Previous in Forum: chem student   Next in Forum: Rein or Polymer for High-Speed Bonding
Close
Close
Close
11 comments
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Organizer Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3464
Good Answers: 32

Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/04/2009 10:50 AM

From Chem.Info -

"Laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Rachel's Network have detected bisphenol A (BPA) for the first time in the umbilical cord blood of U.S. newborns.

Additional tests conducted by five laboratories in the U.S., Canada and Europe found up to 232 toxic chemicals in the 10 cord blood samples. Besides BPA, substances detected for the first time in U.S. newborns included a toxic flame retardant chemical called tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) that permeates computer circuit boards, synthetic fragrances (Galaxolide and Tonalide) used in common cosmetics and detergents, and perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), a member of the notorious Teflon chemical family used to make non-stick and grease-, stain- and water- resistant coatings for cookware, textiles, food packaging and other consumer products."

Read the Whole Article

Register to Reply
Pathfinder Tags: BPA children Health PFBA TBBPA teflon
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Commentator

Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 71
Good Answers: 6
#1

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/04/2009 1:53 PM

Environmental issues are very difficult to handle properly. On the surface, it seems that taking a specifically addressed action on the undesired outcomes could solve the problem. This approach could work fine when the problem is encapsulated, which is not the case of the impact on the environment (by definition, environment is everything outside the capsule).

I am in no way advocating for laissez faire or deregulation. What I am concerned about is easygoing, shortsighted decision-making processes. Flame retardants were once part of this kind of solutions. They were once part of an intended protection. Now that solution has proven to be merely refinancing the problem.

There are lots of examples of sharp-shooting measures. Recycling is enthusiastically supported, even though the overall balance could be negative (I mean the case in which poor logistics leads to spend more energy in collecting, classifying and shipping recyclables than what can be saved from recycling).

RoHS seem to be all right, but let's look at the overall impact, at least with regard to the use of lead: Lead-based solders became banned by the EU by 2006 (although lead-acid batteries seem to be OK). Waste-processing workers in the EU are no longer exposed to the hazards of lead (at least when it comes from electronic devices). The problem of lead got automatically transferred to the workforce (mainly located in Asia), which now has to deal with higher soldering temperatures, and more toxic fumes.

Since many companies already had to redesign their manufacturing practices in order to comply with RoHS (which also banned bromine and BPA in flame retardants), a simple solution might be imposing the same regulations in the US. The impact on industry would surely be much lesser than that they already absorbed.

But an integral solution would be still missing; one that takes into account the big picture, and not just the headlines.

I think that we are facing a timing problem: The advances (whatever that means) in technology are too short-termed for any government to catch up, while environmental impact is too long-termed for them to be worth taking care of it. Media don't seem to understand any of those issues, but still manipulate the public opinion with statements like "perchlorate, a solid rocket fuel". Potassium perchlorate is an oxidant (not a fuel), and as such has been widely used (i.a.) for fireworks, as breath deodorant, and to deliver oxygen to breathing masks in aircraft. Had I to stick to the same criterion, I would characterize water as a chemical substance used to maintain nuclear reactions and to develop bacteriological weapons.

Register to Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member APIX Pilot Plant Design Project - Member - New Member Hobbies - CNC - New Member Fans of Old Computers - ZX-81 - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Centurion, South Africa
Posts: 3921
Good Answers: 97
#2

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/04/2009 2:37 PM

It is really alarming.

We are struck by global filling (Too many people)

and bad habits, addictions, dependency's etc.

The water care works just cant keep up with all the persistent / indestructible pollutants.

On the news tonight they had something about the effect of the result of makeup in our water resources.

__________________
Never do today what you can put of until tomorrow - Student motto
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3499
Good Answers: 144
#3

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/04/2009 7:27 PM

The use of fragrance in detergent and soaps is over the top. Too much, and it's nasty. And people are using those air freshener things, spraying it on the furniture and in the air. It's not really regulated, I don't believe.

We seldom think of that stuff in the bloodstream. People are not aware how much stuff is absorbed through the skin. You buy cookware or clothes or shampoo, you expect it is safe to touch or put it on your skin!!

I read this article on nanotechnology today. I found it really disturbing. Nano nano to be the great solution everywhere and in everything - a fuel additive for godsake. No imaginable risks in that, surely. All kinds of apps where it will be breaking down in the environment, and then... A paragraph at the end glossing over the safety concerns. It'll prove to be safe, after we've spread it all over....

__________________
incus opella
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - Musician - Engineering Fields - Chemical Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA, Thulcandra - The Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)
Posts: 4216
Good Answers: 194
#4

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/04/2009 10:29 PM

About the article:

  1. No specific references
  2. No mention of what levels of contaminants were found. (BTW, analytical detection levels continue to drop as a result of ongoing technological advances).

Talk about yer spin:

Besides BPA, substances detected for the first time in U.S. newborns included a toxic flame retardant chemical called tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) that permeates computer circuit boards - [proof? References?]

and perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), a member of the notorious Teflon chemical family [Notorious? How toxic is it? At what levels? References?]

What a nice, emotional article; intended ONLY to attempt to promote fear and outrage instead of eliciting reason, since absolutely no data was provided.

__________________
"Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone." - Ayn Rand
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3499
Good Answers: 144
#6
In reply to #4

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/05/2009 4:53 PM

Mikerho,

A scientific publication has all the references: a report about a scientific study isn't expected to do that.

I think if you're going to debunk specifics in an article, you should do it with references, yourself.

It took me 15 minutes to find and assess references to answer the questions you raised.

1.There's a wiki on TBBPA; a major industrial use is in epoxy resins in circuit boards. I guess it "permeates" the boards more or less then. ?? the big deal???

