National Toxicology Program
National Toxicology Program
News Article | May 2, 2017
WASHINGTON (May 2, 2017) - Some scientific reports have a profound impact on government policy. Sometimes, however, there are significant shortcomings in the research - yet the policy impact continues. Critically analyzing scientific research that underlies regulatory decision making and generating new information to ensure decisions are based on sound science are crucial. A recent analysis by Checkoway et al. has been awarded the Kammer Merit in Authorship Award for its review of the data from a critical epidemiological study used by scientific agencies to assess health risk from formaldehyde exposure. The findings from Checkoway et al call into question the original study's conclusions; the analysis further demonstrates the importance of data availability, research reproducibility and adherence to study design when drawing scientific conclusions. The Kammer Merit in Authorship Award recognizes an outstanding scientific contribution published in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM's) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) during a given year. The winning paper, titled Formaldehyde Exposure and Mortality Risks from Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Other Lymphohematopoietic Malignancies in the US National Cancer Institute Cohort Study of Workers in Formaldehyde Industries, concluded that there is no epidemiological evidence from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cohort supporting an association between formaldehyde exposure and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The award was announced late last week. "The findings from this analysis do not support a finding that formaldehyde exposure is a cause of leukemia," said Harvey Checkoway, Ph.D., lead author of the reanalysis and Professor of Family Medicine & Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. "This reanalysis identifies how critical data interpretation is, given that the risk assessments that rely on these analyses ultimately set occupational and environmental exposure standards." Checkoway and his colleagues performed analyses of raw data in an attempt to replicate findings reported from a NCI cohort mortality study of workers from 10 US plants producing or using formaldehyde. The NCI study has been influential in the classification of formaldehyde as a human leukemogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP). In the original analysis NCI investigators defined "peak" exposure to formaldehyde on a relative basis with respect to individual workers' exposures histories. This complicates data interpretations. Using this definition, analyses of updated mortality data for the NCI cohort reported tentative associations of "peak" exposures with myeloid leukemia (ML) and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) that are inconsistent with other studies. The new research found no association between acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and cumulative, average or frequency of "peak" exposures. This became clear in the new analysis where AML and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) were evaluated separately, as two types of leukemia are different diseases and have different risk factors. The award-winning Checkoway et al. study conducted more comprehensive analyses of associations of specific lymphohematopoietic malignancies (LHM), especially AML, with peak exposure, using a standard definition of peak exposure. Peak was defined in terms of absolute exposure dose and duration, which permitted direct comparisons among similar studies, strengthening the analysis. Checkoway et al. concluded that no clear associations for peak or cumulative formaldehyde exposures were observed in this cohort for any of the specific LHM, including AML The result of this analysis adds to the weight of evidence that formaldehyde exposure in the workplace does not cause AML, the LHM of greatest concern. It also underscores the need to ensure new information is effectively considered and incorporated into chemical assessments by IARC, NTP and other agencies. "Having this work recognized by ACOEM as a significant contribution in occupational medicine shows how important these findings are to understanding and interpreting the formaldehyde science," said Kimberly White, Ph.D., Senior Director of the American Chemistry Council Formaldehyde Panel. To learn more, view this fact sheet or visit americanchemistry.com/formaldehyde. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $797 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the nation's largest exporter, accounting for fourteen percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
News Article | May 2, 2017
"The findings from this analysis do not support a finding that formaldehyde exposure is a cause of leukemia," said Harvey Checkoway, Ph.D., lead author of the reanalysis and Professor of Family Medicine & Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. "This reanalysis identifies how critical data interpretation is, given that the risk assessments that rely on these analyses ultimately set occupational and environmental exposure standards." Checkoway and his colleagues performed analyses of raw data in an attempt to replicate findings reported from a NCI cohort mortality study of workers from 10 US plants producing or using formaldehyde. The NCI study has been influential in the classification of formaldehyde as a human leukemogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP). In the original analysis NCI investigators defined "peak" exposure to formaldehyde on a relative basis with respect to individual workers' exposures histories. This complicates data interpretations. Using this definition, analyses