IQ destroying chemicals, and their abundance.

IQ destroying chemicals, and their abundance.

Brief video with citations, explaining the chemical assault that is overtaking our young and our future.

IQ erosion is probably not directly cumulative ( i.e. my arrival on the number 57, a drop in the 20 range is probably more realistic ), or it can even be worse (synergistic). No one really knows, as studies are primarily done on individual chemicals and not multiple different exposures.

If you have any further questions or clarification on any study mentioned, please feel free to inquire with me. – Ralph Turchiano

Many studies can be accessed through http://www.clinicalnews.org

* Due to the technical nature of the video, it will not be listed in creative commons. Continue reading “IQ destroying chemicals, and their abundance.”

Common plastics chemicals linked to ADHD symptoms – phthalate

Reposted at request:

Public release date: 19-Nov-2009 –

They found a significant positive association between phthalate exposure and ADHD, meaning that the higher the concentration of phthalate metabolites in the urine, the worse the ADHD symptoms and/or test scores.

Disney school supplies loaded with toxic phtha...
Disney school supplies loaded with toxic phthalates, next to petitions signed by 65,000 parents across the country (Photo credit: CHEJ)

 

Are phthalates really safe for children?

Philadelphia, PA, 19 November 2009 – Phthalates are important components of many consumer products, including toys, cleaning materials, plastics, and personal care items. Studies to date on phthalates have been inconsistent, with some linking exposure to these chemicals to hormone disruptions, birth defects, asthma, and reproductive problems, while others have found no significant association between exposure and adverse effects.

A new report by Korean scientists, published by Elsevier in the November 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry, adds to the potentially alarming findings about phthalates. They measured urine phthalate concentrations and evaluated symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using teacher-reported symptoms and computerized tests that measured attention and impulsivity. Continue reading “Common plastics chemicals linked to ADHD symptoms – phthalate”

Study links chemicals widely found in plastics and processed food to elevated blood pressure in children and teens

Contact: Lorinda Klein lorindaann.klein@nyumc.org 212-404-3533 NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

Data from nearly 3,000 children shows dietary exposure to certain plastics may play a hidden role in epidemic increases in childhood hypertension

NEW YORK, May 22, 2013. Plastic additives known as phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are odorless, colorless and just about everywhere: They turn up in flooring, plastic cups, beach balls, plastic wrap, intravenous tubing and—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—the bodies of most Americans. Once perceived as harmless, phthalates have come under increasing scrutiny. A growing collection of evidence suggests dietary exposure to phthalates (which can leech from packaging and mix with food) may cause significant metabolic and hormonal abnormalities, especially during early development.

Now, new research published this Wednesday in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that certain types of phthalates could pose another risk to children: compromised heart health. Drawing on data from a nationally representative survey of nearly 3,000 children and teens, researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington and Penn State University School of Medicine, have documented for the first time a connection between dietary exposure to DEHP (di-2-ethyhexylphthalate), a common class of phthalate widely used in industrial food production, and elevated systolic blood pressure, a measure of pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts.

“Phthalates can inhibit the function of cardiac cells and cause oxidative stress that compromises the health of arteries. But no one has explored the relationship between phthalate exposure and heart health in children” says lead author Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at NYU Langone Medical Center. “We wanted to examine the link between phthalates and childhood blood pressure in particular given the increase in elevated blood pressure in children and the increasing evidence implicating exposure to environmental exposures in early development of disease.”

Hypertension is clinically defined as a systolic blood-pressure reading above 140 mm Hg. It’s most common in people over 50 years old, although the condition is becoming increasingly prevalent among children owing to the global obesity epidemic. Recent national surveys indicate that 14 percent of American adolescents now have pre-hypertension or hypertension. “Obesity is driving the trend but our findings suggest that environmental factors may also be a part of the problem,” says Dr. Trasande. “This is important because phthalate exposure can be controlled through regulatory and behavioral interventions.”

