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News and announcements related to environmental impacts on human health, collected from a multitude of sources, especially Environmental Health News. To subscribe to this feed, visit healthandenvironment.org/CHE.xml.

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National Academies Workshop February 16th: Research Priorities to Inform Public Health and Medical Practice for Domestic Zika Virus.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016event
This workshop, to be held in Washington, DC, and via webcast, will bring together key stakeholders and experts to discuss the research priorities needed to inform medical and public health practice that can be implemented under real world conditions to better understand the true risk that Zika virus poses to the public in the US and adequate prevention efforts and interventions to mitigate that risk.

Energy from cellphone towers amplify pain in amputees, UT Dallas study finds.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016news article
"Our study provides evidence, for the first time, that subjects exposed to cellphone towers at low, regular levels can actually perceive pain," said Dr. Mario Romero-Ortega, senior author of the study. Medical News Today.
[See the study: Anthropogenic radio-frequency electromagnetic fields elicit neuropathic pain in an amputation model]

Health effects of electromagnetic fields on reproductive-age female operators of plastic welding machines in Fuzhou, China.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016journal article
EMFs exposure was associated with adverse health effects, including neurovegetative symptoms, menstrual disorder, and low level of P4. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Occupational exposure to magnetic fields and breast cancer among Canadian men.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016journal article
Our analysis, in one of the largest case-control studies of breast cancer in men conducted to date, provides limited support for the hypothesis that exposure to MF increases the risk breast cancer in men. Cancer Medicine.

Effects of electromagnetic field exposure on the heart: a systematic review.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016journal article
Although most works describing effects of EMF exposure have been carried out using city electric frequencies (50-60 Hz), a consensus has not been reached about whether long- or short-term exposure to 50-60 Hz EMF negatively affects the heart. Studies have indicated that EMFs produced at cell-phone frequencies cause no effect on the heart. Toxicology and Industrial Health.

The effects of electromagnetic field on the endocrine system in children and adolescents.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016journal article
A growing number of studies reveal the impacts on metabolism and endocrine function. Reproductive system and growth look like the most challenging fields. However there are also some concerns on detrimental effects of EMFs on thyroid functions, adrenal hormones, glucose homeostasis and melatonin levels. Pediatric Endocrinology Reviews.

Call for comments: New draft Water Quality Standards rule.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016announcement
The Washington Department of Ecology proposes to adopt amendments to Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Washington. The public comment period for the draft rule and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the rule is open through 5 p.m. April 22, 2016.

Supreme Court blocks Obama carbon emissions plan.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016news article
The court voted 5-4 along ideological lines to grant a request by 27 states and various companies and business groups to block the administration's Clean Power Plan, which also mandates a shift to renewable energy away from fossil fuels. The highly unusual move by the justices means the regulations will not be in effect while a court battle continues over their legality. Reuters.

Air pollution raises risk of death 'for decades after exposure.'
Wednesday, February 10, 2016news article
"We found a statistically significant association between [air pollution] exposure in 1971 and mortality in 2002-09," said Hansell. The risk of death rises by 2% for each extra unit of pollution (10 micrograms of particulates per cubic metre) a person was exposed to in 1971. The Guardian, United Kingdom.
[See the study: Historic air pollution exposure and long-term mortality risks in England and Wales: prospective longitudinal cohort study]

Making a cancer cluster disappear.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016news article
After a record number of brain tumors at a chemical plant, industry launched a flawed study that obscured the extent of the problem. Center for Public Integrity.

The long, ugly history of the politics of lead poisoning.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016news article
Why has lead poisoning never really been treated like what it is -- the longest-lasting childhood health epidemic in US history? According to a new paper in the Journal of Urban History by David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, the public health historians and co-authors of The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children, the answer lies at the intersection of politics, class, and race. CityLab.

Proving Zika link to birth defects poses huge challenge,
Wednesday, February 10, 2016news article
Conclusively determining whether the mosquito-borne Zika virus is to blame for microcephaly could take months to years, researchers say. Nature.

New video: Little Things Matter: The Impact of Toxins on Preterm Birth.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016announcement
Babies who are born preterm -- which is 3 or more weeks before their due date -- are more likely to die in the first year of life or develop heart disease, diabetes or have trouble learning. This video is about how widespread exposure of pregnant women to toxic chemicals can "tip the scales and increase the number of babies born too soon.

Bastyr University seminar February 27th: Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals -- Health Impacts and How to Reduce Exposure.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016event
This seminar will provide an overview of EDCs, beginning with a description of the sources, properties, and mechanism of action of EDCs, and exposure pathways. We will then focus on the health impacts of specific EDCs and mixtures of EDCs, primarily on humans with some examples drawn from other mammals and aquatic species, e.g., impacts on brain development, the immune defense system, body weight, and reproductive health. The seminar will be held on Bastyr's campus in Kenmore, Washington.

