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					Bulletin Board                                 May 16, 2008




(click on page numbers for links)




                                                               Contents
Please Note: Links to Technical articles are now listed
at the end of the bulletin.


HAZARD ALERT
 Formaldehyde                                              3

LEGISLATION
 ASIA PACIFIC
 COAG Review of Hazardous Materials                        5
 Iodine fortification mandatory for NZ bakers               5
 Toxic Industrial Waste Treatment Guidelines               6

 AMERICA
 OSHA Not Issuing Combustible Dust Standard
 Anytime Soon                                              6
 EPA Sets Stricter Ozone Standard                          8
 Individualised Safety Plans Promote OSHA
 Compliance                                                8
 DA To Boost Presence In China                             9
 New legislation to increase the powers of the
 Consumer Product Safety Commission                        9
                                                                Contact us:
 EUROPE
 CENIHR opinion on the safety of DEHP and its
 alternatives in medical devices                           9    subscribers@chemwatch.net
                                                                tel +61 3 9572 4700
 Commission and EP at odds over pesticide
 substances                                               10    fax +61 3 9572 4777
 New REACH guidance on monomers and polymers
 published                                                11    70 Bambra Rd Caulfield North
 Automotive Industry Guideline on REACH                   11    Victoria 3161 Australia
 ADR 2009: Consolidated list of amendments                11
                                                                *While Chemwatch has taken all efforts
                                                                to ensure the accuracy of information in
                                                                this publication, it is not intended to be
                                                                comprehensive or to render advice.
                                                                Websites rendered are subject to change.



                                               1
Bulletin Board
JANET’S CORNER - NOT TOO SERIOUSLY!




                                                             Contents
 A couple of funnies                                    13

GOSSIP
 Good hygiene decreases exposure to toxic chemicals     14
 Bad reactions                                          15
 A sensor for pre-packed bugs                           15
 Scare after cancer-causing contaminant found in
 US cleaning products                                   15
 Chemists Find New Important Contributor To Urban
 Smog                                                   16
 The Song Doesn’t Remain The Same In Fragmented
 Bird Populations                                       17
 Happily Marrieds Have Lower Blood Pressure Than
 Social Singles                                         18
 Wheeze ‘link’ to baby milk powder                      19
 Women drinkers ‘face cancer risk’                      20
 Bears face new toxic threat                            20
 Salt could shake up world energy supply                21
 Plastic may be bad for health                          22
 Spit Tests May Soon Replace Many Blood Tests           23
 Vocal cord ills seen in World Trade Center workers     25
 Study blames diesel fumes for cancer risk in Oakland   26
 Toxins in smokers’ cars surprise even researchers      26
 Depression Biomarker Identified                         27
TECHNICAL NOTES:
 ENVIRONMENTAL                                          28
 MEDICAL                                                28
 OCCUPATIONAL                                           28
 PUBLIC HEALTH                                          28
 SAFETY                                                 28




                                            2
Hazard Alert
Formaldehyde                                                                    Sources of exposure:
Formaldehyde is a colourless, highly flammable gas or liquid with a pungent      Formaldehyde is normally present
odour that is detectable at about 1 part per million (ppm). In its pure         in both indoor and outdoor air at
form it is a gas, but is often used in liquid form after diluting with water.   low levels, usually less than 0.03
Synonyms include formalin, methylene oxide, methyl aldehyde and formic          ppm, according to the US Consumer
aldehyde. Its chemical formula is CH2O. Formaldehyde mixes with water,          Product Safety Commission.
acetone, benzene, diethyl ether, chloroform and ethanol. It is very reactive    Concentrations are generally higher
– for example with strong oxidizers, alkalis and acids, phenols and urea -      indoor than outdoors, due to less
combines with many substances and polymerises easily.                           ventilation indoors.
                                                                                • vehicle exhaust is a source of
Uses:                                                                           formaldehyde
A principal use is in the manufacture of formaldehyde-based resins and          • it may be present in fibreboard,
plastics. These in turn have many applications, but are mainly used in the      particle board and furniture – pressed
wood-products industry.                                                         wood products can be a significant
Other uses include:                                                             source of formaldehyde in homes.
• textiles treatments, leather tanning, film processing and copper-plating       • detergents and a wide range
solutions                                                                       of personal care and cosmetics
• medicinal uses include pill-coatings and as an antimicrobial delivery         products such as shampoos, hair
medium for vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, polioviris, hepatitis          conditioners and bubble baths
and influenza. Such vaccines do not require refrigeration, making them           can contain formaldehyde as an
accessible to many people in developing countries, and useful for delivery      antimicrobial agent.
to highly mobile people such as members of the armed forces. Urinary tract
infections can be treated with methenamine, a derivative of formaldehyde.       • formaldehyde-based resins are
                                                                                used in permanent press fabrics
• as a disinfectant and germicide, an industrial fungicide, a preservative in   (clothing, Manchester, draperies),
laboratories and as embalming fluid in funeral homes and mortuaries.             wallpaper, paint, glues, grocery bags
                                                                                and waxed paper.
Health Effects:                                                                 • in the 1970s, urea-formaldehyde
Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde while others have no             foam insulation (UFFI) was used in
reaction to the same level of exposure. At levels in air above 0.1 ppm,         many homes. However, it is no longer
some individuals may experience irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and     commonly used, and UFFI installed
allergies affecting the skin and lungs. Higher exposure can cause throat        years ago is unlikely to cause high
spasms and a build up of fluid in the lungs, leading to death. Contact can       formaldehyde levels now.
also cause severe eye and skin burns, resulting in permanent damage.
These symptoms may appear hours after exposure even if no pain is felt.         • cigarettes, cigars and other
                                                                                tobacco products produce
Formaldehyde can cause an asthma-like respiratory allergy. Any further          formaldehyde
exposures can cause asthma attacks with shortness of breath, wheezing,
cough and /or chest tightness. Repeated exposures may cause bronchitis,         • burning kerosene, natural gas and
with coughing and shortness of breath.                                          wood
                                                                                • natural sources - formaldehyde
In 1987, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified                 can form as a result of forest fires,
formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen under conditions of unusually       is present in animal wastes and
high or prolonged exposure. The International Agency for Research on Cancer     the microbial products of biological
(IARC) also classified it as a probable human carcinogen, then in 2004,          systems. It can also be formed
reclassified it as a “known human carcinogen”. The IRAC Expert Working           in seawater by photochemical
Group determined that there was sufficient evidence that formaldehyde            processes
causes nasopharyngeal cancer (a rare cancer in developed countries) in
humans. They also found limited evidence for cancer of the nasal cavity and
paranasal sinuses and “strong but not sufficient evidence for leukaemia”.
Formaldehyde undergoes rapid chemical changes immediately after
absorption in the body. Some scientists therefore think that effects of
formaldehyde at sites other than the upper respiratory tract are unlikely.
Based on cohort studies and experimental data from laboratory research, the
US National Cancer Institute (NCI) concluded that exposure to formaldehyde


                                                           3
Hazard Alert
may cause leukaemia, particularly myeloid leukaemia, in humans. However,
inconsistent results from other studies suggest that further research is
needed.

References:
http://www.nicnas.gov.au/Publications/Information_Sheets/Safety_
Information_Sheets/SIS_26_Formaldehyde_General.pdf
http://www.formaldehyde.org/
http://www.npi.gov.au/database/substance-info/profiles/pubs/formaldehyde.
pdf
http://www.epa.gov/iaq/formalde.html
http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/formaldehyde
http://www.nsc.org/EHC/indoor/formald.htm




                                                        4
Legislation
Asia Pacific
COAG Review of Hazardous Materials
2008-03-25
                                                                                 The review
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in December 2002
announced that they would be conducting a national review of the regulation,
                                                                                 contains a list
reporting and security surrounding the storage, sale and handling of
hazardous materials. The work was divided into four parts: ammonium
                                                                                 of 95 pure/
nitrate; radiological sources; harmful biological materials; and hazardous
chemicals (chemicals of security concern). The ‘Draft Report on the Control      concentrated
of Chemicals of Security Concern’ (February 2008) is the fourth and final
component of the COAG Review of Hazardous Materials and recommends               chemicals
to COAG a framework for the management of the security of chemicals that
is based on principles that reflect the interests and needs of the community,
industry and government and which deliver an effective national system. The
                                                                                 that have
proposed framework comprises: an agreed approach to conduct security
risk assessments across all elements of the supply chain of chemicals of
                                                                                 a potential
potential security concern based on risk and terrorist interest a number of
initial measures to improve the security around chemicals. These include:
                                                                                 security
improving community awareness of the threat from chemicals of security
concern enhancing the capacity of industry to contribute to the security         concern.
of chemicals, building on existing industry activities where possible
measures to enhance the capacity of government agencies involved in
managing chemical security, and appropriate management and governance
arrangements to allocate roles and responsibilities and establish ongoing
coordination and consultation arrangements between governments and
between governments and industry. The review contains a list of 95 pure/
concentrated chemicals that have a potential security concern. A copy of the
full report can be requested at
chemicalsecurity@pmc.gov.au
Department for the Prime Minister and Cabinet, February 2008
http://www.pmc.gov.au/consultation/haz_materials/index.cfm

Iodine fortification mandatory for NZ bakers
2008-03-25
New Zealand recently passed a law requiring that all bread products must
be fortified with iodine, aiming to boost the consumption of the essential
nutrient. The proposal was first introduced in 1996 when the authority Food
Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) called bread made in the
country to contain between 35 to 55 mg of iodine per kg of salt. Iodine is
essential for human health because of its importance in thyroid development,
and deficiency in the nutrient has been linked to reduced cognitive, ability,
hearing and motor skills. Now that the proposals have been approved,
bakers in the country will from now on have to ‘iodise’ their products by
replacing non-iodised salt with an iodised form of the product, “a simple and
low cost way of increasing the iodine content of a range of foods,” FSZANZ
said. FSANZ said that bakers would have until September to comply with
the new regulation, which will allow time for necessary manufacturing and
labelling changes. Organic products and unleavened bread including pita
and tortilla have been exempt from the new requirements. Jenny Reid,
spokesperson for FSANZ, said the regulations were passed as iodine
consumption in the country is dropping, “with New Zealanders’ levels now
far lower than those of people in other nations.” One of the main reasons
for the drop is consumers are eating less salt, one of the main sources of
iodine, FSANZ said. As in other first world countries, consumers in New
Zealand are increasingly being encouraged to cut salt out of their diets as it

