Soundbytes: An E-News Capsule Roundup
My desk floods with a daily tide of environmental newsletters, articles, action alerts, and other odds and eco-ends. Most of it’s not very interesting. Only a few items earn serious ink. But in between lies news that’s not quite worth an entire blog entry, yet still good to know. Today, I’m packing as much of it as I can into a single post.
We begin at New York University where doctors analyzing national health data connected a new set of dots between phthalates and diabetes. The higher the level of the phthalate DEHP in teenagers’ urine, the more likely they are to develop insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes. It’s hardly the other shoe dropping where phthalates are concerned, but it could help explain why 1-in-6 kids are obese.
Meanwhile at the University of Michigan, researchers found that kids with higher levels of BPA in their urine were more likely to be obese and have a higher waistline-to-height ratio. This isn’t proof that BPA causes obesity, but it strongly suggests the need for a closer, more definitive look.
Across the border, Canadian officials are publishing summaries of the risk assessments Environment Canada conducts on many of the chemicals proposed for domestic use. Naturally, industry is worried they’ll say too much and health advocates fear they’ll reveal too little. But every little bit helps when it comes to understanding chemicals and their potential dangers, so I’ll take anything that’s offered.
A study at the University of Wisconsin finds that kids exposed to lead are three times more likely to get suspended from school by the fourth grade and suggests that lead may be more responsible for school discipline problems than we realize. With the EPA saying there’s no safe level of lead exposure, who can argue?
But lead may not be the only issue. A study in the Journal of pediatrics has linked soda consumption to aggression, attention deficits and social withdrawal in 5-year-olds. The real surprise here? That some parents give soda to their preschoolers! Yuck.
Speaking of lead, tests on lipsticks have shown that most contain at least a little. But they can also contain cadmium, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, manganese, chromium, copper and nickel. Women probably don’t want these new metals in their bodies either.
A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due momentarily will say it’s at least 95% likely that human activities are causing climate change. But figuring out what’s going to happen where is far more difficult than anyone anticipated. Here’s an idea: Rather than expend our energy puzzling over global warming’s effects why don’t we just focus on preventing its causes?
Finally, in what I interpret as a tacit back-door admission that neonicotinoid pesticides are partially if not wholly responsible for killing bees, the EPA has announced a new neonicotinoid label prohibiting their use around bees and featuring a “bee advisory box” detailing precautions. The label isn’t perfect, but the federal acknowledgement it represents shows we’re finally getting somewhere.
About the Inkslinger
The Inkslinger has written about environmental issues for over 20 years and is a freelance writer for some of America’s most iconoclastic companies and non-profits. His true loves include nature, music of the Americana/rock and roll variety, interior design, books, old things, good stories, pagan rituals, and his wife of 24 years, with whom he lives in an undisclosed chemical-free rural Vermont location along with his teenage daughter and two infinitely hilarious Australian shepherds.