This month, we recommend reading “The Sugar Conspiracy”, a Guardian Long Read by science writer and journalist Ian Leslie. The article is interesting because the challenges of developing evidence-based chemical regulations are mirrored in this account of the lessons we should be learning from a 60+ year-old argument about the place of sugar and fat [...]

A month ago, we were speculating as to whether the few extra studies to which the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had access but the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) did not were really able to account for their difference in opinion with regard to glyphosate’s carcinogenicity. We thought it unlikely. This [...]

In 2015, IARC published their review of the evidence for carcinogenicity of glyphosate (vol. 112). They concluded that there was “limited” evidence that glyphosate exposure causes cancer in humans, and “sufficient” evidence that it does in animal studies. They therefore classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. In its scrutiny of the IARC analysis, the [...]

Readers will be familiar with concerns that traditional chemical risk assessment methods give results which are either insufficiently complete (ignoring mixture effects, for example) or insufficiently accurate (e.g. by potentially under-estimating risks from individual compounds). There is also the concern that chemical regulations might be insufficiently enforced, as highlighted in a recent paper in Environmental [...]

Food contact materials in the EU are not regulated under the REACH chemical laws but instead by legislation which came into force in November 2004, governing “materials and articles intended to come into contact with food”. The problem is, the EU has only finalised regulation of six of the total of 17 groups of FCMs. [...]

Studies which investigate potential risks to health posed by chemicals vary in design, methodological quality, populations studied, and exposure and health outcomes considered. Even very large, highly-cited studies will be challenged or refuted over time, which is why decision-making (if it is to be based on the best available evidence) requires on-going reconciliation of studies [...]

The “circular economy” is a generic term for a restorative industrial economy whereby economic activity conserves and increases resource rather than depleting it, via two circular flows of biological and technical feedstocks. Here we describe some of the challenges which chemicals present in making the transition to a circular economy. To find out more, click [...]

In this month’s H&E, we present preliminary results from some research being conducted at Lancaster University into the scientific quality of literature reviews in toxicology and chemical risk assessments. http://healthandenvironmentonline.com/2015/06/29/separating-fact-from-fiction/ The results, at least from analysis of the test set, are concerning, as it appears that almost none of the reviews that were evaluated (published [...]

For a prominent feature of risk assessment, uncertainty factors attract few publications in the peer-reviewed literature. According to Web of Science, there are only 79 toxicology citations with “uncertainty factor*” in the title. A number of these are conference abstracts rather than full journal papers. Of these publications, 50% have been cited 7 times or [...]

ENDOCRINE SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE. SAN DIEGO, CA and BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – A new economic analysis found exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely costs the European Union €157 billion ($209 billion) a year in actual health care expenses and lost earning potential, according to a new series of studies published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and [...]

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