Category archives: Uncategorized

Say No to Hormone Disrupting Chemcials

Say no to hormone disrupting chemicals EN bannerA new campaign platform has been launched to help EU citizens input into the public consultation on hormone disrupting chemicals or EDCs. These harmful chemicals can be found in a myriad of different products we come into close contact with each and every day whether at home, work or in the wider environment. They have the ability to build up in our bodies and scientific evidence links exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals to breast or testicular cancer, fertility problems, diabetes and obesity as well as learning and behavioural problems in children. We do not need these chemicals in our lives any more.

Now is the time to SAY “NO” TO HORMONE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS found in our food, cosmetics, homes, work places, schools, hospitals and many more!

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Send a strong message to the European Commission in less than 2 minutes!  Help us push back against the industry lobbying that may otherwise weaken action on hormone disrupting chemicals at the expense of people’s health, the environment and wildlife!

This is the only chance you will have to directly give your opinion and to make yourself heard in Brussels. Use it!

Tell the European Commission now that you want to find and remove all hormone disrupting chemicals from our lives to protect our health! Take Action here via our easy to use online platform to answer the consultation! http://no2hormonedisruptingchemicals.org/en

Information release on EDCs

Press Release from EDC Free Europe

Principles for transparency, excellence and independence in scientific advice to the European Commission

In August 2014 a coalition of NGOs including the Alliance wrote a letter to the President-elect of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, questioning the role of Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the EU Commission. The intention of the letter was to stimulate debate about how scientific policy advice was structured and to highlight the risks in concentrating the power of delivering this advice into the hands of one person via the role of CSA. Vested interests realised long ago this role makes it easier to control. The UK is one of the few remaining EU countries which maintains a CSA post.

The EU CSA post was abolished in November amind allegations from various sources in the UK and beyond of this being ‘anti-science’, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The NGO coalition drafted another letter outlining a set of common principles for excellence, independence and transparence. These we believe can improve and inform existing scientific advisory institutions and processes, as well as the new scientific advisory structure the EU.

The principles outline the importance the NGOs place on unbiased, well balanced and current science advice given as a vital tool to aid and inform EU policy. But sometimes science on its own may not be able to fully determine the right course of action. Other societal factors must be considered along with a precautionary approach when there is uncertainty in relation to the health and safety of the EU citizens.

The alliance thinks that current lack of consideration given to, and therefore action taken on new and emerging science covering issues like EDCs, other chemicals, substances and work practices linked to the increasing rates of workplace and environmental cancers has contributed to the rising rates of cancer. We are very concerned that further scientific advice be given through an open and transparent process, and that the most current, unbiased and well rounded sceintifi advice must be taken when determining health and safety. After all our very health depends on it.

More information on the issue available here.



 

The need for independent, objective and transparent scientific advice to the EC should be self evident

letterletter sent on the 19/8/14 to the President-elect of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker signed by 25 NGO’s asked for the post of Chief Scientific Adviser be abolished.

The letter is a follow up to a previous letter expressing concern that the post is: “fundamentally problematic as it concentrates too much influence in one person, and undermines in-depth scientific research and assessments carried out by or for the Commission directorates in the course of policy elaboration”.

Scientific advice given to the president by the current CSA is not publically available making the process un-transparent. The signatories support the principle that scientific advice should be independent and objective, and the process transparent. NGOs are worried that by placing all the onus on one person for the whole of EU policy, this would make the principle difficult to uphold.

“The influence of corporate lobbyists is made even easier by the fact that the CSA of the European Commission has no obligation to publish the advice given to the President,” the NGOs say.

Among EU countries, only the UK maintains the position of CSA as a full-time government office.

Policy should not be swayed by vested interests, and the scientific resources consulted to inform decisions on the health and well-being of EU citizens and workers should be made available along with the advice given, in a spirit of democracy. The need for independent, objective and transparent scientific advice to the EC should be self evident.

Greenpeace has issued a press release on the issue and there is a press piece on the letter from Euractiv here.

 

Monumental ruling on Diesel fumes and Lung cancer

From Risks Newsletter by Rory O’Neill

A decision to award compensation to the widow of a bus maintenance worker who died of diesel exhaust-related lung cancer has been hailed as a ‘monumental’ breakthrough by his union.

