Friday, July 31, 2015

Arsenic and Blood Pressure: A Long-Term Relationship

In the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives I have an article on a new study showing some of the best evidence to date of the effects of arsenic exposure via drinking water on blood pressure. Tens of millions of people in Bangladesh alone are exposed to unsafe levels of naturally occurring arsenic in their groundwater, resulting in a broad range of serious health effects including various cancers. This long-term study conducted in that country reveals how arsenic exposure can also elevate blood pressure levels over time, potentially leading to clinical outcomes including cardiovascular disease. On a scale as large as that in Bangladesh, this pathway represents another significant public health concern related to arsenic exposure in groundwater. Read the story online here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Solution to the Spider Silk Mystery

A group of researchers out of UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco has found a solution to a problem that has stymied scientists for decades, and now they're bringing it to the masses. Their company, Bolt Threads, is based on a technology that uses yeast and fermentation to generate spider-silk proteins that can then be spun into thread and woven into garments. Apparel made of spider silk produced with Bolt's technology (in fact there's no other proven way to produce it on anything even approaching a large scale) should be available to consumers sometime next year. For more on spider silk, Bolt, and its technology, ready my story in Berkeley Engineer here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New feature in EHP: Reducing chemical migration in food packaging

My latest feature for EHP, published today in the July issue, addresses chemical migration from packaging into food. It's a significant, challenging issue affecting almost all packaged food in all types of containers -- much more than just plastic and BPA. Plenty of bright people are trying to find solutions that are proving mostly elusive so far. My story outlines some of the most vexing problems and potentially dangerous chemical exposures linked to food packaging, and shows how people around the country and the world are working to address them. If you're concerned about what's in the food you and your family are eating, I hope it's a worthy read. Find it here on EHP's website.