I Wish I Were Far From the Madding Crowd

March 1, 2010

Chemicals and cancer

Used Tag surfer for the first time tonight (click on your Dashboard button and select “Tag Surfer”) and came across the following:

8 Things We Could Do About Cancer (but probably won’t)

In that post, Geoffrey Meadows identifies the eight things as we could do something about as tobacco, radon, food and food packaging, safe homes, OSHA, protecting science and our regulatory agencies, public information, and prevention and the precautionary approach.  (More on this in a future post.)

While I agree with most of Meadows’ items, I should point out that a new study published online Feb. 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that “thirdhand tobacco smoke” can generate carcinogens by the  reaction of ambient nitrous oxide with residual nicotine left on surfaces.  Similarly, a paper published in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal Pediatrics cites numerous references indicating not only that the home is the source of significant tobacco smoke exposure, but that tobacco toxins can be deposited on surfaces and in loose household dust and can off-gas into the air (see References 1 and 4-7 in the bibliography).

Interestingly, one of the sources Meadows cites is Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, by David Michaels. — Oxford: Oxford University Press, c2008.

Case, in “The Real Story on BPA” (Fast Company, Feb. 2009) notes that chemical manufacturers have adopted similar tactics to those of tobacco companies.  (Interestingly, the FDA has recently since reversed its position on BPA.  See “Recent news” below.)

Michaels, in fact, is interviewed by Case in “Manufacturing Doubt in Product Defense,” a sidebar to the article.  There Michaels describes how “product-defense firms” operate.

Case notes that the evidence is clearly leaning towards bisphenol A having adverse effects on people.

Of the more than 100 independently funded experiments on BPA, about 90% have found evidence of adverse health effects at levels similar to human exposure.

Includes links to other sidebars to the article: How to Pass the BPA Test and Infographic: The BPA in You.

Recent news on BPA

FDA shifts stance on BPA, announces “some concern” about children’s health (Environmental Health News, Jan. 15, 2010)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Update on Bisphenol A (BPA) for Use in Food: January 2010.  (Full update)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Bisphenol A (BPA) Information for Parents.


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