                                                            5
Legislation
has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. She added that fresh produce
and grains grown domestically have a much lower level of the nutrient than
those in other countries, thanks to the particular condition of New Zealand
soil. Reid encouraged people to eat foods that are naturally rich in iodine
and low in salt, such as seafood, milk and milk products, eggs and seameal
custard - a traditional New Zealand dessert. Many bakers have raised
concern over the new regulation since it was proposed two years ago. The
New Zealand Bakery Association said that the changes will be expensive,
claiming there are not a lot of facilities to process iodised salt in the country.
The association believes that bakers will be forced to pass these costs on
to consumers, she added.
Nutra Ingredients, 19 March 2008
http://www.nutraingredients.com

Toxic Industrial Waste Treatment Guidelines
2008-03-25
                                                                                     In February,
In February, Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health Advisory Committee
(WSHAC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower, released guidelines
                                                                                     Singapore’s
titled: ‘Toxic Industrial Waste Treatment Guidelines’. The aim of the new
guidelines is to provide guidance on minimising workplace safety and health
                                                                                     Workplace
risks in the waste treatment industry. The scope of the guidelines covers
workplace safety and health in waste treatment facilities that store, treat          Safety and
and dispose of toxic industrial waste commercially. The guidelines should
be read together with the Singapore Standard CP 100: 2004 ‘Code of                   Health Advisory
Practice on Hazardous Waste Management’ as well as MOM’s Guidelines
on ‘Prevention and Control of Chemical Hazards’.                                     Committee
WSHAC, February 2008
http://www.wsh.sg/web2006/iden01.php?pg=p02M_ExpansionofAct                          (WSHAC) in
                                                                                     collaboration
America
                                                                                     with the
OSHA Not Issuing Combustible Dust Standard Anytime
Soon                                                                                 Ministry of
2008-03-25
On 12 March under congressional testimony, OSHA Administrator Edwin                  Manpower,
Foulke Jr. stated the agency would consider rulemaking on combustible dust
a “strong option,” but only if its investigation of the Imperial Sugar refinery       released
explosion and an inspection of existing standards, identified in OSHA’s
National Emphasis Program (NEP), identified that the standards don’t                  guidelines
adequately mitigate the potential for the hazards associated with combustible
dust. “We have 17 different standards that are applicable to combustible
dust,” Foulke told members of the House Education and Labor Committee,
                                                                                     titled: ‘Toxic
noting that existing standards on ventilation and factory housekeeping can
be used to address combustible dust hazards. “After the NEP has been
                                                                                     Industrial
in effect and we have conducted enough inspections we will evaluate
and review the inspection data to determine if the standards we currently            Waste
have are adequate to address combustible dust hazards.” William Wright,
board member and interim executive of the Chemical Safety and Hazard                 Treatment
Investigation Board (CSB), argued that the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion
was the deadliest industrial explosion in the United States since 1980 and           Guidelines’.
therefore, confirms the immediate need for OSHA to issue a mandatory
measure for employers. In addition, he added that a regulatory standard
would make employers highly aware of the engineering and safety practices
needed to prevent dust explosions. However, despite this, the OSHA chief
remained adamant that a new standard may not be the solution to prevent
                                                               6
Legislation
 more tragedies. He insisted that the agency’s multi-pronged approach,
 which includes enforcement of standards, combined with education for              He insisted that
 employers and employees, should be effective enough to fight combustible
 dust hazards. “The effectiveness of a standard always depends on how              the agency’s
 well employers implement the requirements, and many tragic accidents in
 the last decade could have been avoided or minimized if employers had             multi-pronged
 complied with existing OSHA standards,” Foulke said. House Committee
 Chairman Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., had strong words for Foulke and the
 agency. He stated that OSHA “has been clinging to a past” that has “turned
                                                                                   approach,
 out be fatal.” He, along with Rep. John Barrows, D-Ga., introduced a bill -
 the Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Prevention Act (H.R. 5522) - that
                                                                                   which includes
 would push OSHA to issue mandatory rulemaking regulating combustible
 industrial dusts. “I see such an incredible lack of urgency on your part, about   enforcement
 the role of your agency to protect workers, that it’s astounding,” Miller told
 Foulke. “Congress will continue to step in until OSHA steps up.” However,         of standards,
the Chamber of Commerce and several Republican lawmakers, are wary
of the bill. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, called the Miller-Barrow bill         combined with
a “one-size-fits-all approach” and said various kinds of dust raise different
issues.                                                                            education for
He also said the bill does not call for more inspections and that, even
with tougher rules, dust cleanup could remain a problem. While CSB’s
investigation is ongoing, Wright explained the agency has made some
                                                                                   employers and
preliminary findings. Witnesses reported that “snow-like accumulations
of sugar dust” covered the horizontal surfaces of overhead floor joists,
                                                                                   employees,
rafters, ductwork piping and equipment in the facility, Wright said. When
triggered, the accumulated dust is fuel for catastrophic explosions. “Without
                                                                                   should be
accumulated fuel, the most catastrophic type of dust explosion can not and
will not occur,” he said, adding that “these type of tragedies are preventable.”   effective
Furthermore, the findings show that the company provided its employees
and contractors very little training on combustible dust hazards. Wright’s         enough to fight
testimony echoed findings in CSB’s 2006 report, which identified 281
industrial dust fires and explosions between 1980 and 2005 that caused
119 deaths and more than 718 injuries. Amy Beasley Spencer, a senior
                                                                                   combustible
chemical engineer with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),
agreed with Wright and suggested that OSHA’s rules were too vague to
                                                                                   dust hazards.
address the hazards associated with combustible dust. The NFPA, a nonprofit
and nongovernmental organisation, has already established voluntary
consensus guidelines to control combustible dust hazards and prevent dust
explosions. CSB said in its report the standards are effective in preventive
catastrophic explosions caused by combustible dust, but because they
are voluntary, “their adoption and enforcement is inconsistent and largely
ineffective.” Foulke said that the NFPA standards were useful tools and
form the basis for many OSHA standards. He added, however, that he was
hesitant in adopting them as standards without careful consideration. “We
have concerns about adopting the NFPA voluntary consensus standards
as an OSHA combustible dust standard without carefully thinking about
their effectiveness, impact and enforceability,” Foulke said. “In fact, the
[Occupational Safety and Health] OSH Act requires us to consider consensus
standards while developing OSHA standards.” However, in 1987 OSHA have
put in place similar standards for the grain industry in response to various
grain dust explosions in the late 1970s and early 1980s. According to CSB,
OSHA’s own review of the standard revealed that it has decreased injuries
and fatalities from grain dust explosions by 60 percent.
Occupational Hazards, 13 March 2008
http://www.occupationalhazards.com/news




                                                             7
Legislation
EPA Sets Stricter Ozone Standard
2008-03-25
The Environmental Protection Agency is tightening the national air quality
standard for ground-level ozone from 0.08 parts per million to 0.075 ppm.
This concentration is still less stringent than what many experts contend
is required to protect public health and prevent premature deaths. The
announcement was made on12 March by EPA Administrator Stephen L.
Johnson who said, “America’s air is cleaner today than it was a generation
ago.” “By meeting the requirement of the Clean Air Act and strengthening the
national standard for ozone, EPA is keeping our clean air progress moving
forward.” The decision to tightened the standard was based on recent
scientific evidence regarding the effects of ozone, the primary component
of smog. The change means that the air in 345 U.S. counties will violate
federal standards, four times the current number of violators. The American
Chemistry Council, which represents 134 major chemical manufacturers,
believes the 0.08-ppm limit sufficiently protects public health and is based
on sound scientific information. “The available science is largely unchanged
since the 1997 standard was issued and demonstrates that there is no clear
and substantial basis for making the standard stricter at this time,” ACC
said in a statement. Lowering the ozone standard “unnecessarily will impose
significant new burdens on states and others even as they continue to try
and comply with the 1997 standard.” On the other hand, the American Lung
Association requested a much stricter standard, as have more than a dozen
other public health and medical societies. In 2006, EPA’s Clean Air Scientific
Advisory Committee said a standard of between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm is
needed to provide an adequate margin of protection for millions of people
susceptible to respiratory illnesses. Business groups waged an intense
lobbying campaign to preserve the old standard. In meetings with EPA and
White House officials, they argued that the estimated $8.5 billion annual
cost of meeting a lower limit could hurt the economy.
Chemical & Engineering News, 17 March 2008
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news

Individualised Safety Plans Promote OSHA Compliance
2008-03-25
                                                                                The plans are
Zurich Services Corporation’s risk engineering division is collaborating
with OSHA Fast Fix, a company that provides written safety plans geared
                                                                                available in
toward OSHA standard implementation, to offer industry-specific safety
plans tailored to individual businesses’ needs. This partnership will assist    English and
customers improve workplace safety, address the causes of accidents
and reduce workers’ compensation claims. The plans provide a foundation         Spanish and
for businesses - large or small - to implement their own effective safety
programs. Jim Feltz, Zurich senior risk engineering consultant said, “Often,    include self-
smaller businesses don’t have the manpower or expertise to devote to
safety plan development.” In this case, the plans can provide a complete
safety program. However, larger companies can also benefit. “For large
                                                                                audit questions.
customers with multiple locations, the plans can help provide uniform safety
practices throughout their operations,” Feltz explained. The plans are
available in English and Spanish and include self-audit questions. According
to OSHA Fast Fix President Meredith Taylor, the plans are presented in an
accessible format to ensure that safety professionals aren’t the only ones
who can easily comprehend and use the information. “Each plan focuses
on individual OSHA regulations and standards so customers can address
one safety issue at a time,” Taylor said. The plans, she added, can help
customers “take ownership of their safety program.” Feltz pointed out that
the collaboration ultimately will help customers “understand their workplace

