Logo CRI logo WHO logo
 
 
Chem HelpDesk user guide for general public
News
Latest News
January 16, 2015 | UNEP News Centre
Montreal Protocol averts threat of large increases in skin cancers
The threat of large increases in skin cancers has been avoided due to the success of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in controlling ozone depletion, according to the newly published "Environmental Effects of Ozone Depletion and its Interactions with Climate Change: 2014 Assessment" report, produced by the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP) of the Montreal Protocol, following its latest quadrennial assessment.
January 15, 2015 | EPA Newsroom
EPA urges home radon testing/protect your family from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon in your home
In recognizing January as National Radon Action Month, EPA encourages Americans around the country to test their homes for this naturally occurring radioactive gas and make 2015 a healthier, safer new year.
January 15, 2015 | Chemical & Engineering News
Big apple bans foam containers
Regulation: Chemical industry fought for recycling of polystyrene instead. The market for alternatives to expanded polystyrene food and beverage containers got a significant boost last week when New York City finalized its ban on these materials, despite heavy lobbying by the chemical industry.
January 14, 2015 | Science News
More toxic chemicals found in oil and gas wastewater.
Whether trickling from cracked shale deep underground or gushing through an old-school well, wastewater from oil and gas production may carry two additional dangerous chemicals besides those previously known. High levels of ammonium, iodide can harm aquatic life, contaminate tap water.
January 12, 2015 | Los Angeles Times
BPA and 'BPA-free' alternative linked to fetal brain changes
Fetal exposure to Bisphenol A, as well as to the widely marketed alternative Bisphenol S, may cause "real and measurable" changes in the development of a brain region that plays a key role in fear, impulse-control, obesity and early puberty.
January 12, 2015 | Chemical & Engineering News
New York City bans expanded polystyrene food containers, opens market to alternatives
The market for alternatives to expanded polystyrene food and beverage containers got a significant boost last week when New York City finalized its ban on these materials, despite heavy lobbying by the chemical industry.
January 9, 2015 | EPA Pesticide News
New EPA guidance would reduce use of lab animals and increase relevant acute toxicity data on pesticides
In an effort to help expand the acceptance of alternative methods for acute toxicity testing, EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs has released a new draft guidance document. The agency is accepting comments on the draft guidance for 60 days, until March 10, 2015. With the rapid advances in science and continual development of new technologies, the EPA recognizes there is an increasing potential for the use of alternative methods in regulatory risk assessments.
January 5, 2015 | Chemical & Engineering News
Climate Change: EPA seeks massive methane reductions from oil and gas sector
The White House unveiled plans last week to reduce emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry by 40–45% through new EPA regulations. Methane emissions from this sector are projected to rise 25% by 2025, constraining White House international climate change policy objectives.
January 5, 2015 | EPA
EPA Revised Chlorpyrifos Assessment Shows Risk to Workers
EPA is releasing an assessment for public comment on the potential for human health risk of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. This assessment shows some risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos pesticide products. When used in large amounts, chlorpyrifos has the potential to pose risks in limited geographic areas when drinking water from small watersheds. There were no additional risks from pesticide exposures in food or exposures to bystanders and workers from airborne chlorpyrifos. The latest USDA pesticide residue data show no concerns for chlorpyrifos in food, with the pesticide detected in less than 1% of samples.
December 29, 2014 | Lancaster Online
PCB contamination causes fish consumption advisory for catfish caught from Susquehanna River in Lancaster County
The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a consumption warning for channel catfish longer than 20 inches. Samples of the fish showed unacceptable levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, often called PCBs. DEP recommends no more than one meal per month of channel catfish that are 20 inches or longer.
December 22, 2014 | Science World Report
New Study Links Air Pollution To Congenital Effects
Air pollution is a widely studied problem that many officials have examined. For those living in concentrated urban populations, this issue may affect them more than those who live out in the country side. Now, researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered new evidence linking high exposure of air pollution to an increased risk of congenital malformations.
December 11, 2014 | WHO SEARO Media Centre
WHO targets implementation of new guidelines for indoor air quality
WHO convened a meeting of representatives of Member States to target the implementation of the new Guidelines for indoor air quality: household fuel combustion, at a Regional workshop on air quality and human health in New Delhi today. Over 60% of homes in WHO South-East Asia Region still use solid fuel for cooking. In India, this amounts to some 700 million people.
