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Science Pick: Lead Is Still the Problem August 9, 2012

Posted by Nancy Hepp in science pick.
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Ted Schettler, MD, MPH
Science Director

Sheila Kaplan and Corbin Hiar show that lead contamination of drinking water is a problem that has not yet been solved. Here’s what can happen when a systems problem is attacked piecemeal….. missing the danger, new tactics, and passing the buck. Ultimately, a failure to protect public health.

Millions of Americans may be drinking water that is contaminated with dangerous doses of lead. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knows it; state governments know it; local utilities know it. The only people who usually don’t know it are those who are actually drinking the toxic water. Read the full article on the Investigative Reporting Workshop website.

Manganese, Like Other Heavy Metals, Robs Children of Their Potential September 23, 2010

Posted by Nancy Hepp in breaking news.
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Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT
CHE Partner
Director and Founder of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders

water pump in London
John Snow removed the pump handle to stop cholera in London. Should a similar precautionary approach be taken for elevated manganese levels in drinking water?

We have heard a lot about the adverse effects of lead, even at very low levels of exposure, on the intellectual development of children, and now there is further evidence that manganese exposure from drinking water causes similar harm to children. A new study by Maryse Bouchard and co-authors1 describes the adverse effects of manganese exposure from drinking water on childhood IQ. Manganese is a very interesting metal, widely distributed and occurring naturally in food and drinking water. It is a well-established neurotoxicant. Unlike lead, which has no known biological function, manganese is an essential nutrient and in trace amounts is necessary for growth and development. In industry, manganese is used to harden steel, and manganese fumes during welding are a work place hazard.

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Get a Grip on Toxic Chemicals August 31, 2010

Posted by Nancy Hepp in Letters.
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Reps. Doyle and Murphy are well positioned to help protect us

Maureen Swanson
CHE Partner and Director of the Healthy Children Project for the Learning Disabilities Association of America

This letter was originally published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It’s republished here with the author’s permission.

Imagine all the chemicals used in televisions, computers, upholstery, car seats, building materials, even children’s pajamas. Imagine that some of these chemicals migrate from products into dust and dirt, and build up in our bodies. They are found in the cord blood of newborns and in breast milk. Imagine that these chemicals are similar in structure to the notorious PCBs – carcinogens banned from use in the late 1970s.

Now wouldn’t you also imagine that these chemicals were tested and found to be safe to human health before they were allowed into our products and homes?

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Polybrominated diphyenyl ethers are flame retardant chemicals that persist in the environment and build up in the food chain and in people. Laboratory studies link exposure to PBDEs with lowered IQ and attention problems. This summer, a study of pregnant women found that those with higher levels of PBDEs had reduced levels of thyroid hormone, which is essential to a baby’s brain development.

But despite growing scientific evidence linking toxic chemical exposures to serious disease and disability, our government does not require that PBDEs – or any of the other 80,000 chemicals on the market – be tested for effects on human health.

That could be about to change, and two Pittsburgh members of Congress are in key positions to help make it happen.

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