Center for Environmental Oncology

Spring 2007 • Volume 1 • Number 4

TABLE OF CONTENTS
“Our Body Burden” of Chemicals: A Call to Action Teresa Heinz Kerry PAGE 4 What Green Patriotism Means to Me David Steinman PAGE 6 Killing Weeds — Killing Frogs? Herbicides, Toxicity, and Biological Effects PAGE 8 Herbicide Toxicity PAGE 10

MYTHS VS. FACTS ABOUT CANCER AND ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS
Recently, the media heralded good news with banner headlines and televised leadin stories: Cancer death rates are going down! This is certainly true for all types of cancer combined. But, this is not true for a number of specific types of the disease, nor do African Americans share in the same declines as do whites. This newsletter explores some of the many myths vs. facts about cancer, the environment, and sound public policy. It also features work from some leading voices, Teresa Heinz Kerry and David Steinman, who are educating the public about the links between environmental exposures and cancer. As always, further information can be found on our website: www.environmentaloncology.org

UPCOMING EVENTS
May 9, 2007 12 noon – 1 PM Lunch and Learn talk by Dr. Evelyn Talbott with Dr. Stephen Grant “Benzene and Cancer” UPMC Cancer Pavilion 5150 Centre Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15232 Herberman Auditorium, Room 202A Free healthy lunch served. Please pre-register at 412-623-1175 or Email: malones@upmc.edu May 12, 2007 Mother’s Day Celebration and Breast Cancer Awareness Event 9 AM – 11 AM—Children’s music and activities, raffle for Mom, giveaways 11 AM – 12 Noon—Talk on Women and Breast Cancer By Talal El-Hefnawy, MD, PhD Whole Foods 5880 Centre Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15206 Please call 412-623-1175 for more details
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by: Devra Lee Davis, PhD, MPH, Director, Center for Environmental Oncology of UPCI, Ronald B. Herberman, MD, Director, UPCI and UPMC Cancer Centers
because fewer people are smoking and more are getting screened for polyps and curable stages of colo-rectal cancer. However, incidence, or new cases of cancer, are increasing for a number of specific types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and childhood cancer. Childhood cancer is the second largest cause of death in children ages 0-15 in the United States (second only to accidents), and more than 8,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. While improvements in treatment have reduced deaths from childhood cancer, incidence rates increased nearly 21% between 1975 and 1998 — approximately 1% each year, and have continued to increase until at least 2003. (1) This is not due to improved detection (or smoking Myth: Rates of cancer deaths, of all types or an aging population) but to unexplained, environmental influences. and in all populations, are going down. Total deaths from cancers, indeed, are declining in the United States. This is largely
see page 3 sidebar for references.

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Funding for this newletter is provided by The Highmark Foundation and the Heinz Endowments.

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Myths vs. Facts about Cancer and Environmental Risks
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UPCOMING EVENTS
Continued from page 1 May 13, 2007 Komen Pittsburgh Race for the Cure Sponsored by Susan G. Komen Foundation 6:30 AM – 9 AM Schenley Park, Flagstaff Hill Pittsburgh, PA May 19, 2007 11 AM – 7 PM Venture Outdoors Festival North Shore Riverfront Park Pittsburgh, PA Look for Center for Environmental Oncology’s Table! Call 412-255-0564 for more details June 12, 2007 12 noon – 1 PM Lunch and Learn talk by Talal El-Hefnawy, MD, PhD, “Endocrine Disruptors in Common Pediatric Conditions” (with a focus on genital malformations and precocious puberty) Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA Room B213-214 Free Healthy Lunch served Call 412-623-1175 to pre-register or email malones@upmc.edu

Race also plays an important role in cancer incidences. The American Cancer Society reports that African-American men and women have 40% and 20% higher death rates from all cancers combined when compared with whites. The use of hormone-containing personal care products is one possible explanation why young African American women get more breast cancer than do their white counterparts. Also, African Americans tend to live and work in more polluted areas than do other people. While one in eight Americans is African American, one in two African Americans works in a lower paying field and in jobs, such as sanitation, which puts them at increased exposure to toxins.

times as likely to have mothers who were exposed to pesticide sprays or foggers during pregnancy compared to healthy children. A report released by the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production concluded that instituting measures to reduce parental and childhood exposures to these and other substances suspected of causing cancer, including development of safer substitutes, should play an important role in a cancer prevention strategy. (1) Myth: A small amount of a chemical carcinogen in a children’s product isn’t dangerous because the level is so low. Low doses of cancer-causing chemicals are safe because there is a threshold for cancer induction.