Anthony Nigro, a member of Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) Local 100 in New York, USA, died a few months after retiring in 2012. His oncologist told his widow, Dorota, he believed diesel exhaust exposure in his 28 years working for the New York City Transit Authority was the cause of his cancer.

Lawyer Robert Grey, who filed a workers’ compensation claim on behalf of the family, said this is “the first case where a Workers’ Compensation Board, or any other court, has recognised the cause and effect of diesel to occupational disease.”

The company contested the claim, noting the victim’s history of smoking. But an expert providing testimony for the family said his job provided “ample exposure… to diesel exhaust emission.” The expert witness said that while smoking was also “a likely contributor” to the lung cancer, the diesel emissions were “more likely than not a significant contributing factor in causing or aggravating” Mr Nigro’s illness and death.

In a judgment that is not being contested by the firm, Judge Jay Leibowitz ruled in favour of the family and awarded them a weekly benefit of $773, $100,000 in backdated benefits and $6,000 in funeral expenses.

Dr Frank Goldsmith, director of occupational health for the TWU local, said: “This case is really a monumental decision. It’s reminiscent of where we were with asbestos in the 1970s.” He added: “We need to find out more about diesel and cancer trends among transit workers. We need to know how many of our members have been stricken by lung cancer, and target which job titles those cancers came from.”

The family of a Canadian miner who died of diesel exhaust linked lung cancer was awarded compensation last year. In June 2012, an expert panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified diesel fume as a top rated ‘Group 1′ carcinogen.

A study published in 2013 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives concluded almost 5 per cent of lung cancer deaths in the United States and the United Kingdom may be due to workplace exposure to diesel exhaust.

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Ground-breaking breast cancer research wins international award

andrew watterson (smaller)

 Dr. James Brophy and Dr. Margaret Keith (picture from the Windsor Star) and Prof Andrew Watterson.

Researchers from the University of Stirling’s Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group (OEHRG), receive an International Award from the American Public Health Association for their research which found that women working in certain occupational sectors face an elevated breast cancer risk.

The two studies were led by Dr James Brophy and Dr Margaret Keith, of Stirling’s OEHRG and the University of Windsor, Ontario, and co-author and Head of Stirling’s OEHRG, Professor Andrew Watterson.
The initial study published in Environmental Health found a 42 per cent increased breast cancer risk for any women employed in occupations where they were exposed to high levels of chemicals that were identified as either mammary carcinogens or endocrine disrupting chemicals.

The second qualitative study published in New Solutions provided additional evidence to support the findings of the first study.

The award is very well deserved and we are hugely grateful to the team of researchers for bringing some much needed clarity to the issue of occupational breast cancer. This work will be greatly appreciated by women who know the work they do is linked to their breast cancer and help with eliminating those chemicals we know are causing greatest harm to workers, but also to a lesser degree consumers and our environment. Well done all! Much congratulations.

Press release from Stirling University:

News Clip from Windsor Star:

Potential Public Health risks associated with fracking.

Excellent document prepared for Falkirk local authority in reference to an ‘unconventional gas extraction’ application by Dr Morag Parnell, Mb.ChB, and Jamie McKenzie Hamilton, MSc. Document calls for a ban on all exploration and recovery of “unconventional gas”. Can be downloaded here. Potential Public Health risks associated with unconventional gas extraction.

Leading scientists call for urgent action on EDCs

A letter signed by a group of leading scientists urges action from the the WHO/UNEP/OECD through SAICM (Startegic Approach to International Chemcial Management) on endocrine Disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

Why should you worry about EDCs? Currently they are not adequately controlled, in fact many remain unidentified yet they can affect life itself and our ability to live it in a healthy state. They affect our hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone, and can interfere with how hormones regulate every system in the body, via our endocrine system, even while we are developing in the womb.

We are at  risk of exposure through everyday life lived in our homes, workplaces, schools and in the wider environment, through the manufacturing, use and disposal of products and the delivery of services. In fact we cannot escape exposure! And these chemicals have the ability to build up in our bodies and be passed on to the next generation.