of updated mortality data for the NCI cohort reported tentative associations of "peak" exposures with myeloid leukemia (ML) and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) that are inconsistent with other studies. The new research found no association between acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and cumulative, average or frequency of "peak" exposures. This became clear in the new analysis where AML and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) were evaluated separately, as two types of leukemia are different diseases and have different risk factors. The award-winning Checkoway et al. study conducted more comprehensive analyses of associations of specific lymphohematopoietic malignancies (LHM), especially AML, with peak exposure, using a standard definition of peak exposure. Peak was defined in terms of absolute exposure dose and duration, which permitted direct comparisons among similar studies, strengthening the analysis. Checkoway et al. concluded that no clear associations for peak or cumulative formaldehyde exposures were observed in this cohort for any of the specific LHM, including AML. The result of this analysis adds to the weight of evidence that formaldehyde exposure in the workplace does not cause AML, the LHM of greatest concern. It also underscores the need to ensure new information is effectively considered and incorporated into chemical assessments by IARC, NTP and other agencies. "Having this work recognized by ACOEM as a significant contribution in occupational medicine shows how important these findings are to understanding and interpreting the formaldehyde science," said Kimberly White, Ph.D., Senior Director of the American Chemistry Council Formaldehyde Panel. To learn more, view this fact sheet or visit americanchemistry.com/formaldehyde. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $797 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the nation's largest exporter, accounting for fourteen percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/acc-research-shows-no-link-between-formaldehyde-and-leukemia-300449140.html
News Article | May 17, 2017
A Kansas State University researcher recently discovered that a commonly used spice is a champion at reducing carcinogenic compounds in grilled meats. J. Scott Smith, professor of animal sciences and industry, found that black pepper nearly eliminates the formation of heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, which can form on the surface of meat when it is cooked. HCAs are recognized as carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, and the National Toxicology Program, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Almost any meat, including beef, pork, chicken and most types of fish, can form the carcinogenic compounds. In one study, Smith mixed 1 gram of finely ground black pepper with 100 grams of ground beef. The formulation worked very well at inhibiting HCAs, but the pepper flavor was too strong to be pleasant, Smith said. A more palatable and equally effective option is to blend pepper with other spices, like oregano and garlic. "Blending pepper with antioxidant-rich spices works so well in ground beef patties and on steaks that the spice formulation eliminates nearly 100 percent of HCAs," Smith said. "In these cases, the spices are added at a level that is quite practical, so the result is flavorful and healthy." In several years of research on carcinogens in meat, Smith has also found that marinades and herbs work very well at limiting HCAs without sacrificing flavor. A typical store-bought marinade reduces HCAs to nearly zero, Smith said. However, less is more when it comes to marinating time. "Some people might think that if a little time in the marinade does some good for the meat, then a lot of marinating time would do a lot of good, but marinating too long has the opposite effect because it can cause the antioxidants in the sauce to decompose," Smith said. "Just a couple of hours is an ideal time for marinating." Most of Smith's research focuses on adding antioxidant-rich spices that block the chemical formation of HCAs. When applied to the surface of meat -- or mixed into the meat, as in the case of ground beef -- some of the spices Smith has studied drastically reduce the incidence of HCAs. Most of the highly effective spices are from the mint family, which includes rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, sage and marjoram, and the myrtle family, which includes cloves and allspice. Smith said rosemary doesn't taste very good on steak, but the flavors play well with fish. To obtain the antioxidant benefits of rosemary without the herb's flavor, Smith recommends rosemary extracts, which can be applied to meat before cooking. In addition to using spices and marinades, consumers also can protect themselves from HCAs by cooking their meats at low enough temperatures that the food does not burn or become blackened. HCAs are three to four times more prevalent on meats that are burnt compared to meats that are cooked without burning, Smith said. HCAs start forming at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit and show up a lot at and above 350 degrees Fahrenheit, Smith said. While cooking below the 300-degree threshold may help to ward off HCAs, Smith said cooking at too low of a temperature, such as 200 degrees Fahrenheit, is not the best method for producing quality flavor. "If you cook the meat at really low temperatures, it won't taste very good because the surface temperature forms flavor compounds during cooking," Smith said. "It's a trade-off. Consumers want to have enough temperature to get flavor compounds developed from chemical reactions, but at the same time, they ought to limit the temperature by not raising it to the point of burning."