Myth: Most cancers are genetic in nature When experimental animals are tested at so there’s little we can do to protect the lowest parts per billion level — over ourselves. the animal’s lifetime — they develop canIn fact, the National Cancer Institute re- cer. The levels found in some children’s ports that only about one in ten cases of bathing products are one thousand times breast cancer occur in a woman born with greater and measured in parts per million. a genetic risk of the disease. An expert The gold standard for cancer protection panel convened by Mt. Sinai Hospital re- widely used by federal agencies is that an cently concluded that genetic predisposi- isolated chemical should not be estimated tion accounts for no more than 20% of all to cause more than one excess cancer per childhood cancers and that the environ- one million persons. This is called a onemental-attributable fraction of childhood in-one-million risk. cancer could be between 5% and 90%, However, cancer risks from exposure depending on the type of cancer. (1) to cancer-causing chemicals in several This means that a potentially large percentage of childhood cancers are preventable. One study of pesticide exposures testifies to the detrimental effects of toxic chemicals on children’s health, specifically in relation to cancers. In this study, children with leukemia were 4 to 7 times as likely to have been exposed to pesticides used in the yard or garden compared to children without the disease. Another study found that children with leukemia were 11 products substantially exceed this gold standard. Results from an independent chemical testing laboratory, released a month ago, found this probable human carcinogen, also known as para-dioxane, in some common children’s shampoos at levels higher than those recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration. The Environmental Working Group, (www.ewg. org), a research and advocacy organization, estimates that more than a quarter
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Shadyside Medical Building UPMC Cancer Pavillion

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of all personal-care-products sold in the and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of United States may contain this cancer- Cosmetics and Colors, that an error was causing agent. present in the Public Health Statement of A recently published (February 15, 2007) the toxicological profile. The FDA pointed “Newsweek” article stated, “The pres- out to ATSDR that the FDA had not recomence of a cancerous agent at levels above mended a limit for 1, 4-dioxane in cosmetic those suggested by the FDA is disturbing products.” In fact, the only FDA recomenough. The idea that such a compound mendation about 1, 4-dioxane pertains to exists at any amount in any products that levels in adhesives and food additives. (3) can be in regular contact with babies’ skin is even more disconcerting. Scientists have long known that certain chemicals like paradioxane can cause cancer...Now we’re beginning to realize that the sum total of a person’s exposure to all the little amounts of cancerous agents in the environment may be just as harmful as big doses of a few well-known carcinogens.”(2) The combined effects of our lifetime exposure to dioxane and other carcinogens can create synergistic effects, so what may look like low exposure levels for any one compound adds up and even multiplies. Myth: We are protected, thanks to the FDA, which has established a recommended level of no more than 10 parts per million in consumer products. The ATSDR revised notice advises consumers to read labels: “1, 4-dioxane may be a contaminant in cosmetics, detergents, and shampoos that contain the following ingredients (which may be listed on the product label): “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” “-eth-“ or “-oxynol-.” *Most manufacturers remove 1, 4-dioxane from these ingredients to concentrations recommended by the FDA as safe. Thus, most products on the market today contain 1,4-dioxane in very small amounts or not at all. However, some cosmetics, detergents, and shampoos may contain 1, 4-dioxane at levels higher than recommended by the FDA. Because products contaminated at concentrations higher than the FDA-recommended levels are not possible to determine without testing, families should avoid using products containing the ingredients listed above unless the manufacturer can guarantee that 1, 4-dioxane is below the FDA-recommended level. (4)

Citation for Myth vs Facts article
(1) 1Gouveia-Vigeant, T. & Tickner, J. “Toxic chemicals and childhood cancer: A review of the evidence.” Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Avenue, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854. Viewed at http://www.sustainableproduction.org/downloads/Child%20 Canc%20Exec%20Summary.pdf. (2) Devra Davis. “Cancer: How Dangerous Are Our Cosmetics?” Newsweek February 15, 2007 3. (3) Toxicological Profile for 1,4 Dioxane. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. July 2006 http://www.atsdr. cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp187.html#bookmarkdisclaimer (4) http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs187. html#bookmark07 (5) “Cosmetic Handbook” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. FDA/IAS*Booklet: 1992 http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-hdb3.html (6)Black, R.E., Hurley, F.J., Havery, D.C., Journal of AOAC International, Vol.84, No. 3, 2001. (7) European Union Council Directive. “ The Rules Governing Cosmetic Products in the European Union”, Approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products (76/768/EEC). 27 July 1976, p. 27. Viewed at : Annex II List of Substances Which Cosmetic Products Must Not Contain: #342, Dioxane. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ. do?uri=CELEX:31976L0768:EN:NOT

David Steinman’s research, discussed in his book Safe Trip to Eden and additional studies after the book was published, shows that at least 15 percent of cosmetic products with 1,4-dioxane exceed the FDA recommended upper limit. But since these so-called limits are only voluntary, com- In 1992, 1, 4-dioxane was listed as a panies not meeting them face no conse- banned ingredient in cosmetics. (5) But, in 2001, FDA scientists reported finding quences from the federal government. increased levels in a number of consumer Within a day of the “Newsweek” article products. (6) Within the past few years, appearing, ATSDR, an agency charged the European Union has banned the use of with evaluating toxic hazards, withdrew para-dioxane in all personal care products from its website the toxicological profile and recently initiated a recall of any conof 1, 4-dioxane. The revised posting as of taminated products, including a number of April, 2007 says, “In February, 2007, ATSDR children’s bath products. (7) was informed by the Director of the Food

