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Toxicology News



Don't eat the sushi!  Voir?

Following on the food topics, the NY Times report alarmingly high levels of mercury in tuna sushi. Though the world's largest consumer of tuna, Japan, is not so worried. The Health Ministry advising pregnant women to "limit the amount" and average adults to eat a "sensible amount".
I found this video on CNN, talking about mercury levels in fish. And a link to another EPA / FDA advice statement.

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(25/01/2008 @ 00:24)
Is it safe to eat that meat?  Voir?

The FDA tell us that eating meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, and goats is as safe as food from conventionally bred animals. The report does however note there is not enough information to confirm safety from clones of other species such as sheep.

Meanwhile in Europe, EFSA (the European Food Safety Agency) has released a draft opion for public consultation which (though limited to cattle and pigs) essentially aggrees with the FDA report in that "no expectation that clones or their progeny would pose any new or additional environmental risks compared with conventionally bred animals".

Initial dissent appears in the form of another opinion from an European advisory board Euopean Group in Ethics in Science and New Technologies - the group does not see convincing arguments for (yet) producing food from clones or their offspring. EFSA will make a "final" opinion sometime in May 2008.

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(17/01/2008 @ 19:46)
Is it safe to drink the water?  Voir?

Can you be both green and safe is the question asked by Alina Tugend in her NY Times article this weekend. She raises concerns about the re-use of plastic containers especially bottles for drinking water.

The Elsevier journal Reproductive Toxicology (2007) volume 24 issue 2 reported the findings of the meeting mentioned by vom Saal on Bisphenol A. There is a great summary lead article in the issue, highlighting those areas of research that the group felt (based upon existing data) a) confident with; b) likely but required confirmation; and c) areas of uncertainty requiring further research.

So, is the water safe to drink? We don't know yet - more studies are being performed - watch this space!

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(09/01/2008 @ 18:19)
Greener Electronics  Voir?

Greenpeace recently released their guide to greener electonics. Companies are ranked by their chemicals policy / practice and by their recycling policy / practice. Business week assess the impact of such reports upon consumer buying. The EPA also provides advice on buying and recycling electronics.

My only additional comment being that it is not immediately obvious what toxic chemicals Greenpeace is looking at. The report mentions the reduction / elimination of Bromine Fire retardants, and PVC but little else. Though as you delve down into the report you see other chemicals mention as part of Greenpeace's analysis of that company.

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(07/12/2007 @ 18:36)
FDA - lack of oversight  Voir?

The New York Times reports that the FDA does very little to ensure the safety of clinical trials participants - auditing fewer than 1% of testing sites. We can all only hope the recently signed FDA Reforms will improve these appalling statistics - for all of us.

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(28/09/2007 @ 19:22)
Mercury in vaccines  Voir?

There is no "causal association between early exposure to mercury" (from vaccines) and "deficits in neuropsychological functioning" in 7 - 10 year old children according to an article in the New England Journal published today. Over 1000 children were examined in the tests, while the tests did not specifically look for a link to autism, the results seem to indicate that parents (and children) can breath easy. Though reassuring this is undoubtedly not the last we shall hear on this subject.

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(27/09/2007 @ 05:29)
FDA Reforms  Voir?

According to an article in Forbes magazine the recent passing of the FDA Amendments Act of 2007 is the biggest overhaul of the FDA in decades. The Consumers Union called it 'the most significant prescription drug safety reforms in 45 years'. Central to the new legislation is new funding and oversight of drug safety and risk minimization. The legislation also codifies the post phase 1 clincal trials database, conflict of interest for advisory committee members, and $25 million for the FDA to perform routine active surveillance.

All-in-all we may be headed towards a safer (though never totally safe) world.

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(27/09/2007 @ 05:04)
From toxins to drugs  Voir?

Wikipedia of a few days ago focused in upon Amanita phalloides a rather poisonous fungus. Which brought me back to the post on ticks and bugs - and the discussion of toxins.

Prof Alan Harvey is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Toxicon. A few weeks ago Alan was in the Elsevier offices in New York. In this video he talks briefly about toxins that have been transformed into drugs!


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