TBBPA is toxic to aquatic organisms, otherwise the main health concern (say, for babies) is that it breaks down to BPA. If you want to quibble about how toxic is it, fine. Go get some references, back yourself up.

2. PFBA is optimistically considered less toxic than other perflorochemicals (see notoriety, below), at least in part because it is eliminated from the body in a matter of days vs years. In the drinking water, I guess the problem is you keep getting a refill.

Linked here, a toxicological study in pregnant mice that compares the reproductive toxicity of PFOA, a carcinogenic ("notorious" as in widely known, replicated in many studies, published...and to be phased-out by 2015) chemical used to manufacture "Teflon" PTFE, and others. PFBA on the other hand is clearly not so bad.. read it and see. Rat pups livers were enlarged on day one after birth, but after ten days without further exposure to PFBA their livers were back to normal!! Hurrah.

The original article made no quantitative or toxicological claims about the findings - it simply established that these contaminants are absorbed by the human mother and that detectable amounts pass from the mother to the developing fetus. Since reproductive toxicity is a serious issue for related chemicals, I guess it's an important point to make.

Just asking you to be fair... You may not give a damn about babies or chemicals in your water or whatever. But there's no need to ridicule those who do. .......

__________________
incus opella
Register to Reply Score 1 for Off Topic
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Richland, WA, USA
Posts: 20974
Good Answers: 781
#7
In reply to #6

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/05/2009 5:33 PM

I was ready to give this a GA until the slur at the end. I changed my mind.

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3499
Good Answers: 144
#8
In reply to #7

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/05/2009 8:51 PM

Tornado, oops, my bad. I didn't realize it was a slur, but now that you mention it, I guess it was unfair to infer that Mikerho doesn't care.... sorry M. if offended.

__________________
incus opella
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 4)
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Richland, WA, USA
Posts: 20974
Good Answers: 781
#9
In reply to #8

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/05/2009 9:28 PM

Once in a while, I myself go off the deep end, which occasionally calls for retraction/revision/apology/etc.

On any number of debates about political issues, I have seen either or both sides have good points that all parties should address. But instead of dealing with the issues in proper terms, each side calls the other fools. Sometimes this is justified; often not.

A counterpoint of hasty panic over some new concern is head-in-sand denial of the concern. It is hard enough to sort this out even among good arguments each way; harder yet when emotional commitments derail calm discussion.

I didn't mean to throw any rocks; I'm as fallible as the next guy.

GA for your grace in taking a second look. I hope there will be any hard feelings anywhere.

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Hobbies - Musician - Engineering Fields - Chemical Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA, Thulcandra - The Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)
Posts: 4216
Good Answers: 194
#10
In reply to #6

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/05/2009 10:30 PM

Hi artsmith,

I receive what you are saying. I am not opposed to doing what is necessary to keep our environment clean, especially when it has negative impact on the health of future generations.

My point was that the article was just someone's viewpoint. I'll concede that, due to the paper being an article and not a scientific paper, it does not need to have references. That is very convenient for the person writing the article; they can write anything they want, however true or untrue it may be.

In this instance they did not even cite the publication that their rhetoric was supposedly based on.

What were the concentrations of said contaminants? Was it in ppb? Ppt? Technology nowadays allows us to quantify down to ppt (parts per trillion).

PCBs have been a subject of concern in past years. One study shows, for the subjects tested, the average concentration of PCBs was 242.77 ng/g lipid. The units are comparable to ppb, though density of the lipid must be taken into account.

At what point does any foreign substance become toxic in the system?

By the way, I was not debunking any specifics in the article; I was only pointing out their lack of supporting evidence.

Mike

__________________
"Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone." - Ayn Rand
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3499
Good Answers: 144
#11
In reply to #10

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/06/2009 7:10 AM

Hi Mikerho,

Fair enough to make the point that this is not a published peer-reviewed study - not yet anyway. I searched the PubMed database for the co-author who is named and found two articles but not this one - it is new and appears to be as yet unpublished.

Looking at the source and other stories presented, I have the impression this is a newswire sort of affair, to report new information as soon as it is available, and not waiting for publication. That is OK too - I'm sure no one pregnant wants to wait the year or so it takes for peer review. If there's any doubt, you want to take precautions just in case, and why not. For the rest of us, it's ok to caution not to jump to conclusions before the study has passed peer review. Fair enough.

Also fair enough to make the point that this is not a large-scale study with quantitative data on chemical concentrations.

But I think you are wrong to say that "no data" was presented. According to what I read, the cordblood of ten infants from lower income families was tested, and contaminants found in that sample are named. That's not "someone's viewpoint", that's data. Not the type you wanted, but data nonetheless.

Right away you can see that this is not the size of sample for a quantitative study. It is simply a preliminary study that establishes that there are measurable levels of contaminants that may be health concerns. In other words, it provides a scientific basis for the need to do quantitative and long term studies in populations at risk.

When it comes to environmental contaminants and health, the people most likely to be affected are those with least access to scientific resources. Providing a basis on which to apply for funds to do quantitative studies is a valuable contribution, IMHO.

__________________
incus opella
Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northeast corner of the sphere
Posts: 310
Good Answers: 7
#5

Re: Study: Widespread Chemical Contamination in Infants

12/05/2009 2:45 PM

The usual scare mongering from the usual suspects.

__________________
How can you be two places at once when you're actually nowhere at all?
Register to Reply
Register to Reply 11 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

artsmith (4); fernandotasso (1); Hendrik (1); Jerry New Hampshire (1); Mikerho (2); Tornado (2)

Previous in Forum: chem student   Next in Forum: Rein or Polymer for High-Speed Bonding

Advertisement