Govt' to Investigate Environmental Health Threats to Children

A public meeting entitled “Children’s Environmental Health: Identifying and Preventing Environmental Threats to Children” will be held February 24-26, 2003 at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Children are not merely small adults, and can be exceptionally vulnerable to exposure from harmful toxicants. Exposures that may prove benign to an adult may have profound effects in an infant or child. To be held in the NIH’s Natcher Conference Center, the meeting is sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which is a part of NIH, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

U.S. Carcinogens Report Lists Estrogen Therapy, Ultraviolet, Wood Dust

The federal government today published its biennial Report on Carcinogens, adding steroidal estrogens used in estrogen replacement therapy and oral contraceptives to its official list of “known” human carcinogens. This and 15 other new listings bring the total of substances in the report, “known” or “reasonably anticipated” to pose a cancer risk, to 228. Among the other new additions: wood dust and ultraviolet light.

Fossil fuels for cooking, heating may be best for world’s 2 billion poor

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the use of fossil fuels for household cooking and heating may make more environmental sense for the estimated 2 billion rural poor in the world, according to a researcher from the University of California, Berkeley. Because they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuels have been largely dismissed as a viable alternative for the one-third of the world’s population who now use coal and local biomass – including wood, crop residues and dung – for cooking and heating, said Kirk R. Smith, professor and chair of environmental health sciences at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Efforts have been focused on equipping the rural poor with renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

20 years laters, no significant cancer increase in Three Mile Island residents

In a 20-year follow-up study of mortality data on residents living within a five-mile radius of Three Mile Island (TMI), researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) found no significant increase overall in deaths from cancer. “This survey of data, which covers the normal latency period for most cancers, confirms our earlier analysis that radioactivity released during the nuclear accident at TMI does not appear to have caused an overall increase in cancer deaths among residents of that area over the follow-up period, l979 to l998,” said Evelyn Talbott, Dr.P.H., professor of epidemiology at GSPH and principal investigator on the study.