Researchers from NYU School of Medicine, the University of Washington and Penn State University School of Medicine examined six years of data from a nationally representative survey of the U.S. population administered by the National Centers for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Phthalates were measured in urine samples using standard analysis techniques. Controlling for a number of potential confounders, including race, socioeconomic status, body mass index, caloric intake and activity levels, the researchers found that every three-fold increase in the level of breakdown products of DEHP in urine correlated with a roughly one-millimeter mercury increase in a child’s blood pressure. “That increment may seem very modest at an individual level, but on a population level such shifts in blood pressure can increase the number of children with elevated blood pressure substantially,” says Dr. Trasande. “Our study underscores the need for policy initiatives that limit exposure to disruptive environmental chemicals, in combination with dietary and behavioral interventions geared toward protecting cardiovascular health.”

###

 

This research was made possible through the generous support of KiDs of NYU Langone, an organization of parents, physicians, and friends that supports children’s health services at New York University Langone Medical Center through philanthropy, community service, and advocacy.

About NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class, patient-centered, integrated, academic medical center, is one on the nation’s premier centers for excellence in clinical care, biomedical research and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is composed of four hospitals – Tisch Hospital, its flagship acute care facility; the Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of only five hospitals in the nation dedicated to orthopaedics and rheumatology; Hassenfeld Pediatric Center, a comprehensive pediatric hospital supporting a full array of children’s health services; and Rusk Rehabilitation, ranked the best rehabilitation program in New York and one of the top ten in the country since 1989, when U.S. News & World Report introduced its annual “Best Hospitals” rankings– plus NYU School of Medicine, which since 1841 has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history. The medical center’s tri-fold mission to serve, teach and discover is achieved 365 days a year through the seamless integration of a culture devoted to excellence in patient care, education and research. For more information, go to http://www.NYULMC.org

Contaminated Diet Contributes to Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Phthalates and BPA * 183mg per Kg of bodyweight per Day!!! *

Phthalates and bisphenol A are synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Previous studies have linked prenatal exposure to phthalates to male reproductive system abnormalities. Fetal exposure to BPA is linked to hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression in girls. People may exposed to these chemicals in their diets, even if their food is organic and not prepared in plastic containers, according to a new study. (Credit: © Art Allianz / Fotolia)

Feb. 27, 2013 — While water bottles may tout BPA-free labels and personal care products declare phthalates not among their ingredients, these assurances may not be enough.

According to a study published February 27 in the Nature Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, we may be exposed to these chemicals in our diet, even if our diet is organic and we prepare, cook, and store foods in non-plastic containers. Children may be most vulnerable.

“Current information we give families may not be enough to reduce exposures,” said Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, lead author on the study and an environmental health pediatrician in the UW School of Public Health and at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She is a physician at Harborview Medical Center’s Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, and a UW assistant professor of pediatrics.

Phthalates and bisphenol A, better known as BPA, are synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Previous studies have linked prenatal exposure to phthalates to abnormalities in the male reproductive system. Associations have also been shown between fetal exposure to BPA and hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression in girls.

The researchers compared the chemical exposures of 10 families, half of whom were given written instructions on how to reduce phthalate and BPA exposures. They received handouts prepared by the national Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units, a network of experts on environmentally related health effects in children. The other families received a five-day catered diet of local, fresh, organic food that was not prepared, cooked or stored in plastic containers.

When the researchers tested the participants’ urinary concentrations of metabolites for phthalates and BPA, they got surprising results. The researchers expected the levels of the metabolities to decrease in those adults and children eating the catered diet.

Instead, the opposite happened. The urinary concentration for phthalates were 100-fold higher than the those levels found in the majority of the general population. The comparison comes from a study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This is a program of studies managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States.

The concentrations were also much higher for children as compared to the adults. The researchers then tested the phthalate concentrations in the food ingredients used in the dietary intervention. Dairy products — butter, cream, milk, and cheese — had concentrations above 440 nanograms/gram. Ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper had concentrations above 700 ng/g, and ground coriander had concentrations of 21,400 ng/g.

“We were extremely surprised to see these results. We expected the concentrations to decrease significantly for the kids and parents in the catered diet group. Chemical contamination of foods can lead to concentrations higher than deemed safe by the US EPA,” said Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana.

