New research suggests that males may have a higher risk of infertility if their mothers took Tylenol for extended periods during pregnancy. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine found that acetaminophen, the main active ingredient in Tylenol and Paracetamol, may inhibit production of testosterone. Researchers said that men have a higher risk of infertility, undescended testicles and testicular cancer when exposed to lower levels of prenatal testosterone. Continue reading
An epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to study whether phthalates affect human breast cancer risk.
Prof. Katherine Reeves of the UMass School of Public Health will lead the three-year grant to investigate a possible relationship between phthalates—widely used plasticizing and solvent chemicals—and breast cancer risk, the (Greenfield, Mass.) Recorder reports.
Phthalates are found in such products as cosmetics, shampoo, flooring and medical tubing, plastic packaging (including food and blood-storage containers), and some children’s toys. They are added to products increase flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. Reeves and her colleagues will study phthalate metabolites, products found in urine samples after the chemicals have passed through the body. Measurable phthalate levels are found in nearly 100 percent of the United States population though the levels vary widely, according to the Recorder. Phthalate metabolites have been reported in human breast milk. Until now, only a handful of small studies have looked at whether phthalates affect human breast cancer risk and none have measured phthalate metabolites before a cancer diagnosis.
The research team includes UMass Amherst biologist Thomas Zoeller, an expert in endocrine-disrupting chemicals, epidemiologist Sue Hankinson, and biostatistician Carol Bigelow, who, along with Reeves, will analyze levels of 11 phthalate metabolites in urine samples from 500 women diagnosed with invasive beast cancer after Year 3 of follow-up and in 1,000 healthy matched controls in a prospective study within the Women’s Health Initiative, the Recorder reports. Because the samples “were given many years before any sign of disease appeared,” this study will give “much stronger evidence in terms of causality than studies using another design,” Reeves says. Researchers will have three stored urine samples—from baseline, Year 1 and Year 3—for analysis, and they will be able to address variation in phthalate exposure. They will be able to get an idea of a woman’s typical or average exposure to phthalates.
At this point, the scientific evidence on phthalate exposure risk is unclear and Reeves says with this study the researchers hope to provide either “reassurance or solid evidence of cause for concern,” according to the Recorder.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned about phthalates because of their toxicity and the evidence of pervasive human and environmental exposure to these chemicals. Phthalates are used in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products, many of which pose potentially high exposure. Phthalates have been detected in food (they are used in coatings in food packaging) and also measured in humans. Studies have shown adverse effects on the development of the reproductive system in male laboratory animals. According to the EPA, several studies have shown associations between phthalate exposures and human health, although no causal link has been established. Recent scientific attention has focused on whether the cumulative effect of several phthalates may multiply the reproductive effects in the organism exposed.
The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local health officials are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections, possibly linked to sushi made from raw tuna.
The FDA said it “recognize[s] that people will be concerned about these illnesses,” and is moving as quickly as possible in its investigation to prevent additional illnesses. Continue reading
New research in mice suggests that long-term exposure to acetaminophen during pregnancy could lower a male’s production of testosterone, possibly affecting his fertility.
The results suggest that if a pregnant woman takes acetaminophen for several days it could affect her unborn boy. The boy’s future sperm could be lowered, Medical News Today (MNT) reports. Continue reading
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received warnings nearly six years ago about the risk of “superbug” infection from specialized medical scopes. The devices have been tied to a series of deadly superbug outbreaks.
In 2009, after duodenoscopes were linked numerous drug-resistant infections in Florida hospital patients (and to 15 deaths), epidemiologists at the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that the infections occurred because hospitals were having trouble properly cleaning the scopes, USA Today reports. Continue reading
Lumber Liquidators CEO Robert Lynch unexpectedly resigned Thursday following weeks of struggles over safety concerns related to its flooring products.
The Toano, Va.-based company will search nationally for a replacement, the company said. Thomas Sullivan, Lumber Liquidators founder, will serve as acting CEO, USA Today reports. Lynch also stepped down from the board of directors. John Presley, its lead independent director, will be non-executive chairman of the board effective immediately. CFO Dan Terrell will leave the company in June. Continue reading
Food inspectors in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have ordered Nestle India to recall a batch of Maggi instant noodles from stores across the country because the product contained dangerous levels of lead.
India’s Food Safety and Drug Administration (FDA) said high lead content was found during routine tests on two dozen packets of instant noodles, manufactured by Nestle in India, Reuters reports. Continue reading
Takata Corp., under pressure from safety regulators, has agreed to declare 33.8 million air bags defective, doubling the number of cars and trucks affected and making this the largest auto recall in U.S. history.
The problem is that the chemical that inflates the air bags can explode with great force, blowing apart a metal inflator and sending shrapnel into the passenger compartment, Newsday reports. Thus far, the faulty air bags are responsible for six deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. Continue reading
Research presented at the meeting of the American Urological Association suggests an association between the volume of robot-assisted prostate surgery at a hospital and complication rates for the procedures.
Hospitals with the fewest robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) procedures had a 14.7% complication rate, while complications occurred in about 5.7% of cases at the highest-volume hospitals, MedPage Today reports. Continue reading
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may issue a near-total ban on trans fats as early as this week, Politico reports. Foods contain trans fats if they list “partially hydrogenated oils” as an ingredient. It has been widely used in recent decades because it increases shelf life, enhances texture and helps food keep its color. However, it has been shown cause significant health problems. According to the American Heart Association, trans fats increase the risk fo heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes; they raise the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL).
The move to ban almost all trans fats stems from the Obama administration’s efforts to promote a healthier American diet. The ban may include very select exemptions, but most uses of trans fat as in ingredient will no longer be valid. The use of trans fat in food products has been reduced 85 percent over the past decade, and the ruling could reduce it even more. Continue reading