Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Environmental Justice at the National Museum of Mexican Art

From the June 26 2011 blog item at Science is Everyone’s Story

…The National Museum of Mexican Art, which I visited in May, has some powerful pieces related to environmental justice.

The final room in the museum begins with an installation about César Chávez, who organized a boycott to oppose toxic pesticides on grapes in the 1980s.

In the gift shop, I saw a reproduction of “Sun Mad.” This controversial painting shows Ester Hernandez‘s anger about the chemicals workers face in the grape industry.

A painting showing a skeleton and pesticide warnings on a Sun Maid raisins boxSun Mad (photo from the Smithsonian American Art Museum)

 

In the painting “Blue Collar,” Oscar Moya depicts a worker in a safety mask and gloves surrounded by an ominous red glow. It isn’t clear that the piece is related to chemical safety, but the atmosphere suggests it.

Salvador Vega’s “Mother Earth” reminded me of Salvador Dali’s depiction of the Spanish civil war – but the subject is our planet.

A reviewer from The Onion describes this exhibit as depressing. It did not have that effect on me. When I see art like this, it motivates me to think about social change. People shouldn’t be afraid to go to work because of concerns about chemical safety.

July 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Haz-Map updated to include more information about occupational exposures to hazardous substances

Haz-Map: Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents

  as Search Agents Search Diseases Search Jobs Full Text Search

From a 4 May 2011 National Library of Medicine listerv item 

Haz-Map now includes 1212 new chemical agents and twelve chemical
categories with significance regarding occupational exposure.

The twelve categories of chemical agents include metals, solvents,
pesticides, mineral dusts, toxic gases and vapors, plastics and rubber,
biological agents, nitrogen compounds, dyes, physical agents, other
classes, and other uses.
http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/hazmap_cgi?level=0&tree=Agent

Haz-Map is an occupational toxicology database designed to link jobs to
hazardous job tasks which are linked to occupational diseases and their
symptoms.

The Haz-Map Jobs table is based on the 1997 Standard Occupational
Classification (SOC) system. The Industries table is based on the North
American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The Diseases table is
based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9).

Information from textbooks, journal articles, and electronic databases was
classified and summarized to create the database.

Other NLM toxicology databases include

  • Household Products Database -Potential health effects of chemicals for common household products
  • Tox Town -Interactive guide to potentially toxic substances and environmental health issues in everyday places
  • TOXNET -Databases on hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases



May 5, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Risks of Chemical Exposure: Scientists Call for ‘Swifter and Sounder’ Testing of Chemicals

Risks of Chemical Exposure: Scientists Call for ‘Swifter and Sounder’ Testing of Chemicals

From the March 4 2011 Eureka news alert

ScienceDaily (Mar. 3, 2011) — Scientific societies representing 40,000 researchers and clinicians are asking that federal regulators tap a broader range of expertise when evaluating the risks of chemicals to which Americans are being increasingly exposed.

Writing in a letter in the journalScience***, eight societies from the fields of genetics, reproductive medicine, endocrinology, developmental biology and others note that some 12,000 new substances are being registered with the American Chemical Society daily. Few make it into the environment, but the top federal regulators, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, often lack information about the hazards of chemicals produced in high volumes….

Patricia Hunt, a professor in the Washington State University School of Molecular Biosciences and corresponding author of the letter, said the FDA and EPA need to look beyond the toxicology of substances to the other ways chemicals can affect us.

“One of the problems they have is they look at some of the science and don’t know how to interpret it because it’s not done using the traditional toxicology testing paradigm,” she said. “We need geneticists, we need developmental and reproductive biologists and we need the clinical people on board to actually help interpret and evaluate some of the science.”

“As things stand now,” she added, “things get rapidly into the marketplace and the testing of them is tending to lag behind.”

Hunt said the letter was driven in particular by growing concerns about chemicals like the plasticizer bisphenol A, or BPA, subject of more than 300 studies finding adverse health effects in animals. Because such chemicals look like hormones to our body, they’re like strangers getting behind the wheels of our cars, Hunt said.

“Hormones control everything — our basic metabolism, our reproduction,” she said. “We call them endocrine disruptors. They’re like endocrine bombs to a certain extent because they can disrupt all these normal functions.”

Hunt’s testimony last year helped make Washington the fifth state to outlaw BPA in children’s food containers and drinking cups.

 

***For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

 

March 4, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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