                                                           8
Legislation
safety issues and help them to improve their safety experience.”
Occupational Hazards, 13 March 2008
http://www.occupationalhazards.com/news

DA To Boost Presence In China
2008-03-25
                                                                                  The regulatory
FDA has received approval from the State Department on their plan to
establish eight full-time permanent staff positions at U.S. diplomatic posts in
                                                                                  outposts are an
China. The Chinese Government must also approve the plans. The regulatory
outposts are an outgrowth of a number of high-profile recalls in the past year
                                                                                  outgrowth of a
involving products made in China, including toothpaste, pet food, and the
blood thinner heparin. FDA says it plans to hire and place staff in China over    number of high-
the next 18 months. In addition, the agency intends to hire five local Chinese
nationals to work with the new FDA staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing           profile recalls
and the U.S. Consulates General in Shanghai and Guangzhou. “In an age
when a border is not a barrier, the globalised economy demands nothing
less than heightened regulatory interoperability, information exchange,
                                                                                  in the past
and cooperation, especially on product quality and enforcement matters,”
says Murray M. Lumpkin, FDA’s deputy commissioner for international and
                                                                                  year involving
special programs. The agency says permanent overseas offices in China
will also allow greater access for inspections and mo
                                                                                  products made
Chemical & Engineering News, 19 March 2008
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news
                                                                                  in China,
New legislation to increase the powers of the Consumer
                                                                                  including
Product Safety Commission
2008-03-25
                                                                                  toothpaste, pet
On 6 March, the Senate approved legislation that will provide the Consumer        food, and the
Product Safety Commission with new powers and an increased budget. The
Senate bill (S. 2663) now heads to conference committee, where significant
differences with the House version (H.R. 4040) will have to be resolved. S.
                                                                                  blood thinner
2663 would allow state attorneys general to pull products off shelves pending
CPSC rulings. Furthermore, it includes an amendment by Sen. Feinstein
                                                                                  heparin.
(D-CA) that would ban the sale and manufacture of children’s products that
contain certain phthalates, which are chemicals that have been linked to
hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects
and reproductive problems.
NRDC, 20 March 2008
http://www.nrdc.org/legislation/legwatch.asp


Europe
CENIHR opinion on the safety of DEHP and its
alternatives in medical devices
2008-03-25
The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks
(SCENIHR) has reviewed the safety of DEHP, the most used plasticizer in
medical devices, and has examined the availability, suitability and safety
of alternative plasticizers. They found that certain medical procedures
used in high-risk patients result in a significant exposure to DEHP. The
Committee concluded that in view of the reproductive toxicity observed in
animal studies, in which young, immature animals were more susceptible to
DEHP toxicity, exposure from medical devices remains of special concern in

                                                             9
Legislation
relation to newborn and pre-term born male infants. These new findings on
DEHP indicate that there is still a reason for having some concerns about
the exposure of prematurely born male babies to medical devices containing
DEHP. This concern is instigated by the potential high human exposure to
DEHP especially during certain medical procedures, which may be transiently
above the dose inducing reproductive toxicity in animal studies. There
are alternative plasticizers to polyvinylchloride (PVC) and also non-PVC
alternative materials available. A generic exposure assessment could not
be performed on these alternative plasticizers due to a lack of relevant use
and human exposure data. However, there are some alternative plasticizers
for which there is sufficient toxicological data to indicate a lower hazard
compared to DEHP. Nevertheless, the functionality of these substances
should be assessed before they can be used as an alternative for DEHP
in PVC medical devices. For other possible alternatives, information on
the toxicological profile was lacking. DEHP is a plasticizer that is added to
PVC to make it flexible, resilient and easier to handle. Plasticizers are not     On 11
chemically bound to PVC, and may therefore leach into the surrounding
environment, including the human body. DEHP-plasticized PVC is used in
medical devices, where flexibility is essential. Examples include blood bags,
                                                                                 March, the
catheters, dialysis equipments, gastrointestinal tubes, tubing systems used
for neonates and respiratory therapy, etc. The full document can be found at:
                                                                                 Commission
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_
014.pdf
                                                                                 published
Europa, 19 March 2008
http://europa.eu/index_en.htm
                                                                                 a revised
Commission and EP at odds over pesticide substances
                                                                                 proposal for a
2008-03-25
On 11 March, the Commission published a revised proposal for a controversial
                                                                                 controversial
new Regulation governing the EU’s pesticides regime, wherein it rejects
nearly half of the 249 amendments introduced by Parliament during its first
                                                                                 new Regulation
reading in October 2007. At the centre of the Commission and Parliament’s
disagreement is the question of whether or not to extend an existing list of
                                                                                 governing the
substances banned from use during the production of pesticides in the EU.
Parliament, notably Green and Socialist MEPs, want to expand the list to         EU’s pesticides
include neuro-toxic, immuno-toxic and other high-risk substances. However,
the Commission does not consider such a ban acceptable. Rather, it says          regime,
it prefers to keep substances ‘of particular concern’ on the market and to
make them ‘candidates for substitution’ with less harmful ones. “Member
states should regularly re-examine whether plant protection products
                                                                                 wherein it
containing such active substances can be replaced by plant protection
products containing active substances which require less risk mitigation,”
                                                                                 rejects nearly
according to the Commission’s revised proposal. The debate between
Commission and Parliament mirrors a debate that is raging between industry
                                                                                 half of the 249
and environmentalists. The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA)
argues that banning too many substances would be detrimental both for            amendments
farmers and EU crop yields, bringing higher food prices and increasing the
bloc’s dependence on food imports. But green groups and a number of              introduced by
MEPs say certain substances are simply too dangerous to be placed on
the market. National capitals are reportedly divided on the issue, and it thus
appears unlikely that member states will support the Parliament’s position.
                                                                                 Parliament
Furthermore, under EU voting rules, a unanimous agreement in Council
is required to over-ride Commission opposition to an amendment by the
                                                                                 during its first
Parliament.
Euractive, 19 March 2008
                                                                                 reading in
http://www.euractiv.com/en                                                       October 2007.
                                                           10
Legislation
New REACH guidance on monomers and polymers
published
2008-03-25
The European chemicals Agency (ECHA)have released a revised guidance
on registration of monomers and polymers, following its adoption at a meeting
of REACH competent authorities last December. The guidance includes an
important change agreed by authorities that monomers of polymers that
have been notified under the EU notification of new substances Directive are
considered already registered under REACH and need only be registered if
their production or import tonnage bands change. Revised REACH guidance
on monomers and polymers
Chemical Watch, 19 March 2008
http://chemicalwatch.com/news

Automotive Industry Guideline on REACH
2008-03-25
                                                                                 On 23 January
On 23 January 2008, the automotive industry has released a document
titled: ‘Automotive Industry Guideline on REACH Version 2’. The document
                                                                                 2008, the
contains guidance explaining the REACH obligations for the Automotive
Industry and how to fulfil them. It reflects the best knowledge of the
                                                                                 automotive
Global Automotive Industry experts and the state of the art at the time
of its publication. While the REACH regulations affect all industries, the       industry has
Automotive Industry is made up of vehicle manufacturers and many tiers of
the supply chain, so plays several roles under the legislation. In preparation   released a
for REACH, representatives of all the major vehicle manufacturers (ACEA,
JAMA, KAMA), the European automotive supply chain (CLEPA), along with            document
AIAG (North American vehicle manufacturers and suppliers) has formed a
REACH Task Force. The aim of this task force is to establish a common
schedule and external communication strategy, which will harmonise the
                                                                                 titled:
sector’s REACH implementation process. While the recommendations
provided by the task force can not be imposed on members, it is hoped that
                                                                                 ‘Automotive
the guidance will be widely accepted avoid duplication of effort and confusion
all along the supply chain. Agreements in this guide are based on consensus      Industry
between all participants, not on majority votes. The document will be
modified throughout the REACH implementation process. It will be updated          Guideline
with the release of the final REACH Implementation Projects (RIPs) and the
practical experiences that will be made during REACH implementation. The         on REACH
Automotive Industry guideline (AIG) is intended to provide practical help to
Downstream Users using substances and/or preparations and/or articles
in their industrial processes. Furthermore, it is addressed to producers and
                                                                                 Version 2’.
importers of articles. It should be seen as an “aide mÈmoire” to assist with
preparation for compliance with the new legislation. It does not, however,
extensively address obligations of manufacturers or importers of chemical
substances and/or preparations, or the obligations of formulators (“first level
Downstream Users”).
European Automobile manufacturers Association, 23 January 2008
http://www.acea.be/images/uploads/files/20080207_AIG-REACH_V2.pdf

ADR 2009: Consolidated list of amendments
2008-03-25
On 28 February, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
(UNECE) released a documented ECE/TRANS/WP.15/195 titled: ‘European
Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by
Road (ADR): Draft amendments to annexes A and B of ADR’ contains the
consolidated list of amendments to annexes A and B of ADR adopted by the

                                                           11
Legislation
Working Party at its eightieth, eighty-first, eighty-second and eighty-third
sessions (2006 and 2007) for submission to Contracting Parties to ADR for
acceptance and for entry into force on 1 January 2009.
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 28 January 2008
http://www.unece.org/trans/doc/2008/wp15/ECE-TRANS-WP15-195e.pdf




                                                         12
Janet’s Corner - Not Too Seriously!
A couple of funnies

The Wagon
It seems a farm boy accidentally overturned his wagon-load of corn. The
farmer who lived nearby heard the noise.
“Hey Willis!!” the farmer yelled. “Forget your troubles. Come in with us. Then
I’ll help you get the wagon up.
“That’s mighty nice of you, “ Willis answered, “but I don’t think Pa would like
me to.
“Aw, come on,” the farmer insisted.
“Well okay,” the boy finally agreed, and added, “but Pa won’t like it.”
After a hearty dinner, Willis thanked his host. “I feel a lot better now, but I
know Pa is going to be real upset.
“Don’t be foolish !” the neighbor said with a smile. “By the way, where is
he?
“Under the wagon!”


