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News and Announcements

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Topic-specific News

Items specific to any of the topics in the What We Know section of this site are displayed in the left sidebar of those pages. The same is true for our ScienceServ and Special Partnerships pages.

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.

CHE offers this information as a service but does not endorse any of the events, articles or announcements.

Dietary prebiotics improve sleep, buffer impacts of stress, says study.

February 26, 2017

"We found that dietary prebiotics can improve non-REM sleep, as well as REM sleep after a stressful event," said Robert Thompson, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology and first author of the new study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. ScienceDaily.
[See the study: Dietary prebiotics and bioactive milk fractions improve NREM sleep, enhance REM sleep rebound and attenuate the stress-induced decrease in diurnal temperature and gut microbial alpha diversity]

Exposure of children to phthalates and the impact of consumer practices in Slovakia.

February 26, 2017

We concluded that consumer practices (including eating and drinking habits and personal care) represent the substantial source of phthalate exposure in Slovak children. Reviews on Environmental Health.

The association of peripubertal serum concentrations of organochlorine chemicals and blood lead with growth and pubertal development in a longitudinal cohort of boys: a review of published results from the Russian Children’s Study.

February 26, 2017

Overall, we found that persistent organochlorines and lead negatively affected growth during puberty. Our results also suggest that total toxic equivalents (TEQs), dioxin-like compounds, organochlorine pesticides and lead may delay, while nondioxin-like-PCBs may advance, the timing of male puberty. Reviews on Environmental Health.

Themed issue of Health Affairs: The Work/Health Relationship.

February 26, 2017

A collection of papers in this month’s Health Affairs expands our understanding of the complex work/health relationship. Efforts to improve the health of the population must take into account the myriad ways employment and work conditions can improve or harm physical and mental health.

Accuracy of two geocoding methods for geographic information system-based exposure assessment in epidemiological studies.

February 24, 2017

Our study demonstrates the feasibility of geocoding residential addresses in epidemiological studies not initially recorded for environmental exposure assessment, for both recent addresses and residence locations more than 20 years ago. Accuracy of the two automatic geocoding methods was comparable. Environmental Health.

Sugar’s “tipping point” link to Alzheimer’s disease revealed.

February 24, 2017

By studying brain samples from people with and without Alzheimer’s using a sensitive technique to detect glycation, the team discovered that in the early stages of Alzheimer’s glycation damages an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor) which plays a role in immune response and insulin regulation. University of Bath News.
[See the study: Macrophage migration inhibitory factor is subjected to glucose modification and oxidation in Alzheimer's disease]

High salt diet seen as potential risk factor for MS in new study.

February 24, 2017

Researchers presented data supporting the view that a high salt diet, commonly found in Western diets, boosts the number and maturation of animal and human Th17 cells. Multiple Sclerosis News Today.
[See the abstract: Sodium chloride intake and MS]

Flint water crisis caused by interrupted corrosion control: investigating “Ground Zero” home.

February 24, 2017

Flint, Michigan switched to the Flint River as a temporary drinking water source without implementing corrosion control in April 2014. Ten months later, water samples collected from a Flint residence revealed progressively rising water lead levels (104, 397, and 707 μg/L) coinciding with increasing water discoloration. Environmental Science & Technology.

Call for applicants: Science Communication Fellowship 2017.

February 24, 2017

Advancing Green Chemistry fellows are early career scientists from a diversity of sustainable science fields including green chemists and environmental health scientists. Fellows will work from their home organizations by phone and the Internet, and must be located in North America and be fluent in English. Applications are due February 28, 2017.

Dismal results from vouchers surprise researchers as DeVos era begins.

February 24, 2017

Even as school choice is poised to go national, a wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them. The results are startling—the worst in the history of the field, researchers say. New York Times.
[Note: Educational achievement is among the best indicators for a host of positive outcomes in later life, including health.]

Revealed: thousands of children at London schools breathe toxic air.

February 24, 2017

A study identifies 802 educational institutions where pupils as young as three are being exposed to levels of nitrogen dioxide that breach EU legal limits and which the government accepts are harmful to health. The Guardian.

Call for proposals: Community-Scale Air Toxics Ambient Monitoring Grant - FY 2017.

February 24, 2017

The US Environmental Protection Agency solicits proposals for projects designed to assist state, local and tribal communities in identifying and profiling air toxics sources, assessing emerging measurement methods, characterizing the degree and extent of local air toxics problems, and tracking progress of air toxics reduction activities. The closing date is March 22, 2017.

Natracare becomes first brand with Made Safe certified feminine & maternity care.

February 24, 2017

As the first nontoxic certification to apply widely to consumer products, the revolutionary MADE SAFE seal verifies that products are made without chemicals or ingredients known to harm human health, animals and ecosystems.

New resource: The Case for Chemical Transparency.

February 23, 2017

A new fact sheet and webinar recording from Clean Production Action describe why companies and retailers are now voluntarily disclosing their chemical formulations, including fragrance ingredients, to their customers.

Lifetime secondhand smoke exposure and childhood and adolescent asthma: findings from the PIAMA cohort.

