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Environmental Factor, April 2013

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This month in EHP

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This month’s feature stories in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) ( explore questions surrounding human risk for Lyme disease and the safety of food additives.

The Lyme Disease Debate: Host Biodiversity and Human Disease Risk

Thirty years after its discovery in the northeastern United States, Lyme disease is the most common vector borne infection in North America. The causative agent, the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), was first isolated from ticks collected in the woodlands of New York. Today, the ecology of Bb is the subject of both intense study and intense scientific debate. Some researchers think protecting large tracts of forest habitat will ultimately reduce the risk of human infection. Others believe the relationship between host biodiversity and human disease risk is not so clear cut.

Food Additives: A Primer

Food additives include all the substances present in a food, from the basic ingredients to those added unintentionally through processing, storage, and packaging. Under current U.S. law, companies can use food additives without U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) premarket approval, as long as the additive is what the agency considers to be generally recognized as safe, or GRAS. This article explores what’s involved in earning a GRAS designation from the FDA.

Featured research and related news articles this month include:

  • Managing the Health Effects of Temperature in Response to Climate Change: Challenges Ahead — Climate Change Adaptation: Weighing Strategies for Heat-Related Health Challenges

  • Prenatal and Postnatal Bisphenol A Exposure and Body Mass Index in Childhood in the CHAMACOS (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas) Cohort — Unclear Relationship: Prenatal but Not Concurrent Bisphenol A Exposure Linked to Lower Weight and Less Fat

  • Gestational Diabetes and Preeclampsia in Association With Air Pollution at Levels Below Current Air Quality Guidelines — When Blood Meets Nitrogen Oxides: Pregnancy Complications and Air Pollution Exposure

  • Environmental and Occupational Interventions for Primary Prevention of Cancer: A Cross-Sectorial Policy Framework — Toward Primary Prevention of Cancer: The Case for a Global Strategy to Limit Avoidable Exposures

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