CANADA’S CAMPAIGN AGAINST CANCER
The Canadian government, along with labor and environmental groups, are mounting revolutionary policies to prevent cancer. Look for the forthcoming book Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (New Society Publishers) by Guy Dauncey, Liz Armstrong and Anne Wordsworth. Please visit these websites for more information: Cancer Care Ontario www.cancercare.on.ca Canadian Cancer Society www.cancer.ca

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“Our Body Burden” of Chemicals: A Call to Action
This Moment on Earth Today’s New Environmentalists and their Vision for the Future
A new book by John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry This optimistic book highlights more than a dozen grassroots environmental activists and describes how the search for solutions to our pressing environmental problems is uniting people world-wide. In this passionate and personal book, John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry shine the light on an inspiring cross-section of these new environmental pioneers and offer a guide on how you, too, can get involved to protect the world. “Environmentalism isn’t dead,” they write. “It’s just being reborn — the very idea of what it means to be an ‘environmentalist’ is being revolutionized. People from all walks of life, without concern for party or ideological lines, are coming together in unprecedented numbers across the globe.” www.womenshealthandenvironment.org

by Teresa Heinz Kerry excerpted with permission from “Women’s Health & Environment News,” (A Project of the Heinz Family Philanthropies), February 2007 issue
Veteran prize-winning environmental journalist Marla Cone, of the Los Angeles Times, caught the attention of many with her award-winning book Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic. Cone’s work shows that it is not merely city dwellers or those living near major metropolitan areas who face these daunting chemical body burdens. “The Arctic is the last place on Earth I expected to find the world’s most severe toxic contamination,” she wrote. Few stories over her 19-year environmental reporting career “have astonished me and intrigued me as much as the discovery of a toxic legacy haunting the Arctic,” a phenomenon she now sadly labels the “Arctic Paradox.” “How could the Arctic, seemingly untouched by contemporary ills, so innocent, so primitive, so natural, be home to the most contaminated people on the planet?” she wondered. Cone added that she herself had grown up “oblivious to such concerns” in her childhood home on the shores of Lake Michigan, “in one of the nation’s most toxic hot spots at the dawn of the environmental movement.” Her story is a truly riveting example of just how pervasive and lurking — yet how seemingly invisible — these toxic burdens have become in our own “normal” bodies and those of our family members. But again I ask: Are we hearing? And are we listening and understanding? And then acting on those understandings? “I’m a writer engaged in a journey of chemical self-discovery,” David Ewing Duncan wrote in “The Pollution Within.” He had himself tested for 320 chemicals. “I might have picked up from food, drink, the air I breathe, and the products that touch my skin — my own secret stash of compounds acquired by merely living.” The National Geographic funded his $15,000 worth of tests to “learn what substances build up in a typical American over a lifetime, and where they might come from.” “I hope you are not nervous, but this concentration is very high,” a Stockholm toxicologist told him after reviewing the test results... Overall, Duncan’s blood test results, “read like a chemical diary from 40 years ago,” he wrote, with traces of several banned and restricted chemicals (DDT and its breakdown products DDE), termite-killers chlordane and heptachlor, and lots more. Curious about his newly discovered bodyborne “inventory of household chemicals,” Duncan turned the test results over to his internist. That physician “admits that he, too, knows little about these chemicals, other than lead and mercury. But he confirms that I am healthy, as far as he can tell. He tells me not to worry.” What about the cumulative impacts of that chemical soup combination? Duncan reported that a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expert advised him that the combination “might have additive effects, or they might be antagonistic, or they may do nothing. We don’t know.”
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Citation “Citation from Our Body Burden of Chemicals: A Call to Action.”
Cone, Marla, Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic, Grove Press, New York, NY (April 2005) “The Pollution Within”, National Geographic Magazine, October 2006 http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0610/ feature4/index.html

Spring 2007 Volume 1 • Number 4

One more example, this one from National Geographic, also from 2006.

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WORK-RELATED CANCER RISKS
Table 1: Industrial Processes Carcinogenic to Humans:
Aluminum and coke production Auramine and Isopropyl alcohol manufacture Coal gasification Coal-tar pitches Furniture manufacture Iron and steel founding Manufacture of magenta Nickel refining Rubber industry Shoe manufacture and repair Underground hematite mining

“Our Body Burden” of Chemicals: A Call to Action
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He also quoted the chair of the California Senate Health Committee, Deborah Oritz, as cautioning that “the key is knowing more about these substances, so we are not blindsided by unexpected hazards.” “We benefit from these chemicals,” Ortiz told Duncan, “but there are consequences, and we need to understand these consequences much better than we do now.” But before we can understand, we need to hear — and we need to clearly listen to — the precautionary tales our scientific community is telling us about both the knowns and the unknowns involving what we have come casually to accept as our “chemical body burden.” (My concern here is that what we don’t know in fact CAN hurt us. Just as we human beings must increasingly recognize that we are all internalized into the total environment, we need to understand, too, that the environment itself is internalized, for good and for bad, in us as humans.)

I believe, too, that we must not allow the pursuit of perfection to impede our commitment to progress. We must appreciate that our actions may forever be based on incomplete knowledge of all there is to know about the potential effects of the thousands of potential chemical contaminants, and the thousands of various chemical combinations to which our bodies are unwilling hosts. Gertrude Stein cautioned us that “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” That’s even truer today, and it’s critical that we retain our common sense and good judgment.

Table 2: Individuals with Increased Cancer Risk due to Occupation:
Hair dressers and barbers Drycleaners Chemists, processors, and dial painters Farm workers Nurses, radiologists, and some other medical professionals Truck/bus drivers Printing, typesetting, and textile processors Vinyl chloride workers Tailors Painters Gasoline station attendants Workers exposed to asbestos Firefighters Sawmill workers and carpenters Workers exposed to sunlight often, e.g. landscapers

Having said that, we must also appreciate that the so-called “command-and-control” era has peaked, perhaps even run its course. We simply no longer have the time or resources to expend on programs that in the end might do more to fatten lawyers’ wallets than they do to reduce our own What we as individuals do matters, and it toxic exposures and risks. In that context, our next era of sound enmatters a lot. I’m a strong believer in the importance of vironmentalism must be based, like other practical actions we each can take. And good public policy efforts, on increased
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Sources:
National Cancer Institute: http://rex.nci.nih.gov/NCI_Pub_ Interface/raterisk/risks95.html

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NO SAFE PLACE?

Question:
Dear Center for Environmental Oncology, Is it responsible for parents to raise children, from birth to adulthood, in Pittsburgh? I know that air pollution is especially dangerous to children, but I don’t know how the impact compares to other risks we ordinarily endure. Stephanie R. Land, PhD Department of Biostatistics NSABP and UPCI, University of Pittsburgh

What Green Patriotism Means to Me
We all know we should be using safe home and garden products for our health and consuming organic foods whenever possible. Many people are aware of the dangers of synthetic flame-retardants used in mattresses, bedding, and furniture. Almost every bubble bath and shampoo product for children, we now know, contains the undisclosed carcinogen 1,4-dioxane (and is not listed on the label thanks to loopholes in federal legislation).

by: David Steinman, publisher and founder of Freedom Press and author of Safe Trip to Eden, 10 Ways to Save the World from a Global Warming Meltdown.
overseas, we ought to be doing something to lessen our nation’s dependency on foreign oil.

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Almost half of our nation’s energy needs are from our homes, lifestyles and personal transportation. Even simple acts of self-protection for you or your children, like buying a safe bubble bath derived from plant-instead of petroleum-based ingredients, means you are personally taking action to lessen our dependency on danKnowing about these dangers and taking gerous petrochemicals. There are actually action by buying safe alternative prod- a lot of things you can be doing that are ucts is critical to protecting your personal good not only for you but for the nation. health. But did you know that what you are Here are the top 10 things I try to do everydoing is also an act of Green Patriotism? day to be a Green Patriot: All of the dangerous chemicals mentioned so far in this article are petrochemicals. Many of our nation’s emerging health problems, including rising cancer rates which reproductive effects, are positively linked with our dependence on oil. Products with undisclosed chemical carcinogens like 2,4-D in weed killer or 1,4-dioxane in bubble baths are not just bad for your personal health but also dangerous to our national security. While brave soldiers are fighting 1. Buy organic foods. This is my number one priority. By buying organic, I not only receive great nutrition and freshness but also avoid petrochemical pesticides and herbicides. 2. Buy non-petrochemical household cleaning products. Most home cleaning products use petroleum distillates or other petroleum raw materials. I choose products like those from Ecover or Seventh Generation that purposely avoid fueling our oil dependency by relying on plantbased materials.
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3. Buy organic or natural personal care products. Believe it or not, most cosmetics and personal care products are extremely oily! Any bubble bath product that contains sodium laureth sulfate or polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds) on its label is petroleum based. Alternative non-petrochemical brands include Aubrey Organics, Avalon, Aveda, Lily and MyChelle. 4. Buy organic clothing whenever possible. Once again, we find ourselves awash in oil. Fabrics like rayon and nylon are all petrochemical polymers. Cotton, the commercial mainstay of the clothing industry, is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. There are now so many great sources of organic and eco-safe clothing. Start at www.organicclothes.com and go from there. 5. Use filtered instead of bottled water. I’m not totally against bottled water. Biota, for example, uses corn-based packaging for their bottles, which is great, and Ethos at Starbucks contributes to building safe water supplies globally. This is also great. But to lessen the need for petroleum required for all of those water bottles, I prefer at home and in my office, to use a Brita water pitcher filter combined with an under-the-sink or end-of-the-faucet filter. I have tested this brand and found it works really well to eliminate almost all detectable chemicals in my drinking water. I really trust it. If we all did this, there’d be a lot fewer plastic bottles floating around the environment. 6. Keep my car’s tires inflated. My next car will be a hybrid, but until then, I keep my tires properly inflated. Not a big deal? Wrong. You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. According to the AAA: about 80 percent of

