POPs in the news

05/08/2019 -

The biggest culinary star of the past five years isn’t a chef, or a restaurant group. It’s a bowl, a humble piece of take-out packaging that’s taken the world of commercial foodservice by storm, rising so quickly that few have noted its troubling secret. [...] Once molded fiber manufacturers have mashed raw plant-based fibers—typically processed sugarcane, but also cornstalks, sorghum, or recycled newspaper—into a pulp, PFAS is added in a process called a “wet-end” application. More:


The bowls at Chipotle and Sweetgreen are supposed to be compostable. They contain cancer-linked “forever chemicals”

The biggest culinary star of the past five years isn’t a chef, or a restaurant group. It’s a bowl, a humble piece of take-out packaging that’s taken the world of commercial foodservice by storm, rising so quickly that few have noted its troubling secret. [...] Once molded fiber manufacturers have mashed raw plant-based fibers—typically processed sugarcane, but also cornstalks, sorghum, or recycled newspaper—into a pulp, PFAS is added in a process called a “wet-end” application. More:

26/07/2019 -

Environmental and children’s health advocates breathed a sigh of relief when, over a decade ago, U.S. manufacturers began to phase out a number of flame retardant chemicals from furniture, electronics, textiles and other everyday items. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, were facing increasing scrutiny for impacts on children’s brain development, hormone disruption, reduced fertility, and other adverse health effects, as well as for their ubiquity in the environment and persistence in the food chain. More:

Human exposure and health effects

Toxics in recycled plastics


Why are harmful flame-retardant chemicals still showing up in children’s toys?

Environmental and children’s health advocates breathed a sigh of relief when, over a decade ago, U.S. manufacturers began to phase out a number of flame retardant chemicals from furniture, electronics, textiles and other everyday items. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, were facing increasing scrutiny for impacts on children’s brain development, hormone disruption, reduced fertility, and other adverse health effects, as well as for their ubiquity in the environment and persistence in the food chain. More:

Human exposure and health effects

Toxics in recycled plastics

23/07/2019 -

The resident orcas of British Columbia's South Coast have no natural enemies, but the toxins in their environment are creating unnatural threats that could wipe out the entire population of the Salish Sea's top predator, scientists say. The southern residents are the marine mammals most contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) on the planet. More:


How toxic food and toxic water could be killing the killer whales

The resident orcas of British Columbia's South Coast have no natural enemies, but the toxins in their environment are creating unnatural threats that could wipe out the entire population of the Salish Sea's top predator, scientists say. The southern residents are the marine mammals most contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) on the planet. More:

22/07/2019 -

In 1979, veterinarians started noticing a mysterious, sharp rise in thyroid disease among house cats. The increase, which has jumped from 1 in 200 to 1 in 10 since the 1970s, was recently linked to a class of flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The chemicals featured in many household items — from mattresses and makeup to couches and carpets — were phased out starting in 2004. More:


This everyday chemical was cast aside. Its replacement might be making cats sick

In 1979, veterinarians started noticing a mysterious, sharp rise in thyroid disease among house cats. The increase, which has jumped from 1 in 200 to 1 in 10 since the 1970s, was recently linked to a class of flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The chemicals featured in many household items — from mattresses and makeup to couches and carpets — were phased out starting in 2004. More:

22/07/2019 -

As industry phases out certain toxic PFAS chemicals, the compounds are decreasing in and around the Great Lakes, but replacement chemicals—which some argue also pose serious health concerns—are increasing, according to new research from Canada. More:

PFAS monitoring

Fluorinated alternatives


“Forever chemical” replacements on the rise in the Great Lakes

As industry phases out certain toxic PFAS chemicals, the compounds are decreasing in and around the Great Lakes, but replacement chemicals—which some argue also pose serious health concerns—are increasing, according to new research from Canada. More:

PFAS monitoring

Fluorinated alternatives

20/07/2019 -

Paris Dauk’s left arm lies close to her chest, reminiscent of how a bird bears a broken wing. She’s talkative and has a propensity to fill her face, itself marked by abnormal growths, with a toothy grin. Yet while the bird’s wing may eventually heal, Dauk’s limb will not, remaining forever crumpled, underdeveloped, and, ultimately, deformed. More:

Agent Orange

Human Health Effects


The U.S.’s Toxic Agent Orange Legacy

Paris Dauk’s left arm lies close to her chest, reminiscent of how a bird bears a broken wing. She’s talkative and has a propensity to fill her face, itself marked by abnormal growths, with a toothy grin. Yet while the bird’s wing may eventually heal, Dauk’s limb will not, remaining forever crumpled, underdeveloped, and, ultimately, deformed. More:

