Study Finds Strong Exposure Correlation For Related Chemicals

« Examination of pregnant women’s exposure reveals links between similar compounds.
Human exposure to a chemical is likely to match that of related substances, according to a study of the ‘exposome‘ – the environmental equivalent of the human genome.

French and Spanish researchers have analysed data on pregnant women to find high levels of correlation between exposure levels of structurally related chemicals.

The study indicates that results reported for single exposures need to be carefully interpreted in light of correlations to other exposures of related chemicals.
The ‘exposome‘ represents everything that humans are exposed to from conception onwards. It includes:chemicals, diet and social influences.
Exposome studies aim to understand how exposures interact with personal characteristics, such as genetics, to affect health.
Current analytical techniques are not sensitive or flexible enough to identify the components of the exposome in a “single analytical sweep”, say the researchers, led by Oliver Robinson from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, Spain. They have adopted a “bottom-up” approach, using exposure assessment tools such as biomonitoring.
The team has used data on chemical exposure for more than 700 women enrolled in the Spanish infancia y medio ambiente (Inma) project. This birth cohort study runs in seven Spanish regions to examine the role of environmental pollutants during pregnancy and early childhood in relation to growth and development.
Women in the survey have their blood analysed for chemicals such as organochlorines and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Meanwhile breast milk is screened for polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and urine for metals, phthalates and bisphenol A. The women answer questionnaires to assess their home environment, including pesticide use. Researchers also estimate noise exposure levels and building density, including surrounding green spaces.
An exposure heat-map for Inma’s Sabadell group – situated in Catalonia – reveals correlations for groups of chemicals with similar structures or from the same source. Water disinfection byproducts and air pollutants correlated well, as did PFAS, with four PFOA compounds showing the strongest exposure correlation.
“From this analysis it is clear that it is very difficult to know, for instance, which PFAS is having an impact on a health effect such as neurodevelopment,” says Dr Robinson. “Knowledge of correlation is very important in epidemiological analysis since if you only measure one exposure you may actually be detecting a health effect from highly correlated exposures.”
Understanding exposure correlations not only helps when selecting the most suitable statistical approaches, but may also allow the exposome to be characterised using fewer exposures, he adds.
The researchers consider their correlation analysis to provide a “first picture” of the structure of the exposome during pregnancy. “This information will aid interpretation of reported findings from epidemiological studies in general and inform future analyses of the exposome,” they conclude.
The team is currently delving further into Inma data, looking, for example, at diet.
The study is published in Environmental Science and Technology and links to a wider EU “early-life” exposome project called HELIX.”

Journal article :
HELIX project:

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California Agency Amends Prop 65 Website Proposal

« California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (Oehha) has published changes to its proposal to develop a Proposition 65 Warning Website.

The changes address comments received earlier this summer on the agency’s proposal to establish a website that provides the public with information on exposure to substances required to be labelled under Prop 65.
Specific amendments include:
-clarification on the anticipated functions of the agency’s site
– the addition of a process by which entities may request correction of inaccurate information
-modification of the agency’s disclaimer regarding information received from third parties
-specification that businesses must respond to a request for information within 90 days
-a new subsection allowing businesses to respond to information requests via trade groups
– the addition of text explicitly stipulating that businesses do not need to provide information to the agency that is subject to legal privilege.
Comments on the latest draft of the proposed regulation will be accepted until 21 September.


Notice of modified proposal:

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US University Evaluates Triclosan Exposure From Products

« Study to assess levels in breast milk
A newly-launched pilot study seeks to measure levels of Triclosan in a cohort of breastfeeding women. It aims to determine if exposure to the chemical from personal care products like toothpaste and soap leads to elevated levels in breast milk.

The pilot is one of eight at the University of California, Davis’s new Environmental Health Sciences Center.
According to Candace Spier Bever, assistant project scientist at UC Davis, triclosan was selected for several reasons:
– assays for triclosan had already been developed;
– researchers had access to lactation samples from a separate ongoing study; and
– triclosan has already been found in breast milk.

