As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we depend almost entirely on donations from people like you.
We really need your help to continue this work! Please consider making a donation.
Subscribe here and join over 13,000 subscribers to our free weekly newsletter

Toxic Chemicals News Stories

Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the toxic chemicals that we're exposed to in our food, household products, environment, and more. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.

For further exploration, delve into our comprehensive Health and Food Corruption Information Center.

Explore our comprehensive news index on a wide variety of fascinating topics.
Explore the top 20 most revealing news media articles we've summarized.
Check out 10 useful approaches for making sense of the media landscape.

Sort articles by: Article Date | Date Posted on WantToKnow.info | Importance

Synthetic chemical in consumer products linked to early death, study finds
2021-10-12, CNN News
Posted: 2021-11-22 00:08:41
https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/12/health/plastic-chemical-early-death-wellness/i...

Synthetic chemicals called phthalates, found in hundreds of consumer products such as food storage containers, shampoo, makeup, perfume and children's toys, may contribute to some 91,000 to 107,000 premature deaths a year among people ages 55 to 64 in the United States, a new study found. People with the highest levels of phthalates had a greater risk of death from any cause, especially cardiovascular mortality, according to the study published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution. Phthalates are known to interfere with the body's mechanism for hormone production, known as the endocrine system, and they are "linked with developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems," according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Even small hormonal disruptions can cause "significant developmental and biological effects," the NIEHS states. Prior research has connected phthalates with reproductive problems, such as genital malformations and undescended testes in baby boys and lower sperm counts and testosterone levels in adult males. Often called "everywhere chemicals" because they are so common, phthalates are added to consumer products such as PVC plumbing, vinyl flooring, rain- and stain-resistant products, medical tubing, garden hoses, and some children's toys. Other common exposures come from the use of phthalates in food packaging, detergents, clothing, furniture and automotive plastics.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health from reliable major media sources.


Whistleblowers Expose Corruption in EPA Chemical Safety Office
2021-07-02, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-07-19 15:05:56
https://theintercept.com/2021/07/02/epa-chemical-safety-corruption-whistleblo...

Managers and career staff in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention tampered with the assessments of dozens of chemicals to make them appear safer, according to four scientists who work at the agency. The whistleblowers, whose jobs involve identifying the potential harms posed by new chemicals, provided ... detailed evidence of pressure within the agency to minimize or remove evidence of potential adverse effects of the chemicals, including neurological effects, birth defects, and cancer. Information about hazards was deleted from agency assessments without informing or seeking the consent of the scientists who authored them. Some of these cases led the EPA to withhold critical information from the public about potentially dangerous chemical exposures. In other cases, the removal of the hazard information or the altering of the scientists’ conclusions in reports paved the way for the use of chemicals, which otherwise would not have been allowed on the market. William Irwin, [one] of the four whistleblowers, who has worked at the EPA for over 11 years as a toxicologist, was ... moved out of the office after repeatedly resisting pressure to change his assessments to favor industry. Irwin said that while it had seemed obvious that the pressure stemmed from chemical companies, the science adviser in the office made the point irrefutably clear during an argument over one particular chemical assessment.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Study finds alarming levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in US mothers’ breast milk
2021-05-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2021-06-06 21:52:34
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/13/pfas-forever-chemicals-br...

A new study that checked American women’s breast milk for PFAS contamination detected the toxic chemical in all 50 samples tested, and at levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level some public health advocates advise is safe for drinking water. “These harmful chemicals are contaminating what should be nature’s perfect food,” said Erika Schreder, a co-author. PFAS, or per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds that are used to make products like food packaging, clothing and carpeting water and stain resistant. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down and have been found to accumulate in humans. They are linked to cancer, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, plummeting sperm counts and a range of other serious health problems. The peer-reviewed study ... found PFAS at levels in milk ranging from 50 parts per trillion (ppt) to more than 1,850ppt. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ... recommends as little as 14ppt in children’s drinking water. Studies of older children and adults have linked the chemicals to hormonal disruptions and suggests PFAS harm the immune system. Among steps that the authors recommend pregnant women and mothers take to protect themselves are avoiding greaseproof carryout food packaging, stain guards like ScotchGard, waterproof clothing that uses PFAS, and cooking products with Teflon or similar non-stick properties.