News Article | November 7, 2016
Today's release of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 14th Report on Carcinogens includes seven newly reviewed substances, bringing the cumulative total to 248 listings. The chemical trichloroethylene (TCE), and the metallic element cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions in vivo, are being added to the list, as well as five viruses that have been linked to cancer in humans. The five viruses include human immunodeficiency virus type 1, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1, Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, and Merkel cell polyomavirus. "Given that approximately 12 percent of human cancers worldwide may be attributed to viruses, and there are no vaccines currently available for these five viruses, prevention strategies to reduce the infections that can lead to cancer are even more critical," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program (NTP). "The listings in this report, particularly the viruses, bring attention to the important role that prevention can play in reducing the world's cancer burden. There are also things people can do to reduce their exposure to cobalt and TCE." The Report on Carcinogens is a congressionally mandated report prepared for the HHS Secretary by NTP. The report identifies many different types of environmental factors, collectively called substances, including chemicals; infectious agents, such as viruses; physical agents, such as X-rays and ultraviolet radiation; mixtures of chemicals; and exposure scenarios in two categories -- known to be a human carcinogen and reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. It's important to note that a listing in the report indicates a cancer hazard, but does not by itself mean that a substance or a virus will cause cancer. Many factors, including an individual's susceptibility to a substance, and the amount and duration of exposure, can affect whether a person will develop cancer. In the case of viruses, a weakened immune system may also be a contributing factor. People should talk to their health care providers about decreasing their cancer risk from viruses. All five viruses are being added to the category of known to be a human carcinogen. Collectively, these viruses have been linked to more than 20 different types of cancers. Trichloroethylene (TCE) is an industrial solvent used primarily to make hydrofluorocarbon chemicals. It is being listed in the Report on Carcinogens as a known human carcinogen. Since 2000, TCE had been listed as a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen. However, numerous human studies showing a causal association between TCE exposure and an increased risk for kidney cancer have led NTP to reevaluate and reclassify TCE as known to be a human carcinogen. There are many ways people can be exposed to TCE. It can be released into the air, water, and soil at places where it is produced or used. It breaks down slowly and can move readily through soil to make its way into underground drinking water sources. Because of its widespread use as a metal degreasing agent to maintain military equipment, it has been found in the groundwater at many military and Superfund sites. Cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions in vivo Cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions in vivo are being listed as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. The listing for cobalt includes different types of cobalt compounds that release ions into the body. It does not include vitamin B-12, because cobalt in this essential nutrient is bound to protein and does not release cobalt ions. Cobalt is a naturally occurring element used to make metal alloys and other metal compounds, such as military and industrial equipment, and rechargeable batteries. The highest exposure occurs in the workplace and from failed surgical implants. The listing for this metal and its compounds is based largely on studies in experimental animals. The new report is available at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/roc14.
News Article | October 29, 2016
KENNESAW, GA, October 29, 2016-- The Safer Solvent Network website, at www.SaferSolvent.com , is the one-stop resource for Health & Safety Engineers to identify problematic solvents, and locate effective and safer replacements.N-Propyl Bromide (nPB), Trichloroethylene (TCE), Perchloroethylene (Perc) and methylene chloride (MeCl) are toxic chemicals commonly used in industrial applications as aerosol cleaners, in vapor degreasers, ultrasonic cleaning equipment, and immersion cleaning. They are commonly used as cleaners because they are non-flammable, have high solvency, and are relatively inexpensive.The onus is on the organizations using solvents to select products carefully, and equip the users to safely handle the chemicals. The lack of such knowledge and control can lead to employee ill health, downtime, and potential liability, no matter what the legal standing of a particular chemical.Under the "RESOURCES" menu, SaferSolvent.com provides a thorough and up-to-date list of links to the following:- White papers showcasing studies and testing on cleaning solvent toxicity- Toxicological information on nPB, TCE, Perc, MeCl, and replacement chemicals from the EPA, CDC, National Toxicology Program (NTP), and Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI).- Regulatory documents on nPB, TCE, Perc, MeCl, and replacement chemicals from the EPA, OSHA, and more.Under the "PRODUCTS" menu, SaferSolvent.com provides the following lists of commercially available products:- Solvent cleaners containing nPB, TCE, and Perc MeCl the organizations need to identify and consider replacing.- Safer replacement cleaning solvents from companies like Chemtronics, Techspray, and LPS Labs. Product brands like Chemtronics Tri-V and Techspray PWR-4 were specifically developed to match the performance and other characteristics of nPB and other highly toxic solvents.Kevin Pawlowski, web developer of SaferSolvent.com, stated: "SaferSolvent.com is designed to cut through all the confusing and contradictory information as facts come to light and regulations are developed and enacted. This website is one place Health and Safety Engineers can go for up-to-date and complete information on highly toxic cleaning solvents and their replacements."For more information on the Safer Solvent Network, hazardous cleaning chemistries, and safer replacements, go to www.safersolvent.com
News Article | October 28, 2016
Following the $25 million National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) study linking cell phone radiation with cancer in May, 2016, Apple has joined the discussion with their own radiation-related controversy. The highly anticipated iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus have traded the standard 3.5mm headset jack for the sleek, water-resistant, and potentially dangerous Bluetooth wireless AirPods. The NTP report, published in May 2016 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has linked cancer with chronic RF (radio-frequency) exposure, via rodents that were subjected to electromagnetic radiation over the course of the two-year study. The duration of this exposure was in keeping with the life-span of the rodents, beginning in utero, and on-going for two years. The results showed that the mice developed malignant tumors, similar to tumors found in humans who had been exposed to cell phone radiation long-term. None of the control rats developed tumors. Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to RFR [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health. It isn’t a secret, and definitely not exclusive to Apple’s newest offering, that there is a definite link between cell phone use and radiation exposure. Even well before the release of the new iPhone 7, Apple had warnings about radio frequency (RF) exposure posted in the legal section of their own website. Referencing the iPhone 6, Apple suggests, “To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built in speakerphone, the supplied headphones or other similar accessories. Carry iPhone at least 5mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at, or below, the as-tested levels.” The radiation emitted from a cell phone is measured by its SAR, or Specific Absorption Rate, the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body. The FCC requires the SAR for a device to be 1.6 watts per kilogram or less. While Bluetooth devices only emit 0.466 watts per kilogram, some experts believe that prolonged exposure could be dangerous to consumers. The exact frequency of the Apple AirPod has yet to be released. “What microwave radiation does, in most simplistic terms, is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain,” says Dr. Keith Black, chairman of the neurosurgery department at Cedars-Sinai medical Center in Los Angeles, to CNN.” So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones.” Many consumers are taking precautions against this potentially hazardous equipment by seeking out alternative, compatible accessories from companies like RF Safe, who specialize in scientifically proven methods of reducing cell phone radiation exposure. RF Safe suggest an airtube headset when using an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus instead of the Bluetooth headsets suggested to be used with these model iPhones. According to the website, "This is the perfect air-tube headset for all Android Devices, iPhone Devices or any other mobile devices you own. RF Safe’s Acoustic Headset uses an Air-tube to keep distance between the connectivity of conductive metals to transmitter and ear-bud which safely delivers sound without electronics in your ear, thereby reducing cell phone radiation to the skull area by up to 98% over wired headsets or standard in-ear Bluetooth headsets." There are contradictions in the wireless industry regarding the connection between Bluetooth headsets and brain cancer provoked by the lack of proper research studies. Some experts argue that the levels of radiation emitted are below the FCC regulatory standard and focus on the non-ionizing aspects of Bluetooth radiation, and is therefore “safe” for humans. Some experts suggest that even low-level cell phone radiation can be harmful with long-term exposure. Bluetooth devices operate on a frequency quite similar to those used by cell phones or WiFi service, so “biologically, it’s not a new form of exposure,” states John E. Moulder, radiation biologist and professor emeritus at the Medical College of Wisconsin who has examined the health effects of using wireless devices. RF SAFE is a world-leading provider of cell phone radiation protection accessories and informational safety data. Since 1998 RF (Radio Frequency) Safe has been dedicated to evolving the wireless industries safety standards, by engaging in the business of design, testing, manufacture, and sale of safety technologies to mitigate harmful effects of cell phone radiation.
