Toxic Chemicals in the News: 4/13-4/27

Zoë Furlong April 28, 2015


4/14/15 — “Why the FDA doesn't really know what's in your food” (Public Integrity). A loophole in a 57-year-old law allows companies to declare their ingredients are “generally recognized as safe” (G.R.A.S.)— and add them to foods without ever even telling federal regulators.

4/14/15 — “EPA: House bill could delay review of toxic chemicals 'indefinitely'” (The Hill). A bill introduced by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) allows industry groups to request chemical risk assessments, immediately starting a six-month clock for the EPA to complete a review. Critics of the bill argue that the review process could be exploited if businesses force the EPA to assess chemicals that aren’t much of a safety risk, leaving them without the time or resources to look at more dangerous chemicals.

4/14/15  — “Health Canada looks to re-label weed killer Roundup” (The Star). Health Canada is looking into how it labels glyphosate. The health authority announced on Monday that it will begin public consultations to update the product label to reduce human and environmental exposure. Under the suggested new label, the product would include a warning that it is “toxic to nontarget species.

4/15/15 —“Scientists warn of hormone impacts from benzene, xylene, other common solvents (Environmental Health News). Four chemicals (benzene, xylene, toluene, and ethylbenzene) present both inside and outside homes might disrupt our endocrine systems at levels considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to an analysis released today.

4/15/15  — “The Roundup problem: Why it’s so hard to pinpoint what causes cancer” (Fortune). The designation of Roundup as a probable carcinogen could present a headache for farmers and manufacturers alike. Use of glyphosate has climbed over the last twenty years due to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, which are genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide. But the controversy also raises a wider question: Why is it so hard to determine whether or not a given chemical is carcinogenic?

4/16/15  — “The phthalate DEHP undermines female fertility in mice” (EurekAlert). Most research conducted so far on the reproductive effects of phthalates has focused on males (because phthalates are thought to interfere with the androgen system), but two new mice studies demonstrates that the phthalate DEHP can disrupt the growth and function of ovaries.

4/17/15 —“U.S. House weighs in with its version of chemical regulation reform” (Science). TSCA Reform news: John Shimkus’s bipartisan House bill, which wouldn’t change the existing law as drastically as two bills introduced last month in the Senate, got mixed reviews at a 15 April hearing of a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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