Note: PFAS may be partially responsible for sharply declining human fertility. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


Donald Rumsfeld and the Strange History of Aspartame
2021-01-06, Huffington Post
Posted: 2021-05-23 15:39:47
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/donald-rumsfeld-and-the-s_b_805581

The chemical additive aspartame is very potentially a cancer and brain tumor-causing substance that has no place in our food. The reasons and means by which [Donald] Rumsfeld helped get it approved are nefarious at best, criminal at worst. Dr. John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, attempted to stop the approval of aspartame with Attorney James Turner back in 1996. The FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer. According to the top doctors and researchers on this issue, aspartame causes headache, memory loss, seizures, vision loss, coma and cancer. It worsens or mimics the symptoms of such diseases and conditions as fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue and depression. In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president January 21, 1981. Rumsfeld, while still CEO at Searle, was part of Reagan’s transition team. This team hand-picked Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., to be the new FDA commissioner. One of Hayes’ first official acts as FDA chief was to approve the use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener in dry goods on July 18, 1981. When Searle was absorbed by Monsanto in 1985, Donald Rumsfeld reportedly received a $12 million bonus, pretty big money in those days.

Note: Donald Rumsfeld also made millions on bird flu drugs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the food system from reliable major media sources.


A Weed Killer Is Increasingly Showing Up in People's Bodies
2017-10-24, Time
Posted: 2021-03-23 01:46:54
https://time.com/4993877/weed-killer-roundup-levels-humans/

The latest study to look at the long-term effects of Roundup, a popular weed killer developed by Monsanto in the 1970s, raises questions about the herbicide’s possible contributions to poor health in certain communities. The study, published Tuesday in JAMA, tracked people over the age of 50 in southern California from 1993-1996 to 2014-2016, with researchers periodically collecting urine samples during that time. The percentage of people who tested positive for a chemical called glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, shot up by 500% in that time period. The levels of glyphosate also spiked by 1208% during that time. One trial from the UK, in which rats were fed low levels of glyphosate throughout their lives, found that the chemical contributed to a higher risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver and contributes to inflammation and scarring of the tissue. [Researcher Paul] Mills says that the levels of glyphosate documented in the people in his study were 100-fold greater than those in the rats. While Roundup was developed to eliminate most weeds from genetically modified crops — and thus reduce the amount of pesticides sprayed on them — recent studies have found that many weeds are now resistant to Roundup. That means growers are using more Roundup, which could only exacerbate potential negative health effects on people who consume those products.

Note: Bayer recently agreed to a $10 billion settlement over claims that its glyphosate-containing product RoundUp causes cancer. Meanwhile, Mexico is banning glyphosate and GMO corn. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and GMOs from reliable major media sources.


From chicken to tomatoes, here's why American food is hurting you
2019-05-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-06-09 18:56:11
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/28/from-chicken-to-tomatoes-here...

Our food and our health are deeply connected. American healthcare spending has ballooned to $3.5tn a year, and yet we are sicker than most other developed countries. Meanwhile, our food system contains thousands of chemicals that have not been proven safe and many that are banned in other countries. Instead of potentially hazardous substances being banned from our food, as they are in, say, Europe, chemicals of concern are typically considered innocent until proven guilty. As a result, we are the guinea pigs in our own experiment. For decades weve operated on the principle that if we can selectively kill off the unwanted parts of the natural world, we can control our futures. Farmers operate that way, but also homeowners, highway crews and landscapers. We spread herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones and various other toxins which kill everything around. Even good things. Were becoming aware of the loss of what we can see: bees, butterflies, the diverse plant life of our ecosystems. We also need to worry about the invisible microbiome and fungi in the soil that nurture life above, store carbon and absorb water. By trying to control crops with herbicides, antibiotics and pesticides, weve actually bred bugs, weeds and diseases that are resistant to our control. And our chemical onslaught will have long-term effects. Our fertilizers and pesticides leach into groundwater and streams, head out to sea and create dead zones. They also leach into our drinking water.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Pesticides could wipe out frogs by turning them female, study finds
2018-06-04, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-06-02 12:48:57
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/frog-pesticides-female-fertility-ch...

A widely used pesticide could be placing frog populations in danger by diminishing their ability to reproduce properly. Not only does exposure to the chemical linuron a potato herbicide reduce male frog fertility, it skews the sex ratios of growing tadpoles significantly towards females. The devastation pesticides have caused to insect populations has been well documented, with German scientists warning of an ecological Armageddon when they found numbers had plummeted by 75 per cent in the countrys nature reserves. Knock-on effects further up the food chain are thought to be behind the disappearance of many bird species from the European countryside. But pesticides can have toxic effects on other animals too, and there has been a distinct lack of research into their effects on amphibians. To improve this situation, ecotoxicologist Dr Cecilia Berg of the University of Uppsala and a team of ... researchers set out to investigate the effects of linuron in the West African clawed frog. They found that the tadpoles grew ovaries substantially more than they grew testicles, an effect the team attributed to the endocrine disrupting or hormone disrupting properties of linuron, which could hinder production of testosterone. The male frogs exposed to the chemicals as tadpoles were less fertile and had certain feminine characteristics. While linuron is not licensed for use in the UK ... it is widely used in other parts of the European Union (EU) and North America.

