Mass Torts: State of the Art

Mass Torts: State of the Art

Category Archives: Toxicology

Subscribe to Toxicology RSS Feed


Posted in Causality, Microbiology, Risk, Toxicology
Jumping the Snark: Erionite in Mexican Town Tied to High Rate of Mesothelioma (or, how "Sir, have you ever been to Turkey?" became too cute by half) Plaintiffs’ Experts Were Really, Really Wrong About the Mechanism Underlying MDS and AML Chromium VI is Weakly Associated With Stomach Cancer To Reduce the Spread of Pathogens in Common… Continue Reading

Need Something To Attack The Reliability Of Animal Studies?

Posted in Epidemiology, Toxicology
The Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Third Edition has the following to say about animal studies: Animal studies have a number of advantages. They can be conducted as true experiments, and researchers control all aspects of the animals’ lives. Thus, they can avoid the problem of confounding, which epidemiology often confronts. Exposure can be carefully… Continue Reading

Squeak Squeak

Posted in Molecular Biology, Reason, Toxicology
In the run up to the trial of a case in which we’re arguing that the B6C3F1 mouse ain’t a man and 1,3 butadiene ain’t a human carcinogen just because it causes cancer in the B6C3F1 mouse, out comes "Mice Fall Short as Test Subjects for Humans’ Deadly Ills" by Gina Kolata of the NYTimes. And it’s a bombshell. Kolata reports… Continue Reading

Formaldehyde in hair straightening products – FDA urged to do more

Posted in Toxicology
The FDA has been urged by three US Congressmen to do more to control formaldehyde in hair straightening products. Last year, FDA sent a warning letter to the makers of “Brazilian Blowout” after finding that the hair straightener contained formaldehyde, in significant quantities, though it was marketed as “formaldehyde free.” While the makers of Brazilian… Continue Reading


Posted in Causality, Reason, Risk, The Law, Toxicology
I thought of fulvene, also known as 5-methylene-1,3-cyclopentadiene, when I read the following in a new law review article (funded, strangely enough, by a National Science Foundation grant): Tort actions may impel industry to take voluntary steps to redesign chemical molecules … to be less toxic. Fulvene you see is made up of six carbon… Continue Reading


Posted in Causality, Industrial Hygiene, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Toxicology
Some think that "a demonstration of the much-anticipated linkage between heritable disease and environmental factors is poised to begin." Roggli > Finkelstein Nebraska "rejects the requirement of knowledge or foreseeability of the danger as an aspect of the duty determination" in employer/employee cases. The Microbiome is a very big deal. The FDA has approved a breath… Continue Reading


Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Toxicology
Utah has a very loose definition of epidemiology – at least when it comes to cows / stray voltage. There’s an enormous amount of evidence that childhood leukemia is the result of infections. Concerns about PAHs in seafood from the Deepwater Horizon spill are overstated. The Atlantic has a wonderful article about Toxoplasma gondii. You can’t… Continue Reading


Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Toxicology
Plaintiff’s expert Martyn Smith has proposed a mechanism whereby benzene produces leukemia. Night shift work modestly increases women’s risk of obesity and thus their risk of diabetes. Soy milk may make your baby girl grow up to be considerably less feminine. I keep coming up with reasons to pass on my father-in-law’s venison stew/boudin/sausage/etc. It’s not clear whether acetaminophen causes asthma… Continue Reading


Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, The Law, Toxicology
Illinois’ "consumer expectation test" does not excuse a plaintiff from proving causation. Chinese chrysotile asbestos workers have more than a threefold increase in lung cancer risk. What doesn’t kill you makes you live longer. Toxicology is rethinking recent dogma and its gaze is turning towards Goldilocks and hormesis. Market economics explain otherwise inexplicable plant-fungi interactions.… Continue Reading


Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Toxicology
There’s little evidence that parental exposure to solvents is associated with their children’s ALL. Hospitals and clinics have take-home exposure issues too. The endocrine disruption hypothesis: good science has its boots on and is beating back a good, but unsound, narrative Mesothelioma does run in families. Colon cancer is probably also caused by a disrupted… Continue Reading

NTP Adds Formaldehyde to “Known”, Glass Wool FIbers and Styrene to “Reasonably Anticipated To Be” Lists of Human Carcinogens

Posted in Toxicology
Formaldehyde has been known to be a cause of nasopharnygeal cancer for a long time but the NTP’s determination that it likely causes leukemia and other lymphohematopoetic cancers is a big deal. The inclusion of styrene on the list of things "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen"is the real shocker though. Back in the… Continue Reading

Cherry Picking on My Cherry Coke

Posted in Reason, Risk, Toxicology
Today’s scare du jour was just launched by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. They claim that the caramel coloring in Coke (and in dark beer and lots of other good stuff) is carcinogenic and ought to be banned. See "FDA Urged to Prohibit Carcinogenic ‘Caramel Coloring’". The claim can be summed up… Continue Reading

The Linear No-Threshold Theory: A Crumbling Foundation

Posted in Causality, Molecular Biology, Reason, Risk, Toxicology
The idea that a known cause of cancer, e.g. ionizing radiation, poses a risk of cancer at any dose, no matter how small, is a central thesis informing modern environmental and occupational regulations and modern, which is to say low dose, toxic tort cancer litigation. In the toxic tort context plaintiffs regularly employ the logical fallacy of the… Continue Reading

Bisphenol A Roundup

Posted in Epidemiology, Molecular Biology, Reason, Toxicology
Since it’s detected at low levels in 95% of us and since Americans have been exposed to it for more than 50 years you’d think someone would have noticed if exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) were responsible for widespread illness, deformity and death. Apparently not, at least not if the findings from a recent wave of BPA studies are to be believed. The new findings are,… Continue Reading

A Man Is Not A Mouse, At Least When It Comes To Butadiene

Posted in Causality, Toxicology
Why are mice so much more susceptible to butadiene? Apparently it’s because they metabolize it into potent mutagens at 200 times the rate of humans. As a result, while mice exposed to butadiene at current occupational levels promptly yield evidence of genotoxicity there’s no evidence of genotoxicity in humans at current workplace exposure levels. See:… Continue Reading

What Do Wrinkles, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis Have in Common?

Posted in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Toxicology
Apparently, whether you get them or not depends on the microbes that live in your gut. It may not make sense intuitively (undoubtedly a common problem in times of crumbling paradigms) but the bacteria in your intestines may decide whether your skin responds to UV damage with wrinkles or is instead rejuvenated. See "Probiotics for Photoprotection". Interested in… Continue Reading

“[O]ur Old Assumptions About Toxicants and How They Affect Our Bodies Are Being Changed …”

Posted in Molecular Biology, Reason, Toxicology
There’s a remarkable but necessary admission in this month’s Environmental Health Perspectives.  It is that that a new (some would say old) paradigm has emerged; that pathogens, sometimes in concert with what for 40 years have been known as toxicants, are responsible for a very large portion of human suffering. Unable to deny any longer that diseases of nature… Continue Reading