February 23, 2017

With all three methods, we consistently found no association between secondhand smoke exposure and asthma at ages 4 to 17 years e.g. adjusted overall odds ratio 0.67, 1.00 and 0.67 for prenatal maternal active smoking, infancy, and preschool school time window exposures, respectively. Environmental Health.

'Get The Lead Out' campaign launches to address safe drinking water concerns.

February 23, 2017

The WISPIRG Foundation released a report Thursday on what’s being done to prevent lead poisoning in the 16 states and Washington, DC, they surveyed. Wisconsin Public Radio.
[See the report: Get the Lead Out]

US life expectancy will soon be on par with Mexico's and the Czech Republic's.

February 23, 2017

The reasons for the United States' lag are well known. It has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of any of the countries in the study, and the highest obesity rate. It is the only one without universal health insurance coverage and has the “largest share of unmet health-care needs due to financial costs,” the researchers wrote. Washington Post.
[See the study: Future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries: projections with a Bayesian model ensemble]

Substitute chemicals for cancer-linked PFCs may also be harmful, researchers warn.

February 23, 2017

A pair of long-lasting, man-made chemicals called PFOA and PFOS have generated controversy and lawsuits in recent years. A new study warns there are more than 3,000 replacement chemicals with similar chemical makeup and potential health impacts are unknown. Birmingham News, Alabama.
[See the study: A never-ending story of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)?]

In a time of division, could science find a way to unite?

February 23, 2017

Science is supposed to inform policy decisions, to provide evidence so that policymakers can make informed decisions, Jacquelyn Gill, a paleoecologist at the University of Maine, told the Monitor. But if there is disagreement over the science itself, rather than the policy implications of the science, that undermines that relationship, she said. Christian Science Monitor.

Study builds argument that infections may cause autism.

February 23, 2017

Women who had active infections with genital herpes early in pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with autism than women who did not, a team of researchers found. NBC News.
[See the study: Maternal immunoreactivity to herpes simplex virus 2 and risk of autism spectrum disorder in male offspring]

Thousands of spills at US oil and gas fracking sites.

February 22, 2017

A study carried out by the US Environment Protection Agency on fracking in eight states between 2006 and 2012 concluded that 457 spills had occurred. But this new study, while limited to just four states with adequate data, suggests the level of spills is much higher. The researchers found 6,648 spills between 2005 and 2014. BBC.
[See the study: Unconventional oil and gas spills: risks, mitigation priorities, and state reporting requirements]

Food additive found in candy, gum could alter digestive cell structure and function.

February 22, 2017

The ability of small intestine cells to absorb nutrients and act as a barrier to pathogens is 'significantly decreased' after chronic exposure to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, a common food additive found in everything from chewing gum to bread, according to new research. ScienceDaily.
[See the study: Titanium dioxide nanoparticle ingestion alters nutrient absorption in an in vitro model of the small intestine]

Milk, fruit and vegetable, and total antioxidant intakes in relation to mortality rates: cohort studies in women and men.

February 22, 2017

Dietary antioxidant intake, especially in women, seems to modify the elevated death rate associated with high milk consumption. American Journal of Epidemiology.

Lower levels of persistent organic pollutants, metals and the marine omega 3-fatty acid DHA in farmed compared to wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

February 22, 2017

Wild salmon had higher levels of persistent organic pollutants and mercury than farmed salmon. Farmed salmon had higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids than wild salmon. Farmed and wild salmon had comparable levels of EPA, whereas farmed salmon had lower levels of DHA. Environmental Research.

Associations between cadmium levels in blood and urine, blood pressure and hypertension among Canadian adults.

February 22, 2017

This study provides evidence of a significant association between cadmium levels, blood pressure and hypertension. However, the significance and direction of this association differs by sex, smoking status, and body mass index category. Environmental Research.

Association of perfluoroalkyl substances exposure with impaired lung function in children.

February 22, 2017

This study suggests that serum PFASs are associated with decreased lung function among children with asthma. Environmental Research.

Blood lead levels following consumption of game meat in Italy.

February 22, 2017

A multiple linear regression analysis (containing the covariates sex, age, hunting, wine drinking, game meat consumption, tobacco smoking, shooting range, and occupational exposure) found an association with hunting (Pb-blood almost double in hunters) and wine drinking (40% higher in drinkers) but not with consumption of game meat or other parameters. Environmental Research.

Maternal prenatal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and visual recognition memory among infants at 27 weeks.

February 22, 2017

Maternal prenatal exposure to some phthalates was negatively associated with visual recognition memory as measured by the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence among girls at age 27 weeks. Environmental Research.

Estimating deaths attributable to airborne particles: sensitivity of the results to different exposure assessment approaches.

February 22, 2017

A reduction in particle concentrations could have produced significant health benefits in the region. This general conclusion did not change when different exposure definitions were used, provided that the same exposure assessment approach was used for both effect and impact estimations. Caution is therefore recommended when using effect estimates from the literature to assess health impacts of air pollution in actual contexts. Environmental Health.

Aerosol study to look at great unknown in climate science.

February 22, 2017

The particles are formed by molecules clumping together to form groups of between one nanometre and 10 microns. Non-carbon particles reflect light and in some cases seed clouds, causing a localised cooling effect. The Guardian, United Kingdom.