A rich literature exists that has demonstrated adverse human health effects following exposure to ambient air particulate matter (PM), with strong support for an important role for ultrafine (nano-sized) particles. At present, relatively little human health or epidemiology data exists for engineered nanomaterials (NM) despite clear parallels in their physicochemical properties and biological actions in in vitro models.

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Researchers claim that embryonic stem cells can help in studying the effects of pollution on human health.

The quality of diets in rodent feeding trials is crucial. We describe the contamination with environmental pollutants of 13 laboratory rodent diets from 5 continents. Measurements were performed using accredited methodologies. All diets were contaminated with pesticides (1-6 out of 262 measured), heavy metals (2-3 out of 4, mostly lead and cadmium), PCDD/Fs (1-13 out of 17) and PCBs (5-15 out of 18). Out of 22 GMOs tested for, Rounduptolerant GMOs were the most frequently detected, constituting up to 48% of the diet.

Standardized ecotoxicological tests still constitute the fundamental tools when doing risk-assessment of aquatic contaminants. These protocols are managed towards minimal mortality in the controls, which is not representative for natural systems where mortality is often high. This methodological bias, generated from assays where mortality in the control group is systematically disregarded, makes it difficult to measure therapeutic effects of pharmaceutical contaminants leading to lower mortality.

Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency. Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence. In 2006, we did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene.

Most food items contain toxins like mercury, pesticides and acrylamide that can affect children in the long run

Even healthy food like fruit, vegetables, meat and fish might be putting children’s health at risk. These food items also contain toxins like mercury, pesticides and acrylamide that can, over a long time, make children vulnerable to cancer and affect their nervous and reproductive systems. This is the finding of a study on effects of 11 such food-borne toxins on people of different age groups in the US, carried out by researchers from the University of California, Davis, and University of California, Los Angeles. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor and chief of the division of environmental and occupational health at University of California, Davis, says toxins in food affect children the most as their brains and other organs are still developing.

From plastics to flame retardants, the ubiquitous chemicals of our daily lives have raised public health concerns like never before. Inside the Beltway, however, data-crunching scientists are often no match for industry lobbyists and corporate lawyers. The exception, no doubt, is Linda Birnbaum, the toxicologist who leads, two little-known scientific agencies, the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

Europe is set to quash a precedent-setting initiative designed to tackle a disturbing side effect of common drugs — their impact on aquatic life. Nature has learned that landmark regulations intended to clean Europe’s waterways of pharmaceuticals are likely to be dead on arrival when they reach a key vote in the European Parliament.

A panel of scientists set up on the orders of the Supreme Court has recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all genetically modified or Bt food crops.

‘Probe how Bt brinjal seed was allowed to be commercialised’

In a major setback to the proponents of genetically modified technology in farm crops, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on Thursday asked the government to stop all field trials and sought a bar on GM food crops (such as Bt. brinjal). The committee report, tabled in the Lok Sabha, demanded a “thorough probe” into how permission was given to commercialise Bt. brinjal seed when all evaluation tests were not carried out.