Using the study results, the researchers estimated that the average child aged three to six years old was exposed to 183 milligrams per kilogram of their body weight per day. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit is 20 mg/kg/day.

“It’s difficult to control your exposure to these chemicals, even when you try,” said Sathyanarayana. “We have very little control over what’s in our food, including contaminants. Families can focus on buying fresh fruits and vegetables, foods that are not canned and are low in fat, but it may take new federal regulations to reduce exposures to these chemicals.”

The other researchers in the study included Garry Alcedo (Seattle Children’s Research Institute), Brian E. Saelens and Chuan Zhou (UW Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute), Russell L. Dills and Jianbo Yu (UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences) and Bruce Lanphear (BC Children’s Hospital and Simon Fraser University).

Their paper is titled, “Unexpected results in a randomized dietary trial to reduce phthalate and bisphenol A exposure.”

The study was supported through by the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the UW School of Public Health. A grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health provides major support for the center.

Common plastics chemicals linked to ADHD symptoms

2009 study posted filing

Contact: Jayne Dawkins ja.dawkins@elsevier.com 215-239-3674 Elsevier

Are phthalates really safe for children?

Philadelphia, PA, 19 November 2009 – Phthalates are important components of many consumer products, including toys, cleaning materials, plastics, and personal care items. Studies to date on phthalates have been inconsistent, with some linking exposure to these chemicals to hormone disruptions, birth defects, asthma, and reproductive problems, while others have found no significant association between exposure and adverse effects.

A new report by Korean scientists, published by Elsevier in the November 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry, adds to the potentially alarming findings about phthalates. They measured urine phthalate concentrations and evaluated symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using teacher-reported symptoms and computerized tests that measured attention and impulsivity.

They found a significant positive association between phthalate exposure and ADHD, meaning that the higher the concentration of phthalate metabolites in the urine, the worse the ADHD symptoms and/or test scores.

Senior author Yun-Chul Hong, MD, PhD, explained that “these data represent the first documented association between phthalate exposure and ADHD symptoms in school-aged children.” John Krystal, MD, the Editor of Biological Psychiatry, also commented: “This emerging link between phthalates and symptoms of ADHD raises the concern that accidental environmental exposure to phthalates may be contributing to behavioral and cognitive problems in children. This concern calls for more definitive research.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the Summary of their 2005 Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, state that “very limited scientific information is available on potential human health effects of phthalates at levels” found in the U.S. population. Although this study was performed in a Korean population, their levels of exposure are likely comparable to a U.S. population.

The current findings do not prove that phthalate exposure caused ADHD symptoms. However, these initial findings provide a rationale for further research on this association.

###

Notes to Editors:

The article is “Phthalates Exposure and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in School-Age Children” by Bung-Nyun Kim, Soo-Churl Cho, Yeni Kim, Min-Sup Shin, Hee-Jeong Yoo, Jae-Won Kim, Young Hee Yang, Hyo-Won Kim, Soo-Young Bhang, and Yun-Chul Hong. B-N Kim, S-C Cho, Y Kim, M-S Shin, J-W Kim, Y H Yang, and H-W Kim are affiliated with the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea. H-J Yoo is from the Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seong-nam, Republic of Korea. Y-C Hong is with the Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine and Institute of Environmental Medicine, SNUMRC, Seoul, Republic of Korea. S-Y Bhang is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry, Ulsan University Hospital, Ulsan, Republic of Korea. The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 66, Issue 10 (November 15, 2009), published by Elsevier.

The authors’ disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available in the article.

John H. Krystal, M.D. is Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and a research psychiatrist at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. His disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available at http://journals.elsevierhealth.com/webfiles/images/journals/bps/Biological_Psychiatry_Editorial_Disclosures_08_01_09.pdf.

Full text of the article mentioned above is available upon request. Contact Jayne M. Dawkins at ja.dawkins@elsevier.com to obtain a copy or to schedule an interview.