In the EU and Canada, triclosan’s use in cosmetics is restricted to concentrations under 0.3 %. Several companies have voluntarily worked to phase triclosan out of their products, and Minnesota has banned the chemical’s use in soaps effective January 2017.
The substance has been the subject of review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for several years, but the agency does not currently regulate its use. More recently, the US EPA rejected a citizen petition to cancel the registration of products containing the biocide, but said it would further assess its safety.
“We hope that demonstrating exposure to triclosan with the best science we can will provide enough data for regulatory agencies to decide if the exposures are worth the risk,” said Dr Bever.
More broadly, a goal is to develop an antibody-based assay tool that could be used to gather exposure data to other chemicals for large population studies, says Dr Bever. Such a high-throughput tool could allow researchers to analyse a high volume of samples very quickly, and assist in identifying exposure pathways to chemicals of concern.
According to Dr Bever, a potential future study using the new tool could evaluate firefighters’ exposure to brominated flame retardant chemicals (BFRs) immediately following fires. Also under consideration would be a study to characterise sources of BFRs in household dust, such as those from furniture and electronics.
The UC Davis centre that the study comes under has been funded close to $ 8 m by a five-year grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS). The NIEHS funds more than 20 such “environmental health sciences core centers” across the country.
UC Davis’s Center has also established a Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee (CSTAC), whose members can serve as “advocates for appropriate policies on air, water, food and other routes of exposure to potentially harmful (or beneficial) chemicals,” according to the university’s Irva Hertz-Picciotto.
Participating members in the CSTAC include representatives from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (Oehha), the California Department of Public Health Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Counsel for Justice and Accountability.
These may recommend studies on specific areas of concern, review pilot projects, and will advise on how study results should be disseminated, added Dr Hertz-Picciotto.”

UC Davis announcement:
Pilot studies:

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OECD Issues Guidance on Nanomaterials Safety

« The OECD has published the latest in its series of publications on the safety of manufactured nanomaterials:

No. 58 Preliminary guidance notes on nanomaterials – interspecies variability factors in human health risk assessment.


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First Carbon Neutral Challenge is Getting Consumers To Care

“As the United Nations Conference on Climate Change draws closer, beauty retailer Neal’s Yard Remedies believes all companies can go carbon neutral or at least start to work out how they can do it, but the first challenge is getting consumers to care about carbon.

Vicky Murray, Neal’s Yard’s Head of Sustainability

« spoke exclusively with Vicky Murray, Head of Sustainability, and Lou Green, Head of Campaigns at the British firm, and both believe all eyes will be on Paris in December for the COP21 as it is being seen as last chance saloon to reach a global agreement on carbon targets to limit climate change to manageable levels.
“We hope our story on going carbon neutral helps to inspire others in the health and beauty sector to do the same,” they tell us.
“As a natural health and beauty company this means it is even more important that we do everything that we can to reduce our carbon impact, and encourage others to do the same.”
Neal’s Yard was the first UK high-street retailer to be certified as ‘Carbon Neutral’ by the CarbonNeutral Company, back in 2008, for reducing net emissions to zero for its Dorset eco-factory, London office, all UK stores, warehousing, and national distribution.
“The first challenge [of implementing a Carbon neutral programme] is getting people to care about carbon!” says Vicky.
“Having really special projects that we use to offset our carbon has really helped,” she adds, referring to the Makira project in Madagascar as an example, as it helps to protect one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots by limiting deforestation and working with communities to support low-impact farming practices.
Neal’s Yard document the work done here on its Facebook page and this helps to connect directly with consumers.
“We also try to make carbon reduction practical, relevant and fun to our employees! Behind energy consumption, commuting by car accounts for our second largest amount of emissions in our operations: 17% of the total,” say Vicky and Lou, explaining the company set up a ‘Cycle to Work’ last year.(…)


Article by Andrew McDougall

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ECHA- Seven substances proposed as SVHCs

« Phthalate DCHP proposed as endocrine disruptor; HDDA as skin sensitiser
Substances that may have serious and often irreversible effects on human health and the environment can be identified as substances of very high concern (SVHCs). A substance can be identified as SVHC following the proposal made by Member States or European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), on request of the European Commission. The proposal is submitted via the Annex XV report; after submission, stakeholders have 45 days to submit comments on the proposal via a public consultation launched by ECHA.
On the 31st of August 2015, Austria, Germany, Sweden and ECHA have proposed to identify six new substances as SVHC because of their hazardous properties: carcinogenic, toxic for reproduction, endocrine disruptors or persist and bioaccumulate in the environment.
A 45-days consultation, ending on the 15th of October 2015 has been launched. Stakeholders have the possibility to provide comments on the proposals.

