Research Updates

gymnast on balance beam

How to protect gymnasts from hazardous chemicals at gym facilities

Switching to flame retardant free foam pit cubes reduces exposures without compromising fire safety Being a gymnast has its risks—the countless jumps, twists, and landings can take a toll on the body. But there’s another, invisible risk: the equipment used in training contains hazardous flame retardant chemicals that accumulate in air and dust, and eventually end up in the athletes’ bodies. A new... Read more »
water tower

Millions of Americans exposed to elevated nitrate levels in drinking water

Analysis shows Hispanic communities are disproportionately exposed More than 5.6 million Americans are potentially exposed to nitrate in drinking water at levels that could cause health problems, according to a new study. In this first analysis of its kind, researchers found that water systems with higher nitrate levels also tend to serve communities with higher proportions of Hispanic residents... Read more »
dental floss

Dental flossing and other behaviors linked with higher levels of PFAS in the body

First study to show association between Oral-B Glide dental floss and higher exposures A new study suggests certain types of consumer behaviors, including flossing with Oral-B Glide dental floss, contribute to elevated levels in the body of toxic PFAS chemicals. PFAS are water- and grease-proof substances that have been linked with numerous health problems. The findings provide new insight into... Read more »
woman with glass of water

States take the lead in creating more health protective drinking water guidelines

Study reveals efforts to address widespread PFAS contamination affecting millions of Americans Read more »
hair products for black women

Hair products for Black women contain mix of hazardous ingredients

First study to measure range of hormone disrupting chemicals in products used by Black women A new report published in the journal Environmental Research shows that Black women are potentially exposed to dozens of hazardous chemicals through the hair products they use. Read more »
Exposure to environmental chemicals is an important risk factor for breast cancer

Exposure to environmental chemicals is an important risk factor for breast cancer

Comprehensive review of human studies from past 10 years reveals strength of evidence Exposure to environmental chemicals, especially early in life, is an important contributing factor in the development of breast cancer, according to the most comprehensive review of human studies to date. The findings could help inform prevention strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of the disease, as... Read more »
Air quality in “green” housing

Air quality in “green” housing affected by toxic chemicals in building materials

Findings could lead to healthier homes, especially for low-income groups living in subsidized housing Read more »
toxic flame retardants in dust from dormitory furnishings

College students exposed to toxic flame retardants in dust from dormitory furnishings

Study finds some of the highest levels of flame retardants ever measured in dust, including carcinogens Read more »
fluorinated chemicals

Fast food packaging contains potentially harmful chemicals

First comprehensive analysis finds more than two dozen toxic highly fluorinated chemicals, including a phased-out substance.   Many Americans, with the start of the New Year, will resolve to cut back on fast food to avoid an overload of fat and calories. Yet, there is another reason to resist the temptation to indulge in fast food. The greaseproof packaging holding your burger and fries may... Read more »
Detox Me Action Kit

Detox Me Action Kit: Our biomonitoring study on exposure to common toxics

Detox Me Action Kit is a crowdsourced biomonitoring study on people’s exposure to common household and environmental toxics. Launched by Silent Spring Institute, the effort is part of a national study to assess the U.S. population’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals found in everyday consumer items, such as personal care products, food packaging, and household cleaners. Participating in... Read more »
Toxic Chemicals Widespread in Household Dust

Toxic Chemicals Widespread in Household Dust

New study reveals top 10 consumer product chemicals in dust that could harm human health Household dust exposes people to a wide range of toxic chemicals from everyday consumer products, according to a new study. These are chemicals found in consumer products and building materials and have been associated with numerous health effects including cancer, hormone disruption, and development and... Read more »
Study identifies sources of drinking water contamination for millions of Americans

Study identifies sources of drinking water contamination for millions of Americans

Researchers trace possible sources to fire training areas, airports, industrial sites, and wastewater treatment plants. Read more »
data privacy

Participants in Personal Genome Project weigh risks and benefits of data sharing

Findings could inform revisions to the Common Rule In the first systemic investigation of participants’ views on open consent in the Personal Genome Project, researchers found that greater transparency and full disclosure of the risks involved in public sharing of genetic and health data could encourage, rather than deter, participation in human research. Read more »
drinking water

Drugs and other contaminants found in private drinking wells on Cape Cod

Septic systems likely source of contamination, study finds Recent news about tainted water in Flint, Michigan, and other parts of the country have called into question the safety of the nation’s drinking water supply. Adding to this, a new study finds that pollutants from household wastewater—pharmaceuticals and consumer product chemicals—can make their way into people’s private wells, and that... Read more »
reading shampoo ingredient labels

Lower doses of common product ingredient might increase breast cancer risk

Estrogen-mimicking chemicals called parabens, which are commonly found in an array of personal care products, may be more dangerous at lower doses than previously thought, according to a new study. The findings, published online October 27 in Environmental Health Perspectives, could have implications for the development of breast cancer and other diseases that are influenced by estrogens. The... Read more »
flame retardants in people

Study measures carcinogenic flame retardants in people

For the first time in decades, furniture free of toxic flame retardants is becoming widely available to consumers. That’s because what’s become the de facto national standard for flame resistance in furniture has changed after a public outcry. Still, consumers will need to request furniture that’s completely free of chemical flame retardants at the many retailers offering it, such as IKEA and... Read more »
Pollution Gets Personal

Pollution Gets Personal: When Study Participants Learn their Own Chemical Levels

To find out how chemical contaminants affect health, scientists measure them in people’s blood, urine, breast milk and other tissues, and in household air and dust.  With these new technologies, pollution isn’t just from an industrial smoke stack or waste dump any more--it’s personal, especially for the people who volunteer to be tested in environmental exposure studies. Read more »
Priority breast carcinogens and biomonitoring methods

Study identifies priority breast carcinogens and biomonitoring methods

Every woman in America has been exposed to chemicals that are linked to breast cancer. Yet little is being done to tackle this problem. And only a small fraction of the suspect chemicals have ever been tested in people. The Silent Spring Institute conducted a study to change this that has been published in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. Read more »
Breast Cancer and the Environment: Prioritizing Prevention

Experts Call for Federal Government to Increase Breast Cancer Prevention Efforts

Citing 11 Silent Spring Institute studies, a major federal interagency report issued February 12, 2013, calls for greater investment in research on breast cancer prevention. The report highlights the scientific evidence about potential environmental causes of breast cancer, and shines a light on the fact that currently only a small fraction of the government’s breast cancer funding is spent on... Read more »

Gathering Dust: Many Toxic Flame Retardants Linger in Homes, Sometimes at Levels Above Health Guidelines

Flame retardants sound like a good idea to prevent our couches and computers and carpets from combusting. Yet these chemicals also accumulate and linger in our homes, sometimes winding up in household dust at levels of health concern. That was one of the central findings of a recent Silent Spring Institute study, the first to test for a wide range of flame retardants in homes. Read more »