Highlights of the Scientific Opinion of EFSA on the testing methods for assessing of the effects of endocrine disruptors on human health and the environment

EndocrineHighlights prepared by Greenfacts of the report: The scientific criteria for identification of endocrine disruptors and appropriateness of existing test methods for assessing effects mediated by these substances on human health and the environment. A report adopted on 28 February 2013 and prepared on request from the European Commission.   

www.efsa.europa.eu/efsajournal

The Highlights of the report in 8 questions and 8 answers

 1. What were the questions asked to the Scientific committee? Three specific questions were posed by the Commission in the terms of reference, namely:

  1. What scientific criteria should be used to identify EDs?
  2. What is an adverse effect and how can it be distinguished from physiological modulation?
  3. Are existing toxicity testing methods appropriately covering the effects of endocrine active substances?

The opinion expressed is based on an evaluation of existing information, current insights and scientific activities on „endocrine disruptors‟, from European and other international parties which had to include the final report „State of the Art Assessment of Endocrine Disrupters‟(Kortenkamp et al., 2011)[1].  To this end, EFSA followed its specific Standard Operating Procedure detailing the steps necessary for establishing, updating or closing a scientific working group.

The declarations of interests of all short-listed experts were checked for absence of conflicts of interest before they could be invited to participate in the working group to contribute in their personal capacity, as an observer or as a hearing expert.

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Highlights of “Turn down the heat” : an assessment prepared for the World Bank of the health, social and environmantal impact of climate change induced by a global warming of 4°C

Highlights by GreenFacts of the executive summary of the Report “Turn down the heat ~ 4°C “

A Report for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics  http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/climate-change-report-warns-dramatically-warmer-world-century

Turn down the heat

The conclusions of the report in a glance

This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes.

It is a stark reminder that climate change affects everything. The solutions don’t lie only in climate finance or climate projects. The solutions lie in effective risk management and ensuring all our work, all our thinking, is designed with the threat of a 4°C degree world in mind.

 The President of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, is very clear in its foreword of the report :  The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.  The scenarios evaluating the consequences of an increase of the global earth temperature of 4°C are indeed devastating:

  • the inundation of coastal cities;
  • increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter;
  • unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics;
  • substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions;
  • increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones;
  • irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

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Highlights of recent reports on the consequences of the Chernobyl accident on thyroid cancer, leukaemia, effects on children health and birth defects (updated version)

Higlights selected by GreenFacts of two recent publications:

1.     the summary of  the UNSCEAR’s assessments of the radiation effects;

http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

2     The summary report on Recent scientific findings and publications on the health effects of ChernobylWorking Party on Research Implications on Health. RADIATION PROTECTION NO 170 Directorate-General for Energy Directorate D — Nuclear Energy Unit D.4 — Radiation Protection 2011

http://ec.europa.eu/energy/nuclear/radiation_protection/doc/publication/170.pdf

Short summary . The global conclusions of the UNSCEAR report are that besides the most highly exposed individuals, the great majority of the population, according to the UNSCEAR report, is not likely to experience serious health consequences as a result of radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Many other health problems have been noted in the populations that are not related to radiation exposure.

1.  Consequences for the persons directly exposed Among the 106 patients surviving radiation sickness, complete normalization of health took several years. Many of those patients developed clinically significant radiation-induced cataracts in the first few years after the accident. Over the period 1987-2006, 19 survivors died for various reasons; however, some of these deaths were due to causes not associated with radiation exposure.

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Alzheimer, cancer : scientific assessments on toxicity, danger and health risks from aluminium exposure in food, antiperspirant and dermatology products.

A short GreenFacts overview of three health assessments related to aluminium exposure and aluminium products :

1)  the Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Food Contact Materials (AFC) of EFSA adopted in 2008;

2)  the statement of EFSA on the Evaluation of a new study related to the bioavailability of aluminium in food ;

3)  the Risk assessment by the French Agency AFSSAPS related to the use of aluminum in cosmetic products.

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/2157.htm

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/754.pdf

http://www.afssaps.fr/var/afssaps_site/storage/original/application/ad548a50ee74cc320c788ce8d11ba373.pdf

1. In summary

Based on the the available scientific data, the EFSA [1] Panel does not consider exposure to aluminium via food to constitute a risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease despite the fact it has been suggested that aluminium could be implicated in the aetiology of Alzheimer and other neuro-degenerative diseases. EFSA also considers unlikely aluminium to be a human carcinogen at dietary relevant doses.

