News and Announcements

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Topic-specific News

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

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Genetic risk factors for disease can be affected by environment.

August 16, 2017

We are still in early stages of understanding the interplay of genetics and environment, but our results indicate that this is a key component of human biology and disease. UPI.

The Rising Storm: new book details connection between climate disasters, migration.

August 16, 2017

In Todd Miller’s prescient new book, Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security, the Tucson journalist and author travels the globe to document how climate disasters are uprooting people from their homes. Texas Observer, Texas.

New report: Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings.

August 16, 2017

This report from the National Academies reviews what is known about the intersection of the disciplines of microbial biology and ecology, chemistry, building science, and human physiology, as well as how new tools may facilitate advances in understanding the ecosystem of built environments, indoor microbiomes, and effects on human health and well-being.

Associations of built environment and children’s physical activity: a narrative review.

August 16, 2017

The purpose of this review was to shed light on some of the less-studied areas of the existing literature related to the relationship between the built environment and physical activity of children aged between 3 and 12 years. Reviews on Environmental Health.

Apolipoprotein E4, gender, body mass index, inflammation, insulin resistance, and air pollution interactions: recipe for Alzheimer's disease development in Mexico City young females.

August 16, 2017

The Apolipoprotein E (APOE) 4 allele, the most prevalent genetic risk for AD, plays a key role in the response to air pollution in young girls. APOE 4 heterozygous females with >75% to <94% BMI percentiles are at the highest risk of severe cognitive deficits (1.5-2 SD from average IQ). Journal of Alzheimers Disease.

Combustion-derived nanoparticles, the neuroenteric system, cervical vagus, hyperphosphorylated alpha synuclein and tau in young Mexico City residents

August 16, 2017

This work highlights the potential role of combustion-derived nanoparticles in the neuroenteric hyperphosphorylated ɑ-Syn and tau pathology as seen in Parkinson and Alzheimer's diseases. Environmental Research.

EPA rule on nanotechnology reporting is good news.

August 16, 2017

EPA issued a Working Guidance for its Final Nanotechnology Reporting and Record-keeping Requirements Rule, which become effective this week. This important rule establishes one-time reporting and record-keeping requirements for certain chemical substances when they are manufactured or processed at the nanoscale. NRDC Expert Blog.

New rodent population models may inform human health risk assessment and identification of genetic susceptibility to environmental exposures.

August 15, 2017

These new resources offer substantial advances to classical toxicity testing paradigms by including genetically sensitive individuals that may inform toxicity risks for sensitive subpopulations. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Elemental sulfur use and associations with pediatric lung function and respiratory symptoms in an agricultural community (California, USA).

August 15, 2017

This study suggests that elemental sulfur use, allowed in both organic and conventional farming, in close proximity to residential areas, may adversely affect children’s respiratory health. Environmental Health Perspectves.

Heat wave and mortality: a multicountry, multicommunity study.

August 15, 2017

Results indicate that high temperatures create a substantial health burden, and effects of high temperatures over consecutive days are similar to what would be experienced if high temperature days occurred independently. Environmental Health Perspectives.

Air pollution ups stress hormones, alters metabolism.

August 15, 2017

Breathing dirty air causes stress hormones to spike, new research suggests, which could help explain why long-term exposure to pollution is associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a shorter life span.
[See the study: Particulate matter exposure and stress hormone levels: a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial of air purification]

Cheese powder and other hobgoblins: a double standard in risk reporting.

August 15, 2017

Why do journalists raise concern about the reliability of science when it’s financed by corporations and industry, but not when the funders are environmental or public health advocates—who of course are also trying to advance their cause, honorable as it may be? Undark.

Troubled water: farming activity contaminates water despite best practices.

August 15, 2017

Farming communities had thousands of violations of nitrate contamination over the last 10 years. Farmers are trying to contain the issue, but a lack of regulation hinders progress. News21.

US wind and solar power helped prevent up to 12,700 deaths in 2015.

August 15, 2017

The massive increase in wind and solar energy helped prevent the premature deaths of up to 12,700 people over a nine-year period in the US, according to new research which illustrates the wider benefits of ditching fossil fuels beyond limiting global warming. The Independent, United Kingdom.

Can endocrine disruptors elevate risk of breast cancer?

