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Action agenda of the \“National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures.\” Over the past two years there has been a broad-based, intense, and relatively rancor-free effort to revitalize and rationalize how we manage hazardous industrial and naturally occurring chemicals. Environmental Health Perspectives
Stakeholders laud meetings on TSCA reform—but outcome still very much in doubt. In a rare occurrence this Congress, both environmental and industry representatives—two sides that are typically at each other’s throats—appear to have come away from a series of meetings on reforming the country’s chemical regulations with positive impressions. Greenwire
With only trace evidence to go on, experts discuss drugs in the water. Pharmaceuticals in drinking water: it’s a made-for-TV topic that can stir up public outcry faster than you can say \“barely detectable residues.\” Science
Anti-PVC push in health care grows. Hospitals and public health professionals are pushing to find alternatives to soft-plastic PVC found in IV bags, tubing, neo-natal masks—even flooring and carpeting. These products contain phthalates, used to soften PVC. Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest health providers, has committed to eliminate PVC from its hospitals. CNN
Opinion: Taking a stand for science. We need vocal and public leadership on the science of climate change. We cannot sit idly by as research and science are discarded or ignored. If university leaders don’t stand up, who will? Daily Climate
Fears of fission rise at stricken Japanese plant. Nuclear workers at the Fukushima plant raced to inject boric acid into the plant’s No. 2 reactor early Wednesday after telltale radioactive elements were detected there, and the plant’s owner admitted for the first time that fuel deep inside was probably continuing to experience bursts of fission. New York Times [Registration Required]
Crib mattresses: 72 percent of models use suspect chemicals, advocacy group says. Nearly three-quarters of crib mattresses in this country contained “suspect or dangerous” chemicals, underscoring the need to reform the federal laws that govern chemical use, according to a report scheduled to be released Thursday. Washington Post [Registration Required]
TSA to conduct new study of X-ray body scanners. The head of the Transportation Security Administration testified today that the agency will perform a new, independent study on the safety of X-ray body scanners after lawmakers raised questions about a ProPublica investigation at a Senate hearing on aviation security. ProPublica
The prevalence puzzle: Autism counts. An early study, in 1966, examined eight- to ten-year-old schoolchildren in Middlesex, UK, and estimated a prevalence of 4.5 cases per 10,000 children. By 1992, 19 in every 10,000 six-year-old Americans were being diagnosed as autistic. Nature
Re-using plastic bottles increases leaching of toxic chemicals. Re-using plastic bottles causes toxic chemicals antimony and bromine, the last used as a flame retardant, to be leached into the fluid they carry, a joint study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Cyprus University of Technology has shown. Cyprus Mail, Cyprus.
With the third round of global mercury treaty negotiations that began this past week, WHO and HCWH have produced an update on the Global Mercury-Free Healthcare Initiative that charts progress toward the goal of virtual elimination and substitution of mercury thermometers and blood pressure devices around the world by 2017.
FoodMed 2011, the nation’s most important conference on sustainable food in healthcare, has wrapped up in Seattle. Hundreds of hospital food service managers, nutritionists, dietitians, chefs, public health professionals, authors, suppliers and growers gathered to share information and learn new strategies to develop sustainable hospital food services.
US government glossed over cancer concerns as it rolled out airport x-ray scanners. The United States has begun marching millions of airline passengers through X-ray body scanners, parting ways with countries in Europe and elsewhere that have concluded that such widespread use of even low-level radiation poses an unacceptable health risk. ProPublica
Group urges Johnson & Johnson boycott over baby shampoo chemicals. Two chemicals considered harmful to babies remain in Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo sold in the U.S., even though the company already makes versions without them, according to a coalition of health and environmental groups. Associated Press
Extreme measures: The push to make climate research relevant. This year’s rash of severe weather is changing climate science. As policymakers call for better information, scientists are scrambling to understand the link between increasing emissions and natural disasters. As they do so, researchers are shifting from hypothetical scenarios to short-term forecasts. Daily Climate
Study: Health effects from military burn pits inconclusive. It’s too early to tell if exposure to open pits of burning material in Iraq and Afghanistan has hurt the health of troops who served in the two wars, finds a new report. However, service in those wars \“might be associated with long-term health effects,\” the report said. USA Today
Could we face the return of CJD? Experts fear it may lie dormant in thousands. Holly Mills was a lively teenager about to start university. But then she became so severely brain damaged that she was unable to move or communicate. Her diagnosis: CJD, the human form of mad cow disease. New evidence suggests that one in 4,000 people who were eating meat before 1996 is probably carrying CJD. London Daily Mail, United Kingdom.
Sandblasting jeans for ‘distressed’ look proved harmful for textile workers. Sandblasting new blue jeans to make them look “distressed” killed a number of young Turkish textile workers before the practice was outlawed, a new study has found. The study determined that the workers had developed a respiratory illness known as silicosis. New York Times [Registration Required]
Toxic chemicals: California hardens stance on products. The state agency charged with regulating toxic substances has taken another crack at writing regulations intended to provide consumers with information about harmful chemicals in products, after its first draft was criticized as too weak. San Francisco Chronicle, California.
Breaking a long silence on population control. Major American environmental groups have dodged the subject of population control for decades, wary of getting caught up in the bruising politics of reproductive health. But the Center for Biological Diversity is breaking the taboo by directly tying population growth to environmental problems – just when the world is welcoming Baby No. 7 Billion. New York Times [Registration Required]
Global warming worsens weather extremes, climate panel to say. Freakish weather disasters – from the sudden October snowstorm in the Northeast U.S. to the record floods in Thailand – are striking more often. And global warming is likely to spawn more weather extremes at a huge cost, says a draft summary of an international climate report. Associated Press
Concerns are raised about genetically engineered mosquitoes. Researchers on Sunday reported initial signs of success from the first release into the environment of mosquitoes engineered to pass a lethal gene to their offspring, killing them before they reach adulthood. New York Times [Registration Required]
Deadly melons renew food safety focus; will money follow? Debbie Frederick hopes that her father’s death in September in one of the most lethal outbreaks of food-borne illness in U.S. history will force the government to increase the safety of the country’s food supply. Reuters
An acidic ocean threatens shellfish farms. For more than two decades, Rob Saunders grew his shellfish larvae in ordinary seawater