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New book examines health and environmental impacts of common (and not-so-common) chemicals
Date:11/9/2010

al care products, natural and synthetic hormones, various agricultural pesticides, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and other persistent organohalogens. In 2002, the United States Geological Survey released a study that used a battery of new scientific techniques to pinpoint 95 wastewater-derived compounds in 139 of the nation's streams.

In 2008, an investigation commissioned by the Associated Press identified traces of one or more pharmaceuticals in the water supply of over 41 million U.S. citizens and in 2009, alarming reports of chemically affected "intersex fish" were reported to Congress and also made headlines nationally. It has become increasingly clear over the past decade that surface, ground and drinking-water supplies have already been significantly contaminated by a host of chemicals, the full effects of which remain largely unknown.

While chemicals showing acute toxicity to humans and the environment have been given more attention and been subject to stiffer regulation, a vast array of chemicals once believed to be safe are getting a second look, as new genomic and epigenomic studies shed light on the supreme sensitivity of cellular structures and metabolic pathways to CEC impacts, even at low dosages. Many such chemicals, described in detail in the new text, were the focus of a special workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), held in Tucson, Arizona in 2009.

As Halden notes in his preface to the book, "emerging contaminants in the environment is a topic that is here to stay." The new work should encourage further research and where appropriate, regulatory action mandating the safe use of chemicalsa matter of grave importance to public health.


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Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer
Joseph.Caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-727-0369
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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