Climate change endangers human health, affecting all sectors of society, both domestically and globally. The environmental consequences of climate change, both those already observed and those that are anticipated, such as sea-level rise, changes in precipitation resulting in flooding and drought, heat waves, more intense hurricanes and storms, and degraded air quality, will affect human health both directly and indirectly. Addressing the effects of climate change on human health is especially challenging because both the surrounding environment and the decisions that people make influence health. For example, increases in the frequency and severity of regional heat waves—likely outcomes of climate change—have the potential to harm a lot of people.
Headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences NIH-HHS www.niehs.nih.gov Aloe Vera What is Aloe? Why would people consume Aloe is a succulent plant widely drinks that have Aloe in them? used in alternative medicine. There Product advertisements claim are at least 420 different plant species the drinks can be used to cleanse of Aloe. Aloe vera specifically refers the digestive system or relieve to the Aloe barbadensis Miller plant, constipation. which is the most common form used in Aloe-based products. What makes Aloe act like a laxative? An organic component in the outer How is Aloe used? leaf pulp of Aloe leaves, known as Traditionally, the clear gel from the the latex, contains anthraquinones. Aloe plant is rubbed on the skin as Aloin is an example of an an ointment to treat wounds and anthraquinone found in the burns. The green part of the leaf latex that may give the plant can be made into a juice or dried its laxative qualities. and taken orally as a laxative. Aloe vera is used in many commercial The difference between decolorized How much aloin is in products products in various forms, including and non-decolorized whole leaf in the U.S. that may be consumed drinks, concentrates, capsules, extracts is mostly in how the leaf by the public? powders, and as a flavoring. is processed or filtered. In many There are very little data about cases, manufacturers of oral what the levels of aloin are in the Why did the NTP study Aloe? products containing Aloe vera consumer products. According to The nomination to study Aloe use a charcoal filtration process to published research, levels of aloin vera came from the National decolorize and remove some of the in most liquid products are less than Cancer Institute, because of Aloe’s components from the leaf, including 1 part per million (ppm); however, widespread use and concern that anthraquinones. Anthraquinones act levels in solid or semi-solid products some components may cause cancer. like laxatives. Some anthraquinones may be 10-100 times higher. The NTP studies on Aloe vera were have previously been shown to be conducted in collaboration with the carcinogenic. Food and Drug Administration’s National Center for Toxicological What if I use Aloe vera gel on my Aloe Vera Research. skin, will it cause me harm? Applying Aloe vera gel on the skin The two-year NTP study on consumption of What did the NTP study find? is not likely to cause harm. Although non-decolorized whole leaf extract of Aloe The two-year NTP study of a these particular NTP studies only vera found clear evidence of carcinogenic non-decolorized whole leaf extract looked at oral exposure to Aloe vera, activity in male and female rats, based on of Aloe vera given in an animal’s other NTP studies examined the tumors of the large intestine. From what drinking water found clear evidence effects of the gel on the skin and we know right now, there is nothing that of carcinogenic activity in male and did not find a strong link between would lead us to believe that these findings female rats, based on tumors of the Aloe vera in skin care products, are not relevant to humans. However, more large intestine. There was no evidence sunlight, and the development information, including how individuals use of carcinogenic activity in mice. of skin cancer. The results of those different types of Aloe vera products, is NTP did not conduct two-year skin studies were reported in NTP needed to determine the potential risks studies of ingestion of the Aloe vera Technical Report 553: http:/ /ntp. to humans. gel or of the plant’s decolorized niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/LT_rpts/ whole leaf extracts. TR553.pdf. PO BOX 12233, MD K2-03 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 Phone: 919.541.3345 • http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov Printed on recycled paper April 2011 Based on what we know right now, there is nothing that would lead us to believe that this finding would not be relevant to humans. Do you have any idea what may be causing the tumors and the other effects? We suspect it may be the aloin, but we don’t know for sure. We hope to do more studies to determine what may be causing the tumors. I thought drinking Aloe products How much aloin The NTP wanted to test an Aloe was good for me. Should I stop is in a typical drink? preparation that includes all drinking Aloe? This is not clear. Industry usually components that may be in That is a decision you might processes the Aloe vera leaf to make the products on the market. want to make with your health a decolorized whole leaf extract The NTP study used a whole leaf care provider. Like any personal to remove aloin. Industry has a extract of Aloe barbadensis Miller decision, the more information self-regulated upper limit standard that did not undergo charcoal you have the better. Currently, of 10 ppm of aloin in orally ingested filtration during processing. Many manufacturers of these products products, but there are no labeling commercial producers of Aloe vera are not required to label aloin requirements for aloin content. beverages use charcoal filtration concentration in Aloe vera products. to reduce the levels of aloin in If aloin is the cause of the tumors in What are the adverse effects their products. rats then, generally speaking, the of excessive Aloe exposure Is Aloe vera regulated? lower the concentration of aloin in in humans? a product, the lower the possibility More research is needed to answer Aloe vera is a dietary supplement that it may cause harm. Tumors this question. In rodents, it caused and not a regulated drug. There is developed in animals that drank intestinal tumors. no guarantee of strength, purity, or water containing 60 ppm of aloin safety of these products. Aloe vera If you are concerned, have a daily for nearly their entire lifetime. is approved by the Food and Drug medical condition, or are taking Administration as a food additive other drugs, herbs, or supplements, for flavor. Aloe vera you should speak with your physician before altering existing What do the NTP rodent studies treatments or starting any mean for humans? new treatment. The NTP rat studies give cause for How similar are the doses of aloin serious concern. Some questions that need to be answered before Where can I find out more about in the drinking water fed to the Aloe vera? animals to those found in their importance can be fully Aloe vera products? appreciated include: 1) what The NTP data and reports are available at: products are actually in the http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/NTP/About_NTP/ This is not clear, as there are no market place, 2) what are the aloin TRPanel/2011/April/DraftTR577.pdf labeling requirements to list aloin levels across a broad spectrum content. The concentration of aloin of products, and 3) what are the National Center for Complementary and in the water that the rodents drank patterns of human exposure? There Alternative Medicine in the NTP study is similar to that is not enough information currently found in some Aloe vera products, available to know how much Aloe National Library of Medicine but higher than in other products. vera people are consuming or for how long.
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