$1 bill meets $20 bill
A one-dollar bill met a 20 dollar bill and said, “Hey, where’ve you been? I
haven’t seen you around here much.”

The twenty answered, “I’ve been hanging out at the casinos, went on a
cruise and did the rounds of the ship, back to the United States for awhile,
went to a couple of baseball games, to the mall, that kind of stuff. How about
you?”

The one dollar bill said, “You know, same old stuff, church, church,
church.”

ajokesplus.com




Please note: articles for Janet’s Corner are not original, and come from various sources.
Author’s credits are supplied when available.

                                                                   13
Gossip
Good hygiene decreases exposure to toxic chemicals
2008-03-26
                                                                                  It is well known
It is well known that washing you hands prior to eating reduces the risk of
exposure to viruses and bacteria. However a new study has suggested that
                                                                                  that washing
good hygiene may also help protect people-especially children-from taking
up persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from everyday objects like TVs and
                                                                                  you hands
cell phones. The new study, jointly led by Heather Stapleton, an assistant
professor at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and            prior to eating
Tom Webster, associate chairman of the Boston University School of Public
Health’s environmental health department, measured the concentrations             reduces the risk
of PBDE flame retardants on the hands of 33 U.S. volunteers, including 6
children. They used sterile gauze pads in a hand-wipe procedure developed         of exposure
for assessing exposure to contaminants like pesticides in occupational
settings. At the beginning of the study, the researchers were not certain
that they would detect any PBDEs adhering to people’s hands, Webster
                                                                                  to viruses and
recalls. However, surprisingly, they detected PBDEs on every wipe sample
collected, and in some cases the levels were quite high. Plugging that data
                                                                                  bacteria.
into exposure models “suggest[s] hand-to-mouth contact could be a primary
route of exposure,” Stapleton says. These findings are important because,
although food is the main source of people’s exposure to most other POPs-
including PCBs, dioxins, and banned pesticides like DDT-other research has
made clear that food is not the major source of PBDEs and other brominated
flame retardants. A study earlier this year by Matt Lorber of the U.S. EPA’s
National Centre for Environmental Assessment, estimated that more than
80% of people’s overall exposure to PBDEs comes from non-food sources
(J. Expo. Sci. Environ. Epidemiol. 2008, 18, 2-19). Lorber commends the
new work for being among the first to provide hard data on sources of PBDE
uptake other than food, noting that the new findings are in line with his
estimates. Because PBDEs are used in many consumer products and have
been found in house dust, many researchers suspect that dust is a major
source of PBDEs. How people are taking up that dust has been unclear,
but Stapleton, Webster, and their colleagues hypothesise that “contact with
PBDE-containing products (e.g., TVs, remote controls, cell phones) and/or
house dust may lead to the adsorption of these chemicals to hand or skin
oils.” From there, the PBDEs on the skin may be inadvertently ingested if
people put their hands in their mouths. The researchers say that eating oily
finger foods such as French fries, sandwiches, and chips with unwashed
hands is a likely route by which people could unwittingly consume PBDEs.
Furthermore, the study suggests that PBDEs may be absorbed directly into
the body via the skin. The new work may help explain why the limited data
available on children’s exposure to PBDEs show that children can take up
levels that are much higher than those of the rest of the population. Young
children put their hands in their mouths much more than adults do, which in
turn suggests that their exposure will be significantly higher, Webster says. In
addition, the study “suggests that adults with higher hand-to-mouth contact
frequencies, [such as] smokers [and] nail biters, may be receiving exposure
. . . and maybe this explains why a small part of the population has such
high exposure,” Stapleton says. “PBDEs are very unusual in that we have
seen some people with levels 50 times higher than the median,” explains
Linda Birnbaum, director of EPA’s Experimental Toxicology Division. The
uptake range for most other persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals is
much smaller, she says. In addition to PBDEs, Stapleton and colleagues
detected other flame-retardants on the hands of their study participants.
She and Webster are currently trying to assess how well different hand-
washing approaches remove PBDEs and other contaminants from people’s
hands. “I’m sure that other fat-soluble chemicals like PCBs, PAHs, and
perfluorinated compounds are partitioning to the skin oils as well,” Stapleton

                                                            14
Gossip
says. All of these compounds could be inadvertently ingested via hand-to-
mouth contact, Stapleton and Webster point out.
Environmental Science & Technology, 19 March 2008
http://pubs.acs.org/journals/esthag/index.html

Bad reactions
2008-03-26
                                                                                   During the
A new study has found that drivers should beware. When driving for longer
than 80 minutes at a time without a break, your reactions could become
                                                                                   study, Hwang
seriously dulled. Jiun-Ren Hwang at the national Central University in
Jhongli, Taiwan says, fatigue is a well-known cause of traffic accidents.           tested 30
However, until now there had not been any research into how long it took
before reactions times were seriously affected. During the study, Hwang            male drivers
tested 30 male drivers aged 20 to 26 in a driving simulator for a 90-minute
journey. Every 2 kilometres, the participants were required to complete a          aged 20 to 26
reaction time test as soon as they noticed a red symbol on the screen before
them. The researcher found that around 80 minutes, the reaction time of the
participants had increased by 0.3 seconds compared with the earlier part
                                                                                   in a driving
of the journey. At 100 kilometres per hour, this would add approximately 8
metres to their stopping distance.
                                                                                   simulator for
New Scientist Magazine, 15 March 2008                                              a 90-minute
A sensor for pre-packed bugs                                                       journey.
2008-03-26
New technology may allow you to determine if packaged food you purchase
contains food poisoning bacteria. The plastic widget floats around in milk,
soup or fruit juice cartons and can be scanned at the supermarket checkout.
If the pathogens are present, an alarm would sound. This new idea is the
brainchild of Craig Grimes at Pennsylvania State University and Qingyun
Cai at Hunan University in Changsha, China. The technology uses a novel
devise to detect the presence of Staphylococcus aureus in milk that has not
been properly refrigerated. The widget is made up of a strip or iron, nickel,
molybdenum and boron alloy that has an unusual property: it vibrates when
placed in a magnetic field. In turn, the vibration generates its own magnetic
field, which can be picked up using a nearby detector coil. As fresh milk is
relatively thick, the sensor strip is only able to vibrate slowly when exposed
to a magnetic field. However, in the presence of S.aureus, milk decomposes,
which lowers the viscosity of the milk and allows the sensor to vibrate at a
telltale higher frequency. Grimes predicts that this device will be built into a
plastic spherical widget that is large enough to avoid becoming a choking
hazard, which floats inside cartons. The researcher says that the device
could also be tuned to work for juice and soup.
New Scientist Magazine, 15 March 2008

Scare after cancer-causing contaminant found in US
cleaning products
2008-03-26
Leading personal care and cleaning brands may soon face a lawsuit
to remove the word ‘organic’ from their labelling and marketing by 1
September. The ultimatum comes following a recent investigation by the
Organic Consumers Association, which found a potentially carcinogenic
contaminant in various products. During the study, the OCA investigated
almost 100 organic cosmetic, personal care and household cleaning
formulas, and identified that nearly 50% of them contain detectable levels

