The DDT Dilemna

January 24, 2011

ResearchBlogging.orgThe insecticide DDT (dichlorodiphenytrichloroethane) has been in the public mind ever since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published in 1962. Growing awareness of its environmental effects, persistence, biomagnification in food chains, and presence in humans (including in breast milk) led to severe restrictions being placed on its use, particularly in the developed world. However, its effectiveness against malaria-carrying mosquitoes led to the continued use of DDT in many areas of the world, including within residences. Now a new paper by Hidrik Bouwman, Henk van den Berg and Herik Kylin reviews the current state of knowledge about the risks vs. benefits of DDT.

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Phthalates in children’s toys

January 18, 2011

The Government of Canada has just announced new legislation that will significantly restrict the levels of six phthalates in children’s toys and child care products. Europe imposed similar restrictions several years ago, and the US in 2009. Today I’ll briefly look at why these restrictions are in place, why they only apply to toys and child care products, and what it all means.

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The German Dioxins Scare

January 11, 2011

Just a quick post this week (work is rather busy at the moment). There’s been an incident in the news lately of various agricultural products contaminated with dioxins in Germany (lots of the articles refer to “dioxin”, but it should be “dioxins” since it refers to a group of chemicals that are normally looked at together). The source is apparently contaminated feed for poultry and swine. Is this an immediate health hazard?

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