The substances that have been proposed are listed hereafter; the reports, known as Annex XV dossiers, are for:
HDDA: This acrylic chemical used in UV-cured inks, adhesives and sealants, is proposed on the grounds that it is a skin sensitiser. The risk management option analysis says occupational exposure to the skin sensitiser is “widespread and increasing” and can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

Phthalate DCHP: This is used in plastisol and in PVC, rubber and plastic articles, plus as phlegmatiser and dispersing agent for formulations of organic peroxides. Echa’s Risk Assessment Committee agreed late last year that it should be classified as a category 1B reprotoxicant, and the Annex XV dossier says it is also a substance with endocrine disrupting properties for which there is evidence of probable serious effects to human health and the environment.

PFNA & its sodium and ammonium salts: submitted by the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi) and the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The report says the substance, which is a perfluorinated chemical (PFC), has been found in: nanosprays and impregnation sprays; outdoor textiles; carpets; gloves; leather; awning cloth; paper-based food contact materials; and ski waxes.
It is found, the report says, in the ambient environment, indoors, in food and in drinking water.
Last year, the report notes, Echa’s Risk Assessment Committee adopted the Opinion that it meets the criteria for a category 1B substance toxic for reproduction. The report also says PFNA meets the criteria for classification as a PBT substance.
Another reason for adding it to the REACH candidate list, says Kemi, is it is a possible replacement for PFOA. If it is added to the list, the restriction of a group of long-chain PFCAs (perfluorocarboxylic acids) and their precursors might be considered as the next step.

Nitrobenzene: classified as a category 1B reprotoxicant. Nitrobenzene is mainly used as an intermediate under strictly controlled conditions. But it is also used to prepare formulations, as processing aid and as a solvent.

UV-327 and UV-350: both of these substances are used as UV stabilisers in transparent plastics. Although neither has yet been registered, the proposing member state, Germany, says they are believed to be on the EU market. Both are proposed on the grounds that they are very persistent, very bioaccumulative substances (vPvBs).
The dossiers were originally submitted more than two years, but Echa’s Member State Committee decided further consideration of documents provided by Germany was needed. Having worked further on the cases, Germany has now resubmitted them, and they will be treated as “new” cases and all process steps for identification as SVHC will be conducted.

1,3-propanesultone: Proposed by ECHA, this substance is a category 1B carcinogen. Uses which appear to be in the scope of authorisation include formulation and use in the electrolyte fluid in the production of lithium ion batteries at industrial sites.”

Article of Geraint Roberts

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ECHA News- Week 37

enews_header_new (2)*Authorisation decisions published
The European Commission has granted authorisations for uses of diarsenic trioxide (EC 215-481-4) to the following companies:
Boliden Kokkola Oy and Nordenhamer Zinkhütte GmbH with a review period of the authorisation until 21 May 2027,
Linxens France with a review period of the authorisation until 21 May 2022.
Adopted opinions:

*Registry of Intentions updated
Harmonised classification and labelling
Three new intentions for harmonised classification and labelling (CLH) were added to the Registry of Intentions for the substances:
thifensulfuron-methyl (ISO) (CAS 79277-27-3), dossier intended by the UK;
asulam-sodium (ISO) (EC 218-953-8), dossier intended by the UK,
tris(2-ethylhexyl) 4,4′,4 »-(1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triyltriimino)tribenzoate (EC 402-070-1), dossier intended by Germany.
Current CLH intentions:

* Synthesis

Ongoing consultations

Start: 31 July 2015
Deadline: 14 September 2015

3 testing proposals

Start: 7 August 2015
Deadline: 22 September 2015

1 testing proposal

Start: not set
Deadline: 15 October 2015

1 testing proposal

Start: 30 August 2015
Deadline: 15 October 2015

4 testing proposal

Start: 31 August 2015
Deadline: 15 October 2015

3 testing proposal

Identification of substances of very high concern

Start: 31 August 2015
Deadline: 15 October 2015

7 substances

Draft recommendation of substances for the Authorisation List

No ongoing consultations

Harmonised classification and labelling

Start: 28 July 2015
Deadline: 11 September 2015

2 CLH proposals


Start: 18 March 2015
Deadline: 18 September 2015
1 restriction proposal

Start: 18 June 2015
Deadline: 18 December 2015
1 restriction proposal

Applications for authorisation

Start: 12 August 2015
Deadline: 7 October 2015
9 consultations

Calls for comments and evidence

No ongoing consultations

Biocides consultation

No ongoing consultations

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