Environmental exposures start in the womb

Protecting Children from the Environment

Children, including adolescents, are exposed to a variety of hazards from the environments in which they live, learn and play.

Environmental exposures start in the womb, and can have effects throughout life.

Early exposure to environmental risks contributes to childhood cancers.

SOURCES

Environmental Risks and Children

Protecting Children from the Environment

A safe, healthy and protective environment is key to ensuring all children grow and develop normally and healthily. In 2015, reducing environmental risks could have prevented more than a quarter of the 5.9 million deaths of children under 5 years.

Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution, hazardous chemicals, climate change, and inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene.

SOURCES

Protecting Children from the Environment

Protecting Children from the Environment

Children, including adolescents, are exposed to a variety of hazards from the environments in which they live, learn and play.

More than 1 in 4 child deaths could be prevented by cleaning up the environment. Each year 1.7 million deaths of children under 5 years old are linked to the environment.

Early exposure to environmental risks contributes to childhood cancers.

SOURCES

Air Pollution and Children

Protecting Children from the Environment

Air pollution is the greatest environmental risk to children’s health.

Every year air pollution kills 570,000 children. With all the challenges children face, the air they breathe shouldn’t be one of them.

Exposure to air pollution may also increase children’s lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

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Late lessons from early warnings : science, precaution, innovation

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest ~ Benjamin Franklin ~

Preface

There is something profoundly wrong with the way we are living today. There are corrosive pathologies of inequality all around us — be they access to a safe environment, healthcare, education or clean water. These are reinforced by short-term political actions and a socially divisive language based on the adulation of wealth. A progressive response will require not only greater knowledge about the state of the planet and its resources, but also an awareness that many aspects will remain unknown. We will need a more ethical form of public decision-making based on a language in which our moral instincts and concerns can be better expressed. These are the overall aims of Volume 2 of Late lessons from early warnings.

Volume 1 of Late lessons from early warnings was published at a time when the world was experiencing an economic slowdown, China had joined the World Trade Organization and western Europe was still a 15-member Union. Global grain production had declined for the third time in four years due mainly to droughts in North America and Australia, and the world saw major recalls of contaminated meat, foot and mouth disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease). Global temperatures continued to climb and many bird populations were in decline, but the United States of America had rejected the Kyoto Protocol. We were seeing ourselves through the lens of the first human genome sequence, yet we were trying to manage chemicals known to be harmful to humans and ecosystems, through international conventions and treaties such as the Basel Convention to deal with toxic waste dumping in the developing world; the OSPAR/HELCOM Conventions to reduce the discharges, emissions and the loss of hazardous substances into the sea and the Montreal Protocol, to phase out ozone-depleting substances. The destruction of the World Trade Center had just happened.

The 2013 Late lessons from early warnings report is the second of its type produced by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in collaboration with a broad range of external authors and peer reviewers.

Since then, we have witnessed a period of extraordinary hubris. Most visibly, the financial profligacy of the first decade of the century led inexorably to the crises of 2007–2009 whereby the major components of the international financial system were weakened to the extreme by indebtedness, mispriced products, lax monetary policies and mis-engineered protection against risks and uncertainty. The world experienced more not less volatility. Political systems became silted up by vested interests and a determination by citizens to protect assets accumulated in easier times, and beneath it all lay a deeper environmental crisis epitomised by climate change and biodiversity loss.

There was also a collapse of trust, not only in financial institutions but in big companies, as they abandoned staff, pensions and health care schemes. Recent evidence from social psychology has shown that despite rising levels of education and innovation in products and services, people trust only those they know and not strangers. As Stephen Green said in Good value: reflections on money, morality, and an uncertain world in 2009:

‘There has been a massive breakdown of trust: trust in the financial system, trust in bankers, trust in business and business leaders, trust in politicians, trust in the media, trust in the whole process of globalisation — all have been severely damaged, in rich countries and poor countries alike’.