About Biological Psychiatry

This international rapid-publication journal is the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. It covers a broad range of topics in psychiatric neuroscience and therapeutics. Both basic and clinical contributions are encouraged from all disciplines and research areas relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of major neuropsychiatric disorders. Full-length and Brief Reports of novel results, Commentaries, Case Studies of unusual significance, and Correspondence and Comments judged to be of high impact to the field are published, particularly those addressing genetic and environmental risk factors, neural circuitry and neurochemistry, and important new therapeutic approaches. Concise Reviews and Editorials that focus on topics of current research and interest are also published rapidly.

Biological Psychiatry (www.sobp.org/journal) is ranked 4th out of the 101 Psychiatry titles and 14th out of 219 Neurosciences titles on the 2008 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Thomson Scientific.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including the Lancet (www.thelancet.com) and Cell (www.cell.com), and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include ScienceDirect (www.sciencedirect.com), Scopus (www.scopus.com), Reaxys (www.reaxys.com), MD Consult (www.mdconsult.com) and Nursing Consult (www.nursingconsult.com), which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite (www.scival.com) and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review (www.medai.com), which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier (www.elsevier.com) employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC (www.reedelsevier.com), a world-leading publisher and information provider. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Nicholas Mockford’s job at ExxonMobil provides few clues as to a motive for his assassination-style killing. (Work was in alternatives to phthalate )

Nicholas Mockford’s ExxonMobil role provides few clues as to a motive

Nicholas Mockford

Image 1 of 2
Nicholas Mockford
Nicholas Mockford, in the blue coat, with his successful ExxonMobil sailing team after claiming victory in a Channel race last year

1:47PM BST 26 Oct 2012

As the world’s biggest publicly-traded oil and gas company, there are few countries in which ExxonMobil does not operate.

From cosying up to the Kremlin for Arctic oil exploration, to angering the Iraqi government by working in Kurdistan, the Texas-headquartered giant is not free from controversy.

Like most oil majors, its operations attract the wrath of environmental activists.

But while some names in the industry have distinctly murky corporate reputations, ExxonMobil – best known in the UK for its Esso fuels and petrol stations – is not one of them.

And of all its operations, those where Nicholas Mockford worked in Brussels, managing the marketing for part of the company’s Chemicals division, seem, on the face of it at least, particularly innocuous.

ExxonMobil said on Friday that it had “no indication” that his being gunned down in a street in an assassination-style killing was related to his work.

While ExxonMobil declined to give further details of his role, sources close to the company suggest Mr Mockford – despite being a departmental manager and working with the company for several decades – was not as senior as he might appear.

There is no mention of him on the company’s website.

Mr Mockford appears to have delivered a speech two years ago to an ExxonMobil-sponsored conference in Shanghai on the subject “Phthalate Plasticizer Alternatives: Facts versus Fiction” – suggesting his speciality was in substances used to make plastics such as PVC more flexible and durable.

The subject is, in fact, a controversial one – some phthalates have been partially banned in the EU and the US because of health fears.

ExxonMobil makes alternatives to phthalate plasticizers but, as a major producer of the substances, was also known to have lobbied strongly against the bans over recent years.

Nevertheless, while more politically controversial than it might first appear, it is hardly the corner of the oil industry in which one might expect to cross the path of a gun-toting killer.

No wonder, then, that those working at ExxonMobil’s UK headquarters in leafy Surrey say Mr Mockford’s brutal murder has sent such shock waves though the company.

Related: British ExxonMobil oil chief ‘assassinated’ in Brussels street

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/9635956/Nicholas-Mockfords-ExxonMobil-role-provides-few-clues-as-to-a-motive.html

Make-up ‘triggers early menopause’: Warning on chemicals in cosmetics and hairspray that can cause to stop more than two years early

  • A group of chemicals  known as pthalates are already thought to  raise the risk of cancer, diabetes and obesity
  • Researchers at Washington  University, Missouri, believe they may also cause early menopause
  • Chemicals are found in plastics, cosmetics,  household products and food packaging

By Sophie Borland

PUBLISHED:18:06 EST, 23  October 2012| UPDATED:18:06 EST, 23 October 2012

 

Chemicals found in make-up, hairspray and  food packaging are causing women to hit the menopause early, researchers  warn.

