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Banned pesticides linked to endometriosis
The EPA now restricts the use of organochlorine pesticides, along with the United Nations’ Stockholm Convention.
November 5th, 2013
11:49 AM ET

Banned pesticides linked to endometriosis

Women with higher levels of pesticides in their blood are also more likely to have endometriosis, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue normally lining the uterus’ interior walls also grows outside the uterus, commonly to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or pelvis –- causing pelvic pain and infertility.

“It affects women during their reproductive years and it could be that as many as 10% of women during reproductive ages have endometriosis,” says Victoria Holt, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington and lead study author.

More than 5 million women have endometriosis, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Women's Health.

“What we know about endometriosis is that it's an estrogen-driven disease. Women who have more estrogen are more likely to have it," Holt says.

Once in the body, some organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are believed to mimic estrogen, possibly contributing to endometriosis. FULL POST


BPA linked to obesity in young girls
June 12th, 2013
05:05 PM ET

BPA linked to obesity in young girls

Poor diet and lack of exercise might not be the only factors contributing to the obesity epidemic. A new study suggests the environment may also play a role.

“Eating too much and exercising too little are important factors,” said Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California. “But they cannot explain the steep increase in the obesity rate the last three decades. We haven’t really changed our eating habits and exercise that much.”

The environmental culprit, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, may be bisphenol-a, a chemical commonly found in plastic and cans.

Li and colleagues studied 1,326 school-age children in Shanghai, China, and measured BPA levels in their urine. In girls ages 9 to 12, higher BPA urine levels were associated with a doubled risk of obesity. And as BPA urine levels increased, so did the girls’ obesity risk - measured using their weight in reference to weight distribution in the population. FULL POST


Climate change will mean more heat deaths
May 21st, 2013
01:47 PM ET

Climate change will mean more heat deaths

As greenhouse gases cause average temperatures to climb worldwide, human health will suffer, scientists say.

A study in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that heat deaths in Manhattan will increase over the rest of this century in connection with higher temperatures associated with global warming. In the 2020s, heat-related deaths could rise about 20% compared with the 1980s, according to the research.

"This paper helps to remind people that climate change is real, that it’s happening and we need to prepare and make ourselves as resilient as we can to climate change," said Patrick Kinney, the study's senior author and director of the Columbia Climate and Health Program at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "It’s a real problem that we face. It’s not insurmountable."

FULL POST


Study finds link between BPA and asthma
BPA can be found on the inside of the food cans that line supermarket shelves.
March 1st, 2013
07:51 AM ET

Study finds link between BPA and asthma

The list of products containing bisphenol A is pretty long: it coats the inside of the food cans; it can be found in certain plastic containers; it is sometimes found on cash register receipts.

And the list of maladies linked to the chemical is growing longer.

The latest study, by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, suggests a possible connection between BPA detected in urine samples of children and later problems with breathing.
FULL POST


Research: Toxic chemicals in your living room
November 28th, 2012
10:35 AM ET

Research: Toxic chemicals in your living room

Could the couch in your living room be toxic? Some scientists say yes.

A study in this week’s Environmental Science and Technology journal measured just how many toxic flame-retardant chemicals are in our furniture.

Researchers found that 85% of couches contained some combination of flame retardant chemicals in their cushion foam. Aside from upholstered furniture, flame retardant chemicals can also be found in car seats and nursing pillows, or any other product that has polyurethane foam. In addition, it can be used in carpeting and electronics. FULL POST


Sandy's flooding: 5 things you need to know
A flooded street in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, New York, on Tuesday in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
October 30th, 2012
01:27 PM ET

Sandy's flooding: 5 things you need to know

Flooding overwhelmed parts of the East Coast Tuesday as a result of Superstorm Sandy.

In Little Ferry, New Jersey, floodwaters were six to eight feet deep, and about 75% of the city was underwater, according to the police chief.

“We have people who were actually on roofs of their homes in certain sections. We needed, actually, boats – we’re still using boats to get people out of the low-lying areas,” Chief Ralph Verdi told CNN. “I’ve been a police officer for 33 years. I’ve never seen this type of devastation from flooding.” FULL POST


Chemical BPA linked to children's obesity
BPA is used as an anti-corrosive in aluminum cans and is used to manufacture some plastics.
September 18th, 2012
03:24 PM ET

Chemical BPA linked to children's obesity

The chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, has a long and controversial history.

Used to manufacture some plastics – like the kinds in soda or water bottles – and as an anti-corrosive in aluminum cans, BPA has been under fire for some time from consumer advocacy groups.

The FDA recently banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups after concerns were raised about potential side effects on the “brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children,” according to the FDA website.

Still, the organization has stood by the overall safety of the chemical; in March the FDA denied the Natural Resources Defense Council’s petition to ban BPA outright.

Now a new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association is adding more fuel to the flames.  The paper shows an association between BPA levels in children’s urine and obesity prevalence.
FULL POST


Drought, heat bring spiders, bugs out
The venom from a brown recluse spider can cause skin irritations and lesions and, in rare cases, can be fatal.
August 8th, 2012
04:40 PM ET

Drought, heat bring spiders, bugs out

Record high temperatures and rapid expanding drought across the country are resulting in an increase in spiders and other bugs.

“All insects are cold-blooded, so in extreme heat they develop quicker, which results in more generations popping up now compared to previous summers,” said Jim Fredericks, an entomologist and wildlife ecology expert with the National Pest Management Association.

One spider to watch out for is arguably one of mother nature's most dangerous, the brown recluse.  The extreme heat is driving brown recluses to seek refuge inside homes.

FULL POST


London pollution could affect Olympic athletes’ performance
Almost a quarter of a million people will be arriving at London's Heathrow airport as athletes and fans arrive for the Games.
July 23rd, 2012
07:00 AM ET

London pollution could affect Olympic athletes’ performance

Less than a week from the opening ceremonies, allergists are warning that some Olympic athletes may suffer breathing problems due to air pollution in London.

The amount of nitrogen dioxide in London is comparable to the level of nitrogen dioxide in Beijing before Beijing banned half of the cars in preparation for the Games, and London has done little to control traffic, says Dr. William Silvers, an allergy specialist and a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

Demanding workouts in the polluted air could spell trouble particularly for those athletes that already have conditions such as asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), a narrowing of the airways that makes it hard to move air out of the lungs, according to AAAAI.
FULL POST


Researchers estimate 130 might die from Fukushima-related cancers
Women's group members protest against nuclear power plants at a demonstration in Japan on Tuesday.
July 17th, 2012
06:21 PM ET

Researchers estimate 130 might die from Fukushima-related cancers

As protests against nuclear power gain momentum in Japan, a new report estimates the worldwide cancer death toll from the March 2011 disaster at Fukushima Daiichi could be anywhere from 15 to 1,300.  But researchers say it will more likely be around 130, and mostly in Japan.

"It's not large, but it's not 0," said Mark Jacobson, a civil and environmental engineer at Stanford University and co-author of the new study.  "A lot of people were claiming there were no health effects from the radiation.  We found that was not the case."

The study, published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, uses a three-dimensional model of the atmosphere to look at how radioactive materials spread after last year's massive earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

FULL POST


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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