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Monthly Roundup: January

Christine Mitchell Adams February 16, 2015

Starting this month, Zoë, our resident toxic chemical researcher, will be rounding up the best of what she read, watched, and pondered the month before. Some of the information she discovers is a little scary - but the more we know, the more informed and empowered we feel. We hope you’ll feel the same way.


Toxic Hot Seat (2013) directed by James Redford and Kirby Walker
Toxic Hot Seat follows the journey of three intrepid investigative journalists from the Chicago Tribune while they research the health effects of flame retardants (you can read the Pulitzer-Prize winning series here). What they uncovered is a “decades-long campaign of deception” propagated by the tobacco and chemical industry. Redford and Walker’s documentary highlights the serious health ramifications of flame retardant chemicals for everyone from firefighters to infants who put their heads down on their “fire safe” mattresses. It’s a compelling film that shares a story of how a group of concerned firefighters, journalists, parents, and legislators refused to back down in the face of powerful commercial interests. *image via Toxic Hot Seat


Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival? A Scientific Detective Story by Theo Colborn, Dianna Dumanoski, and John Peter Meyers
In honor of the passing of environmental health advocate Theo Colborn, we chose to highlight her 1997 book Our Stolen Future this month. This book provides a clear overview of scientific literature on the subject of endocrine-disruptors—pesticides, phthalates, and other hormone-mimicking compounds like BPA. Eighteen years have passed since its publication, but it has never been more relevant than it is now.


"BPA and BPS (substitute for BPA) affect embryonic brain development in zebrafish: Low levels of chemicals linked to hyperactivity Science Daily, 1/12/15 
Researchers have shown in a new study that low doses of Bisphenol-S, a chemical thought to be a safer alternative than Bisphenol-A, disrupts brain cell growth and might be just as harmful (if not more so) than BPA.

BPA Exposure May Change Stem Cells, Lower Sperm Production– Scientific American, 1/22/15
A new study suggests that BPA disrupts sperm development and is linked to decreased male fertility. Study author Patricia Hunt explains, “A short exposure [to BPA] after birth can permanently affect the way the adult male makes sperm. This rocks my world.” View the original research here.

Beauty Products May Trigger Earlier Menopause”  Time, 1/28/15  Chemicals found in cosmetics and fragrances, like phthalates and PCBs, may lead to earlier menopause. A recent study conducted by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that women aged 45 to 55 who have high levels of phthalates and other endocrine disrupting chemicals in their system were six times more likely to be menopausal than unexposed peers. View the original research here.


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