the cars on the road are driving with one or more tires under inflated. Tires lose air through normal driving (especially after hitting pot holes or curbs), permeation and seasonal changes in temperature. They can lose one or two psi (pounds per square inch) each month in the winter and even more in the summer. And, you can’t tell if they’re properly inflated just by looking at them. You have to use a tire-pressure gauge. Not only is under-inflation bad for your tires, but it’s also bad for your gas mileage, affects the way your car handles and is generally unsafe. If all of us did this, we would save some 200,000 thousand barrels of oil a day, so why aren’t we doing things like this? 7. When I do travel, I buy carbon offsets from www.carbonfund.org and www.terrapass.com. That way I help to invest in wind and solar and other clean forms of energy; it isn’t perfect but it helps. 8. Avoid overly packaged products. I always look now for the least packaged products or those in easy to recycle materials. I try to avoid those with excessive petrochemical-based plastic packaging. 9. Recycle plastic packaging. Recycling plastic bottles and packaging (including shopping bags) made from petrochemicals reduces our dependency on oil. 10. Finally, everyday, I try to talk to people about Green Patriotism. Just like I’m talking to you. It’s a way of doing good things for your country and tying everything into a larger way of looking at our relationship to God, country, family, and community. It’s good for you. It’s good for America. Disclaimer: Any products mentioned here are not necessarily endorsed by the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI).

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Answer:
All sorts of factors are at play; air pollution is only one of the countless influences determining the ultimate health of these children. If one were to move based on that indicator alone, one could just as likely end up in a place that, on the balance, actually had a higher burden of other harmful influences (toxics in the water, ambient radiation, climate-related exposures, potential for natural disasters, violent crime). The real goal of our endeavors in environmental health is to get physicians and laypeople to view the environment as dynamic, rather than static. Rather than trying to move from a “bad” environment to a better one, the practitioner or patient can move to correct the deficiencies in their current environment component by component - changing cleaning products, buying organic produce, advocating for smoke-free workplaces and non-diesel buses, etc. As we have learned from our experience with infectious disease, terrorism, and now climate change, there is, in Dr. Devra Davis’ words, “No Safe Place” - unless we create that place wherever we already live. Jonathan Weinkle, MD Medicine-Pediatrics Resident Continuing Medical Education Advisor for the Center for Environmental Oncology of UPCI

Visit www.greenpatriot. us for more information.

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Killing Weeds — Killing Frogs? Herbicides, Toxicity, and Biological Effects
by Maryann Donovan, MPH, PhD, Scientific Director, CEO of UPCI
WATER POLLUTION IN SOUTHWESTERN PA
By Conrad Dan Volz, DrPH, MPH, Co-Director, Division of Environmental Assessment and Control 1. What is the most serious water pollution problem in the Southwestern Pennsylvania area? Overflow of outdated combined sewers and sanitary sewers directly into our streams and rivers is the most serious water pollution problem. 2. What environmental public health threat does sewer overflows present? Sewer overflows threaten public health through endemic or epidemic infection from human pathogens such as the bacteria E. coli or the parasites Cryptosporidium and Giardia. 3. Are there Cryptosporidium or Giardia oocystes in western Pennsylvania water? Yes. Alarmingly, studies at and downstream from sewage outfalls in main stem rivers and tributaries near Pittsburgh, PA have shown elevated levels of the human parasites Cryptosporidium and even higher levels of Giardia. This poses a risk to our drinking water and individuals coming in contact with the water while fishing or during other recreational activities. 4. Isn’t epidemic waterborne bacterial infection a thing of the past in the United States? No. In 1993 there was a massive epidemic of Cryptosporidiosis in Milwaukee that sickened over 400,000 people and killed at least 40 people with weakened immune systems. 5. Who is most at risk for contracting a waterborne infectious disease? Anglers and other water recreationalists are at most risk due to fish consumption and direct contact with contaminants. See Article in Scientific American http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=01DC8631E7F2-99DF-3D0A925F84E60223&chanID=sa003

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Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Integrative Biology at Berkeley, has studied frogs since he was a little boy. In February 2007, he visited the Center for Environmental Oncology of UPCI to speak about his studies of the effects of pesticides on frogs, specifically the pesticides that act like hormones, also called “disruptors.” Runoff from pesticide application can lead to contamination of water sources including small puddles, lakes, streams, and groundwater. Amphibians, such as frogs, live in and near water making them vulnerable to contaminants. In a recent paper, Dr. Hayes discussed the effect on frog development when larvae or adults were exposed to herbicides (atrazine, metolachlor, alachlor, nicosulfuron), insecticides (cyfluthrin, cyhalothrin, tebupirimphos), and fungicides (metalaxyl, propiconizole) either individually or in combination (Hayes, T.B. et al. Pesticide mixtures, endocrine disruption, and amphibian declines: are we underestimating the impact? Environmental Health Perspectives 114: supplement 1, 2006). He chose these pesticides because they represented the actual pesticide mixture that was being applied to cornfields in the Midwest. Compared with the individual pesticides, the mixtures had much more significant effects. Exposure of frog larvae to mixtures of the chemicals caused a significant delay in the initiation of metamorphosis and retarded growth resulting in smaller animals. Seventy percent of the animals exposed to the nine-compound mixture were unable to sit upright. Certainly, at least in part, endocrine disrupting chemicals in the envi-

