Copenhagen : The European Environment Agency said in a report on Thursday that Europeans are still exposed to excessive amounts of Bisphenol A, a harmful chemical that has been used to manufacture certain plastic products for decades.
The European agency said that urine samples collected from European citizens in several countries found that exposure to this substance is still “well above acceptable health safety levels” and poses a potential danger to millions of people.
It is noteworthy that “Bisphenol A” is a synthetic chemical that is widely used in plastic and metal food containers, reusable water bottles, and drinking water pipes.
Even in small doses, the chemical can weaken the immune system, according to the agency. Other health problems that this substance can cause include infertility and allergic skin reactions.
“Thanks to the European Union’s pioneering human biomonitoring research project, we can see that Bisphenol A poses a more widespread risk to our health than previously thought,” said the Executive Director of the European Economic Area, Lena Jala-Mononen, in a statement.
She added: “We must take the results of this research seriously and take further measures at the European Union level to reduce exposure to chemicals that pose a risk to the health of Europeans.”
A new study reduces the seriousness of the impact of screen exposure on children’s development
Paris: A large-scale study, the results of which were published on Wednesday, showed that the time children spend in front of screens partly affects their development, but these effects are limited and depend above all on the way these screens are used.
The authors of the study, which was conducted under the auspices of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France, and whose results were published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, concluded that “the context in which screens are used, and not just the time that children spend in front of the screen, affects their cognitive development.”
Children’s excessive exposure to screens (computers, smartphones, and televisions) has for years raised concerns expressed by many political leaders, as well as some caregivers who see this as a serious threat to the point of linking it to cases of autism.
However, the scientific consensus is more cautious in approaching this issue. The study conducted by the French Institute adds to other research work that reduces the extent of the problems associated with the use of screens and places them in a broader context.
The new study is classified as a “cohort study,” which is a type of research that allows for very solid conclusions to be drawn, and it observes the follow-up of a large group of people (14 thousand children in this case) over a period of years.
The researchers evaluated these children at three ages: two years, three and a half years, and then five and a half years. They concluded that there was a “limited” link between screen use and their intellectual development.
It is certain that “at the ages of 3.5 and 5.5 years, screen time was associated with lower scores in general cognitive development, especially in the areas of fine motor skills, language, and independence,” according to what the National Institute of Health and Medical Research said in a statement.
“However, when lifestyle factors that potentially influence cognitive development were taken into account, the negative relationship decreased and became of low magnitude,” the institute added.
In other words, it is not the presence of screens that affects a child’s development, but rather the influence related to when children use screens and how they look at them.
For example, the children studied seemed to be greatly affected by frequent family TV viewing during meals.
“TV, by attracting the attention of family members, interferes with the quality and quantity of parent-child interactions,” epidemiologist Shuai Yang, the study’s lead author, said in a statement, but “nevertheless, this is crucial at this age for language acquisition.”