News Article | September 9, 2016
Unless iPhone 7 users adopt a workaround that would let them plug their earphone into the device's charging jack, they will need to don headphones or earpieces that connect wirelessly to their devices. But are there health risks to putting a radiation-emitting earphone device directly in contact with one's head? The answer, say those who have researched cellphones' radiation emissions and their health effects, is almost certainly no. Just as you could while wearing corded headphones, you can harm your hearing by listening to music too loudly and get injured by walking inattentively into traffic. But wearing a cordless headset will not increase your risk of developing cancer, they say. The frequency on which Bluetooth devices operate is not very different from those used by mobile phones or WiFi service, so "biologically, it's not a new form of exposure," says radiation oncologist John E. Moulder, who has researched the health effects of cellular device use. And because a Bluetooth device is communicating with a cellular device just a few feet away and not to a distant base station, "it's transmitting at quite a low power level," says University of Pennsylvania bioengineering professor Kenneth Foster. Apple's model A1523 Bluetooth wireless iPods headset has an output of 10-18 milliwatts, and because it transmits in short, quick bursts, it transmits less than 1 percent of that energy as electromagnetic radiation, he said. The unplugged user's exposure to electromagnetic radiation "is absolutely minimal - smaller by a huge amount than the exposure of putting a phone to your ear," said Foster. Wearable fitness devices, which also transmit bursts of data over short distances, emit similar levels of electromagnetic radiation, Foster noted. And manufacturers of these devices have an interest in keeping their power-emissions low, he added: making them more powerful would only reduce their battery life, already a touchy issue with users. The experts' judgments do count on one crucial consumer reaction to the iPhone 7, however: that it drives more cellular device users to use earphones - wireless or not - more often. If iPhone 7 users decided to go all old-school, pasting their phones back up to their ears, said experts, they would be increasing their electromagnetic exposure and with it, their risk of health effects. In 2011, the World Health Organization declared electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile devices a "possible carcinogen." Extensive efforts to nail down those risks, however, have proven inconclusive so far. The preliminary findings of a U.S. government-funded study, released in May, suggested that male rats exposed to high levels of radiation like that emitted by mobile devices are at greater risk of developing cancers of the brain and the heart. But that study met with widespread criticism. Moulder, an emeritus professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, says that at its highest dose, the electromagnetic radiation exposure received by rats in May's report by the U.S. National Toxicology Program "was 50 to 100 times what you would get from using a mobile phone, and they were exposed 18 hours a day for two years" -essentially their whole life, starting before birth. By comparison, said Moulder, the additional exposure to electromagnetic radiation delivered by a wireless headphone device was "probably about a thousand times lower." Still, in light of the uncertainty, many mobile phone users have changed their habits, holding their devices farther from their bodies and using a wired earpiece to listen to music and carry on phone conversations. Other practices, including the rise of texting, also have reduced the electromagnetic exposure many of us get from our wireless devices, which can emit several hundred milliwatts of electromagnetic radiation when operating at peak power. Moulder said that as cellular device users have shifted their habits, our exposure to electromagnetic radiation has largely come from WiFi and exposure to the combined transmissions of cellphone users around us. University of California, Los Angeles epidemiologist Leeka I. Kheifets said that a renewed focus on developing convenient wireless headphones might also drive more people to use them - "a positive development" if it draws them away from putting a powerful phone to their ears. "We haven't done all we need to do in terms of looking at this technology's health effects and we need to do more," said Kheifets, of UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine. "It's worth it to be cautious and part of being cautious is to use some kind of earpiece. And exposure from the Bluetooth device would be very, very low." Finally, a 2012 study in the Journal of Laryngology and Otology should allay some worries that Bluetooth's electromagnetic radiation negatively affects hearing. In a pilot study that exposed 30 adult volunteers to six hours of "standby setting" and full-power for 10 minutes, researchers at Kuala Lampur's University of Malaya found no change in subjects' ability to hear pure tones or detect distortions of otoacoustic emissions. Explore further: France says no known health impact from mobile phones