So what can we do?
Support all calls for regulation of these chemicals and substances, especially now while legislation is under preparation in the EU.

Write, ring or email your MEPs and ask them as your elected representatives if they are voting to protect you health and the health of future generations, while you are at work, at home or in school.

Ask them if they really want to protect our environment and all the wildlife we share this planet with? Ask if products are EDC free? Lobby trade unions to support the call for an EDC free workplace.

The letter can be found here: http://ipen.org/pdfs/letter_edcs_in_saicim_20_april_2013.pdf

For more information on EDCs visit www.edc-free-europe.org

USA: Stronger chemical laws ‘spur innovation’

Stronger laws to regulate hazardous chemicals spur innovation, with potential benefits for national economies, as well as human health and the environment, according to a new report. ‘Driving innovation: How stronger laws help bring safer chemicals to market’, published by the Washington DC-based Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), concludes that tougher rules to manage chemicals at the global, regional and national levels have sparked the continuous invention of safer chemicals, accelerating the pace at which safer alternatives are developed, and pulled them into the market. “Our study finds that stronger laws governing hazardous chemicals can not only drive innovation, but also create a safer marketplace,” said Baskut Tuncak, staff attorney at CIEL and author of the report. “Well-designed laws spark the invention of alternatives and further help level the playing field to enable safer chemicals to overcome barriers to entry, such as economies of scale enjoyed by chemicals already on the market and the externalised costs of hazardous chemicals on human health.” The report highlights the human health-related costs of intrinsically hazardous chemicals, such as endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, and recommends their systematic phase-out under international laws. It calls for ‘internalisation’ of the cost of hazardous chemicals by industry, including proving the safety of chemicals on the market and for stronger treaties to create a level playing field globally. (By Rory O’Neill)

Original piece from Risks on line bulletin for health and safety reps and others: subscribe here.

CIEL news release and full report, Driving innovation: How stronger laws help bring safer chemicals to market, CIEL, February 2013. Forbes.com.

Silent Killer: What they don’t want you to know.

Canadian newspiece on occupational cancer exposures rising women’s risk of breast cancer. Women are being exposed to a ‘toxic soup’ of carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals in the workplace, which the researchers have shown can elevate breast cancer risk for those working in the plastics industry up to 10 times.

“Our regulatory system, the system which actually says how much you can be exposed to both in the environment and in the work place does not account at all for this, its not addressed”. Jim Brophy.

http://www.operationmaple.com/fyi/silent-killer

USA: Government agency is dangerously close to business

 

small business jpeg

A US government agency intended to assist small businesses is instead operating as an unquestioning promoter of a deadly business lobby wishlist. A report from the independent Center for Effective Government says the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is supposed to ensure that federal agencies evaluate the small business impacts of the rules they adopt. Instead it has been weighing in on issues including scientific assessments of the cancer risks of formaldehyde, styrene, and chromium.

But instead of scrutinising the evidence, it has just regurgitated industry briefings. The Centre says by the Office of Advocacy’s own admission, it lacks the scientific expertise to evaluate the merits of these scientific assessments. “We found that the Office of Advocacy’s comments on these assessments raised no issues of specific concern to small business and relied almost exclusively on talking points provided by trade associations dominated by big chemical companies.

Between 2005 and 2012, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its members spent over $333 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies on, among other things, a protracted campaign to prevent government agencies from designating formaldehyde, styrene, and chromium as carcinogens.The Formaldehyde Council, Styrene Industry Research Council, and Chrome Coalition spent millions more.

These groups asked the Office of Advocacy for assistance, and the Office became their willing partner.” According to the Center: “We conclude that the Office of Advocacy’s decision to comment on scientific assessments of the cancer risks of certain chemicals constitutes a significant and unwarranted expansion of its role and reach beyond its statutory responsibilities. We recommend that Congress ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the Office of Advocacy and exert more rigorous oversight of its activities to ensure its work does not undermine the efforts of other federal agencies to fulfil the goals Congress has assigned them.” (by Rory O’Neill www.hazards.org)

 Center for Effective Government news release and report: Small businesses, public health, and scientific integrity: Whose interests does the Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration serve?