[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

newsies, 16-22 aug '97

  *U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Conference
  on Preventable Causes of Cancer in Children, September
  15-16, 1997, Sheraton National Hotel, Arlington, VA.*
  (Conference). Conference will explore why the number of
  new cancer cases among U.S. children continues to rise,
  focusing on potential role of environmental toxins.
  Scientific presentations will examine current trends in
  childhood cancer; parental employment and childhood
  cancer; environment and cancer; and what scientists
  don't know about chemical risks. Includes workshops on
  risk factor identification, molecular markers of
  exposure and susceptibility and measurement of exposure
  to environmental agents. Conference is free. To
  register, contact Conference Coordinator, Suite 500,
  8601 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20901; phone (301)
  589-5318; fax (301) 589-8487; email cancer@emsus.com.
            "The Disaster That Wasn't [Editorials]."  Washington Times, 22
            August 97, A18.
                 The WT comments on Tulane University researchers' withdrawal
                 of their study of last year concerning environmental
                 endocrine disruptors.  After quoting EPA [Assistant
                 Administrator] Lynn Goldman, EPA head Carol Browner, and
                 associate administrator for the agency's Office of
                 Pesticides, Pollution and Toxic Substances James Aidala,
                 they conclude with noting that the press also has been lax
                 about reporting the retraction.  "Given the many accounts of
                 Earth's expected demise, isn't it news the world may survive
                 after all?"
            "Leak at Chemical Plant Keeps Residents Inside [National News
            Briefs]."  New York Times, 18 August 97, A14. "Chemical Plant
            Leak Keeps People Indoors [American Scene]."  Washington Times,
            18 August 97, A6.
                 A hydrogen chloride gas leak occurred at Dow Corning
                 Corporation plant in Midland, Michigan, forcing nearby
                 residents to stay indoors.
                              TOXICS IN THE NEWS: ESTROGEN
            "Scientists See Promise in New Estrogen Drug."  Wall Street
            Journal, 20 August 97, B10.
                 A new estrogen drug, developed at Duke University and Glaxo
                 Wellcome PLC may offer all the benefits of estrogen with
                 none of the harmful side effects. The new compound will
                 offer treatment for breast cancer, an all-purpose
                 estrogen-replacement pill that protects against heart
                 disease without making brittle bones or risking uterine or
                 endometrial cancer. Human testing is expected to begin soon.
                 Research conducted by Duke-Glaxo suggests estrogen works in
                 different ways in different cells.
            "Estrogen After Menopause? A Tough Dilemma [Personal Health]."
            New York Times, 20 August 97, C8.
                 Jane Brody looks at the pros and cons of estrogen therapy
                 and notes  conflicting results. Women with coronary risk
                 factors are encouraged to take the hormone, but lifestyle
                 improvements, like exercise and dieting, should be tried
                 first. Brody suggests objections to estrogen based on fear
                 should be put to rest. Insulin is also not natural, she
                 says, but no one suggests people do without it.
            "Another Enviro-Scare Debunked [Review & Outlook]."  Wall Street
            Journal, 20 August 97, A14.
                 Stephen Safe, a professor of toxicology at Texas A&M
                 University, discusses "one of the big health scares of the
                 '90s," the concern over environmental estrogens aka
                 xenoestrogens aka endocrine disruptors.  He explores the
                 original cases (including "Our Stolen Future") plus new
                 studies that have failed to duplicate the original findings
                 that estrogens in the environment were disturbing the
                 development of wildlife and possibly humans.  He concludes
                 by asking whether Congress is going to revisit the laws
                 (Safe Drinking Water Act and the Food Quality Protection Act
                 of 1996) that were promulgated in reaction to the concerns.
            "The Press's Ignominious Role [Review & Outlook]."  Wall Street
            Journal, 20 August 97, A14.
                 Diane Katz, a Detroit News editorial writer, points out that
                 major newspapers have not covered the retraction of the
                 Tulane study published in _Science_ that formed the basis
                 for much of the "endocrine apocalypse" scare of 1996.
            "Tulane Researchers Retract Findings on Pollutants' Risk.
            University Begins Inquiry to `Assure That Proper Laboratory
            Practices Were Followed'."  Washington Post, 17 August 97, A15.
            "Detroit, Michigan [Across the USA]."  USA Today, 20 August 97,
                 A 20-year study found that PBB contamination, caused when
                 the fire retardant was accidently mixed with cow feed in the
                 1970s, has caused no health problems for state residents.
  August 21, 1997
  FROM GREENPEACE, Greenbase Project
  <<< TOXICS >>>
    2 Japan to belatedly address dioxin issue DATELINE: TOKYO, Aug.
  21 Kyodo  After more than a decade of foot-dragging and keeping its
  head in the sand, the Japanese government is finally moving to
  address the health hazard of dioxin -- a carcinogen that comes
    3 Nicaraguan Toxic Residues to be Incinerated in Finland  MANAGUA
  (Aug. 20) XINHUA About 200 tons of DDT and heptachlorine  toxic
  residues will be shipped Thursday to the Ekokem company, Finland,
  for incineration, sources from the Nicaraguan Ministry of
    6 08/21  Toxic Fire ATKINS, Va. (AP) A fire at a warehouse filled
  with plastics ent a plume of black, poisonous smoke skyward,
  forcing uthorities to close a busy highway and evacuate a mountain
  community. Six people sought treatment for smoke inhalation after
  20) IPS - Maria Hernendez, 32, her body racked  by an asthmatic cough, says
  she believes a proposed waste  incinerator, to be built less than a mile
  from her home would only  increase her health problems.  She is not alone.
    4 Business Information Wire August 22, 1997 Health officials disagree with
  Plastimet report HAMILTON (CP) _ Hamilton's top medical officer says the
  fire marshal sent the ``wrong message'' by saying last month's fire
  at a plastics recycling plant could result in long-term health
  Enviro-Newsbrief                                  August 22, 1997
       The following is a daily update summarizing news of interest
  to EPA staff. It includes information from current news sources:
  newspapers, newsletters, and other publications. For more
  information, contact the EPA Headquarters Information Resources
  Center at (202) 260-5922, or e-mail LIBRARY-HQ.
  **Viewpoints expressed in the following summaries do not
  necessarily reflect EPA policy**
  Tulane Withdraws Paper That Prompted Health Fears. The New York
  Times, August 22, 1997, pA14.  Tulane Retracts Report on Rise of
  Estrogen. The Washington Times, August 22, 1997, p10.
       A team of researchers from Tulane University withdrew a
  study that found some pesticides, while essentially harmless
  alone, might cause a devastating rise in estrogen hormones when
       The report, published in June 1996, alarmed
  environmentalists and affected federal legislation.
       The study was withdrawn because the results could not be
  reproduced, according to the lead researcher, John McLachlan.
       When the report was initially published, Dr. Lynn Goldman,
  chief of the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic
  Substances at EPA called the findings "astonishing" and asked for
  a new round of studies on the topic. Several industry and college
  labs also began similar studies.
       The concern that the study raised has now quietly died.
  Other labs found no evidence of synergism. McLachlan withdrew the
  study by writing a letter to the journal Science on July 25. "It
  seems evident that there must have been a fundamental flaw in the
  design of our original experiment," he said in the letter.
  Liver Damage Linked to Leaking Refrigerants. The Washington Post,
  August 22, 1997, pA8.
       Two chemicals meant to be used as alternatives to
  chlorofluorocarbons for refrigeration may be hazardous to human
  health, according to a new study.
       The British medical journal, The Lancet, this week reported
  the first confirmed cases of liver damage among workers
  accidentally exposed to HCFC-123 and HCFC-124.
       Exposure to high levels of the chemicals had been linked to
  tumors in rats and other lab animals, but the new research
  provides evidence of toxic effects in humans.
       "In view of the potentially widespread use of these
  compounds, there is an urgent need to develop safer
  alternatives," wrote the study's chief author, Perrine Hoet of
  the Catholic University of Lovain in Brussels.
       His research stemmed from a 1996 outbreak of liver disease
  at a smelting facility in Belgium. Nine workers at the plant were
  diagnosed as having acute hepatitis over a four month period.
       Factory officials investigated and found that a plastic pipe
  in the facilities air conditioning system had leaked exposing
  workers to HCFC-123 and HCFC-124. No additional outbreaks were
  reported after the pipe was fixed.
       Hoet noted that the use of the coolants is projected to rise
  in coming years and said that "very strict measures of
  containment" should be implemented to prevent accidental
       A fact sheet prepared by the EPA said that HCFC-123 is less
  toxic than some of the ozone-depleting chemicals it is meant to
  replace. The EPA fact sheet also describes HCFC-123 as a
  "necessary transition refrigerant as the world phases out the
  Decade-old Montreal Protocol Seen as Success, Work in Progress.
  Daily Environment Report, August 22, 1997, ppAA-1-2.
            "Fire at Warehouse Produces Toxic Smoke [Briefly:  Virginia]."
            Washington Times, 22 August 97, C9. "2,000 Evacuated After Fire
            in Virginia [Around the Region]."  Washington Post, 22 August 97,
                 About 2,000 people were kept out of their homes Thursday and
                 signs along Interstate 81 read "`Toxic fumes.  Please do not
                 stop" as the fire at the Marley Moulding Manufacturing Co.
                 burned itself out.  "The burning plastics gave off low
                 levels of cyanide gas that authorities determined was not
                 dangerous."  Six people were treated for smoke inhalation
                 but no one was seriously injured.  The cause of the fire is
                 under investigation.