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‘Hidden harmful chemicals’ in perfumes

Several perfumes contain undeclared chemicals that may have serious health implications, according to a report by two environmental advocacy groups in Canada.
To come up with the report, the two groups commissioned independent laboratory testing that identified several potentially harmful chemicals in perfume products including Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani, and American Eagle’s Seventy Seven.

According to the report, both contain lilial, an allergen that may prompt estrogen-like effects in the body, and benzyl salicylate, an allergen, as well as many other chemicals.
“Anything in your house that smells like a rain forest or a strawberry patch or a pine tree will have these chemicals in them,” added Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, which released the report along with California-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue fragrance contains several chemicals including butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a preservative and stabiliser that has been associated with adverse effects on the thyroid and is a possible carcinogen.

Cigarette butts may help prevent steel corrosion

Cigarette butts, termed as “one of the most widespread forms of garbage in the world”, may find practical use as a new way to prevent steel corrosion, claim scientists.

In the study, boffins describe discovery of a way to reuse the remains of cigarettes to prevent steel corrosion that costs oil producers millions of dollars annually.

Jun Zhao and colleagues cite one estimate that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year. Studies show that cigarette butts are more than an eyesore. They contain toxins that can kill fish and harm the environment in other ways. Recycling could solve those problems, but finding practical uses for cigarette butts has been difficult.

The scientists showed that extracts of cigarette butts in water, applied to a type of steel (N80) widely used in the oil industry, protected the steel from rusting even under the harsh conditions, preventing costly damage and interruptions in oil production.

They identified nine chemicals in the extracts, including nicotine, which appear to be responsible for this anti-corrosion effect.

Vaccine response could depend on your gender

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have claimed that biological differences between the sexes could be a significant predictor of responses to vaccines.

Scientists examined data from numerous adult and child vaccine trials and found that sex is a fundamental, but often overlooked predictor of vaccine response that could help predict the efficacy of combating infectious disease.

“Sex can affect the frequency and severity of adverse effects of vaccination, including fever, pain and inflammation,” said Sabra Klein, lead author of the review. “This is likely due to the fact that women typically mount stronger immune responses to vaccinations compared to men. In some cases, women need substantially less of a vaccine to mount the same response as men. Pregnancy is also a factor that can alter immune responses to vaccines.”

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