Service dogs add to the debate over environment and fertility, but what does that mean for humans?

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A lab, like the dogs in the study. But a troublemaker, not a service dog.

A study of generations of services dogs raised in identical conditions adds new evidence to the much-debated theory that common chemicals in the environment may impact fertility.

This from a story buried in this morning’s paper. 

From 1988 to 2014, researchers studied between 42 and 97 stud dogs annually. Between 1994 and 2014, they also noticed that the mortality rate of the female puppies, although small, showed a threefold increase. And the incidence of undescended testicles in male puppies, also small, had a 10-fold increase, to 1 percent from 0.1.

When the researchers tested testicular tissue for chemical content (in dogs retired from breeding or neutered for other reasons), they found concentrations of chemicals that had been common in electrical transformers and paint, and others still used in plastics. In additional analyses done in the last three years, researchers found concentrations of the same chemicals in the dogs’ semen. The chemicals include polychlorinated bisphenol (PCB), which, though banned, has a long half-life, and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP).

As noted, there is a ferocious debate over this. The researcher at the Silent Spring Institute in Newton have been trying to sort it out. Go here for some of their research. 

Do note that even one of the critics of the research into the links between human health and estrogen-mimicking compounds has this to say about the study:

Peter J. Hansen, a professor of reproductive biology at the University of Florida, describes himself generally as a skeptic of many studies linking chemical exposure to declining sperm quality. Much research on the effect of environmental hazards on humans is typically done by administering doses of hazards to research animals in much greater concentrations than is typically found in water supplies, he said.

But the Nottingham study, he noted, detected the chemicals in the dogs’ tissue and also in the dogs’ food. And researchers did so over decades, tracking a concurrent decline in reproductive markers.

“I think it was very rigorous,” he said. “It’s much more clear from their data that there was a decline over time, which agrees with the human data but doesn’t suffer from the same research problems.”

 

 

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Are potentially toxic chemicals in CapeCod drinking water a health risk? A public meeting

The scientists at Silent Spring Institute in Newton took on a very difficult job — Look at the links between the environment and the Cape Cod breast cancer cluster.

imagesScientists have challenged the relevance of cancer clusters. And, critics of environmentalists like to dismiss this kind of research as the work of  so-called “chemophobes.”

So, if it doesn’t concern you that a Silent Spring study concluded that  “pharmaceuticals, consumer product chemicals, and other emerging contaminants can be found in the majority of public drinking water wells tested on Cape Cod, MA,” go ahead, skip this post and drink up.

If it does, check out the group’s work, including the recent, peer-reviewed  study on chemicals in Cape water. Or head out to Hyannis for meeting on “How can we protect cape drinking water? New research motivates innovative wastewater plans.” Here’s a report from WCAI radio and here’s the pitch, straight from the SSI press release.

DATE: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
WHERE: 12:00–1:30 p.m.
Barnstable Town Hall, 2nd Floor Hearing Room, 367 Main Street, Hyannis
(Lunch will be served)
WHO: Laurel Schaider, PhD, Research Scientist, Silent Spring Institute
Ann Maguirefirst president and co-founder of Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and co-founder of Silent Spring Institute
John K. Erban, MD, Clinical Director, Tufts Medical Center Cancer Center; and Silent Spring Institute Board of Directors
For Immediate Release

Silent Spring Institute Research Update

How can we protect cape drinking water? 
New research motivates innovative wastewater plans

Progress in breast cancer prevention research

DATE: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
WHERE: 12:00–1:30 p.m.
Barnstable Town Hall, 2nd Floor Hearing Room, 367 Main Street, Hyannis
(Lunch will be served)
WHO: Laurel Schaider, PhD, Research Scientist, Silent Spring Institute
Ann Maguirefirst president and co-founder of Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and co-founder of Silent Spring Institute
John K. Erban, MD, Clinical Director, Tufts Medical Center Cancer Center; and Silent Spring Institute Board of Directors

Recent findings and next steps for Silent Spring Institute study of contaminants of emerging concern in Cape Cod groundwater

Previous studies by Silent Spring Institute have shown pharmaceuticals, consumer product chemicals, and other contaminants of emerging concern in Cape Cod drinking water and groundwater. With funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Institute researchers recently completed a study that synthesized existing information about contaminants of emerging concern in septic system discharges and used these results to estimate contaminant inputs into watersheds and areas that recharge drinking water wells on Cape Cod. Starting this fall, Silent Spring Institute will be conducting a new study of contaminants of emerging concern in eco-toilets, a sustainable, low-cost approach being considered to treat wastewater and address nutrient pollution on the Cape. These studies are especially important now because Cape Cod is debating wastewater management options to address nutrient pollution i nto sensitive ecosystems, and these decisions have long-term implications for protection of drinking water quality.

 

 

Cape Cod water: A cocktail of antibiotics, bug spray and scotchguard

Speaking of disease detectives, Newton’s Silent Spring Institute has been monitoring potentially toxic chemicals in the water and homes in Cape Cod and the news is not good.

From a report released today.

 Tests of 20 wells and two distributions systems supplying drinking water on Cape Cod found that 75 percent of the wells and both distribution systems had detectable levels of emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and consumer product chemicals, primarily coming from septic systems.
The results were released today by Silent Spring Institute.  Nine water districts on Cape Cod voluntarily participated in the study.  The study provides some of the first information in the U.S. about impacts of septic systems on groundwater used for drinking water.

Septic systems are the most likely source for most of the 18 chemicals detected, which include nine pharmaceuticals, an insect repellent, halogenated organophosphate flame retardants and perfluorinated chemicals.  The two most frequently detected chemicals were sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic commonly used to treat urinary tract infections and pneumonia, and PFOS, used in stain-resistant and nonstick coatings, as well as fire-fighting foams.  Levels of these compounds were among the highest reported in US drinking water, except in a few cases of industrial contamination.  The widespread presence of antibiotics has raised the possibility of promoting development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.  PFOS and the related compound PFOA, which was also detected in this study, are hormone disrupting compounds that have been associated at higher exposure levels with effects on the thyroid, mammary gland, cholesterol metabolism, immune system, cancer, and growth and development.

“We found many contaminants in Cape Cod’s drinking water supply, indicating that current policies are not adequate to prevent emerging contaminants from getting into drinking water. Septic systems are the main source,” said Laurel Schaider, Ph.D., a research scientist at Silent Spring Institute.  “Water suppliers who participated in this study are very forward-looking in their approach to protecting water quality for the future.”  Monitoring for the test chemicals is not required and there are no regulatory standards for them.

Researchers will hold a public meeting to discuss the findings and answer questions at 3 p.m. today at the Barnstable Town Hall.

 
 

 

 

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