Those exposed to high doses have been found  to go through the change almost two and a half years before other  women.

And in some cases, these chemicals may be  causing women to stop having periods 15 years too soon, say  scientists.

Bad for your health?: Researchers believe pthalates - chemicals found in cosmetics - may bring on early menopause  

Bad for your health?: Researchers believe pthalates –  chemicals found in cosmetics – may bring on early menopause

There is already is widespread concern over  the potential health risks of pthalates, a group of chemicals found in plastics,  cosmetics, household products and food packaging.

Recent studies have shown they may increase  the risk of cancer, diabetes and obesity and there is even evidence they may  feminise the brains of young boys.

Now American researchers say the chemicals  are disrupting women’s reproductive systems,  including their ovaries, and  leading to early menopause.

Dr Natalia Grindler, from Washington  University in St Louis, Missouri, and colleagues looked at the levels of  pthalates in the blood or urine of 5,700 women.

Long-term impact: Pthalates have previously been linked to increased risks of cancer, diabetes and obesity 

Long-term impact: Pthalates have previously been linked  to increased risks of cancer, diabetes and obesity

Those with the highest amounts were found to  have gone through the menopause an average of 2.3 years before the others. The  typical age of the menopause is 51, so women exposed to the highest levels were  hitting it aged 49.

But Dr Grindler told the American Society of  Reproductive Medicine’s conference in San Diego, California, that some women may  be going through the menopause 15 years early, in their  mid-thirties.

An early menopause is linked to far higher  rates of strokes, heart disease, bone problems and fatal brain  haemorrhages.

Dr Grindler said: ‘We don’t know yet if some  of them are going through it one year earlier or some are going through it 15  years earlier.

‘Early menopause has a lot of impact on your  health. We absolutely think these chemicals have the potential to affect ovarian  function and human reproduction.

‘There’s a lot that we don’t know at this  point, our research is still preliminary, but it’s enough to suggest it is  having a detrimental impact in the long term.’

She could not explain why some women were  exposed to higher levels of these chemicals. It may be that they wore more  make-up, drank bottled water or ate more packaged foods.

But British experts urged women not to worry  themselves unnecessarily.

Professor Richard Sharpe, who specialises in  reproductive health at the University of Edinburgh said: ‘My concern is not high  at this stage. Phthalate exposure is ubiquitous and thus impossible to avoid  altogether.

‘Eating fresh, unpackaged food can reduce  phthalate exposure but will not eliminate it.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2222190/Make-triggers-early-menopause-Warning-chemicals-cosmetics-hairspray-cause-stop-years-early.html#ixzz2AAsSzSnN Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Chemicals in common consumer products may play a role in pre-term births : phthalates

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Laura Bailey baileylm@umich.edu 734-647-1848 University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A new study of expectant mothers suggests that a group of common environmental contaminants called phthalates, which are present in many industrial and consumer products including everyday personal care items, may contribute to the country’s alarming rise in premature births.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health found that women who deliver prematurely have, on average, up to three times the phthalate level in their urine compared to women who carry to term.

Professors John Meeker, Rita Loch-Caruso and Howard Hu of the SPH Department of Environmental Health Sciences and collaborators from the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from a larger study directed by Hu, which follows a cohort of Mexican women recruited during pre-natal visits at one of four clinics of the Mexican Institute of Social Security in Mexico City.

Meeker and colleagues looked at data from 60 women: 30 who carried to term and 30 who delivered prematurely (defined as less than 37 weeks gestation). They analyzed urine samples collected during the third trimester and compared them to the control group who carried to term. They found significantly higher phthalate metabolite levels in the women who delivered prematurely.

Premature birth is a significant risk factor for many health problems in childhood that can persist into adulthood, Meeker says. In the United States, premature births have increased by more than 30 percent since 1981 and by 18 percent since 1990. In 2004, premature births accounted for 12.8 percent of live births nationwide.

Premature births, he says, account for one-third of infant deaths in the United States, making it the leading cause of neonatal mortality. Being born too early can also lead to chronic health problems such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, low IQ and more.