The scientific elites have also been slowly losing public support. This is in part because of the growing number of instances of misplaced certainty about the absence of harm, which has delayed preventive actions to reduce risks to human health, despite evidence to the contrary.

Suddenly, our problems have grown into what Charles W. Churchman in 1967 termed wicked problems — difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory and changing requirements, difficult to recognize, resistant to resolution because of the complexity of their interdependencies and needing to be tackled not by one but via many forms of social power. Solving them requires a new combination of hierarchical power, solidarity and individualism.

What could this mean, for example, for the 100 thousand chemicals currently in commercial use?

To begin with we have more conventions and treaties in place than a decade ago: the 2004 Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure covering international trade of 24 pesticides, four severely hazardous pesticide formulations and 11 industrial chemicals; the 2004 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants to protect human health and the environment from substances which are highly toxic, persistent, bio-accumulative and move long distances in the environment, such as DDT, PCBs, various industrial chemicals, and a set of unintentional chemical by-products such as dioxin. But these conventions only address the top-down hierarchical approach to power.

At the same time Europe has put in place legislation to achieve a global regulatory influence including the EU Cosmetic Directive banning the use of chemicals known or strongly suspected of being carcinogens, reproductive toxins, or mutagens causing cancer, mutation or birth defects; the EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive, which restricts the use of hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment including lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, the flame retardents polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and which encourages the substitution to safe/or safer alternatives in the electric and electronic equipment industry; the closely linked 2006 EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive for collection, recycling and recovery of electrical goods; the 2006 Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM); and the 2007 EU Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals, widely known as REACH, to assign greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on substances. The effects of these regulatory tools are described in different chapters, but once again point to the main economic actors rather than communities or individuals.

One thing that has become clearer over the past decade is that certain chemical substances are highly stable in nature and can have long-lasting and wide ranging effects before being broken down into a harmless form. The risk of a stable compound is that it can be bio-accumulated in fatty tissues at concentrations many times higher than in the surrounding environment. Predators, such as polar bears, fish and seals, are known to bio-magnify certain chemicals in even higher concentrations with devastating consequences for both humans and ecosystems. So exposure to toxic chemicals and certain foodstuffs are at risk of causing harm, especially to vulnerable groups such as foetuses in the womb or during childhood when the endocrine system is being actively built. Even with small dose exposures, the consequences can in some instances be devastating with problems ranging from cancer, serious impacts on human development, chronic diseases and learning disabilities. Here the power to act could be more properly set by well-informed individuals and communities.

The relationship between knowledge and power lies at the heart of Volume 2. In many chapters, the implicit links between the sources of scientific knowledge about pollutants, changes in the environment and new technologies, and strong vested interests, both economic and paradigmatic, are exposed. A number of authors also explore in greater depth, the short-sightedness of regulatory science and its role in the identification, evaluation and governance of natural resources, physical and chemical hazards. By creating a better understanding of these normally invisible aspects, it is hoped that this volume will enable communities and people to become more effective stakeholders and participants in the governance of innovation and economic activities in relation to the associated risks to humans and the planet.

Much of what we are able to learn from the histories of past environmental and public health mistakes is also directly applicable to the better regulation and governance of global institutions and financial and economic risks. Robin G. Collingwood argued in his Autobiography (1939), that:

‘History can offer something altogether different from [scientific] rules, namely insight. The true function of insight is to inform people about the present…we study history in order to see more clearly into the situation in which we are called upon to act… the plane on which, ultimately, all problems arise is the plane of ‘real’ life: that to which they are referred for their solution is history.’

In this volume, we go further. Whilst still drawing lessons from such widely accepted tragedies as leaded petrol, mercury poisoning in Japan’s Minamata Bay and older pesticides which sterilised many men who used it, we have ventured into the uncertainties of potential yet contested harm, from genetically modified products; nanotechnologies; chemicals such as Bisphenol A; new pesticides and mobile phones. There is also an examination of the 80 or so potential ‘false positives’ where there had been indications of harm but where it was subsequently claimed that there were in fact no risks to prevent: these cases too can provide information that can help to improve future decision-making about innovation and emerging technologies.

