On December 18, 2017, the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Biology launched a special collection of articles entitled “Challenges in environmental health: Closing the gap between evidence and regulations.” The articles highlight “key advances in the science of environmental health as well as barriers to incorporating these advances into public health policy,” Liza Gross from the Public Library of Science, San Francisco, U.S., explained in a PLOS Blogs post.

The collection includes an editorial by Liza Gross and Linda S. Birnbaum, affiliated with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), on the regulation of toxic chemicals to protect public and environmental health. An article by Sheldon Krimsky from Tufts University, U.S., explores the factors hindering “a comprehensive and rational policy for regulating toxic chemicals” under the U.S. chemicals’ law Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Bruce P. Lanphear reviewed scientific research on toxic substances and highlights that some chemicals are “proportionately more toxic at the lowest levels of exposure” (FPF reported). An article by Joseph M. Braun and Kimberly Gray from Brown University, U.S., and the U.S. National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), respectively, discusses the challenges in studying the effects of early life exposures to environmental chemicals. Gloria B. Post , Jessie A. Gleason, and Keith R. Cooper, affiliated with the U.S. state of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Department of Health, and Rutgers University, U.S., respectively, focus on exposure to perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and drinking water guidelines. Maricel V. Maffini, an independent consultant based in the U.S., Thomas G. Neltner, and Sarah Vogel, both from the U.S. non-profit organization Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), address hazardous chemicals in the U.S. food system and outline the specific case of perchlorate as an example (FPF reported).

Read more

Liza Gross (December 18, 2017). “PLOS Biology explores gaps between environmental health science and policy.PLOS Blogs

Julian Cribb (December 21, 2017). “Major journal sounds alarm over global mass poisoning.Cosmos


Gross, L., and Birnbaum, L.S. (2017). “Regulating toxic chemicals for public and environmental health.PLOS Biology (published online December 18, 2017).

Krimsky, S. (2017). “The unsteady state and inertia of chemical regulation under the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act.PLOS Biology (published online December 18, 2017).

Lanphear, B.P. (2017). “Low-level toxicity of chemicals: No acceptable levels? PLOS Biology (published online December 19, 2017).

Braun, J.M., and Gray, K. (2017). “Challenges to studying the health effects of early life environmental chemical exposures on children’s health. PLOS Biology (published online December 19, 2017).

Post, G.B., et al. (2017). “Key scientific issues in developing drinking water guidelines for perfluoroalkyl acids: Contaminants of emerging concern.PLOS Biology (published online December 20, 2017).

Maffini, M.V. et al. (2017). “We are what we eat: Regulatory gaps in the United States that put our health at risk.PLOS Biology (published online December 20, 2017).