Phthalates are commonly used compounds in plastics, personal care products, home furnishings (vinyl flooring, carpeting, paints, etc.) and many other consumer and industrial products. The toxicity varies by specific phthalates or their breakdown products, but past studies show that several phthalates cause reproductive and developmental toxicity in animals.

A couple of human studies have reported associations between phthalates and gestational age, but this is the first known study to look at the relationship between phthalates and premature births, Meeker says.

“We looked at these commonly used compounds found in consumer products based on the growing amount of animal toxicity data and since national human data show that a large proportion of the population are unknowingly exposed,” Meeker said. “One of the problems for consumers is that you don’t know exactly which products contain phthalates because the products do not have to be labeled accordingly.”

Meeker says the U-M study is a stepping stone to larger and more detailed studies examining the role of phthalates and premature births. The researchers hope to examine a larger population of pregnant women to corroborate these initial study findings, and conduct experimental lab studies to further explore the biological mechanisms of how phthalates work in the body.

###

 

The study, “Urinary Phthalate Metabolites in Relation to Preterm Birth in Mexico City,” is available online at: http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2009/0800522/abstract.html. It will appear in a later printed issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

For more on Meeker: http://www.sph.umich.edu/iscr/faculty/profile.cfm?uniqname=meekerj

Loch-Caruso: http://www.sph.umich.edu/iscr/faculty/profile.cfm?uniqname=rlc

Hu: http://www.sph.umich.edu/iscr/faculty/profile.cfm?uniqname=howardhu

EHS: http://www.sph.umich.edu/ehs/

The University of Michigan School of Public Health has been working to promote health and prevent disease since 1941, and is consistently ranked among the top five public health schools in the nation

Going Back to School Just Got Scarier: Toxins Found in Supplies ( phthalates )

Parents who are sending kids back to school could be sending them with toxic chemicals. A new report finds that a number of common back-to-school supplies may have high levels of potentially toxic phthalates.

The report, released today by the Virginia-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice, reveals that out of 20 school-related products tested by a lab, 80 percent contained phthalates, and 75 percent had levels that, if found in toys, would be higher than what’s allowed by federal law.

Phthalates are a group of chemicals typically used in in products such as shower curtains, vinyl flooring and, apparently, items kids take to school. Although studies have shown health effects on animals from phthalate exposure, less is known about a definitive cause and effect link for humans.

That doesn’t mean the stuff is off the radar. The Environmental Protection Agency says it’s concerned “because of their toxicity and the evidence of pervasive human and environmental exposure to these chemicals.”

In 2008 Congress banned a number of phthalates in amounts higher than 0.1 percent found in children’s toys and kid-intended items meant for sleeping, eating or teething.

But a number of items used by children that may contain the chemicals don’t fall within those categories. The tested products in the report included vinyl backpacks, lunch boxes, three-ring binders, vinyl rain boots and raincoats. They were purchased in New York City recently from various retailers and were branded with familiar characters such as Spider-Man and Dora the Explorer.

Spidey fans may not be happy to hear that when two areas of that backpack were tested, they had more than 52 times the federal phthalate limit for toys.

“It is disturbing that millions of young children are being exposed to these toxic chemicals with no enforcement to protect them,” said Judy Braiman of the Empire State Consumer Project in a news release. The group co-published the report.

“Unfortunately, while phthalates have been banned in children’s toys, similar safeguards don’t yet exist to keep them out of lunchboxes, backpacks and other children’s school supplies,” said the center’s Mike Schade, who wrote the report. “It’s time for Congress to move forward and pass the Safe Chemicals Act to protect our children from toxic exposure.”

The Safe Chemicals Act, introduced into the Senate, would set limits on toxic chemicals, overhauling the 36-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act.

For parents who want to send their kids back to school without worrying about the possible dangers from phthalates, the center also released a 2012 Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies, with tips for choosing non-toxic supplies and a list of recommended brands

Jeannine Stein, a California native, wrote about health for the Los Angeles Times. In her pursuit of a healthy lifestyle she has taken countless fitness classes, hiked in Nepal, and has gotten in a boxing ring. Email Jeannine | TakePart.com

Household chemical may affect breast development – Phthalate

A chemical found in household fittings has been found to affect the development of the mammary gland in rats and further studies will be required to determine if the presence of this chemical could lead to breast cancer. New research published in the online open access journal BMC Genomics is the first to show that this chemical can affect the breasts’ genomic profile.