A major part of effective decision-making lies in the way issues are framed. In the case of climate change, the first order question is whether it is worth worrying about at all. US Vice President Al Gore chose to make the question a matter of choice between believers and sceptics. However, problems arose when the public was asked to make a scientific decision when too few people had the qualifications to make any kind of reasoned judgement. They were in fact asked to make a false choice. Instead the question should have been framed around which areas should people and governments make decisions and which should be delegated to experts.

In the end there are few certain and enduring truths in the ecological and biological sciences, nor in the economics, psychologies, sociologies and politics that we use to govern them. One, however, comes from the work of Elinor Ostrom, a late and widely missed colleague, who showed from her work on managing fisheries and ecosystems that complex problems can be solved if communication is transparent and open, visions are shared, trust is high and communities are activated to work from the bottom-up as well as from the top down.

As we navigate the Anthropocene, the epoch named in recognition of our impact on the planet, we will need to encourage more people to become involved in solving the wicked problems of our times. Whether through gathering local information or becoming more aware of the many uncertainties and unpredictabilities in our surroundings, the power structures of knowledge will need to change. And if we are to respond more responsibly to the early warning signals of change, we will need to re-design our style of governance to one which reflects a future defined by the local and specific rather than only the global and the average. We hope that Volume 2 of Late lessons from early warnings with its many lessons and insights can help us all meet such a challenge.

Overview
  1. Introduction
  2. The precautionary principle and false alarms — lessons learned
  3. Lead in petrol ‘makes the mind give way’
  4. Too much to swallow: PCE contamination of mains water
  5. Minamata disease: a challenge for democracy and justice
  6. Beryllium’s ‘public relations problem’
  7. Tobacco industry manipulation of research
  8. Vinyl chloride: a saga of secrecy
  9. The pesticide DBCP and male infertility
  10. Bisphenol A: contested science, divergent safety evaluations
  11. DDT: fifty years since Silent Spring
  12. Booster biocide antifoulants: is history repeating itself?
  13. Ethinyl oestradiol in the aquatic environment
  14. Climate change: science and the precautionary principle
  15. Floods: lessons about early warning systems
  16. Seed‑dressing systemic insecticides and honeybees
  17. Ecosystems and managing the dynamics of change
  18. Late lessons from Chernobyl, early warnings from Fukushima
  19. Hungry for innovation: from GM crops to agroecology
  20. Invasive alien species: a growing but neglected threat?
  21. Mobile phones and brain tumour risk: early warnings, early actions?.
  22. Nanotechnology — early lessons from early warnings
  23. Understanding and accounting for the costs of inaction
  24. Protecting early warners and late victims
  25. Why did business not react with precaution to early warnings?
  26. Science for precautionary decision‑making
  27. More or less precaution?
  28. In conclusion.
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Endocrine Disruptors

Sexual Differentiation of the Brain

Hormones and sexual differentiation of human behavior

Includes Gonadal hormones and sexual differentiation of human behavior : Effects on psychosexual and cognitive development.

by Akira Matsumoto, 1999.

Sexual difference in the brain has long been one of the more intriguing research areas in the field of neuroscience. This thorough and comprehensive text uncovers and explains recent neurobiological and molecular biological studies in the field of neuroscience as they relate to the mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation of the brain.

Attempts have been made to clarify sex differences in the human brain using noninvasive techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging. Sexual Differentiation of the Brain thoroughly examines these techniques and findings, providing an up-to-date, comprehensive overview written by leading researchers in the field.

Chapter 14

Gonadal hormones and sexual differentiation of human behavior: Effects on psychosexual and cognitive development

Melissa Hines is a DES Daughter who has substantial research experience investigating impact of prenatal DES exposure in females and subsequent impact on gender and sexual orientation. She has several books which further investigate these themes of “brain gender”.