ronment may be contributing to the decline in amphibians being reported globally. One of the chemicals included in Dr. Hayes’ study was atrazine, the most commonly used herbicide in the United States and probably the world. Because of concerns about toxicity, atrazine is banned in Europe. In the United States, by contrast, the EPA estimates that 65-70 million pounds of atrazine is applied mostly to corn, sorghum, and sugarcane fields. Dr. Hayes has spent almost 10 years studying the effects of atrazine, an endocrine disruptor, on frog development. In his laboratory studies, he exposed Rana pipiens, the leopard frog, larvae to different concentration of atrazine ranging from 0, 0.1, or 25 parts per billion (ppb). The animals were exposed from just after hatching until tail resorption was complete. Only exposed males developed eggs in the testes (testicular oocytes) and other gonadal abnormalities. You might wonder if this was just a laboratory phenomenon and so did Dr. Hayes. To address that question, Dr. Hayes and his research team went out into the field to evaluate frogs from 8 different sites located between Iowa and Utah. They used records of atrazine sales, locally, to identify potentially contaminated sites. For controls, they evaluated frogs from non-agricultural regions in Iowa, Utah, Wisconsin, and Nebraska that reported low atrazine sales. Levels of atrazine were measured in the water taken from each site and only one site had levels too low to be measured and this was the only site where testicular oocytes were not observed in the local populaContinued on page 9

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6. Why does storm and water runoff from parking lots cause pollution in our receiving streams and main rivers? It carries with it parking lot surface materials that are carcinogens like polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthalene and creosote and oils, grease and gasoline, volatile organic compounds and additionally, animal and pet feces. 7. Are there water problems in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region related to unsafe levels of nitrates in water? Yes, Unsafe levels of nitrates have been reported in the Connoquenessing Creek affecting the water supply of Zelienople and in rural areas and main stem rivers. Children are particularly susceptible to water high in nitrates. It can cause the development of methemoglobinemia, which affects the ability to deliver oxygen to tissue as well as developmental and neurological problems. 8. What forms of pollution increase because of unsustainable commercial or residential development? The forms that increase are biological oxygen demand (BOD-a proxy measure for human and/or pet waste); chemical oxygen demand (COD-a proxy measure for the amount of organic chemicals in the water); total nitrogen (fertilizers), phosphates and suspended solids; and the metals- lead, copper, zinc, cadmium, chromium; nickel. 9. Is radon 222, the gas, a problem for residents of Pennsylvania? Yes, In a study of the Allegheny-Monongahela basin over half of the groundwater samples tested were above the EPA proposed MCL for radon in drinking water. And, although radon sampling is required for municipal sources there are no requirements to test for or remediate high radon in water levels in private wells. 10. Is arsenic a problem in drinking water? Yes, arsenic is present in drinking water from geological deposits in many areas of the United States and Western Pennsylvania. It also comes from confined animal feeding lots and legacy iron and steel production. Exposure to arsenic in drinking water has been associated with many adverse health effects including lung, bladder, liver and skin cancers. All references can be found on our website www.environmentaloncology.org

tion of frogs (Hayes, T. et al. Feminization of male frogs in the wild. Nature 419: 89596,2002). Is there evidence that contamination of food, air and water with atrazine may have health effects for humans? The answer is yes, there is some evidence. But, like many studies of chemicals, the data are not always clear and absolute. In 2006, the California EPA published a risk assessment for atrazine use in California (Gammon D., et al. Pest Manag. Sci 61:331-355, 2006). Near the end of this comprehensive report (p. 351-352) comments about endocrine (hormone) effects of atrazine and cancer studies in humans and animals are mentioned. The authors summarize published evidence showing that atrazine delays onset of puberty in male rats, inhibits estrogen binding in vitro and in vivo, and causes a premature termination of reproduction and an increase in breast tumors in female rats. In other reports, atrazine caused cells in culture to increase expression of aromatase, and this mechanism might explain the reduced testosterone and increased estrogen measured in the blood of male rats. All of the effects

observed in these laboratory and animal studies are consistent with atrazine acting like a hormone directly or indirectly by changing the enzymes involved in hormone metabolism. This same report also alludes to several studies suggesting that occupational exposure to atrazine, either through manufacturing or farming, may increase the risk of prostate cancer although not all studies show this effect. Hormones are very important for human biology and the timing, amounts, and types of hormones present are tightly regulated in humans. Like frogs, in addition to our own hormones, we are being exposed to “endocrine disrupting” chemicals in our air, food, and water. We know that humans harbor measurable levels of potentially toxic environmental pollutants in their tissues. The relationship between body-burden levels of these chemicals and chronic disease and cancer is actively being studied by many scientists including researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. We look forward to sharing the results from these research studies as we get clues about the role that these chemicals may play in cancer progression.