Jose Russo and coworkers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, along with colleagues from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, US, fed lactating rats with butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), which their offspring then absorbed via breast milk. The offspring ingested levels of chemical estimated to be nearly equivalent to the Environmental Protection Agency’s safe dose limit of BBP for humans.

The researchers found that BBP had a transitory effect on certain characteristics of the female offspring of the rats, such as the ratio of uterine weight to body weight and the genetic profile of the mammary gland. Dr Russo stated: “We are the first to report that neonatal/prepubertal exposure to BBP induced modifications in the gene expression of the mammary tissue.”

Although these effects wore off once exposure to BBP was removed, the subtle changes in the mammary gland may have an effect later in life

BBP is widely used as a plasticizer, an additive used to soften polymers, and is found in household fittings such as pipes, vinyl floor tiles and carpet backing. This type of chemical is known to be an endocrine disruptor, which mimics the effect of hormones. Endocrine disruptors are known to damage wildlife and they have also been implicated in reduced sperm counts and neurological problems in humans.

New test finds diisobutyl phthalate in some cardboard food packaging — recycling is the issue

A new test can identify take-away paper-based food containers (such as pizza boxes) that break phthalate safety rules. The phthalates (plasticisers) are present because the containers were made from pulp that contained at least some recycled paper and cardboard. In Italy, where the test was developed, this use of recycled paper and cardboard for food packaging breaks food safety rules.

Recycling paper and cardboard is a great goal, but it can have its problems. If the original paper is loaded with inks, adhesives and other substances, then these will be passed into the new recycled material. If that material is used to package food then the food could be exposed to the chemicals from recycling. One chemical of particular concern is diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP). This is commonly found in inks and other chemicals used in printing. It is potentially dangerous because it has a similar structure to androgenic hormones in the human body.

With take away pizzas, hot food is placed inside the cardboard box, and so there is a high chance that the food will be exposed to any volatile chemicals in the cardboard such as plasticisers as they will enter the headspace of the box. To avoid this contamination, the boxes should be made from unrecycled materials

Working at the University of Milan, Italy, a team of scientists has developed a test that looks specifically at DIBP. In a paper published in this week’s edition of Packaging Technology and Science, the researchers report the analysis of boxes purchased from 16 different take-away restaurants in northern Italy

They found that while some boxes exposed pizza to just over 7 micrograms of DIBP under test conditions, others gave exposure to over 40 micrograms and one to more than 70 micrograms of DIBP. This is a clear indication that the boxes had been manufactured using at least some recycled paper or cardboard.

Researchers identify phthalates in numeruous medicines and supplements

(Boston) –Researchers from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC), in collaboration with Harvard School of Public Health, have found numerous prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements use certain chemicals called phthalates as inactive ingredients in their products. The findings appear on-line in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Phthalates such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diethyl phthalate (DEP) are used as inactive ingredients in FDA-approved medications where they may serve a variety of functions. Most commonly, they are used in the coating of a drug product to target the delivery of the active ingredients to a specific area of the gastrointestinal tract, or manage their release over time. Some phthalates, including DBP have been identified as causing adverse developmental and reproductive effects in laboratory animals. Limited human studies have suggested a possible association of DBP and DEP with male reproductive health outcomes.

Using a combination of resources, the researchers were able to identify over 100 drug and dietary supplement products that indicated they contained phthalates, including 50 prescription, 40 over-the-counter (OTC) and 26 dietary supplement products with labels that listed DEP or DBP, of which nine contained DBP. In addition, a large number of product labels listed phthalate polymers that are considered to be of little or no known toxicity but which are often used in combination with other phthalates.

“Given the thousands of orally-ingested products on the market (prescription, OTC and dietary supplements), it is difficult to know exactly how many contain phthalates.  However, it is informative and important to identify the specific drug products that have included phthalates in their formulations,” said lead author Kathy Kelley, MPH, RPh, a research pharmacist at BU’s SEC.