                                                             15
Gossip
of 1,4-dioxane, which is known to cause cancer in lab animals. None of the
products disclosed this information on their labels, even though many had
levels greater than 1,000 times the acceptable level. The product found to
be the biggest offender were the ‘natural’ dish detergents, including Citrus
Magic 100% Natural Dish Liquid, Earth Friendly Products Ultra Dishmate,
Method Dish Naturally Derived Ultra Concentrate, Planet Ultra Dishwashing
Liquid and Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid. The manufacturer has
refuted the study’s findings. Method, San Francisco, says it never made the
claim on labels that its products are natural or organic. ‘We state that our
products are naturally-derived,’ said rep Katie Molinari. The OCA released
the results to the study at the Natural Products Expo West trade show. David
Steinman, a consumer advocate and author who directed the study, called
                                                                                    A new study
the findings a wake-up call for the natural products industry: ‘To knowingly
and unnecessarily put carcinogens into commerce in these modern times
                                                                                    by chemists at
is cynical and barbaric. It betrays the public trust.’ The brands will have
to remove all ‘organic’ branding and labelling from their packaging by 1            the University
September. Manufacturers have until 20 April to agree to the terms, said
Adam Eidinger, principal with Mintwood Media, Washington, a consulting              of California,
firm that works with the OCA. ‘If [manufacturers] do not comply, they will
face a lawsuit accusing them of false and deceptive advertising and unfair          San Diego has
and unlawful business practice under California law,’ Eidinger said. ‘No one
is regulating natural claims and these carcinogens have cumulative effects
on humans and the environment. Something needs to be done to create
                                                                                    revealed that
higher standards for these products.’ While 1,4-dioxane is present in many
conventional personal care products such as shampoos and body washes,
                                                                                    a chemical
as well as household cleaning products, the issue at hand has to do with
mislabelling products that consumers deem organic and natural, which                reaction in the
implies they are free of chemicals and harmful ingredients. Furthermore,
OCA found that all products certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s        atmosphere
National Organic Program were free of 1,4-dioxane. In order to receive the
seal, 95% or more of the ingredients have to be organic. Brands found not           above major
to contain 1,4-dioxane include Burt’s Bees, Clorox Green Works, Avalon
Organics and Dr. Bronner’s.                                                         cities long
Environmental Expert, 18 March 2008
http://www.environmental-expert.com                                                 assumed to be
Chemists Find New Important Contributor To Urban Smog                               unimportant
2008-03-26
A new study by chemists at the University of California, San Diego has
                                                                                    in urban air
revealed that a chemical reaction in the atmosphere above major cities
long assumed to be unimportant in urban air pollution is in fact a significant       pollution
contributor to urban ozone -- the main component of smog. The result to the
study should assist air quality experts in devising better strategies to reduce     is in fact a
ozone for the more than 300 counties across the United States with ozone
levels that exceed standards announced recently by the Environmental
Protection Agency. In addition, cities around the world should also benefit
                                                                                    significant
from this discovery. Currently cities such as Mexico City and Beijing are
grappling with major air quality and urban smog problems. More than 100
                                                                                    contributor to
million people worldwide currently live in cities that fail to meet international
standards for air quality. “This study provides us with additional insight into
                                                                                    urban ozone
the chemistry of urban ozone production,” said Amitabha Sinha, a professor
of chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego who headed the research               -- the main
team. “It shows us that the chemistry of urban ozone is even more complicated
than we initially assumed. With improved knowledge of how ozone is                  component of
produced, we should be in a better position to control the air quality of large
urban areas across the United States as well as around the world.” Urban            smog.
                                                              16
Gossip
ozone levels peak in the afternoon hours of large cities after being generated
through a complex series of chemical reactions involving the interaction of           Ozone
sunlight with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides from automobile exhaust.
Ozone production is initiated when hydroxyl radicals, OH, are produced                production
from water vapour. Previously, atmospheric chemists believed that the lion’s
share of the OH involved in urban ozone production is generated when                  is initiated
ultraviolet radiation with wavelengths less than 320 nanometers dissociates
ambient ozone to form excited oxygen atoms, which, in turn, react with
water vapour to produce hydroxyl radicals. These OH radicals subsequently
                                                                                      when hydroxyl
attack hydrocarbons and the resulting products combine through a series of
chemical reactions with nitric oxide, NO, to produce nitrogen dioxide, NO2,
                                                                                      radicals, OH,
and eventually ozone, O3. however, during the new study, the research team
found in laboratory experiments that another chemical reaction also plays a           are produced
significant role in urban OH radical production--perhaps comparable to that
from the reaction of excited oxygen atoms with water vapour under certain             from water
conditions. This new mechanism involves reactions between water vapour
and NO2 in electronically “excited states,” produced when NO2 absorbs                 vapour.
visible light between the wavelengths of 450 to 650 nanometers.
In 1997, German scientists were the first to propose this method of producing
OH radicals. However, their measurements, did not detect any OH radicals
being formed and, as a result, they suggested that the reaction would play
a fairly insignificant role in the atmosphere. The results from the new study
suggest that this method of OH radical production occurs at a rate that is
ten times faster than previously estimated. And because radiation in the 450
to 650 nanometers wavelength range is not filtered out as effectively in the
lowest portion of the atmosphere as the ultraviolet radiation in the vicinity of
320 nanometers that generate OH radicals from water vapour and ozone,
Sinha and other atmospheric scientists believe it’s likely to have a major role
in the formation of smog. “Identifying the sources of atmospheric OH radical
production is important to understanding how to control the ozone problem,
since it is the reaction of OH radicals with hydrocarbons that ultimately leads
to urban ozone,” Sinha said. “The chemistry of urban ozone production is
complicated and it just got bit more complicated with the addition of this
new source of OH radicals.” An innovative laser technique allowed the
researchers to make the most precise measurement to date of the rate of
this reaction. The technique allowed the team to directly monitor the OH
radicals with significantly higher sensitivity then previously used to study this
reaction. “It’s a relatively slow reaction with a rate that is at least a thousand
times slower than that for producing OH from the reaction of excited oxygen
atoms with water molecules,” said Sinha. “However, there is a lot of solar
radiation coming down over the visible wavelength region, so even a slow
reaction can become important. The upshot is that atmospheric models
have ignored this reaction altogether, assuming that because nothing can
be seen using conventional techniques, nothing must be happening.”
Science Daily, 24 March 2008
http://www.sciencedaily.com

The Song Doesn’t Remain The Same In Fragmented Bird
Populations
2008-03-26
The song of passerine birds is a conspicuous and exaggerated display
shaped by sexual selection in the context of male-male competition or mate
attraction. At the level of the individual, song is considered an indicator of male
‘quality’. A new study by Paola Laiolo and colleagues at the Spanish Council
of Research (CSIC), studied the metapopulation system of the Dupont’s
lark in north-eastern Spain and found an association between individual
song diversity and the viability of the population as a whole, as measured
                                                               17
Gossip
by the annual rate of population change. The researchers found that this
association arises because males from the most numerous and productive
populations, i.e. those less prone to extinction, sang songs with greater
complexity. Birds from smaller populations were found to sing less complex
songs as they experienced a poor cultural milieu (as songs are learned),
and had possibly a lower mating success. Therefore, cultural attributes may
reflect not only individual-level characteristics, but also emergent population-
level properties. These results pave the way for researchers to study animal
cultural diversity in the increasingly common human-altered landscapes.
Currently, more than 500 songbird species are threatened globally, most of
them because of habitat loss and fragmentation in a variety of ecosystems
and remote regions. In these conditions, traditional long-term population
monitoring is a difficult if not unaffordable task. Given its easily quantifiable
nature, this study suggests that birdsong could become an early warning
signal of populations in trouble.
Science Daily, 24 March 2008
http://www.sciencedaily.com

Happily Marrieds Have Lower Blood Pressure Than Social
Singles
                                                                                  According to
2008-03-26
According to a new study, happily married adults have lower blood pressure
                                                                                  a new study,
than singles with supportive social networks. Both men and women in happy
marriages scored four points lower on 24-hour blood pressure than single
                                                                                  happily married
adults. Having supportive friends did not translate into improved blood
pressure for singles or unhappily marrieds. During the study, Brigham Young
                                                                                  adults have
University professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad found that men and women in
happy marriages scored four points lower on 24-hour blood pressure than           lower blood
single adults. Having a network of supportive friends did not translate into
improved blood pressure for singles or unhappily marrieds, which surprised        pressure than
Holt-Lunstad and her two student collaborators. “There seem to be some
unique health benefits from marriage,” said Holt-Lunstad. “It’s not just
being married that benefits health - what’s really the most protective of
                                                                                  singles with
health is having a happy marriage.” In addition, the researchers observed,
unsurprisingly, that unhappily married adults have higher blood pressure
                                                                                  supportive
than both happily married and single adults. Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist
who studies relationships and health, examined 204 married and 99 single
                                                                                  social networks.
adults during the study. Each of the participants had to wear portable
blood pressure monitors, mostly concealed by their clothes, for 24 hours.
The monitors recorded blood pressure at random intervals throughout the
day - even while participants slept. Each participant’s blood pressure level
was recorded about 72 times. “We wanted to capture participants’ blood
pressure doing whatever they normally do in everyday life,” Holt-Lunstad
said. “Getting one or two readings in a clinic is not really representative of
the fluctuations that occur throughout the day.” All participants completed
a roster of friends in their social network and answered questions about the
quality of those relationships. In addition, married participants completed
questionnaires on the quality of the relationship with their spouses. With
the monitors recording blood pressure both day and night, the researchers
could see that blood pressure for married adults - especially those happily
married - dipped more during sleep than happens with singles. “Research
has shown that people whose blood pressure remains high throughout the
night are at much greater risk of cardiovascular problems than people whose
blood pressure dips,” Holt-Lunstad said. The researchers said that spouses
can promote healthy habits, such as encouraging each other to see a doctor
and to eat healthy. The marriage relationship is also a source of emotional
support in good and bad times. Sharing good news, for example, generates
                                                            18
Gossip
positive emotions, which in turn boosts the body’s functioning. The next step
in the research is to study couples participating in marriage counselling to
see if improvement in the marriage translates into improved health.
Science Daily, 21 March 2008
http://www.sciencedaily.com

Wheeze ‘link’ to baby milk powder
2008-03-26
                                                                                  A new study
A new study has found that prolonged exposure to baby milk powder
increases the risk of breathing problems, including wheezing and
                                                                                  has found that
breathlessness. During the study, the researchers, from University of
Birmingham, examined 170 Thai factory workers who made the powder. The            prolonged
researchers believe that the risk could also apply to nannies. Mothers and
babies are safe, because they have relatively little exposure. However, the       exposure to
study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, says at-risk workers
should be monitored. Nannies, and bakers, both groups who are exposed
to milk powder during their working life, may also benefit from respiratory
                                                                                  baby milk
tests. It has long been known that the consumption of milk powder can lead
to the development of allergies if a child has an intolerance to cow’s milk but
                                                                                  powder
the potential risks of inhaling milk powder have never been studied before.
During this study, the team of researchers from the Institute of Occupational
                                                                                  increases the
and Environmental Medicine at the University of Birmingham and Thailand’s
Mahidol University analysed around 170 workers in a Thai baby milk factory.       risk of breathing
The factory had high hygiene standards, and concentrations of milk powder
dust were relatively low. The results showed that the majority of the workers,    problems,
130, were directly involved in manufacturing and packaging baby milk.
Another 22 were responsible for adding vitamins to the milk and 15 were
quality controllers. 76 office workers were used as control subjects. Each of
                                                                                  including
the workers completed a questionnaire and underwent lung function tests.
The findings demonstrated that twice as many people who worked with milk
                                                                                  wheezing and
powder had symptoms, with 24% experiencing wheezing and 33% having
breathlessness compared to 12% and 16% of the office workers. These
                                                                                  breathlessness.
findings emphasise the dangers of occupational asthma and the need for
employers to recognise potential triggers in the workplace. Even following the
adjustment for other confounding factors such as smoking, the researchers
found that the difference remained. In addition, the lung function tests
showed a significant reduction in how strongly milk powder workers were
able to breath out. Those working with the powder were also found to be
twice as likely to have had asthma. The research team was led by Dr Maritta
Jaakkola, who said the results suggest the workers are hypersensitive to the
powder, rather than simply irritated by it. Dr Jaakkola said: “The effects of
inhaled milk powder are relevant for occupational settings, so workers with
such exposure should be protected as much as possible using exposure
control measures, such as wearing latex gloves. “They should also have
regular check-ups of their respiratory health. “Nannies, and bakers, both
groups who are exposed to milk powder during their working life, may also
benefit from respiratory tests.” However, Leanne Male, assistant director of
research at Asthma UK said the levels of powder a person would need to
be exposed to in order to suffer breathing problems would have to be high,
and reassured mothers they would not be affected. Ms Male said the risk
was highest for people who manufactured the powder. She added: “This
research highlights the dangers of occupational asthma and the need for
employers to recognise potential triggers in the workplace.”
BBC News, 25 March 2008
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health