December 11, 2014 | CNN International
Exposure to common household chemicals may cause IQ drop
A chemical that's in a lot of household products may be hurting children's IQ's. Women who had a high amount of the chemicals called di-n-butyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate in their bodies during pregnancy gave birth to children who had markedly lower IQ scores, according to a new study running in the journal PLOS One.
December 11, 2014 | National Geographic
Why Didn't Toxic Waste Cause a Cancer Epidemic, Like We Expected in the 1970s?
There are hundreds of hazardous waste sites in the U.S.—but only three have been linked to excess cancers. Like so many people who fear their health has been damaged by living near a hazardous waste site, the veterans of Camp Lejeune, a polluted Marine Corps base in Jacksonville, North Carolina, have had a long time to wait and stew.
December 8, 2014 | The New York Times
BPA in Cans and Plastic Bottles Linked to Quick Rise in Blood Pressure
People who regularly drink from cans and plastic bottles may want to reconsider: A new study shows that a common chemical in the containers can seep into beverages and raise blood pressure within a few hours.
December 8, 2014 | UNEP News Centre
Fast-Tracking Elimination of Production of Remaining Ozone-Depleting Substances Could Speed Up Ozone Layer Recovery by 11 Years
The recovery of the ozone layer - the shield that protects life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays - would come sooner if we were to fast-track the elimination of the production of the ozone-depleting substance (ODS) hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and manage other ODSs that remain in equipment, building walls and chemical stockpiles, according to the full release of a report by nearly 300 scientists from 36 countries.
December 5, 2014 | The Globe and Mail
Asbestos revealed as Canada’s top cause of workplace death
Asbestos exposure is the single largest on-the-job killer in Canada, accounting for more than a third of total workplace death claims approved last year and nearly a third since 1996, new national data obtained by The Globe and Mail show. The 368 death claims last year alone represent a higher number than fatalities from highway accidents, fires and chemical exposures combined.
December 2, 2014 | The Guardian
Toiletry chemicals linked to testicular cancer and male infertility cost EU millions, report says
Nordic Council calls on EU to ban damaging compounds found in household products that cost millions due to their harmful impact on male reproductive health. The hormone-mimicking chemicals used routinely in toiletries, cosmetics, medicines, plastics and pesticides cause hundreds of millions of euros of damage to EU citizens every year, according to the first estimate of their economic impact.
November 30, 2014 | The Bangkok Post
The battle to ban asbestos
Its health risks are well documented, but some Thai industry leaders insist the material can be used safely and are digging in against a push to outlaw it Please credit and share this article with others using this link:http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/special-reports/446179/the-battle-to-ban-asbestos. View our policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip. © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.
November 12, 2014 | WHO Media Centre
WHO sets benchmarks to reduce health damage from indoor air pollution
WHO recommendations, released today, highlight the dangers of burning fuels like unprocessed coal and kerosene in the home, and set targets for reducing emissions of health-damaging pollutants from domestic cookstoves, space heaters and fuel-based lamps.
November 5, 2014 | Environmental Health News
Air pollution linked to children's attention problems
New York City children exposed in the womb to high levels of pollutants in vehicle exhaust had a five times higher risk of attention problems at age 9. The study adds to earlier evidence that mothers' exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are emitted by the burning of fossil fuels and other organic materials, are linked to children's behavioral problems associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
November 2, 2014 | Natural News
FDA loopholes allow imports of chemical paper products that cause permanent brain damage in infants
A group of consumer and health groups came together on October 16 demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issue an outright ban on a group of man-made chemicals that are wreaking havoc on both people and the environment.
November 2, 2014 | Daily Mail Online
Cereal killers? More than half of rice products exceed new EU limits for ARSENIC
New research has found that more than half of Britain's most popular rice products - including Kellogg's Rice Krispies and Smooth Baby Rice by Heinz - exceed proposed new EU limits for arsenic. While there are low levels of arsenic in most food and water, researchers are now concerned that arsenic can reach much higher levels in rice. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2817542/More-half-rice-products-exceed-new-EU-limits-ARSENIC.html#ixzz3OgVKpqmA Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
October 29, 2014 | Environmental Health News
Plastics chemical linked to changes in baby boys' genitals
Boys exposed in the womb to high levels of a chemical found in vinyl products are born with slightly altered genital development, according to research published today. The study of nearly 200 Swedish babies is the first to link the chemical di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP) to changes in the development of the human male reproductive tract.
October 24, 2014 | Natural News
Water bottles leach endocrine disrupters and carcinogens in warm temperatures
The results of a new study confirm what most already know regarding the dangers of drinking bottled water that's been left in the sun. Published in the September journal of Environmental Pollution, scientists warn against leaving plastic bottled water in any warm place, especially the car.
