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Announcements/News Feed

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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New issue: Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
Thursday, December 18, 2014announcement
The January/February 2015 issue includes several articles on asbestos (Libby Amphibole), on magnetic or electromagnetic fields, and noise.

Comparative effects of di(n-butyl) phthalate exposure on fetal germ cell development in the rat and in human fetal testis xenografts.
Thursday, December 18, 2014journal article
Our findings show comparable effects on germ cells in both species, but the effects in the human were muted compared with the rat. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Interaction effects of temperature and ozone on lung function and markers of systemic inflammation, coagulation, and fibrinolysis: a crossover study of healthy young volunteers.
Thursday, December 18, 2014journal article
Ozone-induced systemic but not respiratory effects varied according to temperature. Our study suggests that at moderate temperature ozone may activate the fibrinolytic pathway, whilst at elevated temperature it may impair it. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Potential effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and selected organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) on immune cells and blood biochemistry measures: a cross-sectional assessment of the NHANES 2003-2004 data.
Thursday, December 18, 2014journal article
We observed significant associations between PCB/OCP levels and blood markers in the general population. Routine application of toxic equivalency factors, which assume dioxin-like mechanisms and aryl hydrocarbon receptor involvement, may not adequately reflect the effects of non-dioxin-like PCBs in the mixture. Environmental Health.

The effect of solid fuel use on childhood mortality in Nigeria: evidence from the 2013 cross-sectional household survey.
Thursday, December 18, 2014journal article
Living in a rural area and poor households were strongly associated with an increased risk of a child > 1 to < 60 months dying due to use of solid fuels. The health effects of household use of solid fuels are a major public health threat that requires increased research and policy development efforts. Environmental Health.

Better diet, exercise can prevent diabetes in both sexes, study finds.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
The researchers reviewed data from more than 7,400 women and 5,500 men in 12 studies. Men and women with prediabetes who made lifestyle changes were 40 percent less likely to progress to diabetes after one year, and 37 percent less likely to progress after three years, compared to those who did not make lifestyle changes, the study found. MedicineNet.com.
[See the study: Sex-specific differences in diabetes prevention: a systematic review and meta-analysis]

How exercise changes our DNA.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
Exercise, a new study finds, changes the shape and functioning of our genes, an important stop on the way to improved health and fitness. New York Times.
[See the study: An integrative analysis reveals coordinated reprogramming of the epigenome and the transcriptome in human skeletal muscle after training]

The debilitating outbreak sweeping the Americas.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
Its name [chikungunya] means "bending over in pain." It has no treatment or vaccine. Its symptoms resemble Dengue fever. And it has infected more than 1 million people -- 155 of them fatally -- since spreading to the Americas one year ago. CNN.
[See more from the CDC: Chikungunya virus]

Do your Christmas decorations contain asbestos? Warning issued about fake snow in vintage baubles.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
Brits could be unwittingly exposing themselves to deadly asbestos by putting up old Christmas decorations, it was warned today. Vintage baubles and other festive ornaments could be laced with the killer mineral in the form of fake snow made from pure asbestos, experts claim. London Daily Mirror, United Kingdom.

Airline pilots face sunbed levels of UV radiation in cockpits.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
Airline pilots often boast enviable tans, but it may not be from the exotic locations that they travel between, but from spending too much time in the cockpit, research suggests. The Telegraph, United Kingdom.
[See the study: The risk of melanoma in pilots and cabin crew: UV measurements in flying airplanes]

Organic vegetables can contain more pesticides, study finds.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
Organic vegetables available in Delhi are not as safe as one would presume, a study by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute has found. Contrary to the perception, non-organic vegetables are safer, and contain much lower levels of pesticide. London Daily Mail, United Kingdom.

Air pollution exposure in pregnancy linked to autism in study.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
Women who are exposed to high levels of air pollution during their third trimester of pregnancy may be twice as likely to have an autistic child, a study found. Bloomberg News.
[See the study: Autism spectrum disorder and particulate matter air pollution before, during, and after pregnancy: a nested case-control analysis within the Nurses' Health Study II cohort]

E-cigarettes surpass tobacco cigarettes among teens.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
For these youth, e-cigarettes are a primary source of nicotine and not a supplement to tobacco cigarette use. Whether youth who use e-cigarettes exclusively later go on to become tobacco cigarette smokers is yet to be determined by this study, and is of substantial concern to the public health community. Michingan News.
[See more about the study: Monitoring the Future and a related article: More than 16 million children live in states where they can buy e-cigs legally]

Science says: cocktails could protect you from getting sick.
Thursday, December 18, 2014news article
The immune systems of the bad monkeys that drank too much failed to produce the antibodies the body usually makes in response to a vaccine. The moderate drinkers, on the other hand, demonstrated an enhanced immune response -- better even than the teetotaling control group. Mother Jones.
[See the study: Moderate alcohol consumption enhances vaccine-induced responses in rhesus macaques]

EPA prevents harmful chemicals from entering the marketplace.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014announcement
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to protect the public from certain chemicals [benzidine-based dyes; DnPP, a phthalate; and alkanes C 12-13, chloro] that have the potential to cause a range of health effects from cancer to reproductive and developmental harm to people and aquatic organisms.

