Our Stolen Futurea book by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers



This file holds archives of new developments in 2004. Other archives hold material from 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. New Developments contains the most recent materials. For a broad overview of the scientific trends since OSF was published, see Broad Trends. And for pointers to a host of important new research results, organized by topic, visit Recent Important Studies.

Note that beginning in 2003, press coverage of endocrine disruption was placed in archives at


A review of industry-funded studies used to challenge findings that atrazine at extremely low levels causes hermaphroditism in frogs reveals flawed experiments and misleading representation of the results. Controls in experiments were contaminated. Positive results were summarized as negative. Poor animal husbandry caused high mortality rates. A statistical analysis of relevant studies finds that industry funding and specific labs are strongly associated with reporting negative results. More...

A study in Connecticut finds that women with a specific form of a gene are at significantly greater risk to breast cancer if they are exposed to relatively higher levels of PCBs. The risk is even higher if they are also past menopause. Earlier studies of the same population that did not include information on genetic makeup found no elevation of risk, indicating that epidemiological studies lacking genetic information can miss impacts on vulnerable subpopulations. More...

Rats exposed in the womb to a single low dose of a widespread brominated flame retardant become hyperactive and have decreased sperm counts. The effects are observed at an exposure level within the range that has been found in samples of breast milk from US mothers. More...

Experiments with dioxin and similar compounds provide support for the assumption that cancer risks mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor are additive. Previously untested for cancer, this assumption underpins a standard way of estimating exposure risks to these compounds. The results reinforce the need to focus health standards on mixtures rather than single compounds. More...

At exposure levels within the range experienced by the general public, the phthalate DBP reduces expression of genes necessary for testosterone synthesis in fetal rats. The minimum dose required to alter gene expression in these experiments is equivalent to EPA's current estimate of what is safe for human exposure. The dose is four orders of magnitude beneath EPA's current estimate for a "No Observed Adverse Effect Level" (based on mortality) and two orders of magnitude beneath a NOAEL based on reproductive tract development. More... 13 August 2004

Eutrophication of frog ponds is linked to epidemics of frog deformities, because it creates conditions that lead to higher rates of parasitic infections of tadpoles. The parasitic infections in turn disrupt normal development of the tadpoles' limb buds during metamorphosis. More... 12 August 2004.

Farmed salmon have significantly greater levels of brominated flame retardants than wild salmon, with European farm-raised salmon the highest. Among wild salmon, chinook had the highest levels. In fact, wild Chinook from British Columbia averaged higher than farmed salmon. Current human body burdens of PBDEs may leave little margin of safety. Hence selecting salmon from sources with lower levels is recommended. More... 10 August 2004

Measurements of Teflon-related chemicals in human tissues from 5 continents reveals widespread contamination. Perfluorinated compounds have become the focus of public health concern over the past 5 years as studies have revealed their extreme persistence and as data have emerged about their toxicity. Higher levels were found in more industrialized countries. More... 31 July 2004.

Exposure to phthalates is linked to three childhood allergic diseases: asthma, rhinitis and eczema. A study of children in Sweden reports a 2-3 fold increase in risk associated with phthalate levels found in bedroom dust. Effects differ among different phthalates studied. DEHP was linked to asthma while BBzP was linked to rhinitis and eczema. The results are consistent with a model that has been proposed for asthma causation via upregulation of genes involved in setting immune sensitivity of respiratory tissue. More... 24 July 2004.

Tadpoles exposed to pesticides have much higher mortality rates if they simultaneously can detect the presence of a predator, even at low, environmentally-relevant levels of exposure. Ignoring potential interactions among different sources of stress may lead to gross underestimates of the pesticide effects. These results reinforce concerns about the role of pesticides in global amphibian declines, and they raise questions about the adequacy of current protocols for toxicity testing. More... 24 June 2004

The constant wave of new findings linking specific genes to specific diseases and disabilities are creating opportunities to prevent conditions that until very recently were not thought to be preventable. Most disease-gene links don't involve simple mutations. They may not even involve complex combinations of aberrant genes. Instead, often they are tied to changes in gene expression, with genes being silenced or activated inappropriately. Research is revealing that a surprisingly large number of contaminants are capable of interfering with gene expression at very low levels of exposure, and that the genes (and gene families) vulnerable to disruption are tied to a wide array of diseases and to very basic developmental processes. A high priority should be placed on identifying environmental agents that can disrupt gene expression and to begin implementing public health standards that reduce exposures. More...

Farmed salmon contain much higher levels of organochlorine contaminants than wild salmon. A study of almost 2 metric tons of salmon from North and South America and from Europe revealed much higher levels of contaminants like PCBs, dieldrin, dioxins and toxaphene in farmed salmon than wild. Levels in Scottish and Faroe Island farmed salmon were high enough to suggest consumption should be limited to no more than one meal every other month, based solely on considerations of cancer risk. The risk assessment did not incorporate the beneficial effects of fish consumption, nor additional risks associated with organochlorine exposure such as immune, neurocognitive or reproductive effects. More...





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