According to the researchers, the potential health effects of human exposure to these phthalates through medications are unknown and warrant further investigation. “The present findings should assist researchers in conducting the necessary studies of potential risk of phthalates in human populations, but such efforts are limited by the lack of centralized, comprehensive, and publically-available information on the presence of phthalates in the full range of prescription, OTC and dietary supplement products,” added Kelley.

The researchers recommend that future studies should pay particular attention to the amount of phthalate, specifically DBP, used in each dosage form so that estimates of exposure from medications and supplements can be quantified.

Chemicals in personal care products may increase risk of diabetes in women

Brigham and Women’s Hospital study is the first to examine an association between phthalates and diabetes in a large population of American women

Boston, MA – A study lead by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) shows an association between increased concentrations of phthalates in the body and an increased risk of diabetes in women.  Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products such as moisturizers, nail polishes, soaps, hair sprays and perfumes.  They are also used in adhesives, electronics, toys and a variety of other products.  This finding is published in the July 13, 2012 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives

Researchers, lead by Tamarra James-Todd, PhD, a researcher in the Division of Women’s Health at BWH, analyzed urinary concentrations of phthalates in 2,350 women who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  They found that women with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to have diabetes.  Specifically:

  • Women who had the highest levels of the chemicals mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate had almost twice the risk of diabetes compared to women with the lowest levels of those chemicals.
  • Women with higher than median levels of the chemical mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate had approximately a 60 percent increased risk of diabetes.
  • Women with moderately high levels of the chemicals mono-n-butyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate had approximately a 70 percent increased risk of diabetes.

The study population consisted of a representative sample of American women and was controlled for socio-demographic, dietary and behavioral factors.  However, the women self-reported their diabetes and researchers caution against reading too much into the study due to the possibility of reverse causation.

“This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes,” said Dr. James-Todd. “We know that in addition to being present in personal care products, phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication that is used to treat diabetes and this could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women. So overall, more research is needed.”

Phthalate, environmental chemical is linked to higher rates of childhood obesity

Obese children show greater exposure than nonobese children to a phthalate, a chemical used to soften plastics in some children’s toys and many household products, according to a new study, which found that the obesity risk increases according to the level of the chemical found in the bloodstream. The study will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society‘s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.

The chemical, di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), is a common type of phthalate, a group of industrial chemicals that are suspected endocrine disruptors, or hormone-altering agents.

In the study, children with the highest DEHP levels had nearly five times the odds of being obese compared with children who had the lowest DEHP levels, study co-author Mi Jung Park, MD, PhD, said.

“Although this study cannot prove causality between childhood obesity and phthalate exposure, it alerts the public to recognize the possible harm and make efforts to reduce this exposure, especially in children,” said Park, a pediatric endocrinologist in Seoul, Korea, at Sanggye Paik Hospital and professor at Inje University College of Medicine.

Phthalates are found in some pacifiers, plastic food packages, medical equipment and building materials such as vinyl flooring, and even in nonplastic personal care products, including soap, shampoo and nail polish.

Prior research has shown that phthalates may change gene expression associated with fat metabolism, according to Dr. Park. Because past research suggested a link between concentrations of phthalate metabolites and increased waist size in adults, her group studied a possible connection with childhood obesity.

Dr.Park and colleagues measured serum levels of DEHP in 204 children: 105 obese and 99 healthy-weight youth ages 6 to 13 years. The researchers divided these DEHP measurements into four groups from the lowest detectable level (40.2 nanograms per milliliter, or ng/mL) to the highest (69.7 to 177.1 ng/mL).

They found that the obese children had a significantly higher average DEHP level than did the nonobese controls (107 versus 53.8 ng/mL, respectively). In particular, a high DEHP level correlated with body mass index and percentage of fat mass. This increased risk of obesity with elevation of DEHP levels was independent of factors such as physical activity and daily calorie intake, according to the authors.

“More research in people is needed to determine whether DEHP exposure contributes to childhood obesity,” Dr.Park said