earth November 2013 Chem Fatale report found toxic chemicals in feminine care products like pads and tampons.

On Flickr®

The Health and Environment Alliance HEAL re-launched the Chemicals Health Monitor CHM

The Chemicals Health Monitor aims to be your online source for the link between chemicals and diseases

Press release:

image of Health and Environment Alliance logo
The Chemicals Health Monitor aims to be your online source for the link between chemicals and diseases.

” The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) has today re-launched its Chemicals Health Monitor (CHM), a revived online service consisting of a revamped website and newsletter as well as new social media tools, all available in English and German.

HEAL provides this monitoring service with the aim of improving public health by promoting support for more protective regulation of hazardous chemicals in Europe and beyond. The project encourages public health and health professional groups to use and share educational resources to inform patients and the public.

Many of the chemicals to which people are exposed daily have never been tested for their effects on human health and the environment. When studies have been done, the test results may not be publicly available. Meanwhile, more and more studies link chemical exposure to a range of specific chronic conditions. The research suggests that due to their exposure, families and individuals may be more prone to obesity and diabetes, more likely to suffer from cancer, and more likely to face infertility. Healthcare systems are struggling to cope with rising rates of these conditions.

Although EU laws set high and innovative standards, significant gaps nonetheless remain, particularly regarding the effects of multiple concurrent exposures and of long-term, cumulative exposures. The Chemicals Health Monitor provides the latest authoritative, independent information linking chemical exposure to chronic health problems, which is developed with the help of public interest expertise.

HEAL’s ultimate goal in providing such a service is to inform the public and to mobilise partnerships in support of EU policies that protect health. In particular, HEAL seeks precautionary action to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals and effective implementation of the EU chemicals law, REACH.”

Sources: HEAL Blog, Brussels, 25 March 2014 – Follow on  Twitter

Six Easy Steps to Prevent Cancer in Your Home

Six small steps for big results

These products and additives add layers upon layers of toxins to your body as well as release carcinogens into the air you breathe. By limiting what you bring into your home, you are taking the first step in cancer prevention.

infographics of how to prevent Cancer in Your Home in 6 Easy Steps
By limiting what you bring into your home, you are taking the first step in cancer prevention.  Take these six small steps for big results.

Take these Six Small Steps for Big Results

  1. Clean-sweep your cleaning products
  2. Can the canned goods
  3. Choose Organic when possible
  4. Trade in your teflon
  5. Opt for the stove top
  6. Don’t be dangerously pretty

Sources and More Information

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Potential Health effects of Toxic Chemicals in Feminine Care Products

Products intended for use on or in an incredibly absorbent part of a woman’s body are marketed and sold with little to no data assuring the ingredients they contain are safe

image of Chem Fatale Report cover page
The Women’s Voices for the Earth November 2013 Chem Fatale report found toxic chemicals commonly used in feminine care products like pads and tampons.

Feminine care. Feminine hygiene. Personal cleansing products. Intimate care. No matter what you call them, these consumer products are manufactured for and marketed exclusively to women. The purpose of feminine care products is to clean, moisturize, absorb discharge or otherwise treat the sensitive skin and tissues of the vaginal area. Women are told they are necessary for personal hygiene, a “fresher feeling,” or “greater confidence,” and the companies marketing these products imply that this improved cleanliness will promote good health and increase sex appeal.

A closer look at the impacts of these products, and the chemicals they contain, tell a much different story. Products intended for use on or in an incredibly absorbent part of a woman’s body are marketed and sold with little to no data assuring the ingredients they contain are safe. Ingredients are determined “safe,” operating under the premise that they are used on ordinary skin just like other cosmetic products. That means chemicals of concern such as carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens are being used on, or even in, the extremely permeable mucus membranes of the vaginal area. ”

  • Introduction
    • what are feminine care Products?
    • feminine care Products: what makes them special?
    • who uses feminine care?
  • How feminine care Products are regulated
  • Potential HealtH Hazards associated with chemicals found in feminine care Products
    • secret toxic chemicals in fragrance
    • tampons
    • menstrual pads
    • feminine wipes
    • feminine wash
    • douche
    • feminine deodorant
    • over-the-counter anti-itch creams
  • Solutions
    • Personal alternatives
    • recommended federal and corporate Policy changes
  • Appendix : chemicals of concern in feminine care Products

Read the Women’s Voices for the Earth
November 2013 Chem Fatale report

Discover Women’s Voices Earth blogFacebook and Twitter.

Air Pollution and Autism: more Evidence that Environmental Toxins play a Role in ASD

Growing evidence that ASD is linked to pollution, with babies 283% more likely to suffer from the condition compared to other birth defects…

Environmental and State-Level Regulatory Factors Affect the Incidence of Autism and Intellectual Disability

A PLOS Computational Biology Journal article offers strong evidence that environmental toxins play a role in the autism spectrum disorder. The research looked at birth defects associated with parental exposure to pollution and found a 1% increase in the defects corresponded to a 283% increase in autism.

Abstract
image of PLOS Computational Biology logo
An open-access, peer-reviewed journal. @PLOSCompBiol tweets for the PLOS Computational Biology team.

