(Oct. 2003) Nickel-cadmium batteries are not likely to be banned soon in Europe following information from an impact assessment in the New Battery Directive. Following an Enhanced Impact Assessment (EIA), such a ban was not found to be justified. Dr. Caroline Jackson, chair of the European Parliament’s environment committee, stated, “The EIA has apparently shown no justification for a ban on Nickel-cadmium batteries originally proposed by the Commission....” Its (the ban) future is uncertain. Dr. Jackson went on to explain that next year will bring the elections in the European Parliament, when legislation, like the Battery Directive, will be sidelined during campaigns. In addition, 10 countries in Eastern Europe are set to join the existing 15 member sates as part of the Union. Dr. Jackson said that this will inevitably slow down the passing of laws.
The revision to the Battery Directive is one of the first EIAs to be carried out on forthcoming European legislation, looking into the costs and benefits of new legislation. The new assessment process is a reaction to the lack of cost appraisals before existing environmental laws were adopted.
(August 2003) Cadmium, found in rechargeable Nickel-cadmium batteries, has possible linkage to cancer in females. Researchers at Georgetown University concluded from their animal study that the equivalent of the highest amount of cadmium exposure allowed by the World Health Organization (WHO) caused estrogen-like effects in rats. (Note: The WHO recommends a maximum exposure of 7 micrograms of cadmium per kilogram of weight per week.) Even relatively low doses of cadmium affected the mammary glands and sexual development of these animals. The rats given cadmium had growth in uterine weight, an increase of 1.9 fold, a strong possibility that they were reacting to the metal as though it were a hormone. Two groups of rats were tested: pregnant rats and rats which had their ovaries removed. Further research needs to be done to determine if cadmium effects are similar in humans. (Information is from “Cadmium mimics the ‘in vivo’ effects of estrogen in the uterus and mammary gland.” For more information view Nature Medicine on the Internet at http://www.nature.com/naturemedicine.)
(July,03) Dmitry Gordenin from The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences studies cadmium effects in the DNA of a cell. To date, the results show that prolonged exposure to low, nonlethal doses of cadmium increased the level of DNA damage in yeast cells by up to 2000 times.