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CEO-UPCI

ALTERNATIVES TO PESTICIDES
If you have cockroaches, try: • Bay leaves • Fine dusting of boric acid • Equal parts of boric acid powder or baking soda mixed with powdered sugar (avoid use on countertops, etc.) • Equal parts of oatmeal, flour, & Plaster of Paris • Bait boxes Ants: • Sprinkle black pepper, chili powder, or chalk • Brush a 1 to 10 mixture of lavender & olive oil into the tracks that ants follow • Ants are known to avoid ferns & juniper leaves, lavender flowers, & goldenrod Moths: • Cedar balls or chips • Lavender Fleas: • Vacuum thoroughly & frequently • Wash pet bedding weekly in hot soapy water. Spray pet daily with 50/50 mixture of white vinegar & water • Mix brewer’s yeast, Vitamin B, or garlic tablets with pet food • Rub animal’s coat with fennel, rue & rosemary • Enzyme shampoos Mice & Rats: • • • • Lavender, cedar oil, or camphor will repel them Traps Baits Place cotton balls saturated with peppermint oil in areas of rodent activity
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Copyright Maryann Donovan, 2007

Herbicide Toxicity

by Maryann Donovan, MPH, PhD, Scientific Director, CEO of UPCI; Associate Director, Research Services, UPCI; Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh
This year, 2007, is the 100 year anniversary of Rachel Carson’s birth. Rachel Carson, a biologist, published Silent Spring in 1962. With this book, she launched the environmental movement by raising many issues about the disconcerting changes that she and others observed in the world around them — in the woods, in the fields, in the parks, and even in their suburban yards. It was the 1950’s, and chemicals, including herbicides and pesticides, were the new weapons being advertised to control the encroachment of weeds and insects into communities, neighborhoods, and homes. Consistently, Rachel Carson and the other “environmental detectives” were able to correlate the application of chemicals for “weed” or “pest” control with the death of songbirds, the destruction of non-target plants, and the pollution of lakes and streams resulting in the death of fish. All of the evidence suggested that there was a link between application of these chemicals and environmental damage, but this was the dawn of the environmental movement when it was much more difficult for biologists to show the mechanism between exposure to these chemicals and the destruction that was being observed in the environment. I recently re-read Silent Spring. In addition to being impressed with the observations that Rachel Carson made about the effects of pollution on ecology, another fact made an impression as well: Rachel Carson reported that the application of massive quantities of chemicals only temporarily controlled the plant and insect pests. Invariably, the “pests” developed resistance that required continuous reapplication of more and varied toxins. Now, 45 years later, the chemicals may have changed, but the shelves of hardware and home and garden stores are
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filled with a diversity of formulations advertised to control the invasion of weeds and insects both inside and outside the home. Each year, 2.6 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States, and there are notable toxic effects associated with their use. Agricultural application accounts for 90% of the pesticide use and the balance is used in consumer products, swimming pools, for insect control, and for weed control on golf courses, lawns, and other open fields. Use of weed-killers containing glyphosate has increased by a factor of 10 over the last 15 years. In 1999, the USEPA reported that glyphosate was the second most commonly used pesticide and estimated that up to 33 million kilograms of active ingredient were applied annually to lawns, fields, and golf courses (Donaldson et al, 2002, National Pesticide Use Database, available online). Laboratory studies have shown that, depending on the dose, glyphosate can be toxic in animal studies, causing gastrointestinal effects, developmental effects, and possibly cancer at specific concentrations. In general, though, the USEPA does not consider glyphosate to be very hazardous to birds and mammals or to fish and invertebrates (http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0057.htm). However, Dr. Rick Relyea, a scientist at the University of Pittsburgh, has shown that application of a well-known weed killer containing glyphosate and the surfactant POEA, when applied at concentrations suggested by the manufacturer, killed 98% of all frog tadpoles within three weeks and 79% of all juvenile frogs within one day (Relyea, R. The lethal impact of roundup on aquatic and terrestrial amphibians. As it turns out, the POEA surfactant, which is

considered one of the “inert ingredients” in this formulation, can be very toxic to amphibians and other aquatic organisms (www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/pesticide/ risk_assessments/Surfactants.pdf). Understanding the toxicity of pesticide ingredients is tricky business. Searching for the toxicity of several individual pesticides (glyphosate, diquat dibromide, dicamba) on the US EPA website (http://www.epa. gov/IRIS/subst/0223.htm) revealed that, in each case, the toxicity studies were performed by the manufacturer, and I did not see any mention of independent lab verification of the results. To add to the confusion, the environment does not contain individual pollutants, but rather a complex mixtures of chemicals individuals are exposed to, which adds another dimension to toxicity assessments. Some people want to be convinced that chemicals are toxic before they will stop using them. Personally, I try to avoid using pesticides, because if you read the label carefully most of them have warnings written on them. Rachel Carson asked a different question. She wondered why there was so much enthusiasm for using chemicals to eradicate pests, especially when this approach required continuous application of stronger and different chemicals on an ongoing basis. She then took the time to go out and survey the damage that these chemicals caused to the environment and her message was chilling. This year, in honor of Rachel Carson, I recommend that people read Silent Spring and think about Carson’s message and its continuing relevance as we search for the causes of rising rates of chronic disease and cancer today.

