I Wish I Were Far From the Madding Crowd

July 21, 2010

Chemicals and the Obesity Epidemic: The Link

From the Safer Chemicals, Health Families website

http://www.saferchemicals.org/resources/obesity.html

Includes link to April 2010 report from the Washington Toxics Coalition.

http://www.saferchemicals.org/PDF/resources/obesity_factsheet.pdf

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May 31, 2010

“Toxic America” special to air on CNN

CNN special on “Toxic America”

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2010/toxic.america/

Will air June 2 and 3 at 8 pm ET

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/05/17/tune.in.toxic.america/index.html

Five toxics that are everywhere

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/05/31/chemical.dangers/index.html

Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, formaldehyde, PBDEs, PFOA

Releases of benzene, dioxin, lead, mercury, and trichloroethylene state by state

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2010/05/health/map.toxic.chemicals/index.html

More info on access to government-held information on the environment, health, and safety can be found on the Right-to-Know Network website at http://rtknet.org.

April 11, 2010

Some Breast Cancer Cases Caused by a Virus?

It looks like the answer could very well be yes.

The Pink Virus Project

See Dr. Ruddy’s latest post describing her long history in this area.

“Breakthroughs Around the Globe”

Approximately 40% of human breast cancers contain gene sequences that are remarkably similar to a retrovirus known to cause breast cancer in domestic mice. Furthermore, the highest incidence of human breast cancer worldwide occurs in geographic locations where the domestic mouse is native or introduced to the area.

The book, The Pink Virus: Does a Virus Cause Breast Cancer in Women?

Presentation by Dr. Ruddy on The Pink Virus

Summary of Research

http://breastcancerbydrruddy.com/2009/11/01/the-pink-virus-2/

Brief Report on the Pink Virus Breast Cancer Summit

http://www.breasthealthandhealing.com/socialnetworking/messages/20091101.html

Cancer-Causing Virus Linked to Breast Cancer – Includes more info on the Pink Virus Project summit.

Brief bibliography on breast cancer and viruses

Articles cited at bottom of page at http://www.breasthealthandhealing.com/socialnetworking/messages/20091001.html

Updated (and more technical) Bibliography of Research on the Mammary Tumor Virus

http://breastcancerbydrruddy.com/2009/11/15/updated-bibliography-of-research-on-the-mammary-tumor-virus/

Breast Health and Healing’s YouTube Channelhttp://www.youtube.com/user/BreastHealthHealing

A New Virus in a Spontaneous Mammary Tumor of a Rhesus Monkey. Harish C. Chopra and Marcus M. Mason.  Cancer Research 30, 2081-2086, August 1, 1970. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/30/8/2081

Chemical Exposure and Breast Cancer?

The CDC has reported in its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals that many chemicals are showing up in Americans’ bodies.  (Presence alone does not indicate adverse effects, but as I have blogged about before, exposure during certain windows of development can have long-term effects.)

The Fourth Report includes results for 75 chemicals measured for the first time in the U.S. population.  Among the chemicals: environmental phenols, including bisphenol A and triclosan.  According to the Executive Summary:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA), a component of epoxy resins and polycarbonates, may have potential reproductive toxicity. General population exposure to BPA may occur through ingestion of foods in contact with  BPA-containing materials. CDC scientists found bisphenol A in more than 90% of the urine samples representative of the U.S.population.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers are fire retardants used in certain manufactured products. PBDEs accumulate in the environment and in human fat tissue. One type of polybrominated diphenyl ether,BDE-47, was found in the serum of nearly all of the NHANES participants.

Could women be more vulnerable to a breast cancer virus because of exposure to environmental chemicals (either because the chemicals themselves might contribute, or because they negatively affect the immune system)?  See recent articles at bottom about BPA and phthalates.  See also U.S. News post re what could possibly be one of the more likely sources of BPA exposure—your receipts, not plastic bottles. (Science News itemWarner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry)

Articles Ahead of Print from Environmental Health Perspectives

Bisphenol A (BPA)

“Placental Transfer of Conjugated Bisphenol A and Subsequent Reactivation in the Rat Fetus.” – Online April 9, 2010.

Nishikawa M, Iwano H, Yanagisawa R, Koike N, Inoue H, Yokota H 2010. Placental Transfer of Conjugated Bisphenol A and Subsequent Reactivation in the Rat Fetus. Environ Health Perspect :-. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901575

Urinary, Circulating and Tissue Biomonitoring Studies Indicate Widespread Exposure to Bisphenol A

Laura N. Vandenberg, Ibrahim Chauhoud, Jerrold J. Heindel, Vasantha Padmanabhan, Francisco J.R. Paumgartten, Gilbert Schoenfelder Online 24 Mar 2010 | doi:10.1289/ehp.0901716

Phthalates

Investigation of Relationships between Urinary Biomarkers of Phytoestrogens, Phthalates, and Phenols and Pubertal Stages in Girls

Mary S. Wolff, Susan L. Teitelbaum, Susan M. Pinney, Gayle Windham, Laura Liao, Frank Biro, Lawrence H. Kushi, Chris Erdmann, Robert A. Hiatt, Michael E. Rybak, Antonia M. Calafat Online 22 Mar 2010 | doi:10.1289/ehp.0901690

Articles notes a weak association between exposure and earlier puberty.  In a press release Dr. Wolff noted that though the association is weak, given the widespread exposure the public health implications are actually quite large.