                                                            19
Gossip
Women drinkers ‘face cancer risk’
2008-03-26
                                                                                    The UK
A glass of wine can contain as much as 3.5 units of alcohol. The UK
department of health reported that women who drink above the government’s
                                                                                    department of
recommended limit are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer. A £10m
advertising campaign has been launched targeting middle-aged women who              health reported
might underestimate their drinking. A report by the health department, yet to
be published, says that women who drink more than 14 units of alcohol a             that women
week are at increased risk. Cancer Research says alcohol causes about
2,000 breast cancer cases a year. It’s fair to say that most women don’t            who drink
know how much they’re drinking. Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo
said: “Women who regularly drink too much are 50% more likely to develop
breast cancer. And many drink too much simply because they have no idea
                                                                                    above the
how many alcohol units they are consuming. “After the campaign no-one will
be in any doubt as to how many units they’re drinking and the impact that
                                                                                    government’s
can have on their health.” There is concern that stronger wine of up to 13%
alcohol and larger 250ml glasses can make women think they are drinking             recommended
less than they are. A glass can contain as much as 3.5 units of alcohol. Ms
Primarolo said professional women who drank too much had “gone under                limit are 50%
the radar” for a long time. “It’s fair to say that most women don’t know how
much they’re drinking,” she said. “They don’t know how many units they              more likely to
drinking. And don’t know that, at 3.5 units, that large glass of Rioja they drank
last night actually took them over their daily amount.” Other health risks for
women who binge drink include liver disease, unplanned pregnancies and
                                                                                    develop breast
ruptured bladders.
BBC News, 22 March 2008
                                                                                    cancer.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health

Bears face new toxic threat
2008-03-26
According to a new study, researchers have detected new chemicals
accumulating in the livers of polar bears that can cause cancer or impair
their reproduction. The new study found that the polar bear, already a
marauding warehouse of toxic substances, is facing a new chemical assault
that could trigger serious health problems in the bear population within
the decade. The damage may include higher risk of cancers and impaired
reproduction, say Danish environmental scientists in a study to be published
shortly. The study examined 128 polar bears from East Greenland and
found that the levels of a family of industrial chemicals called perfluoroalkyl
contaminants (PFCs) have been increasing between 19 and 27 per cent
annually since 2000. The rate of increase is more than double that from an
earlier study of polar bears on Baffin Island by Canadian scientists. In an
email, University of Toronto chemistry professor Scott Mabury, a recognized
leader in the field, said the measurements covering the years from 1984 to
2006 were “very powerful, much better than other studies, including ours,
and helpful.” The latest results indicate that concentrations of the PFCs in
the livers of the Greenland polar bears are now greater than the levels of
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a ubiquitous industrial chemical being
phased out globally because of environmental and health concerns. The
researchers from the University of Aarhus warn that polar bears could be
hit by a triple whammy from the combined effects of PFCs and PCBs as
well as from mercury contamination, which is also widespread in the Arctic.
PFCs are found in numerous everyday products, from windshield washer
fluid or fire fighting foams to the greaseproof paper used to wrap fast foods.
As the polar bear is at the top of the Arctic food chain, concentrations of
toxic chemicals in their bodies are already greatly magnified with each step

                                                              20
Gossip
up the food chain from lowly zooplankton to seals, the bear’s preferred diet.
How the parent chemicals of PFCs travel thousands of kilometres to the
polar regions and what changes they undergo to get into the food chain
are being actively investigated by scientists here on board the Canadian
Coast Guard Ship Amundsen, a floating home for Arctic research. The
vessel is currently southeast of Banks Island in the western Arctic. “We’re
not really sure what the major source of these compounds is to the Arctic. Is
it through the atmosphere, ocean currents or even northern-flowing rivers?”
said Crispin Halsall, an environmental scientist from Lancaster University in
the U.K. Halsall and colleagues plan to spend the next seven weeks taking
extensive measurements of a wide range of chemical contaminants, such
as PFCs and pesticides, which come here from the south and then enter the
environment. Previous experiments with laboratory animals including rats
and monkeys have shown PFCs adversely affect the liver, immune system
and hormone levels. When adult rats were given high doses, all their babies
died within a day. The Danish researchers, led by Aarhus professor Rune
Dietz, say if current trends continue the PFC levels in adult polar bears
should start having physiological effects well before 2014. Currently, the
events that deliver these chemicals to the polar bears and other Arctic life
is poorly understood and hotly debated among scientists. Many believe that
another chemical family, known as fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs), escape
from factories and are transported through the atmosphere to the Arctic
where they degrade into PFCs. FTOH has been measured in the Arctic air.
“If you can find the PFCs in the snow, ice and melt water then that would
strongly imply the atmosphere is the source,” said Halsall. Because the
PFCs start at levels as low as parts per trillion, a great deal of snow must
be collected to produce enough water to find even traces. The Lancaster
University team uses specially modified milk cans for this purpose.
The Star, 24 March 2008
http://www.thestar.com/

