Discovery Channel: ‘Non-toxic’ scented products emit toxic chemicals.

From hair products to laundry detergents to diapers, we live in a world of fragrance that might be making us sick, suggests a new study, even when those scents come from products that claim to be natural and pure. In an analysis of 25 of the most commonly used scented products — including ones labeled “organic,” “natural” or “non-toxic” — scientists identified at least 133 chemicals wafting off of them. A quarter of those chemicals were classified as hazardous or toxic. Virtually none were listed on product labels. Along with prior evidence that nearly a third of Americans develop headaches, breathing problems and other symptoms when exposed to scented products, the new findings suggest that efforts to smell nice threaten both your health and the health of people around you. “‘Natural’ does not mean no synthetic chemicals,” said lead author Anne Steinemann, a civil and environmental engineer at the University of Washington in Seattle. “‘Green’ does not mean safe or healthy. ‘Fragrance-free’ does not mean non-toxic or without fragrance. There are a lot of paradoxes and surprises here.” More . . .

Science News: Plenty of foods harbor BPA, study finds.

Some communities have banned the sale of plastic baby bottles and sippy cups manufactured using bisphenol A, a hormone-mimicking chemical. In a few grocery stores, cashiers have already begun donning gloves to avoid handling thermal receipt paper out of fear its BPA-based surface coating may rub off on the fingers. But how’s a family to avoid exposure to this contaminant when it taints the food supply? It’s a question many people may start asking in response to data posted online November 1 in Environmental Science & Technology by a team of university and government scientists. Indeed, the last author on the paper is Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.In recent years, she’s teamed up with toxicologist Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas School of Public Health on market-basket analyses of foods for various potentially toxic pollutants. Like Birnbaum, Schecter initially gained renown for studying dioxins. Now, both have moved into the BPA arena. In their team’s new paper, the Texas contingent locally purchased three samples of each of 31 types of canned or plastic-packaged foods. Another four examples of fresh meat and eight different types of pet food were also collected. All were analyzed for BPA — and 60 percent of the different food products hosted measurable quantities. Ironically, pet food contained less of the pollutant than did most of the items destined for human consumption. More . . .

Reuters: Arsenic in drinking water tied to stroke risk.

People who live in areas with moderately elevated levels of arsenic in the drinking-water supply may have a somewhat increased risk of stroke, a study of Michigan residents suggests. The findings, published in the journal Stroke, do not prove that drinking-water arsenic is responsible for the elevated risk. Nor do they suggest that water with arsenic levels that meet guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — which most U.S. drinking-water supplies do — are a stroke hazard, the study’s lead researcher told Reuters Health. However, the study does call for more in-depth research to determine whether arsenic in the water supply is contributing to some strokes. More . . .

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