Initiated by the United Nations, World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June every year in order to encourage awareness of the world environment, and stimulate individual actions.
At Inserm, there is active ongoing research to identify the impacts of our environment on health, especially the effects of atmospheric pollution, endocrine disruptors and their consequences for reproductive function, and the relationship between environment and cancers.
Work carried out by William Bourguet, at Inserm Unit 1054, “Structural Biochemistry Centre,” has recently provided in vitro evidence of a molecular mechanism that might contribute to the “cocktail effect” of endocrine disruptors. The researchers demonstrated that two compounds, ethinyloestradiol, present in contraceptive pills, and an organochloride pesticide can together bind to a receptor located in cell nuclei. Binding of the first molecule promotes binding of the second, exacerbating the toxicity of these molecules.
Read the press release “Light shed on the underside of the ‘cocktail effect’ of endocrine disruptors”.
Many studies are also focused on environmental risk factors for cancer. The GEOCAP programme (GEOlocation study of Paediatric CAncers), conducted by Jacqueline Clavel and Denis Hémon, Inserm Research Directors, is aimed at identifying the influence of environmental exposures, estimated by geocoding, on the occurrence of childhood cancers, particularly high-voltage power lines, road traffic, service stations, nuclear plants and some industrial facilities. The researchers have highlighted that in one study, the incidence of new cases of myeloblastic leukaemia was 30% higher in children living within 150 m of heavily used roads, and when the roads within this radius have a combined length of over 260 m.
Read the press release “Study of leukaemias in children living close to heavily used roads”.