The EFSA Panel established a Tolerable Weekly Intake of 1 mg aluminium/kg body weight/week. Recently, EFSA evaluated a new study (2011) on the oral absorption of a various aluminium compounds and considered that the results did not provide any additional information that could modify their conclusions reached in 2008.  EFSA also considered that the Tolerable weekly Intake of 1 mg/kg body weight/week is likely to be exceeded in a significant part of the European population The French Agency AFSSAPS[2] evaluated the exposure and the potential health effects related to dermal exposure. Their conclusion was that there are insufficient data to establish a clear relationship between the use of underarm aluminum-based antiperspirants and breast cancer. In this context, AFSSAPS recommends to restrict the concentration of aluminum in cosmetic products at 0.6% and not to use cosmetics containing aluminum on damaged skin. Continue reading

WHO fight against global tobacco epidemy – Progress report 2011

http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_report/2011/en/index.html

(this summary by GreenFacts is largely based on excerpts of the  summary of the original report)

The results presented in this WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011 show that it is possible for any country, regardless of political structure or income level, to implement an effective tobacco control programme to reduce tobacco use. The progress made provides strong evidence that there is political will for tobacco control on both national and global levels, which can be harnessed to great effect.

Many countries have indeed made significant progress in fighting the epidemic of tobacco use, and can be looked to as models for action by those countries that have not as yet adopted these measures. Countries must continue to expand and intensify their tobacco control efforts, ensuring they have both the financial means and political commitment to support effective and sustainable programmes. Continue reading

The tolerable intake of cadmium via food to avoid adverse effects to health: the opinion of the European safety agency EFSA

The current tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 2.5 µg/kg body weight (b.w.) for cadmium adopted in its previous opinion on cadmium in food is still considered appropriate and maintained. This is the conclusion of the Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, CONTAM Panel).

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1975.htm

Cadmium exerts toxic effects after long-term exposure mostly on the kidney but also on the bones. Foodstuffs are the major source of cadmium exposure for the non-smoking general population.

This opinion was given in answer to a request of the European Commission in view of the provisional tolerable monthly intake (PTMI) of 25 µg/kg b.w. established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in 2010.

Both assessments used the same epidemiological dataset and considered particularly two elements : the relation between the concentration of cadmium in urine and that of a biomarker of renal toxic effects and also a model that relates urinary cadmium concentration to dietary cadmium intake.

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Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its derivative (APFO): hazard and risk assessment for human health and the environment in the EU

A strict interpretation of the results of the PFOA risk assessment in this report leads to the conclusion that there seems to be no risk for human health in the EU-27 Member States.

Regarding the risk for the environment, it was concluded that there seems to be no risk for the aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric compartment. No risk could be identified for the microbial activity in sewage treatment systems.

This report published in January 2010 is the result of a ‘Request for Service’ which was set out  by the Directorate-General Enterprise and Industry of the EU Commission.

Analysis of the risks arising from the industrial use of Perfuorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Ammonium Perfluorooctanoate (APFO) and from their use in consumer articles. Evaluation of the risk reduction measures for potential restrictions on the manufacture, placing on the market and use of PFOA and APFO.”

 http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/chemicals/files/docs_studies/final_report_pfoa_pfos_en.pdf

A draft version of the report was presented at a EU Workshop on PFOA organized in May 2009.

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Obesity, overweight and health: little sign of positive trend

Prevalence of obesity in Europe is probably one of the most important concern, as the report “Health at a glance: Europe 2010″, jointly published by the European Commission and the OECD demonstrates.   

In December 2010, the Implementation Progress report for theStrategy for Europe on nutrition, overweight and obesity-related health issues 2007-2013was published, as a mid-point to evaluate the extent to which progress has been made.

http://ec.europa.eu/health/nutrition_physical_activity/docs/implementation_report_en.pdf

 The excerpts of the report are selected by GreenFacts

As underlined in the conclusions of the report, currently, there is little sign of decrease in the recently identified negative trends in overweight and obesity. Furthermore the current economic crisis could have additional negative impact on nutritional patterns across EU populations, especially amongst the most vulnerable. Taking into account the current trends, the financial situation and encouraging preliminary results of actions undertaken under the EU Strategy on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity related Health Issues, all stakeholders should maintain and even increase their commitment to fight overweight and obesity.

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