Many factors affect the risks for neurodevelopmental maladies such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). To compare environmental, phenotypic, socioeconomic and state-policy factors in a unified geospatial framework, we analyzed the spatial incidence patterns of ASD and ID using an insurance claims dataset covering nearly one third of the US population. Following epidemiologic evidence, we used the rate of congenital malformations of the reproductive system as a surrogate for environmental exposure of parents to unmeasured developmental risk factors, including toxins. Adjusted for gender, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geopolitical factors, the ASD incidence rates were strongly linked to population-normalized rates of congenital malformations of the reproductive system in males (an increase in ASD incidence by 283% for every percent increase in incidence of malformations, 95% CI: [91%, 576%], p<6×10−5). Such congenital malformations were barely significant for ID (94% increase, 95% CI: [1%, 250%], p = 0.0384). Other congenital malformations in males (excluding those affecting the reproductive system) appeared to significantly affect both phenotypes: 31.8% ASD rate increase (CI: [12%, 52%], p<6×10−5), and 43% ID rate increase (CI: [23%, 67%], p<6×10−5). Furthermore, the state-mandated rigor of diagnosis of ASD by a pediatrician or clinician for consideration in the special education system was predictive of a considerable decrease in ASD and ID incidence rates (98.6%, CI: [28%, 99.99%], p = 0.02475 and 99% CI: [68%, 99.99%], p = 0.00637 respectively). Thus, the observed spatial variability of both ID and ASD rates is associated with environmental and state-level regulatory factors; the magnitude of influence of compound environmental predictors was approximately three times greater than that of state-level incentives. The estimated county-level random effects exhibited marked spatial clustering, strongly indicating existence of as yet unidentified localized factors driving apparent disease incidence. Finally, we found that the rates of ASD and ID at the county level were weakly but significantly correlated (Pearson product-moment correlation 0.0589, p = 0.00101), while for females the correlation was much stronger (0.197, p<2.26×10−16).

Sources and Press releases

Older Related Articles

Air Pollution and Newly Diagnostic Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Population-Based Cohort Study in Taiwan

Abstract

There is limited evidence that long-term exposure to ambient air pollution increases the risk of childhood autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The objective of the study was to investigate the associations between long-term exposure to air pollution and newly diagnostic ASD in Taiwan. We conducted a population-based cohort of 49,073 children age less than 3 years in 2000 that were retrieved from Taiwan National Insurance Research Database and followed up from 2000 through 2010. Inverse distance weighting method was used to form exposure parameter for ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particles with aerodynamic diameter less than 10 µm (PM10). Time-dependent Cox proportional hazards (PH) model was performed to evaluate the relationship between yearly average exposure air pollutants of preceding years and newly diagnostic ASD. The risk of newly diagnostic ASD increased according to increasing O3, CO, NO2, and SO2 levels. The effect estimate indicating an approximately 59% risk increase per 10 ppb increase in O3 level (95% CI 1.42–1.79), 37% risk increase per 10 ppb in CO (95% CI 1.31–1.44), 340% risk increase per 10 ppb increase in NO2 level (95% CI 3.31–5.85), and 17% risk increase per 1 ppb in SO2 level (95% CI 1.09–1.27) was stable with different combinations of air pollutants in the multi-pollutant models. Our results provide evident that children exposure to O3, CO, NO2, and SO2 in the preceding 1 year to 4 years may increase the risk of ASD diagnosis.

Sources PLOSone September 25, 2013DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075510

Autism Spectrum Disorders in Relation to Distribution of Hazardous Air Pollutants in the San Francisco Bay Area

Abstract

Objective
To explore possible associations between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and environmental exposures, we linked the California autism surveillance system to estimated hazardous air pollutant (HAP) concentrations compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Methods
Subjects included 284 children with ASD and 657 controls, born in 1994 in the San Francisco Bay area. We assigned exposure level by census tract of birth residence for 19 chemicals we identified as potential neurotoxicants, developmental toxicants, and/or endocrine disruptors from the 1996 HAPs database. Because concentrations of many of these were highly correlated, we combined the chemicals into mechanistic and structural groups, calculating summary index scores. We calculated ASD risk in the upper quartiles of these group scores or individual chemical concentrations compared with below the median, adjusting for demographic factors.

Results
The adjusted odds ratios (AORs) were elevated by 50% in the top quartile of chlorinated solvents and heavy metals [95% confidence intervals (CIs), 1.1–2.1], but not for aromatic solvents. Adjusting for these three groups simultaneously led to decreased risks for the solvents and increased risk for metals (AORs for metals: fourth quartile = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0–3.0; third quartile = 1.95; 95% CI, 1.2–3.1). The individual compounds that contributed most to these associations included mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride.

Conclusions
Our results suggest a potential association between autism and estimated metal concentrations, and possibly solvents, in ambient air around the birth residence, requiring confirmation and more refined exposure assessment in future studies.

Sources NCBI Environ Health Perspect. Sep 2006; 114(9): 1438–1444 PMC1570060

Secret Toxic Chemicals in Pads

Toxic chemicals do not belong in feminine products.
Tell Tampax to Detox the Box!

Toxic chemicals don’t belong in Pads. Period.

toxic chemicals in pads infographics
Toxic chemicals don’t belong in Pads. Period.

Always: Detox the Box!

Women’s Voices for the Earth November 2013 Chem Fatale report found toxic chemicals commonly used in feminine care products like pads and tampons. ” Unfortunately, because pads and tampons are regulated as “medical devices” and not “personal care products,” companies aren’t required by law to disclose any of the ingredients used in these products. We know that Procter & Gamble, makers of Tampax and Always, uses some toxic fragrance chemicals – and we have a right to know what else they’re using in pads and tampons. ”

Sources and More Information

On Flickr®