October 18, 2014 | Science News
Thirdhand smoke poses lingering danger
Coffee’s caffeine jolt evolved independently from that of tea and chocolate, a genetic analysis of the popular bean reveals. Researchers deciphered the genome of Coffea canephora, the second-most cultivated species of coffee and a parent of C. arabica, the source of the world’s best-selling cup of joe. Within C. canephora’s 11 chromosome pairs, the team found many duplicated genes, including ones that produce caffeine. Such duplications may let organisms make more of those genes’ products and evolve new or better-functioning proteins.
October 14, 2014 | Environmental Health News
BPA in the air: Manufacturing plants in Ohio, Indiana, Texas are top emitters
As concerns mount over people’s exposure to the plasticizer bisphenol A in everyday products, it’s also contaminating the air near manufacturing plants: U.S. companies emitted about 26 tons of the hormone-disrupting compound in 2013.
October 6, 2014 | Environmental Health News
Pesticide use by farmers linked to high rates of depression, suicides
Depression is the most common mental disability in the United States. About 7 percent of U.S. adults annually experience at least one two-week or longer stretch of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. There is no national data on whether farmers and their workers are more prone to depression.
September 25, 2014 | UNEP Press Release
The Minamata Convention on Mercury: Towards Its Early Entry Into Force and Effective Implementation
An additional 18 countries sign the Minamata Convention at a high-level event during the opening of the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly.
September 16, 2014 | The Guardian
Why banning dangerous chemicals is not enough
The growth in chemical production in the past 40 years has been nothing short of explosive, with global output of $171bn in 1970 (pdf) burgeoning to more than $4tn in 2010 (an increase of more than 2,000%). By 2050, the market is expected to expand further to more than $14tn (an increase of more than 250% from 2010), with the BRICS countries dominating and accounting for more than $6tn together ($4tn for China alone).
August 27, 2014 | WHO Media Centre
WHO calls for stronger action on climate-related health risks
Previously unrecognized health benefits could be realized from fast action to reduce climate change and its consequences. For example, changes in energy and transport policies could save millions of lives annually from diseases caused by high levels of air pollution. The right energy and transport policies could also reduce the burden of disease associated with physical inactivity and traffic injury.
August 11, 2014 | EPA Pesticide News
Agreement to cancel methomyl use on some crops
EPA and the manufacturers of the insecticide methomyl have agreed to cancel the use of methomyl on barley, oat, and rye, limit its use on wheat to Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, and reduce the application rates and the number of applications for some crops by 20-50%. These actions are in response to EPA’s evaluation of data showing risk from methomyl in drinking water. EPA is taking this action to protect human health and the environment.
June 28, 2014 | Science News
Health risks of e-cigarettes emerge
Electronic cigarettes, marketed as safer than regular cigarettes, deliver a cocktail of toxic chemicals including carcinogens into the lungs, new studies show. Using e-cigarettes may even make bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics, according to one study.
June 11, 2014 | NBC News (New York)
Banned Pesticides, Toxic Metals Found Near Long Island Homes for Veterans, USA
Authorities probing several toxic material dump sites on Long Island said Tuesday that soil samples at a row of newly built homes for war veterans were contaminated with banned pesticides, hazardous metals and petroleum byproducts. The homes, on Veterans Way in Islandia, initially tested negative for asbestos, but Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said a new round of tests came back positive for the pesticides DDT and chlordane, petroleum byproducts and above-average levels several metals including cobalt, zinc, iron and lead.
June 10, 2014 | EnvironmentalHealthNews.org
Infants exposed to 'potentially harmful' chemicals in vinyl
Most babies born prematurely and one-third of full-term infants are exposed to chemicals found in vinyl “at a potentially harmful level,” according to new research in Finland. The study of 125 babies from the day they were born to 14 months old is the first comprehensive examination of infants’ exposure to several phthalates. The chemicals, considered hormone disruptors, have been linked to health effects in animal tests and some human studies, including altered male genitalia, attention and learning problems and asthma. The sources of the phthalates in the babies are unknown. But some researchers suspect that they came from hospital equipment or household materials.
June 10, 2014 | EnvironmentalHealthNews.org
US FDA, EPA advise pregnant women, children to eat more low-mercury fish
Federal officials on Tuesday announced major changes in advice to pregnant and breastfeeding women by recommending consumption of at least 8 ounces of low-mercury fish per week. It is the first time that the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration have issued recommendations on the minimum amount of fish that pregnant women and children should eat. The previous advisory, issued in 2004, included only maximum amounts to protect their fetuses and young children from mercury, which can harm developing brains and reduce IQs.
