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news.gifArticles - - Toxicology News

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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(24/01/2008 @ 23:24)
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 @ 18:46)
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 @ 17:19)
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 @ 17:36)
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 @ 17:22)
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 @ 03:29)
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 @ 03:04)
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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(17/09/2007 @ 13:30)
Travels  Voir?

For the past three weeks or so I have been roaming around Europe. After time in Amsterdam and too much time in Schiphol airport I went to Bratislava for the European Teratology Society meeting.

After Bratislava I moved onto Basel in Switzerland via a couple of stops in Germany to visit editors. I was in Basel for the European Environmental Mutagen Society meeting.

Both meetings contained sessions that focused upon the growing interest in epigenetics in their fields. Positioned slightly differently but interesting from the outside observer to see these two fields crossing over slightly.

For more on epigentics there is a good intro via Science (though old), a European network and an article in EHP in March 06.

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(14/09/2007 @ 21:02)
Travels Woes  Voir?

I'm currently stuck at Schiphol airport - my flight delay by 5 hours. So some time to write. I was in Ermelo this week for an Elsevier meeting, one afternoon / early evening we went for a walk in the forest. We left with the warning ringing in our ears about ticks and Lyme Disease also a nice post in Wikipedia.

Safe to say that I did not find any ticks, and we did have a good time. But I thought I would use the potential tick attack to present a few posts of the field of Toxinology. There is an International Society on Toxinology and I would be disingenious if I did not admit that Elsevier publishes their official journal Toxicon.

More to follow . . .

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(02/09/2007 @ 20:40)
Arsenic in water for 140 million people  Voir?

140 million people in 70 countries are at risk from high levels of arsenic in their drinking water. Reuters reported from a Royal Geographical Society (RGS)meeting in London.

According to a BBC website small does of Arsenic may be beneficial - thinning the blood and sending some cancers into remission. However, larger doses will cause death fairly quickly. Repeated exposure is more likely to result in cancer of the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney. A more detailed analysis may be found here and here from the WHO.

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(31/08/2007 @ 04:44)
In Europe  Voir?

I am traveling in Europe for the next 17 days, so posts will be a litle sporadic. Landed yesterday in Amsterdam, hence the bike!

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(29/08/2007 @ 04:55)
Sunscreen  Voir?

Summer is nearly over and so the FDA announces new proposals on sunscreens. I am sure they must have read my recent posting . . .

The new regulations (if agreed to) will require labeling for both UVA & UVB. The Wall Street Journal has a really nice blog that mentions the new proposals and describes UVA, UVB & UVC.

A quick search of the literature brings up many hits including this from the Aug 11th issue of the Lancet - Photoprotection, Aug 11;370(9586):528-37.

We are advised to wear protective clothing (hats, shirts etc) in addition to sunscreen, and not to view sunscreen as a means to enabling us to stay longer in the sun. In addition sunscreen should be applied liberally and often!
A note of caution though, sunscreen may well aid the body in protection against UVB but it has not been "clearly proven to further protect against skin cancer".

On a personal note, be very careful to apply the sunscreen everywhere. Last weekend we went to the beach in Long Island - and I have a sunburn in two places where (somehow) I managed to miss with the regular doses of sunscreen.

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(24/08/2007 @ 02:40)
Toxic Employees  Voir?

I came across this post on a blog and thought it fitted in perfectly with the toxicology world!!
(23/08/2007 @ 01:59)
Apologies  Voir?

My typing has been slow, and I haven't posted in a week. Worse I failed to acknowledge a comment to the Mad Hatter post.

To make amends here are a couple of links: the FDA has a great page on Thimersal (a mercury containing preservative). But this is not the end to the story as you can read in this wikipedia article.

A PubMed search for Thimersal resulted in 972 hits, the latest being in ToxSci - the official journal of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) - discussing the effect of Thimersal on gastric cancer cells.

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(22/08/2007 @ 03:16)
Mad as a hatter  Voir?

The phrase "Mad as a hatter" is thought to come from the use of mercury (and subsequent poisonings) in the felt hat trade.

I'm in LA today, I should have been here a lot earlier, however Delta in their wisdom over sold my flight and so I was bounced from the early morning flight to one six hours later - I was not happy. Anyway, watching CNN in the waiting area I see they are doing a piece on Mercury poisoning, levels in fish etc.

I remember as an undergrad chemist spending part of an inorganic course discussing heavy metal build up, with the examples of the horrors in Minamata in Japan. In Neurotoxicology and Teratology we have published many papers over the years regarding different exposure levels to mercury including a couple of great papers in the September / October 2006 issue.

The US FDA and EPA have both issued advisories on fish, shellfish and mercury levels (FDA, EPA).

May be best to hold back on the sushi when pregnant . . .

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(13/08/2007 @ 06:20)
More Bisphenol A  Voir?

The results are in! The National Toxicology Program (NTP) announced their findings yesterday on reproductive risks associated with BPA.

A nice summary in the LA Times said: "some concern" about neurological and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children, but "minimal" or "negligible" concern about reproductive effects.

I am sure the discussions are far from over!!

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(10/08/2007 @ 15:44)
Bisphenol A  Voir?

is (again) a new hot contentious topic. A common building block of many plastic items in our daily lives, there is still open debate as to the 'correct' safe exposure levels. We will shortly publish a themed or special issue in Reproductive Toxicology on this chemical. Advance press coverage last week of the results has lead to a number of public awareness / news paper articles - including the LA Times, Environmental Health News, and USA Today and in other science blogs.

We may see later this week, what impact these reports have upon the NIH when they meet to discuss the safe levels of BPA.

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(08/08/2007 @ 22:18)
Long weekend away  Voir?

Follow a relaxing weekend of doing nothing - and achieving that goal successfully - I am in Philadelphia at UPenn. Following on from last week's lead posting I see that a report from Neurology has generated interested in Scientific American and other places: that if you have high cognitive function then thinking impairment was less pronounced than those with low cognitive function, though the effects on movement speeds were similar.

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(07/08/2007 @ 01:27)
Wear Sunscreen  Voir?

Over the weekend my wife and I went to Coney Island - which classes as doing nothing. I think I was wise to use plenty of sunscreen while sitting on the beach, but just before you get too complacent I did find an online database of over 700 sunscreens, their ingredients and some toxicity information.

There is on-going debate in the community with regard to the safety or not of nano-particles and certainly on of their uses is in sunscreens, though this has to be weighed with the individuals exposure. so essentially the jury is still out! There is an interesting paper in Environmental Health Perspectives from 2005 on nanotox.

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(07/08/2007 @ 01:01)
Burton's Line  Voir?

Is a blue line along the gums, found in some victims of lead poisoning. Today Fisher-Price the toy manufacturer recalled almost 1 million toys in the US as they may contain high levels of lead paint. According to the WSJ Chinese firms using lead paint in order to meet demands and maintain costs is an increasingly common problem.

Did you know Beethoven died from lead poisoning?

In Dec 2005 Argonne National Laboratory announced in Dec 2005 that they had found large quantities of lead in his bones, leading to his untimely death in 1827.

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(03/08/2007 @ 00:04)
Drinking NYC tap water is good for you  Voir?

Thank goodness, the water we're drinking in NYC is clean. The Major's Office and the EPA announced yesterday that we're all ok to drink water out of the tap. We are one of the few large cities in this country not required to filter our drinking water.

So, come to New York and enjoy the waters!!

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(01/08/2007 @ 02:50)
Health Risks for Children  Voir?

20% of children in the poorest parts of the world will not live past their fifth birthday. The WHO has released a report into children's environmental exposure. Children are more vulnerable if living in poor / degraded conditions, but regardless of where we live the vulnerability exists. Not only are we what we eat, we are what we breathe, and live in.

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(31/07/2007 @ 02:45)

Dernire mise jour : 02/06/2023 @ 15:36

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