Scientists in Boston and New Mexico have shown that exposure to petroleum is linked to the deadly auto-immune disease lupus. The illness is already known to have genetic origins — African- American women are nine times more likely to get it. But reports show the environment plays a role, especially in two black neighborhoods in Boston. Residents of Roxbury and Mattapan live near gasoline stations or sites near petroleum-product dumping groups, and have the highest rate of lupus in the region. Another study of people living in a housing development in Hobbs, New Mexico, built on the site of a former oil-field dump, detected an incidence of Lupus at 30 to 99 times higher than estimates for the general population.
By Martin Leatherman & Newsdesk.org staff
New studies of chemicals used in plastics reveal potential health problems, including miscarriages and abnormal fetus development. But regulation remains a tricky prospect. Legislators in California are developing bills targeting chemicals used in consumer products, including plastics, which may cause human health problems.
Cosmetics and chemical manufacturers say that such new legislation is unnecessary because a variety of state and federal laws already regulate the industry, according to the Christian Science Monitor. One chemical of concern, bisphenol-A, or BPA, is used in baby bottles, teething rings, packaging materials and wall and floor coverings. In a study published in the May 2005 edition of Endocrinology, mouse fetuses exposed to one percent of the amount of BPA deemed safe for humans developed significantly more tissue in their mammary glands.