THE POLLUTION INSIDE US
Toxicologists examine the chemicals of modern life.
By: Peg Herring, Oregon’s Agricultural Progress

Forty years ago, chemical pollution was the stuff that spewed from tailpipes, smokestacks, and sewers. Rivers burned, fish died, and forests withered under acid rain until Congress passed strict laws to curb the flood of manmade chemicals pouring into our waterways and atmosphere.

Man-made and naturally occurring chemicals pervade modern life. Here are a few that have been linked to human health problems.

However, 40 years ago there was little consideration of the chemicals that we were pouring into our bodies. The chemicals we use to sanitize our hands, package our foods, and keep our beds from going up in flames have seeped into our bodies in ways that were unimaginable a generation ago. Today, we are marinating in antibacterials, hormone disruptors, and flame retardants.

Man-made and naturally occurring chemicals pervade modern life. Here are a few that have been linked to human health problems.

“There are more than 80,000 man-made chemicals in existence today, and an estimated 2,000 new chemicals are introduced each year,” said Craig Marcus, a toxicologist at Oregon State University. “We encounter thousands of them every day, in food, kitchenware, furniture, household cleaners, and personal care products. And very few of them have been adequately tested for safety.” Continue reading

Robyn Tanguay (Leader, Project 3, Director, Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Lab) traveled to California on April 29-20 for the Norcal SOT Spring Symposium .  Her presentation “Rapid In Vivo Assessment of Bioactivity in Zebrafish: High Content Data for Predictive Toxicology” was well received by scientists from the California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation, California EPA, and many others participating via the webcast.

Review and download slides from the event: http://www.slideshare.net/OSU_Superfund/tanguay-cal-epa
More images are shared by the California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation on Facebook.

ZebrafishRobyn Tanguay, PhD (Project 3 ) focuses on examining the effects of selected chemicals and chemical classes on zebrafish development and associated gene expression pathways.

The Tanguay research group recently collaborated with Terrence J. Collins, PhD, a champion in the field of green chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University.

Collins and his collaborators showed that specific green chemicals (a group of molecules called TAML activators) used with hydrogen peroxide, can effectively remove steroid hormones from water after just one treatment. Steroid hormones are common endocrine disruptors found in almost 25 percent of streams, rivers, and lakes.  Collins needed to understand the safety of TAML activators to move forward on this problem.

Tanguay’s group exposed zebrafish embryos to seven different types of TAML activators. None of the TAML’s impaired embryo development at concentrations typically used for decontaminating water.

The collaboration resulted in a new journal publication in Green Chemistry.

These are important findings that contribute toward TAML activators getting commercialized for water treatment.

Endocrine disruptors and human health

Endocrine disruptors can disrupt normal functions of the endocrine system and impair development, by mimicking or blocking the activities of hormones in wildlife. Several animal studies suggest that endocrine disruptors can also affect human health, and may be involved in cancers, learning disabilities, obesity, and immune and reproductive system disorders.

Robyn Tanguay’s leadership in utilizing  zebrafish

Robyn Tanguay is Director of the Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Laboratory, which is the largest zebrafish toxicology lab in the world.

In 2012, Dr. Tanguay received an EPA grant award, “Toxicity Screening with Zebrafish Assay”.  The award is for three years and almost two million dollars in funding to examine the developmental toxicology of at least 1000 chemicals.

Dr. Tanguay and her research team  have tested over 3,000 compounds of interest to the National Toxicology Program (NTP), to complement the ongoing high-throughput screening efforts in the U.S. government’s multiagency Tox21 research program.

More Information:

Citation: Truong L, DeNardo MA, Kundu S, Collins TJ, Tanguay RL.  2013. Zebrafish assays as developmental toxicity indicators in the green design of TAML oxidation catalysts. Green Chem; doi:10.1039/C3GC40376A [Online 15 July 2013].