Electromagnetic radiofrequency radiation emitted from GSM mobile phones decreases the accuracy of home blood glucose monitors.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014journal article
It can be concluded that electromagnetic interference from mobile phones has an adverse effect on the accuracy of home blood glucose monitors. We suggest that mobile phones should be used at least 50 cm away from home blood glucose monitors. Journal of Biomedical Physics and Engineering.

Avoid fetal "keepsake" images, heartbeat monitors.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014announcement
Shahram Vaezy, PhD, an FDA biomedical engineer cautions, "Ultrasound can heat tissues slightly, and in some cases, it can also produce very small bubbles (cavitation) in some tissues." The long-term effects of tissue heating and cavitation are not known. Therefore, ultrasound scans should be done only when there is a medical need, based on a prescription, and performed by appropriately trained operators.

Meth users face substantially higher risk for getting Parkinson's disease.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014news article
In addition to incurring serious dental problems, memory loss and other physical and mental issues, methamphetamine users are three times more at risk for getting Parkinson's disease than non-illicit drug users, new research from the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare shows. EurekAlert!
[See the study: Methamphetamine/amphetamine abuse and risk of Parkinson's disease in Utah: a population-based assessment]

Nonprofits sue EPA for failure to regulate novel pesticide products created with nanotechnology.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014news article
In 2008 CFS filed a legal petition demanding the agency take action; today nonprofits sued the agency for its failure to answer their petition while the proliferation of nanomaterials in consumer products continues unabated. Center for Food Safety.

Aviation fuel settlement may help phase out lingering source of US lead pollution.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014news article
The Center for Environmental Health (CEH), an advocacy group based in Oakland, California, announced a legal settlement with 30 companies that sell or distribute leaded avgas in California, bringing closure to a long-running lawsuit. Science.

Crowdsourcing to uncover toxic chemicals.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014news article
Because industrial chemical use is minimally regulated, a lab at Duke University is offering free analyses of furniture for potentially hazardous compounds. The Atlantic.

Thailand putting off cleanup of toxic site, report says.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014news article
Two years after Thailand was ordered to clean up one of the country's most heavily polluted industrial sites, work has yet to begin and the health effects are taking a toll on local residents, according to a new report. Toronto Star, Ontario.
[See the report: Toxic Water, Tainted Justice]

Koch-owned firm unveils plan to cover dusty petcoke piles in Chicago.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014news article
Despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel's vow to rid Chicago of dusty piles of petroleum coke, a company is moving forward with plans to enclose towering mounds of the refinery byproduct on the Southeast Side. Chicago Tribune, Illinois.

Is fracking polluting the air?
Wednesday, December 17, 2014news article
Toxic air pollution from fracking causes a wide spectrum of health problems for Americans across the country, an environmental group charged in a report released Tuesday. Newark Advocate, Ohio.
[See the report: Five Major Health Threats from Fracking-Related Air Pollution]

NY health and environmental chiefs: no to fracking.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014news article
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will move to prohibit fracking in the state, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique. Associated Press.
[See the report from the New York State Department of Health: A Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development]

Effects of high vs low glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate on cardiovascular disease risk factors and insulin sensitivity: the OmniCarb randomized clinical trial.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014journal article
In this 5-week controlled feeding study, diets with low glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate, compared with high glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate, did not result in improvements in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, or systolic blood pressure. In the context of an overall DASH-type diet, using glycemic index to select specific foods may not improve cardiovascular risk factors or insulin resistance. Journal of the American Medical Association.

Exposure to traffic-related air pollution and the risk of developing breast cancer among women in eight Canadian provinces: a case-control study.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014journal article
This study provides some support for the hypothesis that traffic-related air pollution may be associated with the development of breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women. With the few studies available, further research is clearly needed. Environment International.

Ghosts of Christmas past.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014announcement
HealthyStuff.org tested 69 seasonal holiday products purchased in November 2014 from major retailers. More than two-thirds of the products contained at least one hazardous chemical at levels of concern.

Domestic abuse may affect children in womb.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014news article
The study is the first to link abuse of pregnant women with emotional and behavioral trauma symptoms in their children within the first year of life. Symptoms include nightmares, startling easily, being bothered by loud noises and bright lights, avoiding physical contact and having trouble experiencing enjoyment. ScienceDaily.
[See the study: Relational trauma in the context of intimate partner violence]

16 major companies and agencies say no to chemical flame retardants.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014news article
The Center for Environmental Health, which helped encourage a rewrite of California's regulations regarding safety standards in furniture manufacturing, announced last week that 16 major furniture manufacturers have now sworn off chemical flame retardants. Triple Pundit.
[See the CEH press release: Major producers eliminating flame retardant chemicals as major buyers are demanding flame retardant-free furniture]

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