Your Health: Perfluorinated Chemicals

Nancy Heppwritten by Nancy Hepp, MS
Research and Communications Specialist

It isn’t often that a class of chemicals is the subject of three independent news items on the same day, but the perfluorinated chemicals that have helped give Teflon and Stainmaster their nonstick properties received considerable attention yesterday.

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Tip of the Month: Watch Out for Disinfectant Wipes!

written by Alex Scranton
Director of Science & Research, Women’s Voices for the Earth

Excerpted with permission of the author.

image of a wipes label instructing users to wash hands after useDisinfectant chemicals called quaternary ammonium compounds “quats”, commonly found in wipes are especially problematic. These chemicals are skin irritants, can irritate your lungs, and have been linked to asthma and reproductive harm. The overuse of quats can also lead to the promotion of antibacterial-resistant bacteria (“superbugs”), which is bad news for everyone…All pre-moistened wipes must include some form of chemical preservative to prevent bacteria growth in the package. Many preservatives used in wipes include parabens, formaldehyde releasers and MI/MCI which have also been associated with adverse health effects.

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Farewell to Lou Guillette

written by J. Peterson Myers, PhD
Founder and Chief Scientist, Environmental Health Sciences, and CHE Advisor

Lou GuilletteClose friend, mentor, colleague, teacher, co-author, genius scientist, extraordinary communicator Lou Guillette died lat night [Thursday].

I have spent the day in mourning. And it is not about to stop. Lou is the scientist who made alligator micro-penises famous. Who with scientific colleagues brought scientific credibility to endocrine disruption as a major public health issue. Who told congressmen in Congressional testimony (referring to data on major declines in sperm count) “every man in this room is half the man his grandfather was.” Who mentored generations of students of science in that art and craft. Who spent the last several years battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and finally lost to a virus because his immune system was trampled.

But throughout all that turmoil Lou continued his scientific research, undeterred. Lou was a key teacher in helping Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski and me write Our Stolen Future two decades ago. We continued to benefit from his wisdom over all the intervening years. I visited him in March and caught alligators with him and students and his son Matt in South Carolina marshes. He had just agreed to join me and others last week in a new scientific adventure.

Lou, travel well. We owe you. We miss you. You did so much. While we will endeavor to stand on your shoulders, don’t sink into the marsh under our weight. We will use what you accomplished, I promise, to keep climbing higher.