Monday

Critics of European Plan to Regulate Chemicals Have Industry Ties

All but one of the 18 scientists who signed an anti-regulation editorial have received industry money. The editorial, published in 14 scientific journals from July to September, criticized a leaked draft proposal by Europe’s Environment Directorate-General that recommends a precautionary approach to regulating hormone-altering chemicals, which could lead to the ban of some commonly used products. An investigation found that 17 of the scientists who signed the controversial editorial have past or current ties to the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, tobacco, pesticide or biotechnology industries. Some have received research funds from industry associations, while others have served as industry consultants or advisors. Environmental Health News

United Nations panel reviews draft report saying the probability that climate change is man-made is 95 percent. Scientists and officials from more than 110 governments began a four-day meeting in Stockholm today to edit and approve the 31-page draft, which also tries to explain a “hiatus” in recent years in the pace of global warming despite rising greenhouse gas emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, will review the document line by line and present it Friday as a main guide for governments, which have agreed to work out a UN deal by the end of 2015 to fight global warming. The IPCC’s work to improve the world’s understanding of climate change won it, and Al Gore, the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Reuters, The Associated Press

Stowing away e-readers and tablets during flight takeoffs and landings might become a thing of the past. This week a Federal Aviation Administration advisory panel will meet to complete its recommendations to relax most restrictions on the devices. The guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books, listening to podcasts and watching videos, according to several of the panel’s members who requested anonymity. But the ban on making phone calls, as well as sending and receiving e-mails and text messages or using Wi-Fi, is expected to remain. The panel will recommend the new policy to the FAA by the end of the month and it will most likely go into effect next year. It’s not clear how the rules would be enforced. The New York Times, Time

Public health researchers discover harm from naturally occurring arsenic even at low doses. The element seeps into groundwater in the U.S. but because the contamination tends to be minor in this country, for many years its presence was mostly noted and dismissed by researchers. But a number of studies suggest that arsenic is an astonishingly versatile poison. Chronic low-dose exposure has been implicated not only in respiratory problems in children and adults, but in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers of the skin, bladder and lung. Researchers first became aware of these problems in so-called hot spot countries like Bangladesh. Scientists now report health risks at lower and lower levels of exposure in that country. The New York Times

New rules issued to more quickly track down faulty medical implants.  The Food and Drug Administration’s rules require most medical devices sold in the U.S. — including such items as pacemakers and hip replacements — to carry a unique code identifying the make, manufacture date and lot number. The codes will be stored in a public database to help regulators, doctors and companies monitor safety issues. Other industries, from food processors to automakers, have used unique identification codes to track their products through the supply chain for decades. The FDA tracking system follows years of recalls involving defibrillators, artificial hips and drug pumps plagued by design and manufacturing flaws. The Associated Press

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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