Agent Orange

Human Health Effects

18/07/2019 -

New Hampshire adopted the country’s most sweeping limits for PFAS chemical contamination in drinking water. The new standards make New Hampshire the first state to require local water systems, landfills and wastewater plants to routinely test and treat for four chemicals classified as PFAS. More:


N.H. Approves Unprecedented Limits For PFAS Chemicals In Drinking Water

New Hampshire adopted the country’s most sweeping limits for PFAS chemical contamination in drinking water. The new standards make New Hampshire the first state to require local water systems, landfills and wastewater plants to routinely test and treat for four chemicals classified as PFAS. More:

16/07/2019 -

'Most people assume that they aren't at risk from toxic chemicals but the reality is different. Mums in the UK have some of the world's highest concentrations of flame retardants in their breast milk, some of which have now been banned. In their report, called Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life, the MPs on the Commons environmental audit committee examine the human health impact of chemicals. More:


Revealed: Unborn children are at risk of being 'pre-polluted' in the womb by poisonous chemicals in furniture and electrical goods

'Most people assume that they aren't at risk from toxic chemicals but the reality is different. Mums in the UK have some of the world's highest concentrations of flame retardants in their breast milk, some of which have now been banned. In their report, called Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life, the MPs on the Commons environmental audit committee examine the human health impact of chemicals. More:

11/07/2019 -

In 2016, Fred Stone made a discovery that threatens to ruin the Maine dairy farm that's been in his family for more than a century: His cow's milk contained exorbitant levels of chemicals that have been linked to illnesses including cancer, thyroid disease, obesity and ulcerative colitis. More:


How toxic PFAS chemicals could be making their way into food from Pennsylvania farms

In 2016, Fred Stone made a discovery that threatens to ruin the Maine dairy farm that's been in his family for more than a century: His cow's milk contained exorbitant levels of chemicals that have been linked to illnesses including cancer, thyroid disease, obesity and ulcerative colitis. More:

11/07/2019 -

California is the nation's top agricultural producing state and receives approximately 300 pesticide complaints a year. With studies showing links between certain pesticides and severe health effects such as developmental delays and autism, people are on high alert. More:


California Launches App for Reporting Pesticide Incidents

California is the nation's top agricultural producing state and receives approximately 300 pesticide complaints a year. With studies showing links between certain pesticides and severe health effects such as developmental delays and autism, people are on high alert. More:

30/06/2019 -

The other week I got an urgent email from a friend. His wife is newly pregnant and he was concerned that her super fragrant, aerosol “dry shampoo” was toxic. Could I review the ingredients and let him know what to do? However, the onus of protecting children from chemicals should fall on manufacturers and regulators, not parents. More:


Parenting 'tips' to avoid toxics aren't enough – we need action to protect our kids

The other week I got an urgent email from a friend. His wife is newly pregnant and he was concerned that her super fragrant, aerosol “dry shampoo” was toxic. Could I review the ingredients and let him know what to do? However, the onus of protecting children from chemicals should fall on manufacturers and regulators, not parents. More:

25/06/2019 -

Even in the dead of winter, Montreal firefighters are going to be hosed off before leaving the scene of a fire in an effort to reduce the amount of cancer-causing contaminants they are exposed to. The new decontamination measures come after a 2018 study from the University of Fraser Valley found that Canadian firefighters are killed by cancer about three times more often than the general population. More:


Montreal firefighters hope to prevent cancer with decontamination measures

Even in the dead of winter, Montreal firefighters are going to be hosed off before leaving the scene of a fire in an effort to reduce the amount of cancer-causing contaminants they are exposed to. The new decontamination measures come after a 2018 study from the University of Fraser Valley found that Canadian firefighters are killed by cancer about three times more often than the general population. More:

25/06/2019 -

It’s a myth that environmental regulations stifle economic productivity. Harmful chemicals cost the US $340bn a year. Look at phasing out lead in gasoline. To this day, the US receives a $200bn annual economic stimulus package each year because lead levels in children plummeted when the US Environmental Protection Agency moved to protect children. More


How banning dangerous chemicals could save the US billions

It’s a myth that environmental regulations stifle economic productivity. Harmful chemicals cost the US $340bn a year. Look at phasing out lead in gasoline. To this day, the US receives a $200bn annual economic stimulus package each year because lead levels in children plummeted when the US Environmental Protection Agency moved to protect children. More:

25/06/2019 -

From strapping zip ties on to cabinets to popping plastic covers into outlets, new parents do what they can to control their newborn’s environment. But beyond the visible, there are more obscure health concerns from additives and contaminants found in unexpected places. More:

Reducing chemical exposures at home

Flame Retardants

Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Pesticides


A parent's guide to avoiding potentially toxic chemicals

From strapping zip ties on to cabinets to popping plastic covers into outlets, new parents do what they can to control their newborn’s environment. But beyond the visible, there are more obscure health concerns from additives and contaminants found in unexpected places. More:

Reducing chemical exposures at home

Flame Retardants

Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Pesticides

20/06/2019 -

Thanks to a United Nations-led initiative, Bangladesh is finally getting rid of a huge cache of notoriously toxic and currently illegal pesticide, Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT, as it is commonly known. Thirty four years after the import of a sub-standard DDT consignment which has since been stored at Chattogram Government Medical Sub-depot (MSD), will soon be shipped out of the country and destroyed in an underground incinerator in Germany. More:


Bangladesh finally getting rid of toxic DDT

Thanks to a United Nations-led initiative, Bangladesh is finally getting rid of a huge cache of notoriously toxic and currently illegal pesticide, Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT, as it is commonly known. Thirty four years after the import of a sub-standard DDT consignment which has since been stored at Chattogram Government Medical Sub-depot (MSD), will soon be shipped out of the country and destroyed in an underground incinerator in Germany. More:

19/06/2019 -

The biosolids are put in the top 12 inches of soil to “improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But concerns about that practice have been elevated after 2018 testing showed two dozen of Michigan’s wastewater plants are discharging high levels of the chemicals in their liquid waste after water containing PFAS enters the system from industrial sources. That prompted questions about what remains in the solid wastes. More:


The hunt for PFAS turns to Michigan farms using human waste as fertilizer

The biosolids are put in the top 12 inches of soil to “improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But concerns about that practice have been elevated after 2018 testing showed two dozen of Michigan’s wastewater plants are discharging high levels of the chemicals in their liquid waste after water containing PFAS enters the system from industrial sources. That prompted questions about what remains in the solid wastes. More:

19/06/2019 -

In a paper published last month in Nature Sustainability, researchers from North America and Western Europe recommend that educators put chemistry in context by devoting more time to how the discipline affects society and the environment. More

The case of nitrogen


Researchers recommend chemistry educators focus more on environmental impacts

In a paper published last month in Nature Sustainability, researchers from North America and Western Europe recommend that educators put chemistry in context by devoting more time to how the discipline affects society and the environment. More

The case of nitrogen

18/06/2019 -

New data suggest that the safety threshold for PFOA in drinking water should be as low as .1 parts per trillion, according to the nation’s top toxicologist. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, cited the figure, which is 700 times lower than the safety level set by the Environmental Protection Agency, at a conference on PFAS at Northeastern University last week. More:

Human Health Effects


Teflon Toxin Safety Level Should Be 700 Times Lower Than EPA Guideline

New data suggest that the safety threshold for PFOA in drinking water should be as low as .1 parts per trillion, according to the nation’s top toxicologist. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, cited the figure, which is 700 times lower than the safety level set by the Environmental Protection Agency, at a conference on PFAS at Northeastern University last week. More:

Human Health Effects

14/06/2019 -

One of the major uses of DDT was controlling insect outbreaks, like spruce budworm, in conifer forests across North America. Thousands of tons of the chemical were blanketed over forests using airplanes and helicopters—and a portion of it washed into the lakes. Bob Weber at The Canadian Press reports that in the province of New Brunswick alone, almost 6,300 tons of the stuff covered forests between 1952 and 1968. More:


Decades After DDT Was Banned, It Still Impacts Canadian Lakes

One of the major uses of DDT was controlling insect outbreaks, like spruce budworm, in conifer forests across North America. Thousands of tons of the chemical were blanketed over forests using airplanes and helicopters—and a portion of it washed into the lakes. Bob Weber at The Canadian Press reports that in the province of New Brunswick alone, almost 6,300 tons of the stuff covered forests between 1952 and 1968. More

12/06/2019 -

Dangerous chemicals used to create nonstick cookware and fire-fighting foams are showing up in our food. A recent analysis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found chemical contamination of PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) at multiple levels of the U.S. food supply chain. Here’s what they are and why health experts are concerned about them. More


What Are ‘Forever Chemicals’ And How Are They Getting in Your Food?

Dangerous chemicals used to create nonstick cookware and fire-fighting foams are showing up in our food. A recent analysis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found chemical contamination of PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) at multiple levels of the U.S. food supply chain. Here’s what they are and why health experts are concerned about them. More

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