Organophosphates increase risk of impaired behaviour, neurodegenerative diseases, & other research.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
This post summarizes several recent research studies on the effects on humans of organophosphate pesticides, flame retardants and BPA. Health & Environment Blog.

Chlorine trains pose an even deadlier threat than oil trains.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
Whether on the rails, at a plant, or in a facility that stores large quantities of chlorine -- to treat municipal sewage and drinking water, for example -- the potential damage from an accident or a terror attack is enormous. Takepart.

Prenatal arsenic exposure and birth outcomes among a population residing near a mining-related Superfund site.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016journal article
In a population with environmental exposure levels similar to the U.S. general population, maternal blood arsenic was negatively associated with fetal growth. Given the potential for relatively common fetal and early childhood arsenic exposures, our finding that prenatal arsenic can adversely impact birth outcomes is of considerable public health importance. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Particulate matter exposure and cardiopulmonary differences in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016journal article
These findings suggest that PM2.5 exposure may be associated with subclinical cardiopulmonary differences in this general population sample. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Associations of residential long-term air pollution exposures and satellite-derived greenness with insulin resistance in German adolescents.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016journal article
NO2, often considered as a marker of traffic, was independently associated with insulin resistance. The observed association between higher greenness exposure and lower HOMA-IR in adolescents might thus be mainly due to the lower co-exposure to traffic-related air pollution. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Long-term air pollution and traffic noise exposures and mild cognitive impairment in older adults: a cross-sectional analysis of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016journal article
Long-term exposures to air pollution and traffic noise were positively associated with mild cognitive impairment, mainly with the amnestic subtype. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Key elements for judging the quality of a risk assessment.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016journal article
The key characteristics of a high quality assessment can be summarized and integrated into a Guide for judging whether an assessment possesses the desired features of high quality, transparency and usefulness. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Spatial variability of the effect of air pollution on term birth weight: evaluating influential factors using Bayesian hierarchical models.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016journal article
Our Bayesian models effectively combined a priori knowledge with training data to infer the posterior association of air pollution with term birth weight and to evaluate the influence of the tract-level factors on spatial variability of such association. Environmental Health.

Beijing pollution: 'Lives destroyed' as smog improves at cost of jobs and growth.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
Beijing's air quality has improved as much as 16 per cent over the past year, but the gain has come at costs of jobs and growth, recently released figures suggest. ABC News.

Global initiative introduces first proposal to reduce airplane pollution.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
Governments proposed for the first time on Monday to reduce climate pollution from airplanes, plugging one of the biggest loopholes in last December's landmark Paris agreement. The Guardian, United Kingdom.

Pesticides, Monsanto, biased scientists, or the news media. Which one scares you most?
Tuesday, February 9, 2016opinion/editorial
Glyphosate may be harmful to human or environmental health, although it has replaced pesticides that were known to be far more toxic to farm workers and the environment, a fact which none of the stories mentions. Monsanto is a big international corporation, out to enrich itself and its shareholders. These bogeymen are worthy of concern. But of far more concern is the growing trend of dishonest scientists using the supposedly credible 'peer-reviewed scientific literature' not to promote knowledge but to advocate biases and points of view. Huffington Post.

Once again, the VA turns down Navy vets for Agent Orange benefits.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
Advocates for some 90,000 so-called Blue Water Navy veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam have been asking the VA for more than a decade to broaden the policy to include them. They say that they were exposed to Agent Orange because their ships sucked in potentially contaminated water and distilled it for showering, drinking, laundry and cooking. ProPublica.

Are tighter EPA controls on mercury pollution worth it?
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
We've done research to quantify the economic impacts from better public health of proposed mercury rules and found the benefits are substantial -- on the order of billions of dollars per year, with significant improvements for at-risk populations. The Conversation.

Documents indicate chemical leaks at US base have polluted Okinawa water supply.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
The internal reports expose a spate of accidents at the base during the past 15 years that have involved at least 21,000 liters of fire extinguishing agents -- some of them toxic. Japan Times, Japan.

Why we shouldn't quarantine travelers because of Zika.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
Contrary to some Republican presidential candidates, public health experts say there should not be any travel or trade restrictions because of the virus. Scientific American.

Brazilian studies aim to unravel Zika's link to birth defects.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016news article
At Roberto Santos General Hospital in Salvador, Brazil, Dr. Antonio Almeida and a team of specialists are closely following two groups of women: Those who deliver babies with abnormally small heads and those who deliver apparently normal babies. Reuters.
[See a related article: Zika's long, strange trip into the limelight]

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