Contents
  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Core Gender Identity
  3. Sexual Orientation
    1. Genetic Females
      1. CAH
      2. DES
    2. Genetic Males
      1. Androgen Insensivity Syndrome (AIS)
      2. Enzymatic Deficiencies
      3. Exposure to DES or Progestins
  4. Gender Role Behaviors
    1. Childhood Play Behavior
    2. Cognitive Abilities
  5. Summary and Conclusions
    References

Man and woman, boy and girl

The differentiation and dimorphism of gender identity from conception to maturity

The differentiation and dimorphism of gender identity from conception to maturity.

Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972 book that combines experimental and clinical data in this report on human development and the relation of sexual differentiation and social roles.

In Man and Woman, Boy and Girl, John Money and Anke Ehrhardt offer a comprehensive account of sexual differentiation using genetics, embryology, endocrinology and neuro-endocrinology, psychology, and anthropology. Their multidisciplinary approach to gender identity avoids the old arguments over nature versus nurture. Money and Ehrhardt focus instead on the interaction of hereditary endowment and environmental influence. Money and Ehrhardt’s work will lead many readers to the conclusion that the differences between man and man, or woman and woman, can be as great as between man and woman.

This was required reading in my human sexuality class in college. I thought it was well presented and researched. It defies some of the gender role and gender identification theories by explaining the gender spectrum in very graphic terms. It will make some people VERY uncomfortable, but it makes a valid point I believe, there are many ways to define gender and how individuals identify with their gender. It does not support the popular theory that we are born genetically predisposed to a particular sexual orientation. Instead the book suggests that regardless of how male or how female you may be genetically you may choose which sex you prefer in your physical or emotional relationships. Blasphemy to some, but it goes a long way to clearing up some of the ambiguity about gender roles and gender identification.

Jonathan Van Voorhees, August 4, 2015.

History of the determination of market share for diethylstilbestrol in an era prior to the development of relative denominator values

Gosselin, Raymond A., Thesis Ph. D. University of South Carolina 1995

History of Medicine, 1995.

History of the determination of market share for diethylstilbestrol in an era prior to the development of relative denominator values

Imprint: 1995.
Physical description: 149 pages ; 28 cm.
Thesis: Ph. D. University of South Carolina 1995.
Genre/Technique: Academic dissertations

Topic-MESH

  • Diethylstilbestrol — adverse effects.
  • Drug Industry — history.
  • Pregnancy Complications — drug therapy.
  • Carcinogens.

a book by Raymond A. Gosselin, available at History of Medicine (Shelfmark: IH.U.6.AA9).

More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Comment garder son indépendance face à l’industrie pharmaceutique?

Téléchargez le livret du collectif d’étudiants en médecine de La Troupe du Rire

Téléchargez le livret du collectif d’étudiants en médecine de La Troupe du Rire.

Les liens d’intérêts et l’influence de l’industrie pharmaceutique constituent un risque sanitaire non négligeable.

  • Où se cache cette influence dans notre parcours de soignant ?
  • Comment se manifeste-t-elle ?
  • Pour quelles conséquences ?

C’est à ces interrogations que ce petit livret tente de répondre..

En savoir plus

Pesticide Action Week 2017 Poster

Call for a pesticide-free Spring! Join us!

The Pesticide Action Week is an annual and international event, open to everyone, with the aim to promote alternatives to pesticides. The campaign takes place during the first ten days of every spring (20th-30th of march) when usually the spreading of pesticides resumes.

Call for a pesticide-free Spring!
Pesticide Action Week,
20th-30th of march.

The public is invited to get better informed about the sanitary and environmental challenges caused by pesticides and learn more about possible alternatives to pesticides by taking part in one of the hundreds of organised activities: conferences, panel discussions, film showings, workshops, open days at organic farms, information stands, exhibitions, shows…

The goals of this event are:

  • Raising awareness on the health and environment risks of synthetic pesticides
  • Highlighting and promoting alternative solutions
  • Building a global grassroots movement for a pesticide-free world

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