June 8, 2014 | BBC News
Air pollution needs more monitoring, says UK trade union
Councils must work to improve the monitoring of urban air quality after research suggested some UK workers were being exposed to "dangerous" pollution levels. Street cleaners and parking staff were among those most at risk.
June 5, 2014 | Asia News Network
China's big cities struggle to meet pollution standards
Most major Chinese cities continue to suffer heavy air pollution, but cleanup efforts are showing signs of progress, the country's environmental watchdog said on Wednesday. Only 3 out of 74 cities that adopted revised air quality standards made the mark last year, Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection, said during the release of the 2013 Report on the State of the Environment in China. The measurements are based on the intensity of pollution factors like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, PM10, PM2.5, carbon monoxide and ozone.
June 5, 2014 | UNEP News Centre
Sea-Level Rise in Small Island Nations - Up to Four Times the Global Average - to Cost US$ Trillions in Annual Economic Loss and Impede Future Development: Shift to Green Policies and Investment Critical
Climate change-induced sea-level rise in the world's 52 small island nations - estimated to be up to four times the global average - continues to be the most pressing threat to their environment and socio-economic development with annual losses at the trillions of dollars due to increased vulnerability. An immediate shift in policies and investment towards renewable energy and green economic growth is required to avoid exacerbating these impacts, says a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
June 4, 2014 | BBC News
Pollution link to irregular heartbeat and lung clotting
Air pollution is linked to increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat and blood clots in the lung, research suggests. The impact of air pollution on the risk of heart attack and stroke is less clear, say UK experts. Analysis of data from England and Wales shows air pollution is particularly harmful in the elderly.
June 4, 2014 | EnvironmentalHealthNews.org
Moms' lead exposure could affect newborns' brains
Pregnant women exposed to lead had newborns who scored slightly lower on tests measuring reflexes and other skills tied to brain development, according to a new study from China. Scientists already have documented that low levels of lead can reduce children’s IQs and cause other neurological effects. But the new study is one of few to find that babies in the womb also could be affected, especially if exposed during the first trimester.
May 30, 2014 | New York Times
How a Carbon Market Works
Governments around the world are experimenting with issuing permits that allow industries to emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, then restricting those permits to rein in carbon emissions.
May 26, 2014 | New York Times
China to Take 5 Million Cars Off the Road
China plans to take more than 5 million aging vehicles off the roads this year in a bid to improve air quality, with 330,000 cars set to be decommissioned in Beijing alone. Pollution has emerged as an urgent priority for China’s leaders as they try to reverse the damage done by decades of breakneck economic growth and head off public anger about the sorry state of the nation’s air, water and soil. In a wide-ranging action plan to cut emissions over the next two years, the Chinese cabinet, the State Council, said the country had already fallen behind in its pollution targets from 2011 to 2013 and was now having to step up its efforts. As many as 5.33 million so-called yellow label vehicles that fail to meet fuel standards will be eliminated this year.
May 23, 2014 | UNEP News Centre
Bangladesh Uncovers the Crippling Cost of Climate Change Adaptation
With a population of 140 million, Bangladesh is one of the world's most populated countries. It is also one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Cyclones, floods and droughts have long been part of the country's history but they have intensified in recent years. As a result of the long exposure to these hazards, Bangladesh is a world leader in adaptation strategies but this has come with a heavy price tag. To find out exactly how much tax payers' money has been absorbed by efforts to tackle the effects of climate change, the Ministry of Finance has been working with the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative to launch its first comprehensive climate change accounting system. The results of the financial review were telling.
May 20, 2014 | Asia News Network
Sports brands found using toxic chemicals in shoes, clothes
Soccer wear and shoes from three international sports brands, all of whom are major producers of apparel for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, were found to contain toxic chemicals, according to a report issued by Greenpeace on Monday. In its report, the environmental organisation said it bought sporting goods from Nike, Adidas and Puma in 16 countries and regions across the world and conducted tests on them from March to May. It found that 81 percent of the three brands' soccer shoes and 35 percent of their soccer performance shirts had chemical residues, including plasticiser and perfluorinated compounds. Among the tested products, the perfluorooctanoic acid index of an Adidas soccer boot named Predator had more than 15 times the standard amount of the acid, the report said.
