DIOXI’NS IN SHAMPOOS, SKIN CREAMS
AND DRINKS FROM PLASTIC LINED CONTAINERS
MAY INCREASE CANCER
Additional source of dietary ‘estrogens’
team reports. The pH of the food did notappear to affect leaching.
these included corn, artichoke hearts, mush-
contain small quantities of an estrogenlike
quantities -just 4 to 22 micrograms per 300
BPA turned up in roughly half of the items,
the researchers report in the June environ-
bisphenol-A (BPA) - appears to leach from
under regulations set by the European Union.
the plastic resins coating the inside of af-
cessors note that about 40 percent of food
BPA is also FDA-approved, and “no research
cans in Spain are lined with plastic, compared
or experience has suggested it might cause
any adverse effects,” says Roger Coleman of
the national Food Processors Association in
studies began linking these ubiquitous con-
V. Krishnan of Stanford University School
Feldman’s studies indicate. that BPA pos-
cancer (SN: 7/3/93, p-10) and reproductive
from plastic subjected to high temperatures,
sesses only one-thousandth the potency of
abnormalities (SN: l/22/94, p.56). During
estradiol, the major estrogen in humans.
the past 4 years, endocrinologists have identi-
7/3/93, p-10) Olea told SCIENCE NEWS that
quickly, notes endocrinologist Ana M Soto
the sterilization of canned foods closely
of Tufts University School of Medicine in
Boston. If BPA lasts longer than estradiol or
cans to avoid flavor-altering chemical reac-
if the body cannot inactivate BPA as effi-
tions between the cans and their contents,
continue to leach out. For instance, when a
ciently, “then it might prove more active than
Nicolas Olea and his coworkers at the Uni-
plastic-lined can was washed out and refilled
it at first sight appeared,” she says.
with water, that water soon picked up mea-
different brands of canned goods. Purchased
Newest estrogen mimics the commonest?
Phthalates, compounds best known for their ability to make plastics flexible, are
the most abundant industrial contaminants in the environment. Two new studies nowdemonstrate that at least a couple of them possess a hormonal alter ego: they activatereceptors for estrogen, the primary female sex hormone.
Both studies also established the estrogenicity of BHA, a preservative commonly
In recent years, scientists have been compiling a list of emasculating agents that
work by mimicking estrogen, Susan Jobling of Brunel University in Uxbridge,England, and her colleagues collared the three new prospects while assaying 20common sewage contaminants. They were scouting sources of the estrogenicity thatteammate John P. Sumpter had observed in wastes from sewage-treatment plants(SN: l/8/94, p.24).
Nine of these pollutants hind to estrogen receptors. The researchers incubated cells
with each of the nine to see whether any of them triggered the receptor’s normalactivity. BHA, butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) not onlyappeared estrogenic, but also stimulated the growth of breast cancer cells in culture,the group reports in the June ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES.
At the same time, researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston
and the University of Granada in Spain were studying some of the same compounds.
Their findings, to be published in the same journal later this year, also identify BHAand BBP as estrogens. However, while DBP did not exhibit estrogenicity in their
assays, a third plasticizer - diphenyl phthalate - did.
Where does one find phthalates? DBP serves as a dispersant in some insect
repellents and appears in plastic plumbing pipes and food wraps. Indeed, the Britishteam cites studies finding up to 500 micrograms of DBP per kilogram of food wrapped
in plastic. BBP goes into vinyl floor tiles, adhesives, synthetic leather, and the papersand cardboard designed for contact with liquid, dry, and fatty foods. That lastapplication may explain how butter and margarines end up laced with BBP atconcentrations exceeding 45 milligrams per kilogram, as cited in “Male Reproductive
Health and Environmental Chemicals with Estrogenic Effects,” a new report by theDanish Environmental Protection Agency in Copenhagen.
Cancer and heart risks of dioxins
Several studies have indicated an apparent increased risk of death
from cancer among individuals heavily exposed to dioxins and suchclose chemical cousins as furans (SN: 9/4/93, p.149). A new study
now looks at men who worked at a pesticide plant in Hamburg,Germany, at any time between 1952 and the facility’s closing in 1984.
It shows that a man's exposure-to dioxins and. furans corresponds to
a dose-dependent elevation in his risk of dying not only from cancerbut also from heart disease - especially clogged arteries.
Dieter Flesch-Janys of Hamburg’s Center for Chemical Workers’
Health and his colleagues stratified the 1,189 men using estimates ofeach worker’s exposure. They based those values on how long a manhad worked (and where in the plant) and, if available, on recordedbody concentrations of TCDD --- the most potent dioxin - or its toxic
equivalents. They found that plant veterans with the highest expo-sures faced more than three times the risk of dying from cancer and2.5 times the risk of dying from ischemic heart disease as workers of
similar ages from a nearby gas plant.
“These findings refine the strong existing evidence of a carcino-
genic effect of [dioxins and furans] in humans,‘* the researchersconclude in the Dec. 1 A MERICAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY . T h eHamburg team cites three reports that showed hints of a heart diseaserisk attributable to dioxins. In one of these reports, the investigating
epidemiologists had speculated that stress was the likely cause. Intheir new study, Flesch-Janys and his coworkers note that “there is
some evidence from animal models that TCDD may promote
atherosclerosis, " which “lends credibility to a causal interpretation ofour [heart disease] findings.”
NY CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMM.
URGES BAN ON SKIN BLEACHES
Because he fears that skin bleach products may be
carcinogenic, cause disfiguring skin diseases and aremislabeled, New York’s Commissioner of ConsumerAffairs Mark Green has urged the FDA to ban theproducts completely.
Mr. Green wrote FDA Commissioner David Kessler
asking him to “act quickly to seize them and then ban 11skin-bleaching creams that are mostly sold to African-Americans.” The products all contain hydroquinone.
Chapter 13: The Tools and Goals of Central Bank Monetary Learning Objectives Understand how the policy tools available to central banks around the world really work in carrying out money and credit policies and in affecting the cost and availability of loanable funds. o How the Federal Reserve System controls credit and interest rate levels inside the United States, the various ways
Month / Year: Time Point: STUDENT FOOD LABEL QUIZ For each of the following pairs of foods in the same food category, such as bread or cereal or crackers or cookies, choose the one you think is more nutritious (“better for you”) by filling in th bubble next to your choice. Please use a #2 pencil. To change your answer, erase completely. 1. FOOD CATEGORY: CRACKERS Amount Pe