Salt could shake up world energy supply
                                                                                   The
2008-03-26
Two tiny projects to mix sea and river water - one by the fjord south of Oslo,
                                                                                   experiments,
the other at a Dutch seaside lake - are due on stream this year and may
point to a new source of clean energy in estuaries from the Mississippi to
                                                                                   which seek
the Yangtze. The experiments, which seek to capture the energy released
when fresh and salt water are mixed, build on knowledge that has been
                                                                                   to capture
around for centuries - in one case imitating the process of osmosis used by
trees to suck water from their roots. While these technologies are far from        the energy
being viable, if they are eventually successful they might help a long-term
quest to diversify away from fossil fuels such as coal and oil, widely blamed      released when
for stoking global warming. Oil, currently trading not far from a record $112
a barrel, is forecast to peak this year as a US slowdown reduces demand.
In 2007, the UN Climate Panel said energy sources such as waves, tidal
                                                                                   fresh and
power or salt are a long way off - unlikely to make a significant contribution
to overall power needs by 2030. Warmer estuaries: The science at the
                                                                                   salt water are
heart of the projects is the fact that when salt and fresh water mix at river
mouths, they are typically warmed by 0.1 degree Celsius (0.2 Fahrenheit).
                                                                                   mixed, build
Dutch scientists say such energy at all the world’s estuaries is equivalent to
20 percent of world electricity demand. The plants may support hopes the           on knowledge
technology can overcome hurdles, the most significant of which is poor cost-
effectiveness of the membranes used in the process. In Norway, Statkraft,          that has been
which says it is Europe’s top producer of hydro and wind energy alongside
Electricite de France, is building a test plant costing $20 million. The plant,
at Tofte on the Oslo fjord, will have output of up to about 5 kilowatts - enough
                                                                                   around for
to run household appliances such as washing machines or heaters or a few           centuries...
                                                             21
Gossip
dozen light bulbs. In addition, in three to four months, the Dutch Centre for
Sustainable Water Technology (Wetsus) will begin a pilot “blue power” test
at IJsselmeer in the Netherlands, from where water flows into the sea.
Light bulbs to power plants: The Norwegian and Dutch plants use different
systems but both depend on membranes placed between the salt and
fresh water, which are currently prohibitively expensive and highly energy-
intensive to produce. “The Achilles’ heel for this process is that there is no
commercial membrane,” said Menachim Elimelech, a professor of chemical
and environmental engineering at Yale University in the United States. The
membranes are similar to, but thinner, than those used at many desalination
plants, when seawater is pressed against membranes that allow only fresh
water through in a process known as reverse osmosis. Makers of membranes
such as General Electric, Dow Chemical, Hydranautics or Japan’s Toray
Industries focus most on membrane technology for desalination - a market
growing by about 15 percent a year worldwide. Ellen Mellody of GE
Infrastructure, Water and Process Technology said the company has ‘an
aspirational goal’ of producing fresh water from salt through membranes at
a cost of 10 cents per cubic metre, down from 70 cents to a dollar. Asked
about prospects for a separate market for power-generating membranes, she
saw one “potentially, but not for about 5-10 years”. The Norwegian project
involves 2,000 square metres (21,530 sq ft) of plastic membranes, through
which fresh water will be sucked into salt water by osmosis. Osmosis’ power
was shown in 1748 when French physicist Jean-Antoine Nollet put a pig’s
bladder filled with alcohol in a trough of water. The bladder swelled and
burst - the more concentrated liquid draws pure water into it. At Tofte, the
power exerted by salt water sucking in fresh water is equivalent to water
falling 270 metres in a waterfall. The only emissions are brackish water.
Unlike the osmosis of the Norwegian system, the Dutch scheme captures
salt particles, which give off electrical currents. Yale’s Elimelech said a full-   Recent studies
scale plant would demand membranes covering perhaps 100 acres (40
hectares), at risk of damage by pollutants dissolved in the river or the sea.       have detected a
Furthermore, filters have to be in place to avoid sucking in fish and there are
environmental concerns about drawing water away from estuaries, perhaps             plastic additive
threatening plants and creatures in the area. Pakistan Daily Times, 24 March
2008                                                                                leaching
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk
                                                                                    from your
Plastic may be bad for health
2008-03-26                                                                          water bottles,
Recent studies have detected a plastic additive leaching from your water
bottles, soda cans, baby bottles, microwaveable dishes -- just about anything       soda cans,
made of certain lightweight clear plastics. What is more, the chemical mimics
the hormone oestrogen, which some research indicates could harm human               baby bottles,
health, particularly the development of foetuses and newborn babies. The
chemical is BPA, bisphenol-A has been used in commercial production of
lightweight plastics and epoxy resins since the 1950s. Annually, billions
                                                                                    microwaveable
of pounds are produced, and traces of it are found in almost everyone --
including the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. While the chemical
                                                                                    dishes -- just
industry refute that scientific evidence on bisphenol-A doesn’t support claims
of harm, the chemical remains controversial. The findings from several
                                                                                    about anything
studies that the compound is a possible health threat to humans have
made people nervous about the plastics they use every day, everywhere,              made of certain
to serve and store food. Some have even gone to the extent of replacing
plastic bottles and cutlery with alternatives that don’t contain BPA. “There        lightweight
is a cause for concern,” said Gerald LeBlanc, chairman of the department
of environmental and molecular toxicology at N.C. State University. “It’s not       clear plastics.
                                                              22
Gossip
something we should be sweeping under the rug.” Last year, a group of
38 scientists, including LeBlanc, published a statement raising concerns
that the chemical was harmful to lab animals and was a potential hazard to
                                                                                 Last year, a
humans. They suggested a link between recent increases in human diseases
such as prostate and breast cancers and adverse effects in experimental
                                                                                 group of 38
animals exposed to low doses of BPA. In research has suggest the risks
may be highest for pregnant women and unborn children, because early             scientists,
exposure to hormone-mimicking chemicals may lead to birth defects and
miscarriages. However, not everyone is convinced there’s a threat. Another       including
independent panel of scientists convened by the National Toxicology
Program, based at Research Triangle Park, was more circumspect. They             LeBlanc,
expressed “some concern” -- the middle point on a five-point scale -- that
exposure to bisphenol-A causes neural and behavioural changes to unborn
babies, infants and children. “We felt like there were enough studies that
                                                                                 published a
were done well that were raising flags that there might be a problem, that
it would be prudent to investigate further,” said Jane Adams, a toxicologist
                                                                                 statement
at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, whose research focuses on the
consequences of prenatal exposure to certain medications. “We couldn’t           raising
say there is no problem with this compound.”
Adams said numerous studies of the chemical resulted in inconsistent             concerns that
findings, with some showing effects and others none. The studies used
different methods, different animals and different dosages. The National         the chemical
Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, is expected to issue the agency’s preliminary evaluation of the        was harmful to
chemical next month. The recommendation would be a guide for other
regulatory agencies that could take more stringent steps, if warranted, such
as requiring warning labels. “We’re exposed to very small amounts of it,”
                                                                                 lab animals and
said Michael Shelby, director of the National Toxicology Program’s Centre
for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction at Research Triangle
                                                                                 was a potential
Park. “All the data show a large, large majority of people in the U.S. are
exposed to it, something over 90 percent based on the Centre for Disease         hazard to
Control’s data. We’re still within the program trying to hammer out our final
conclusions.” Meanwhile, Shelby said, people can limit their exposure to         humans.
the chemical. “If it’s something that is worrying you, that is probably a good
thing to do,” even if only for peace of mind. The most common way people
are exposed to bisphenol-A is by eating prepared foods from canned goods
or certain plastic containers. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of
food and beverage cans, bottle tops and water supply pipes. Kathleen
Schuler, co-director of Healthy Legacy, a Minnesota-based group that is
trying to phase out toxic chemicals in consumer products, said the group
recommends that parents avoid polycarbonate in baby bottles and sippy
cups. She recommended using bottles and cups made of polyethylene or
polypropylene bearing the numbers 1 or 5 in the triangular recycling codes
on the bottom of most plastic containers. “Consumers are concerned, and
they just want safe products,” Schuler said. “We’re most concerned when
people heat the plastics or use acidic or fatty products in them.” Steven
Hentges, executive director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the
American Chemistry Council, an industry group, says plastic products using
bisphenol-A have a long history of safe use. Hentges said the industry is
planning further research studies on neural and behavioural effects of the
compound to try to resolve unanswered questions.
Raleigh news, 24 March 2008
http://www.newsobserver.com

Spit Tests May Soon Replace Many Blood Tests
2008-03-26
A new study has moved a step closer to being able to test patients for
                                                           23
Gossip
cancer, heart disease and diabetes using spit in a cup instead of relying
on drawing blood. A major step in that direction is the cataloguing of the            A major
“complete” salivary proteome, a set of proteins in human ductal saliva,
identified by a consortium of three research teams, according to an article
recently published in the Journal of Proteome Research. Replacing blood
                                                                                      step in that
draws with saliva tests promises to make disease diagnosis, as well as the
tracking of treatment efficacy, less invasive and costly. Saliva proteomics
                                                                                      direction is the
and diagnostics is part of a nationwide effort to create the first map of every
human protein and every protein interaction, as they contribute to health             cataloguing of
and disease and as they act as markers for disease states. Following
instructions encoded by genes, protein “machines” make up the body’s                  the “complete”
organs and regulate its cellular processes. Defining exact protein pathways
on a comprehensive scale enables the development of early diagnostic                  salivary
testing and precise drug design. During the study, the researchers set out
to determine the “complete” set of proteins secreted by the major salivary
glands (parotid, submandibular (SM) and sublingual (SL)). Recent, parallel
                                                                                      proteome, a set
efforts that mapped the blood (plasma) and tear proteomes allows for useful
comparisons of how proteins and potential disease markers are common
                                                                                      of proteins in
or unique to different body fluids. “Past studies established that salivary
proteins heal the mouth, amplify the voice, develop the taste buds and                human ductal
kill bacteria and viruses,” said James E. Melvin, D.D.S., Ph.D., director of
the Center for Oral Biology at the University of Rochester Medical Center,            saliva...
and an author on the paper. “Our work, and the work of our partners, has
shown that salivary proteins may represent new tools for tracking disease
throughout the body--tools that are potentially easier to monitor in saliva than
in blood,” said Melvin, who conducts his research at the Eastman Dental
Center, in collaboration with the research labs of Mark Sullivan, Ph.D., and
Fred K. Hagen, Ph.D. The saliva proteome study represents a consortium
effort with research teams at The Scripps Research Institute (John R. Yates
III), University of Rochester, University of Southern California (Paul Denny),
The University of California at San Francisco (Susan J. Fisher) and UC Los
Angeles (David T. Wong, Joseph A. Loo). In describing the findings from the
new study, it is important to note that the definition of saliva is evolving. Saliva
once referred to everything in oral fluid, including: bacterial waste products,
dead cells that had shed from mucous membranes and substances oozing
from gum crevices. However, among researchers today, the term saliva is
increasingly reserved for just the salivary gland secretions (ductal saliva).
The new definition is significant because of the emerging theory that the mix
of proteins in ductal saliva tracks closely with that of blood, making saliva a
potential diagnostic stand-in for blood.
In order to develop a credible protein list for saliva, the teams used
competing techniques both to capture the greatest number of protein
candidates for the list and to lend extra credibility to those found using
different methodologies. Each team subjected saliva collected from patients
to some form of mass spectrometry, which determines the identity of proteins
based on measurements of their mass and charge. Saliva was collected
from 23 adults of several races and both sexes. Although small, the set of
study subjects was large enough to serve as a baseline list for near-future
comparisons between healthy people and individuals with major diseases,
researchers said. Analysing the saliva using mass spectrometry techniques,
the three teams at five institutions identified 1,166 proteins in parotid and
submandibular/sublingual saliva. The results indicated that more than a third
of saliva proteins were found in the blood proteome, as well. Comparison
of these proteins against known protein pathways and other proteomes
provided insight into the function of the core proteins. In addition, a number
of the salivary proteins were found to match proteins with known roles in
Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases; breast, colorectal and
pancreatic cancer; and type I and II diabetes. Specifically, a majority of

                                                               24
Gossip
the proteins were found to be part of signalling pathways, which is central
to the body’s response to (and thus diagnosic of) system-wide diseases,
researchers said. However, developing the salivary proteome is only the
first step toward salivary-based diagnosis and treatment. These findings
provide crucial protein information that is already being incorporated into
microarray technology, a high-speed test that can determine the levels of
multiple proteins, during disease progression. New studies are underway
within the NIH-funded Bioengineering Nanotechnology Initiative to design
biochips, nano-scale computer chips packed with salivary protein chains.
Protein probes on the chip react with proteins in a saliva sample, say from
the mouth of someone with oral cancer, and inform a computer about which
proteins are present. “We believe these projects will dramatically accelerate
diagnosis and improve prognosis by treating diseases at the earliest stages,”
said Mireya Gonz·lez BegnÈ, D.D.S., Ph.D., research assistant professor of
Dentistry in the Center for Oral Biology at the Medical Center. “Researchers
have already shown that saliva proteins can be used to detect oral cancer
and HIV infection. We think this list will soon expand to include leading
causes of death like cancer and heart disease, which, if caught early, are
much more likely to be successfully treated.”
Science Daily, 26 March 2008-03-26
http://www.sciencedaily.com

