Reuters HealthWork exposure to diesel fumes tied to lung cancer.

Miners, railway workers and others with years of on-the-job exposure to diesel exhaust may have a heightened risk of developing lung cancer, a new research analysis suggests. The study, which combined the results from 11 previous studies in Europe and Canada, found that workers with the greatest lifetime exposure to diesel exhaust had a 31 percent higher risk of lung cancer than people with no such occupational exposure. More . . .

Canadian Press: Microwave popcorn bags may contain harmful chemicals.

University of Toronto scientists have discovered chemical contamination in the blood of those who ingest foods wrapped in these papers. Perfluorinated carboxylic acids or PFCAs are the breakdown products from chemicals used in the manufacture of certain products, such as non-stick pans, clothing and food packaging. Theses PFCAs have been discovered in humans and have been worrying scientists for years. Now it seems the major source of human PFCA exposure may be in the consumption of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters or PAPs, which are the chemicals found in junk food papers. “Those chemicals called PAPs move into food, make it into humans upon ingestion and metabolically are transformed into the PFCAs,” said Scott Mabury, the lead researcher and a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto. More . . .

Nature: Oil spill’s toxic trade-off.

Chemicals used to reduce oil slicks during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may have rendered the oil more toxic than official reports suggest, according to a Canadian toxicologist. * * * The chemicals, known as dispersants, are used to reduce the surface tension of spilled oil, allowing wind and waves to break it into microscopic droplets. These droplets disperse through sea water rather than floating in massive oil slicks that can blow on to shorelines. They are also more easily attacked by oil-eating bacteria. But until it is degraded by such bacteria, the dispersed oil becomes mixed into the water rather than sitting on top of it. This means that its toxic constituents, most notably polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are likely to have a greater effect on marine wildlife. * * * The problem, explains Hodson, is that the dispersed cloud of microscopic oil droplets allows the PAHs to contaminate a volume of water 100–1,000 times greater than if the oil were confined to a floating surface slick. This hugely increases the exposure of wildlife to the dispersed oil. More . . .

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