DECLINES IN SEX RATIO AT BIRTH AND FETAL DEATHS IN U.S. AND JAPAN
Published April 9, 2007 in Environmental Health Perspectives by Devra Lee Davis, Pamela Webster, Hillary Stainthorpe, Janice Chilton, Lovell Jones, Rikuo Doi

Whether declines in births of baby boys are connected with a number of puzzling patterns in male reproductive health is a matter of serious concern. Several studies — some from the 1980s, early 1990s, and our new paper — show that over the past two to three decades the births of baby boys have declined in Japan, the U.S., England and Wales, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Costa Rica. Since 1970, the proportion of white boys born in the U.S. and Japan has dropped from105.5 boys per 100 girls to 104.6 and from 106.3 to 104.97, respectively. Even such tiny drops in the sex ratio can amount to thousands of missing baby boys. For example, if the sex ratio in the U.S. and Japan had remained at its 1970 rate, almost 137,000 and 125,000, respectively, more baby boys would have been born between 1970 and 2000. No one knows why this is happening, but some interesting clues exist... See www.environmentaloncology.org for the full article.

Sources: Alternatives to Pesticides Sidebar
Beyond Pesticides – National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides: www.beyondpesticides.org Children’s Health and the Environment Coalition – HealtheHouse: http://www.checnet.org/healthehouse/ home/home.asp

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“Our Body Burden” of Chemicals: A Call to Action
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collaboration, among a growing cadre of informed and enlightened interests. It clearly must be based also on prevention and not just after-the-exposure remedial efforts to control potentially harmful exposures. A recent Business Week cover story tells us that we are “closer than you think” to a world in which “socially responsible and eco-friendly practices actually boost a company’s bottom line.” Those same practices will boost an entire society’s bottom line, not only from a financial but also from an overall perspective. In this sense, we as a society should move not from the “cradle-to-grave” philosophy that became popular in the 1990’s, but rather to a “cradle-to-cradle” approach that can lead to an infinite product lifecycle of ongoing use and usefulness. We must realize not only that we citizens have a “right to know” but also that our governmental leaders have a profound responsibility to tell us more about the chemicals that pervade our society. Here, we must be careful consumers, with a healthy skepticism of what both government and manufacturers tell us. With our right to know comes our responsibility to understand. We must appreciate that the fundamental principle of criminal law — that the accused is innocent until proven guilty — does not translate well to our marketplace, where chemicals in our environment are too often assumed innocent until they have been proven to cause harm. We must keep in mind here, as they say, that the absence of evidence of harm is

not evidence of an absence of harm. This reality calls for broadening our practical application of the precautionary principle as it is being found increasingly throughout the European Union: the burden of demonstrating the safety and efficacy of chemicals should lie with the manufacturer, not on us as citizens having to prove that those chemicals do cause harm. Remember, too, that we cannot speak of these potential harms as they apply only to a single chemical in isolation. Asking the human health effects one chemical at a time simply misunderstands a critical point: We must also understand the cumulative effects, what scientists call the synergistic effects of all of them in combination — the “chemical soup” to which we are unknowingly exposed throughout our lives. We can look back on a long list of government inactions for which no single political party can be held solely responsible. There are things, too, that manufacturers of chemicals — and consumers of chemicals, including you and I — must do better, and it all begins with better informing ourselves. Recall here Pogo’s admonition that “We have met the enemy, and it is us.” Collaboration, again, is the key. There is much we can do together. But we dare not wait or procrastinate before also taking constructive individual actions to manage our own, and our families’ adverse chemical exposures. You can contact me to share your views through teresa@heinzoffice.org

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ADDITIONAL INTERNET RESOURCES
Beyond Pesticides www.beyondpesticides.org Breast Cancer Fund www.breastcancerfund.org Department of Environmental Quality www.deq.state.mi.us/sid-web Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org Health Care Without Harm www.hcwh.org Healthy Child, Healthy World www.healthychild.org OSHA www.osha.gov Perfectly Natural www.perfectlynatural.com The Collaborative on Health and the Environment www.healthandenvironment.org The CDC www.cdc.gov The E-House Company www.ehousecompany.com The Green Guide www.thegreenguide.com The National Cancer Institute www.nci.nih.gov/cancertopics The Rachel Carson Homestead www.rachelcarsonhomestead.org Safe 2 Use www.safe2use.com Susan G. Komen for the Cure cms.komen.org/komen/index.htm Venture Outdoors www.ventureoutdoors.org

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