- New Litagion agent profiles for butylated hydroxytoluene, ethylparaben, flupyradifurone, and sulfoxaflor
- New liability catastrophe scenarios addressing the overprescription of antibiotics
- New blog content: "Cigarettes are no more addictive than Twinkies"
- Updated Litagion agent and company profiles impacted by newly published peer-reviewed science and newly gathered company information
- Antibiotics overprescription. The discovery of antibiotics in 1928 revolutionized medicine. Suddenly, an infection that was often a death sentence was turned into a treatable condition saving innumerable lives. Soon after antibiotic drugs came into widespread use, however, scientists identified strains of bacteria that could resist them. The widespread use of an antibiotic drug leads bacteria to evolve genes that resist it thereby making the drug less effective. In these scenarios, governments and individuals succeed in holding manufacturers and distributors of antibiotics along with others responsible for the overuse of antibiotic liable for a major foodborne outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant infection. An alternative scenario is posited in which state governments and private health insurers allege that the negligent overprescription and overuse of antibiotics is the cause of an ever increasing rate of antibiotic-resistant infection in the United States and its attendant costs.
- Butylated hydroxytoluene. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) [CAS No. 128-37-0] is an antioxidant commonly added to personal care products and food. In personal care products such as lipsticks, hair products, sunscreens, deodorants, and moisturizers, BHT acts as a stabilizer that helps maintain color, texture, odor, and other characteristics of products as they are exposed to air over time. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies BHT as GRAS ("generally recognized as safe") for use in processed foods like cereal and other dry goods that contain fat to maintain freshness and prevent spoilage. BHT is also used as a preservative in paints and coatings, adhesives, lubricants, plastic resin, and coated paper products.
- Ethylparaben. Ethylparaben [CAS No. 120-47-8] is used as an antimicrobial and antifungal preservative in personal care products and food packaging. Ethylparaben is a member of the class of compounds known as parabens that includes butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. Parabens are particularly useful in preventing the growth of molds and yeasts. The widespread use of parabens as preservatives owes to the fact they have no perceptible taste or odor, do not discolor or otherwise affect the products in which they are incorporated, and have excellent chemical stability in relation to pH and temperature.
- Flupyradifurone. Flupyradifurone [CAS No. 951659-40-8] is a recently approved insecticide for controlling sucking pests such as aphids, psyllids, stink bugs, and white flies on a variety of agricultural crops. Flupyradifurone is classified as a butenolide, although scientists have noted its chemical and functional similarity to neonicotinoids whose mode of action involves activation of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Like neonicotinoids, flupyradifurone is a systemic insecticide intended for uptake and distribution throughout the plant from stems and leaves to pollen and nectar stores.
- Sulfoxaflor. Sulfoxaflor [CAS No. 946578-00-3] is a sulfoximine, a newer insecticide class that the was first registered for use in the United States in 2013. Sulfoxaflor targets difficult pests such as aphids and lygus that are becoming resistant to carbamate, neonicotinoid, organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides. Proponents of sulfoxaflor note that it typically requires fewer applications than older classes of insecticides resulting in less risk to non-target pests and plants. Like neonicotinoids, though, sulfoxaflor may be harmful to bees and other pollinators. Because of this concern, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to remove sulfoximine from the market in 2015. The agency allowed the insecticide back on the market in 2016 with additional restrictions on how it could be applied. The agency in 2019 then approved a range of new uses for sulfoxaflor noting that it is less persistent in the environment than alternatives like neonicotinoids.
Updated Litagion agent profiles based upon newly published science
All Litagion agent profiles have been updated to reflect the most recently published peer-reviewed science. Notable scientific studies added to CoMeta since the last release include:
- Mercury. A meta-analysis of 14 studies across 34,000 subjects in 17 countries reports a significant association between mercury and cardiovascular mortality.
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoro-n-nonanoic acid (PFNA). The Markers of Autism Risk in Babies - Learning Early Signs (MARBLES) study of mother-child pairs reports a significant association between maternal serum levels of PFOA and PFNA and diagnosis of autism at age 3.
In addition, we highlight the following changes to the components of Litagion agent risk resulting from newly published peer-reviewed science:
|Litagion agent||Risk category change||Overall risk change|
|Pyrethroids||Projected science risk changes from Medium (yellow) to Medium-high (orange)||Change from Medium (yellow) to Medium-high (orange)|
Quaternary ammonium compounds
|Projected science risk changes from Medium-high (orange) to High (red)||Change from Medium (yellow) to Medium-high (orange)|