News Article | September 20, 2016
Tap water supplies for roughly 218 million Americans nationwide were found to have chromium-6, a carcinogenic chemical, at levels above California's public health goals, a new study found. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, analyzed more than 60,000 samples of drinking water taken from taps across the United States. Thousands of local water utilities gathered the samples from 2013 to 2015 as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program. SEE ALSO: Coca-Cola says it 'replenished' all the water it used to make its soft drinks Over 75 percent of the water samples contained levels of chromium-6 above 0.02 parts per billion. That’s the threshold at or below which California state scientists say chromium-6 would pose a "negligible" cancer risk over a lifetime of consumption. "Chromium-6 is so widespread, in terms of its distribution across drinking water sources," David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG, told Mashable. "I should be shocked by the findings of EWG's report, but I am not," Erin Brockovich, the crusading environmental legal clerk and inspiration for the 2000 film starring Julia Roberts, said in a statement Tuesday. Brockovich brought chromium-6 into the national spotlight in the 1990s after fighting a California power company that allegedly leaked the chemical into tap water supplies in Hinkley, California, sickening residents. The case was settled for $333 million. She said that EWG's findings were "nothing short of an outrage." But does the report mean that over two-thirds of the U.S. population could develop cancer from their drinking water? Chromium-6, or hexavalent chromium, naturally appears in some minerals, but it can also sneak into drinking water supplies through industrial pollution. The chemical is used to manufacture stainless steel, textiles, for anticorrosion coatings and in leather tanning. California's public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion effectively means that if a million people drank water with that level of chromium-6 every day for 70 years, one additional case of cancer would occur, according to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which set the state's health target. Even so, "Water containing levels that exceed the public health goal can still be considered acceptable for consumption," Sam Delson, the office's deputy director for external and legislative affairs, said in an email. "The public health goal is not a boundary between a safe and dangerous level of chromium-6, and it is not considered the highest level that is safe to drink," he added. California established a public health goal in response to a handful of studies that showed chromium-6 can cause cancer in animals. A 2008 study by the National Toxicology Program, for instance, found that drinking water with chromium-6 caused cancer in lab rats and mice. Scientists at OEHHA extrapolated from that research that ingesting even tiny amounts of chromium-6 could cause cancer in people. In 2011, the office established the "very conservative" public health target of 0.02 parts per billion, which factored in the increased susceptibility of young children and other sensitive groups, Delson said. California's health target was designed to help inform California legislators as they crafted the nation's only state-specific legal limits for chromium-6 in drinking water. The Golden State — the world's sixth largest economy — struck out on its own because a federal limit for chromium-6 does not exist. The EPA instead has a 25-year-old drinking water standard of 100 parts per billion for total chromium, which includes chromium-6 as well as chromium-3. "At a national level, we're still operating under an outdated standard that doesn't even address this particular chemical," Bill Walker, EWG's vice president, told Mashable. "EPA's drinking water regulations lag behind