Antibiotics Might Be Fueling Obesity Epidemic (Wired, 8/22/2012) Mice given antibiotics experienced changes to the microbe communities that process food and regulate metabolism. In another study, children’s body weight rose with antibiotic exposure as infants.
Triclosan in antibacterial soaps studied (SFGate, 8/21/2012) This common chemical may decrease muscle strength and compromise the human immune system.
Widely used pesticide seems to harm boys’ brains more than girls’ (Environmental Health News, 8/20/2012) Exposure to chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide that is banned in homes but still used on farms, is associated with worsened short-term memory in boys compared with girls. Mounting evidence indicates that boys’ brains may be more vulnerable to some chemical exposures than girls’ and that pesticide exposures cause lower IQs.
Big Chem, Big Harm? (NYT, 8/26/2102) Nicholas Kristof writes that the big chemical companies have blocked any serious regulation of endocrine disruptors. He continues,
Like a lot of Americans, I used to be skeptical of risks from chemicals like endocrine disruptors that are all around us. What could be safer than canned food? I figured that opposition came from tree-hugging Luddites prone to conspiracy theories.
Yet, a few years ago, I began to read the peer-reviewed journal articles, and it became obvious that the opposition to endocrine disruptors is led by toxicologists, endocrinologists, urologists and pediatricians. These are serious scientists, yet they don’t often have the ear of politicians or journalists.
I’m hoping these new studies can help vault the issue onto the national stage. Threats to us need to be addressed, even if they come not from Iranian nuclear weapons, but from things as banal as canned soup and A.T.M. receipts.