August 15, 2017

"Hormone disruptors can affect how estrogen and other hormones act in the body, by blocking them or mimicking them, which throws off the body's hormonal balance." This imbalance may lead to the development of cancer later in life, Soto says, because "chemicals that affect mammary gland development may also increase the propensity to develop breast cancer." US News & World Report.

New resource: Videos on the Six Classes Approach.

August 15, 2017

This series of short video from the Green Science Policy Institute discuss the “Six Classes” of chemicals that are known to harm human health and the environment.

Aspartame: decades of science point to serious health risks.

August 15, 2017

While many studies, some of them industry-sponsored, have reported no problems with aspartame, dozens of independent studies conducted over decades have linked aspartame to a long list of health problems including cancer, weight gain and obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular events, stroke, dementia, seizures, behavioral and cognitive problems, headache, kidney function decline, preterm delivery and other reproductive system irregularities. US Right to Know.

Perinatal exposure to low-dose bisphenol A disrupts the structural and functional development of the hypothalamic feeding circuitry.

August 14, 2017

Our findings suggest that BPA, a putative obesogen, may exert its effects through developmental programming of the hypothalamic melanocortin circuitry, permanently altering the neurobiology of metabolic homeostasis. Endocrinology.

3D printers and potential airborne exposure concerns discussed in new video.

August 14, 2017

“As 3D printers become more common, concerns have been raised about possible exposures to chemicals (volatile organic compounds/VOCs) and ultrafine particles,” said Paul Cochrane, President of Cochrane and Associates and the IAQ Video Network. Environmental Xprt.
[See the video: 3D Printers & Potential Airborne Exposure Concerns]

Thirty years after the Montreal Protocol, solving the ozone problem remains elusive.

August 14, 2017

Scientists warn of new threats to the ozone layer, including widespread use of ozone-eating chemicals not covered by the treaty. Yale Environment 360.

Poison once flowed in America's waters. With Trump, it might again.

August 14, 2017

Over the past four decades, a huge amount of effort has gone into cleaning America's heavily polluted waters. Is all of that progress about to be undone? The Guardian.

Blood lead, cadmium and mercury in relation to homocysteine and C-reactive protein in women of reproductive age: a panel study.

August 13, 2017

Blood lead was associated with increased homocysteine in a cohort of healthy, premenopausal women but these associations did not persist among those consuming ≥75th percentile of essential micronutrients. Environmental Health.

Wildfires pollute air more than previously thought. Are prescribed burns the answer?

August 12, 2017

Wildfires emit three times more of this sort of fine-particle pollution than suggested by similar data compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency. Undark.

Exposure to toxins in e-cig vapor varies depending on scenario.

August 11, 2017

The study predicted that heavy users inhaling at a high rate of 250 puffs per day with devices at 3.8 to 4.8 volts would potentially inhale levels of acrolein, formaldehyde and diacetyl that exceed US occupational limits. American Chemical Society.

EPA issues guidance on state coal ash management permit programs.

August 11, 2017

The interim final guidance released today addresses numerous questions EPA received about the provisions of the WIIN Act, establishes a framework to guide EPA’s approval process and provides checklists to aid states as they are considering and developing their program submittals. EPA will accept public comments on the interim final guidance for 30 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

EPA, DOT open comment period on reconsideration of GHG standards for cars and light trucks.

August 11, 2017

The EPA is inviting the public to submit relevant data and information that can inform a final determination of the standards. The comment period will be open for 45 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. 

Why doctors support bike lanes: they’re healthier for everyone.

August 11, 2017

The claim that bike lanes make cycling safer isn’t just anecdotal. It’s also backed by solid science. In 2014 Toronto Public Health released its “Healthy Streets Evidence Review,” which summarized some of the research in this area. Toronto Star, Ontario.

To reduce exposure to pollution on your commute, crank the air conditioning.

August 11, 2017

Researchers found that using air conditioning reduced the amounts of the pollutants inside the vehicle by 20 to 34 percent. Scientists found the AC was best at minimizing pollution exposure when following a heavy polluter like a bus or big rig. Newsline.

Study: fines for illegal pollution plummet under Trump.

August 11, 2017

The Environmental Integrity Project looked at that civil penalties paid by polluters during the first six months under Trump. The group published an analysis Thursday that found penalties were less than half their levels under each of the past three presidents. ABC News.

In the shadow of a nuclear plant, the US government lays out an unusual mission: teach the locals to trust science.

August 11, 2017

How do you explain dense environmental science in a community where only 1 in 10 adults has a college degree? StatNews.