This was a multi-ethnic longitudinal study of 1151 girls from New York City, greater Cincinnati, and northern California who were 6-8 years old at enrollment (2004-2007).  Measurements were done one year later.

Results: Breast development was present in 30% of girls (ed. note: remember the girls would have been 7-9), and 22% had pubic hair. High-molecular-weight phthalate metabolites were weakly associated with pubic hair development (adjusted PR 0.94 (0.88-1.00), fifth vs first quintile). Small inverse associations were seen for daidzein with breast stage and for triclosan and high-molecular-weight phthalates with pubic hair stage; a positive trend was observed for low-molecular-weight phthalate biomarkers with breast and pubic hair development. Enterolactone attenuated BMI associations with breast development; in the first enterolactone quintile the association of high-BMI with any development was 1.34 (PR, CI 1.23-1.45 versus low-BMI); there was no BMI-association in the fifth, highest quintile of enterolactone.

Conclusions: Weak hormonally active xenobiotic agents investigated in this study had small associations with pubertal development, mainly among those agents detected at highest concentrations.

My point?  There are enough risks for breast cancer from other causes that we do not need to be assaulted by chemicals in our environment.

April 2, 2010

Are PET plastic bottles a source of endocrine disruptors?

PET (or PETE) bottles are the ones with the recycling number “1”.  (For a list of all the numbers and a description of the various plastics (and what they’re used for), see the Resin Identification Codes chart at the American Chemistry Council.)

Polyethylene Terephthalate May Yield Endocrine Disruptors

Leonard Sax, Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(4) Apr 2010.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the material most commonly used to make the clear plastic bottles in which bottled water is sold. PET bottles are also in widespread use as containers for soda beverages, sports drinks, and condiments such as vinegar and salad dressing. PET bottles are also commonly used for the packaging of cosmetic products, such as shampoo, particularly when such products are sold in clear plastic bottles.

From the Editor’s Summary

Sax suggests that the phthalate content of PET bottles, if present, might vary as a function of the acidity of the product and the temperature and duration of storage. Sax also makes the observation that other nonphthalate chemicals such as antimony, which is used as a catalyst in the polycondensation of PET, might also contribute to the endocrine-disrupting activity of products stored in PET containers.

Note: McDonough and Braungart comment on the use of antimony in the manufacture of polyester in Cradle to Cradle.

Article contents

Cites “Exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds via the food chain: Is packaging a relevant source?” by Jane Muncke, Science of the Total Environment, Volume 407, Issue 16, 1 August 2009, Pages 4549-4559 doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.05.006.

Breast cancer and exposure to phthalates, PAHs, and petroleum byproducts

Several recently published studies on links between exposure to chemicals and breast cancer.

Study Links Chemical Exposure to Breast Cancer Risk

(MedPage Today) Women exposed at work at a young age to petroleum byproducts and synthetic fibers such as acrylic and nylon appear to be at the greatest risk of developing breast cancer after menopause.

Source: Labreche F, et al “Postmenopausal breast cancer and occupational exposures” Occup Environ Med 2010; 67: 263-69.

Exposure to Phthalates and Breast Cancer Risk in Northern Mexico

Lizbeth López-Carrillo et al.  Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(4) Apr 2010.

The authors show for the first time that exposure to diethyl phthalate, the parent compound of monoethyl phthalate (MEP), may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

Editor’s Summary

Associations between Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon–Related Exposures and p53 Mutations in Breast Tumors

Irina Mordukhovich et al.  Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(4) Apr 2010.

The findings suggest that PAHs, environmental pollutants formed by incomplete combustion of organic material (for example, smoking, wood burning, vehicle exhaust), may be associated with specific breast tumor p53 mutation subgroups rather than with overall p53 mutations and may also be related to breast cancer through mechanisms other than p53 mutation.

Editor’s Summary

PAHs in stormwater runoff

Another EHP news item on PAHs notes that researchers found that stormwater runoff was the main pathway by which PAHs enter waterways, contributing about half the New York/New Jersey harbor’s PAH load, and atmospheric deposition was an important contributor of smaller PAH compounds.  (Lisa A. Rodenburg, et al. Mass Balances on Selected Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the New York–New Jersey Harbor, doi:10.2134/jeq2009.0264, Journal of Environmental Quality, March-April 2010 39: 642-653.)

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