Vocal cord ills seen in World Trade Center workers
2008-03-26
                                                                                  Whilst treating
Whilst treating workers from the World Trade Centre site, doctors have
diagnosed several of them with an unusual condition known as vocal
                                                                                  workers from
cord dysfunction (VCD). The symptoms of VCD including breathlessness
and hoarseness might be mistaken for asthma, however the treatment
                                                                                  the World
is completely different, and much more complex, Dr. Rafael de la Hoz,
assistant medical director of the World Trade Centre Medical Monitoring           Trade Centre
and Treatment Program in New York City, said. In the current issue of the
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, de la Hoz and colleagues report          site, doctors
on 10 former World Trade Centre site workers diagnosed with VCD. The
researchers called the report “an alert to the medical community,” and urged      have diagnosed
health professionals to be aware that people who are exposed to dust or are
under psychological stress -- or both -- may be at risk. In VCD, a person’s
vocal cords close when he or she inhales. The condition has been described
                                                                                  several of them
in people who are exposed to respiratory irritants on the job, as well as
individuals with psychological illness. Previously, New York City investigators
                                                                                  with an unusual
found gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) was common in former
World Trade Centre workers with respiratory symptoms, and all 10 VCD              condition
patients in the current study had previously been diagnosed with GERD.
VCD is typically treated with breathing exercises that retrain the vocal cords.   known as
In addition, individuals who have GERD should be treated “aggressively”
for reflux, de la Hoz added, while any underlying psychological problems           vocal cord
a person may have must also be addressed. “This is actually a condition
that would certainly demand for us to deploy practically all our resources in
terms of specialist health care professionals,” de la Hoz said. “All of these
                                                                                  dysfunction
components have to be addressed pretty much at the same time. There is
no single condition that can be treated in isolation.” Breathing tests on 172
                                                                                  (VCD).
randomly selected World Trade Centre workers identified VCD symptoms in
18.6 percent. While the current study describes 10 people who were actually
diagnosed with the condition, de la Hoz said he and his colleagues have
since identified several more people with the condition. The possibility of
VCD should be considered in patients with inhalation injuries and asthma-
like symptoms who don’t respond to treatment with asthma drugs, the


                                                            25
Gossip
investigators conclude.
Reuters Health, 21 March 2008
http://www.reutershealth.com

Study blames diesel fumes for cancer risk in Oakland
2008-03-26
                                                                                   According
According to a recently released study, West Oakland residents face an
elevated risk of cancer because of diesel exhaust from trucks, ships, trains
                                                                                   to a recently
and other sources. The extra risk of cancer is 1,180 in a million for lifelong
West Oakland residents, the California Air Resources Board said in its
                                                                                   released study,
health risk assessment. During the study, all sources of diesel sources,
including the Port of Oakland, freeways and a Union Pacific railroad line           West Oakland
were examined. In comparison, the risk of cancer in the general population
is about 200,000 to 250,000 in a million. “The risks are too high,” Peggy          residents face
Taricco, a pollution expert, said. “We have to bring them down.” The study,
based on computer models, does not estimate risks for specific people but           an elevated
rather the risk spread out over the 22,000 people living in industrialised
West Oakland. It was no surprise that diesel, listed as a known carcinogen
by the state, elevates risk. However, the findings from the study reaffirmed
                                                                                   risk of cancer
the need for more actions to cut pollution to protect public health, Port of
Oakland officials and air pollution regulators said. Port officials said they
                                                                                   because of
plan to continue a multimillion-dollar plan to curb diesel emissions. “Air
pollution comes from many sources in the Bay Area, and we are committed            diesel exhaust
to doing our part to help reduce diesel pollution from port-related activities,”
said Richard Sinkoff, the Port of Oakland’s acting director of environmental       from trucks,
programs. Recently, the port commission took the first step toward levying
cargo container fees to fund pollution-reduction measures, such as buying          ships, trains
cleaner truck engines and equipment to operate ships more cleanly when
they dock. Port officials have vowed to make an 85 percent reduction in the
higher cancer risk attributable to the port. In addition, the new report found
                                                                                   and other
that diesel trucks account for the largest share - 71 percent - of the elevated
cancer risk to West Oakland residents. “The major portion of this risk came
                                                                                   sources.
from the diesel trucks on the freeways surrounding West Oakland,” authors
of the study concluded. While ship traffic and the port generate greater
amounts of diesel exhaust, the truck exhaust is a bigger problem because
the trucks come closer to homes. Port-related diesel sources account for
an increased cancer risk of 190 in a million. The Union Pacific rail yard
accounts for an elevated risk of 40 in a million. Free traffic and other sources
around West Oakland account for the largest share - 950 in a million - of the
extra risk from diesel, the report found. The state air board will soon adopt
a series of diesel engine and fuel rules aimed at achieving an 80 percent
reduction in the cancer risk from diesel soot statewide. Still, more needs to
be done to lower the risk in West Oakland, pollution regulators said. The
study by the California Air Resources Board is part of a statewide effort to
reduce diesel soot. The soot particles particularly threaten children with lung
problems and the elderly with heart and lung problems. The study used
estimates where pollution originated and where winds blew it.
Inside Bay Area News, 24 March 2008
http://www.insidebayarea.com

Toxins in smokers’ cars surprise even researchers
2008-03-26
A new study has found that no precaution when smoking in a car is enough
to cut the health hazard, especially to young children riding along. “Ways
we think would reduce the harm don’t work well enough,” said Geoffrey
Fong, a psychology professor at the University of Waterloo and a renowned
                                                             26
Gossip
tobacco-control researcher. The danger of smoking in cars is the focus of
a new study by Fong and UW master’s student Taryn Sendzik, along with
two researchers from a Buffalo, N.Y., cancer institute. Even with the most
ventilation possible -- all the windows open in a moving car -- the level of
second-hand smoke was very high, close to what would be found in a smoky
bar. The researchers found that when all of the windows were closed and
the engine was off, the level skyrocketed to more than 11 times a smoke-
filled pub. Second-hand smoke levels were so high the researchers thought
air-quality monitors were broken. They needed to get machines that could
handle the extremely high amounts. And all it takes is one cigarette. “The
levels were much higher than we anticipated,” Sendzik said. During the study,
the researchers measured the air quality in a wide range of conditions, from
a stopped car with the windows closed to a moving car with all the windows
open. Air quality was measured in a wide range of conditions, from a stopped
car with the windows closed to a moving car with all the windows open.
No matter the amount of ventilation, the level of air pollution - measured
as fine particles easily inhaled deeply into the lungs - was above the daily
standard of exposure set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for
air pollution. “It’s just the magnitude of it that’s so alarming,” Fong said.
“Ventilation does matter, but it doesn’t matter enough.” With no ventilation,
the levels are more than 100 times the air pollution standard. Moderate
ventilation still produced significantly high levels of pollution. And tobacco
smoke is far more hazardous than air pollution, Fong said. He supports a
provincial plan to ban smoking in cars with children.
“This is a controllable risk,” he said.
The Record, 22 March 2008
http://news.therecord.com/

Depression Biomarker Identified
2008-03-26
A new study could eventually lead to a blood test that could diagnose
depression and also indicate whether a particular antidepressant therapy
is working. The study, by Mark M. Rasenick of the University of Illinois,
Chicago, and colleagues, investigated the location of a protein called Gsa in
post-mortem samples of human brain cells. The researchers observed that
in depressed people, the protein accumulates within localised, cholesterol-
rich “lipid raft” sections of cell membranes. This sequestration dampens the
intracellular action of certain neurotransmitters and appears to be associated
with depression, Rasenick says. Rasenick’s team and others have
previously shown in rats and cultured brain cells that antidepressants move
Gsa from lipid rafts to other areas in the membrane where the protein can
more effectively pave the way for neurotransmitter action. Some evidence
indicates Gsa behaves the same in cells outside the brain, Rasenick notes. If
that behaviour is confirmed, a simple blood test could conceivably diagnose
and evaluate the treatment of depression. “More research is needed before
this outcome can be realized,” he cautions.
Chemical & Engineering News, 18 March 2008
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news


PLEASE NOTE:
Accompanying technical articles are available from our public
download site. Article headings and links now appear on page 28, or
alternatively, click on the link below and choose the articles of interest:
ftp://ftp.chemwatch.net/pub/chemwatch/Bulletin/2008/05/160508/080516-
Technical.pdf
                                                           27
                                Note: Open your Web
                                Browser and click on
Technical Notes                 Heading to link to section.


ENVIRONMENTAL
  Sediment Concentrations of Trace Metals in the Berre Lagoon (France): An Assessment
  of Contamination
  Chemical-specific health consultation for chromated copper arsenate chemical mixture:
  port of Djibouti

MEDICAL
 Mercury induced externalisation of phosphatidyl-serine in human renal proximal tubule
 (HK-2) cells
  Ambient particulate matter (PM2.5): Physicochemical characterization and metabolic
  activation of the organic fraction in human lung epithelial cells (A549)
  Blood lead levels and specific attention effects in young children
  Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity in veterans exposed to sulphur mustard
  Toxicity studies of agrochemicals to adults of frog Rana tigrina using pharmacological
  bioassays

OCCUPATIONAL
 Biomarkers of air pollution exposure - A study of policemen in Prague
  Lactase-induced occupational protein contact dermatitis and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis
  An Evaluation of Reported No-Effect Chrysotile Asbestos Exposures for Lung Cancer
  and Mesothelioma
  Characterisation of workplaces in interventional radiology using active dosemeters
  In vivo X-ray fluorescence measurements of lead, cadmium and mercury in occupational
  and environmental studies: a review of work conducted in Sweden 1970-2005

PUBLIC HEALTH
 The healthy men study: an evaluation of exposure to disinfection by-products in tap
 water and sperm quality
  Grand rounds: nephrotoxicity in a young child exposed to uranium from contaminated
  well water
  Concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-pdioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and
  dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls in blood collected from 195 pregnant women in
  Sapporo City, Japan
  Maternal exposure to polybrominated and polychlorinated biphenyls: Infant birth weight
  and gestational age
  Impact of endocrine disruptor chemicals in gynaecology

SAFETY
 New proposals for testing drugs with IKr-blocking activity to determine their teratogenic
 potential
  A multiple shutdown method for managing evacuation following major fires in chemical
  plants
  High temperature conversion of hazardous cement-asbestos slates to harmless
  stoneware tiles

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