Note: Don't forget that humans drink the water contaminated by these chemicals, too. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


Children's IQ Could Be Lowered by Mothers Drinking Tap Water While Pregnant
2017-09-19, Newsweek
Posted: 2017-09-24 20:41:49
http://www.newsweek.com/childrens-iq-could-be-lowered-drinking-tap-water-whil...

Adding fluoride to public drinking water for dental purposes has been controversial since the practice first began in 1945. A new study suggests that prenatal exposure to this chemical may affect cognitive abilities and that children born to mothers exposed to high amounts of fluoride could have lower IQs. The study ... found an association between lower intelligence and prenatal fluoride exposure in 299 mother-child pairs in Mexico. Even when other possible factors were taken into account, such as exposure to other chemicals, results continually showed that higher prenatal fluoride exposure was linked to lower scores on tests of cognitive function in children at age 4 and then again between 6 and 12. The mothers in this study did not have fluoride added to their water. In Mexico, fluoridated salt is the main way that women get salt into their diet, says Hu, unlike in the U.S., where fluoridated water is the main avenue. The data could renew the debate about the safety of adding fluoride to tap water, in part because experts have not been quick to dismiss the findings. "This is a very well-conducted study, and it raises serious concerns about fluoride supplementation in water," says Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a pediatrician who studies potential links between environmental exposures and health problems at New York University. Trasande ... also explains that fluoride is known to disrupt thyroid function, which in turn is crucial for brain development.

Note: Another Newsweek article and this MSNBC article also raise serious questions about the benefits and risks of fluoride in our water. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


100,000 Pages of Chemical Industry Secrets Gathered Dust in an Oregon Barn For Decades Until Now
2017-07-26, The Intercept
Posted: 2017-08-06 16:30:17
https://theintercept.com/2017/07/26/chemical-industry-herbicide-poison-papers/

For decades, some of the dirtiest, darkest secrets of the chemical industry have been kept in Carol Van Strums barn. The ... structure in rural Oregon housed more than 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others. As of today, those documents and others ... will be publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers. The library contains more than 200,000 pages of information and lays out a 40-year history of deceit and collusion involving the chemical industry and the regulatory agencies that were supposed to be protecting human health and the environment, said Peter von Stackelberg, a journalist who along with the Center for Media and Democracy and the Bioscience Resource Project helped put the collection online. Van Strum didnt set out to be the repository for the peoples pushback against the chemical industry. But [in 1974] she realized the Forest Service was spraying her area with an herbicide called 2,4,5-T. The chemicals hurt people and animals. Residents ... filed a suit that led to a temporary ban on 2,4,5-T in their area in 1977 and, ultimately, to a total stop to the use of the chemical in 1983. For Van Strum, the suit was also the beginning of lifetime of battling the chemical industry. We didnt think of ourselves as environmentalists, that wasnt even a word back then, Van Strum said. We just didnt want to be poisoned.

Note: The herbicide 2,4,5-T is a main ingredient of Agent Orange. As recently as 2012, Monsanto, a manufacturer of Agent Orange, agreed to pay $93 million to settle claims of this poison's pollution of a US town. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.


How the US Spies on Medical Nonprofits and Health Defenses Worldwide
2016-08-10, The Intercept
Posted: 2016-08-14 22:08:23
https://theintercept.com/2016/08/10/how-the-u-s-spies-on-medical-nonprofits-a...

As part of an ongoing effort to exploit medical intelligence, the National Security Agency teamed up with the military-focused Defense Intelligence Agency to extract medical SIGINT from the intercepted communications of nonprofit groups starting in the early 2000s, a top-secret document shows. Medical intelligence can include information about disease outbreaks; the ability of a foreign regime to respond to chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks; the capabilities of overseas drugs companies; advances in medical technology; medical research, and the medical response capabilities of various governments, according to the document and others like it, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. One of the more prominent examples of focused medical spying came in 2010, when the agency crafted a plan to stow tracking devices with medical supplies bound for an ill Osama bin Laden in order to locate the terrorist leader. One article from August 2003 identifies an NSA project to keep an eye on the evolution of biotechnology in various countries. Can we ... determine the specific features that would distinguish a Bio Warfare Program from a benign civilian pharmaceutical production effort? the author wrote, identifying a suspect Iranian [biological warfare] facility as a target for inspection. Medical intelligence gathering has continued since then, according to the so-called black budget proposed for the 2013 fiscal year, published in February 2012.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and terrorism.


Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.