science," he said. California's own state limit for chromium-6 is significantly higher than the public health target of 0.02 parts per billion. In 2014, legislators in that state adopted a "maximum contaminant level" of 10 parts per billion, a level that appeased the state's chemical companies but disappointed environmental groups, including EWG. "We don't believe that it's adequately protective of public health," Walker said of the 10-parts-per-billion state limit. Still, the California standard for chromium-6 is ten times lower than what the federal standard is for both chromium-6 and chromium-3. Delson said that while the more conservative 0.02 parts per billion public health goal is based solely on health protection, the maximum contamination level must be set at a level that is technically and economically feasible for the state's utilities to meet. The EPA, for its part, is working to develop a risk assessment of chromium-6, which will include a comprehensive evaluation of the health effects associated with the chemical. The agency said it expects to release its draft risk assessment for public comment in 2017. The EPA ordered nearly 5,000 public water systems to collect water samples — the ones that EWG analyzed — to help paint a nationally representative picture of the occurrence of chromium-6 and total chromium in the nation's drinking water supplies. Regulators found that less than 2 percent of those roughly 5,000 systems had levels of chromium-6 exceeding California's standard of 10 parts per billion, the EPA told Mashable. Only one system exceeded the EPA's standard for total chromium. "Ensuring safe drinking water for all Americans is a top priority for EPA," the agency said in an email.
News Article | November 3, 2016
"Trichloroethylene, formerly a widely used solvent, will be listed as a 'known human carcinogen' in a federal Report on Carcinogens to be published Nov. 3. The Department of Health and Human Services, which issues the report, upgraded trichloroethylene (TCE) from a “reasonably anticipated to be” to a “known human carcinogen,” HHS’s National Toxicology Program said in a Federal Register notice to be published Nov. 3. The HHS classification is consistent with the conclusion the Environmental Protection Agency reached in 2011, when it deemed the solvent to be “carcinogenic to humans” by all routes of exposure."
News Article | February 23, 2017
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new education and advocacy group focused on cell phone and wireless risks, Manhattan Neighbors for Safer Telecommunications, launched today (www.ManhattanNeighbors.org). Manhattan Neighbors’ mission is to educate about biological and health risks from microwave radiation-emitting devices and infrastructure, while teaching people how to live more prudently with modern technologies. Manhattan Neighbors will include a special focus on risks to children. The founder of the group, Camilla Rees, MBA, a health researcher, educator and author, who previously founded ElectromagneticHealth.org, and is a co-founder of the International EMF Alliance, says, “Given the density of radiating antennas in Manhattan, and the fact that most people live in apartments, in close proximity to one another, impacted by each other’s wireless equipment, education about the risks and how to minimize exposures in residential areas is of paramount importance to us all.” In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the radiation from cell phones, wireless devices and wireless infrastructure as a possible carcinogen. And in 2016, a $25 million dollar study from the U.S. NIH’s National Toxicology Program confirmed this risk. Globally, medical doctors and scientists have warned about wireless risks for two decades, yet antennas in urban areas continue to rapidly proliferate, radiating not only where people live and sleep, but people at jobs in offices and children in schools. Columbia University’s Martin Blank, PhD represented international scientists in an Appeal to the United Nations in 2015 warning about the risks from electromagnetic fields, now signed by 224 scientists from 41 nations. Watch video here. An overview of the emerging public health issue, “The Wireless Elephant in the Room” by Camilla Rees, can be read on Manhattan Neighbors for Safer Telecommunications or obtained via Amazon. Manhattan Neighbors for Safer Telecommunications encourages a serious dialogue on this emerging public health issue. It seeks to remind us all of our common values for health and a decent life free from the hazards of environmental pollution.