May 14, 2014 | UNEP News Centre
Tajikistan Green Investment in the Agricultural Sector helps realign its pathway to Sustainable Development
In Tajikistan, agriculture provides the backbone of the economy and supports the livelihoods of two-thirds of rural communities. Yet the steep terrain that characterizes the country means that only 7 per cent of land is suitable for farming. As pressure on available land has mounted, so too have unsustainable agricultural practices, leading to depleted soils, deforestation and waning productivity. These challenges have been further exacerbated by climate change. In light of the growing pressures on the country's natural resource base and the subsequent squeeze increasingly felt by its poorest communities, the government of Tajikistan has decided to realign its national development plan to tackle the duel challenge of environmental protection and poverty alleviation. Evidence of this can be seen in the northern region of Sughd, where the government has worked with communities and regional policy makers to showcase the need for poverty alleviation investments that help, not hamper, environmental protection. The project in Sughd was designed to convince national policy makers that investments in poverty alleviation would be more effective in the long run if they also bolster a healthy and stable environment.
May 6, 2014 | Asia News Network
Anti-haze bill 'to be tabled later this year': Singapore minister
A bill that penalises those responsible for causing transboundary haze will be tabled in Parliament by the second half of this year, Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said.According to the draft legislation, firms that have fires on land they own or manage that cause haze over Singapore can be deemed to have committed an offence, and fined up to S$300,000 (US$239,923). Those affected by the haze can also take up civil suits against these companies, whose representatives could be served notice when they enter Singapore. The proposed law comes after Singapore - and Southeast Asia - experienced record levels of pollution caused by forest fires in Riau last June.
February 19, 2014 | The Globe and Mail, Canada
Scientists raise concerns over chemicals leaching into food from packaging
No one in their right mind would knowingly drink formaldehyde – but that’s the risk consumers take when they gulp down fizzy drinks sold in plastic containers, according to a report published Wednesday in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Although formaldehyde is not used to make plastic bottles, it is a byproduct of the manufacturing process, the authors wrote. Trace amounts of it leach into drinks, said lead author Dr. Jane Muncke, manager of the Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland. Muncke noted that formaldehyde is just one of 6,500 chemicals found in food manufacturing materials.

Older News
December 26, 2013 | ColomboPage
Indian Coast Guard training mission in Sri Lanka demonstrates pollution response exercises, Sri Lanka
Dec 25, Colombo: The two Indian Coast Guard ships visiting Sri Lanka on a training mission are now docked at the Colombo Port after participating in the trilateral exercise in Trincomalee last week...
December 26, 2013 | Bangkok Post
Pollution dept to act on hotspots, Thailand
Three industrial pollution hotspots in Chachoengsao and Prachin Buri provinces in the East, and Loei province in the Northeast are worrying the Pollution Control Department (PCD)...
December 26, 2013 | China Economic Review
China struggling to meet pollution goals, China
A report submitted on Wednesday to the Chinese government said faster-than-expected economic growth was to blame for China's struggle to meet its 2011-2015 environmental targets, Reuters reported...
December 25, 2013 | San Jose Mercury News
Home gas ranges produce toxic gases, Lawrence Berkeley Lab study says, Hong Kong
Air pollution isn't just an outdoor problem. Unhealthy fumes may be emitted inside your own home if you're cooking over an unvented gas stove...
December 25, 2013 | China.org.cn
Pollution for Shanghai's Christmas, China
Heavily polluted air is expected to greet Christmas today with the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center forecasting an air quality index of between 220 and 240...
December 25, 2013 | Radio Zamaneh
Pollution forces school closures, class cancellations in Tehran, Iran
The Tehran Air Pollution Committee announced on Monday night that all elementary schools, kindergartens and daycares in Tehran and Shar-e Rey will be closed due to the extreme decline in air quality...
December 25, 2013 | Shanghai Daily
Pollution for city’s Christmas, China
Heavily polluted air is expected to greet Christmas today with the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center forecasting an air quality index of between 220 and 240...
December 24, 2013 | China Daily
Three detained in toxic parcel investigation, China
Three people have been detained by police in Shandong province in a case in which one man was killed and nine other people were made ill by parcels contaminated by toxic chemicals...
December 24, 2013 | The Canadian Press
E-cigarettes take social scene by storm; pose headaches for regulators, Canada
TORONTO - You may not have known what an e-cigarette was at the start of 2013. But chances are, you do now...
December 24, 2013 | InsideClimate News
In 2013, Exxon Spill Showed Dangers of Pipelines Buried Under Backyards
The Arkansas spill shone a spotlight on the dangers hiding in existing pipelines. It also reignited the debate over the proposed Keystone XL...