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Hazardous Chemicals Detected in Plastics Threaten Seabirds

Our previous researches showed that these additives in plastics are transferred from ingested plastics and unfortunately accumulated

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Chemicals, Plastics, Seabirds
"We uncovered that four kinds of UV stabilisers and two brominated flame retardants at detection frequencies of 4.6 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively," said Hideshige Takada, Professor at Tokyo University. Pixabay

Researchers found that hazardous chemicals were detected in plastics eaten by seabirds.

“We uncovered that four kinds of UV stabilisers and two brominated flame retardants at detection frequencies of 4.6 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively,” said Hideshige Takada, Professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.

“Our previous researches showed that these additives in plastics are transferred from ingested plastics and unfortunately accumulated in some tissues of seabirds,” Takada added.

For the study, published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, the researchers carried out non-target survey of additives in 194 pieces of plastics ingested by seabirds, such as Northern Fulmar and Albatross.

Chemicals, Plastics, Seabirds
Researchers found that hazardous chemicals were detected in plastics eaten by seabirds. Pixabay

These additives, which are often hazardous chemicals, are generally blended into most plastics in order to make plastics better, for instance to stabilise polymers against UV degradation or oxidation, to simply add colours and so on.

The findings imply that any of these additives can be detected in the tissue of seabirds which ingest 15 pieces of plastics with probability of 73 per cent.

The study found that ingestion of 15 pieces of plastics per one individual is actually happening in the real-world case of the Albatross.

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“We could foresee in the near future that 90 per cent of the individuals would accumulate additives derived from ingested plastics if the number would increase double, that is 30 pieces per individual,” Takada added. (IANS)

Next Story

WHO Aims to Make Breast Cancer Treatment Affordable

WHO Moves Step Closer to Cheaper Breast Cancer Treatment

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Breast Cancer
WHO tries to make breast cancer treatment affordable to women globally. Pixabay

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Wednesday that it had for the first time approved a “biosimilar” medicine — one derived from living sources rather than chemicals — to make breast cancer treatment affordable to women globally.

The trastuzumab drug has shown “high efficacy” in curing early-stage breast cancer and in some cases more advanced forms of the disease, WHO said in a statement.

But the annual cost of the original drug is an average of $20,000, “a price that puts it out of reach of many women and healthcare systems in most countries,” the statement added.

However, the biosimilar version of trastuzumab is generally 65 percent cheaper than the original.

“With this WHO listing, and more products expected in the prequalification pipeline, prices should decrease even further,” WHO said.

The cheaper but equally effective biotherapeutic medicines are produced from biological sources such as cells rather than synthesized chemicals.

They are usually manufactured by companies after the patent on the original product has expired.

“WHO prequalification of biosimilar trastuzumab is good news for women everywhere,” said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

A radiologist examines breast X-rays
A radiologist examines breast X-rays after a cancer prevention medical check-up at the Ambroise Pare hospital in Marseille, southern France. VOA

“Women in many cultures suffer from gender disparity when it comes to accessing health services. In poor countries, there is the added burden of a lack of access to treatment for many, and the high cost of medicines.

“Effective, affordable breast cancer treatment should be a right for all women, not the privilege of a few,” he added.

WHO prequalification 

A few biosimilars of trastuzumab have come on the market in recent years, but none had previously been prequalified by WHO.

WHO prequalification gives countries the assurance that they are purchasing “quality health products.”

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“We need to act now and try to avoid more preventable deaths,” said Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director general for Medicines and Health Products.

“The availability of biosimilars has decreased prices, making even innovative treatments more affordable and hopefully available to more people.” (VOA)