Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




FROTH AND BUBBLE
Smog causes surge in heart deaths: study
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Feb 20, 2013


UN urges deeper probe into hormone-disrupting chemicals
Nairobi (AFP) Feb 19, 2013 - Scientists suspect chemicals which disrupt the hormone system are linked to early breast development, poor semen quality, low birthweight in babies and other problems, but more research is needed, UN agencies reported on Wednesday.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organisation (WHO) said evidence is mounting that so-called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) become a health risk when they enter the environment, but key knowledge gaps remain.

"Close to 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with hormone receptors, hormone synthesis or hormone conversion," the agencies said in a report.

"However, only a small fraction of these chemicals have been investigated in tests capable of identifying overt endocrine effects in intact organisms."

The report was commissioned against a backdrop of concern that EDCs -- found in some pesticides, electronics, personal care products, cosmetics and food additives -- are entering water supplies and the food chain through agricultural runoff, waste dumps and other sources.

In recent decades, scientists have observed a rise in endocrine-related disorders in humans and wildlife, including studied populations of deer, sea lions and sea otters.

In some countries, up to 40 percent of young men have low semen quality, which reduces their ability to father children, said the report, State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.

"Global rates of endocrine-related cancers -- breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, testicular and thyroid -- have been increasing over the past 40 to 50 years," it said.

"There is a trend towards earlier onset of breast development in young girls in all countries where this has been studied. This is a risk factor for breast cancer."

Incidence of genital malformation in young boys, such as non-descending testes, has increased over time or levelled off "at unfavourably high rates," it added.

The emergence of these disorders over such a short time means that genetic factors can be ruled out, it said.

Laboratory studies back suspicions that EDCs are to blame, it said.

But there are big gaps in knowledge, especially grass-roots studies that compare incidence of these disorders and exposure to the chemicals, it said.

There could be other environmental causes, and age and nutrition could play a role, it added.

In the quest for a fuller picture, the report called for more research and better international coordination on testing standards and urged governments, in the meantime, to be vigilant.

"Worldwide, there has been a failure to adequately address the underlying environmental causes of trends in endocrine diseases and disorders," it said. "(...) (The) disease risk due to EDCs may be significantly underestimated."

The document was issued on the second day of a meeting of UNEP's governing ministers, which ends in Nairobi on Friday.

Exposure to higher levels of fine particulates -- the airborne pollution that is an emerging problem in many Asian cities -- causes a sharp rise in deaths from heart attacks, a study published on Wednesday said.

Research published in the European Heart Journal pointed the finger at so-called PM2.5 pollution, which comprises tiny particles measuring 2.5 micrometres across or less.

They are mainly generated by burning coal and oil for power stations, and petrol and diesel for transport.

Around 30 times smaller than a human hair, PM2.5 particles have long been identified as a respiratory problem, as their size enables them to lodge deep in the lungs. Less understood, though, is their impact on cardiac health.

Cathryn Tonne at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine led a study into 154,000 patients in England and Wales who had been hospitalised for a heart attack between 2004 and 2007.

They followed the patients for more than three years after their release from hospital. During this period, nearly 40,000 of them died.

After stripping out factors that could skew the picture such as socio-economic status and smoking, the researchers found a clear link between exposure to PM2.5 and early death.

It far surpassed the risk from exposure to bigger particles called PM10, which are 10 micrometres across.

"We found that for every 10 microgrammes per M3 in PM2.5, there was a 20-percent increase in the death rate," said Tonne.

If PM2.5 levels had been reduced to their natural background rate, the total number of deaths would have fallen by 4,873, or 12 percent.

The average exposure to PM2.5 in England was 11.0 microgrammes per m3, with the highest in London, which was 14.1 microgrammes per m3. The lowest was in northeast England, which had 8.4 particles per m3.

By comparison, the World Health Organisation (WHO) sets down guidelines of a maximum of 10 microgrammes of PM2.5 per cubic metre as an annual average exposure, and a maximum of 25 microgrammes per m3 over a 24-hour period.

Particulate smog is becoming a major problem in Asian cities that have built up over the past decade.

In Beijing last month, PM2.5 levels reached 993 microgrammes per m3, almost 40 times the WHO's recommended safe limit, triggering an outcry.

"The pollution in Beijing is a huge cause for concern," said Pier Manucci, a professor at the University of Milan and a leading European authority on thrombosis, when asked to comment on the study.

"When you think that here in Italy, in Milan, we are concerned when the concentration of PM2.5 is around 100 and in China it reaches values of 1,000, you can understand the magnitude of the difference in risk and effects."

He said that almost all of the research into the link between cardiac risk and pollution was conducted in rich countries, where PM2.5 levels were far lower.

"We know the degree of pollution in these countries, thanks to satellite data about aerosol concentrations," Manucci told AFP. "But they pay little attention, except as you notice during the (2008 Olympic) Games, when they decreased the traffic in Beijing."

.


Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





FROTH AND BUBBLE
Trying to revive the Philippines' toxic river heart
Manila (AFP) Feb 19, 2013
Boys shout in delight as they flip backwards off a bridge. Fishermen quietly cast rods out. They are joyful acts that should belong to an earlier era, before the Philippines' Pasig River turned toxic. Yet some slum dwellers in Manila whose shanty homes choke the river and its tributaries have little choice but to live as if the national capital's most important waterway is clean. "It's h ... read more


FROTH AND BUBBLE
Four guilty of manslaughter in Italy quake trial

Warning of emergency alert system hacks

No health effects from Fukushima: Japan researcher

Aid trickles into tsunami-hit Solomons despite aftershocks

FROTH AND BUBBLE
'Explorers' to don Google Internet glasses

Sony pressured to change game with PS4 console

Researchers strain to improve electrical material and it's worth it

Explosive breakthrough in research on molecular recognition

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Indonesia announces shark, manta ray sanctuary

Quantifying Sediment From 2011 Flood Into Louisianas Wetlands

Japanese scientists hunt for groundwater

Landslides delivered preferred upstream habitats for coho salmon

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Ice age extinction shaped Australian plant diversity

European sat data confirms UW numbers that Arctic is on thin ice

NASA Scientists Part of Arctic Sea Ice Study

Rapid changes in Arctic ecosystem during 2012 ice minimum

FROTH AND BUBBLE
US Court tilts toward Monsanto in battle with farmer

Dustbin to dinner: ministers served binned food

Marsh plants actively engineer their landscape

Advance promises to expand biological control of crop pests

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Flood research shows human habits die hard

Indonesia floods, landslides kill 17

Mystery gold gifts for tsunami-wracked Japan port

Shimmering water reveals cold volcanic vent in Antarctic waters

FROTH AND BUBBLE
ICoast, Guinea vow peaceful resolution to border dispute

South Sudan president retires over 100 army generals

Pistorius shooting puts spotlight on S.African gun violence

US warns of tensions on Sudan-S.Sudan border

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Zuckerberg, Brin join forces to extend life

Thick hair mutation emerged 30,000 years ago in humans

Tiny mutation had big evolutionary impact

Bilingual babies get good at grammar




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement