In an article published on December 19, 2017 by news provider Environmental Health News, journalist Brian Bienkowski reported on a new scientific review addressing the toxicity of chemicals and the applicability of safe levels. The review was published on the same day in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Biology and conducted by Bruce P. Lanphear from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Canada. Lanphear reviewed studies on some of the most common and extensively tested chemicals and pollutants, including radon, lead, airborne particles, asbestos, tobacco, and benzene. He highlighted that “scientists have found that the amount of toxic chemical linked with the development of a disease or death . . . is proportionately greater at the lowest dose or levels of exposure.” This is contrary to the principle “the dose makes the poison” commonly applied by regulatory agencies in risk assessing chemicals and determining safe levels. “We have underestimated the impact of toxic chemicals on death and disease,” Lanphear stated. “If widely disseminated chemicals and pollutants . . . do not exhibit a threshold and are proportionately more toxic at the lowest levels of exposure, we will need to achieve near-zero exposures to protect public health,” he suggested.

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Brian Bienkowski (December 19, 2017). “It’s time to rethink chemical exposures —‘safe’ levels are doing damage: Study.


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