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A gender-bending chemical hormone was found to be present in tests of popular canned kids food:

An advocacy group committed to exposing and eliminating environmental risks for breast cancer has taken aim at canned foods popular among kids, reheating the debate on bisphenol A.

A new report from the Breast Cancer Fund reveals 12 canned soups and pastas found to contain BPA -- an estrogen-like chemical raising concern among experts for its potential health effects in children, infants and fetuses.

Topping the list was Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes with 148 parts per billion. The average level across all 12 cans was 49 parts per billion.

"The findings of this report outline the urgent need to remove BPA from food packaging -- a major source of exposure to this toxic hormone disruptor -- especially in foods marketed to children," the report states.

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A recent study found that when healthy cells were exposed to BPA and methylparaben, they behaved like cancer cells:

Scientific studies have linked the chemicals to hormonal problems and reproductive health issues, among other problems.

In the latest study, researchers took noncancerous breast cells from high-risk patients, grew them in a laboratory and found that once the cells were exposed to bisphenol A and methylparaben, they started behaving like cancer cells.

Tamoxifen, a drug designed to prevent or treat cancer, slows down the growth of both healthy and cancerous breast cells and ultimately leads to their death. But when tamoxifen was introduced in the lab, the cells exposed to the two chemicals kept growing and didn't die, said Dr. William Goodson, senior clinical research scientist at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute and lead author of the study.

Canadian officials have already placed a ban on BPA, declaring it toxic:

"We have immediately taken action on bisphenol A because we believe it is our responsibility to ensure families, Canadians and our environment are not exposed to a potentially harmful chemical," Tony Clement, the minister of health, said in a statement.

Clement said the action was based on a review of 150 worldwide studies. "It's pretty clear that the highest risk is for newborns and young infants," he said in a telephone interview.

The EU has banned BPA in baby bottles:

"The decision ... is good news for European parents who can be sure that as of mid-2011 plastic infant feeding bottles will not include BPA," said John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, in a statement. "There were areas of uncertainty, deriving from new studies, which showed that BPA might have an effect on development, immune response and tumor promotion,"

The Commission said EU states will outlaw the manufacture of polycarbonate feeding bottles containing the compound from March 2011, and ban their import and sale from June 2011, reports Reuters.

Even China and Malaysia have issued bans on BPA, unlike third-world nations such as the United States. An attempt to include the measure in last year's food safety bill was thwarted by lobbyists.

Think avoiding canned food will keep you safe?  You could still get nabbed at checkout by BPA-lined receipt paper:

If you're worried about being exposed to the cancer-causing compound BPA, you may already know to be wary of some water bottles and food cans.

But you'll never guess where BPA, a.k.a. bisphenol A, is showing up now:

Cash register receipts.

Extraordinarily high levels of BPA were found on two-fifths of the paper receipts tested recently by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.

In some cases, the amount of BPA on a given receipt was 1,000 times the levels found in a can of food.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    What we are seeing today is not an aberration; the aberration is only that we are seeing it, and what we are seeing is still not most of it.

    by The Anomaly on Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 08:40:33 PM PDT

  •  That's why I never give my kid canned food, (9+ / 0-)

    she only gets kibble. ;)
    Seriously that stuff hardly even qualifies as food.

  •  And of Course (4+ / 0-)

    The effects of BpA are most severe during certain windows of gestation.  In other words, pre-natal exposures are more serious than post-natal exposure.

    Pre-natal exposures to BpA (day 56 of gestation, for example) cause hyper-activity and inability to concentrate.  Inability to deal with stress.  Learning disabilities.  Especially in boy children.

    So soups and other plastic products that expose pregnant adults to BpA are much more damaging than those that expose already-born kids to the same.

    This raises some uncomfortable questions.

    First, where the fuck are the right-wing Christian assholes who go on and on about the rights of the "unborn"?  Shouldn't these blastocyst fetishists be focused on this violation of the rights of their preferred constituency?

    Second, I know that for Democrats, kids are politically more appealing than fetuses, but the toxicological reality here should make us stand up for the rights of fetuses.  What's wrong with a fetus whose mother actually wants to give birth?  Or who wants to maintain that option?

    That we focus on a less at risk group to publicize the risks of BpA shows how bad policy can result from political opportunism.  

    The law Jerry Brown signed is more protective of already-born children than fetuses -- those most likely to suffer the most egregious effects of BpA.

    And the same goes for right-wing Christofascist assholes.  

    Let us all -- at least this time around -- step up for fetal rights.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 09:40:06 PM PDT

  •  While I agree that BPA is suspect (5+ / 0-)

    and I try to avoid it, the video you link has a surgeon commenting on this. Sadly she is unqualified to comment on this topic. As a biochemist myself, I would recommend you try to get some respected endocrinologists to comment on the matter.

    You could be listening to Netroots Radio. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

    by yuriwho on Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 11:46:59 PM PDT

  •  Several important concepts are missed here (6+ / 0-)

    There are some key concepts in toxicology and risk assessment that are important considerations and not mentioned in this diary.

    One is absorption.  Because something is on a paper receipt doesn't mean it is absorbed through the epidermis, dermis and becomes available in the circulation.  There are a lot of chemicals in papers, inks and other things we handle that could be problems if they were absorbed in sufficient quantities.  Fortunately most of them are not.  Either they don't come off the receipt, for example, or they adhere to the dead skin cell layers of the epidermis, which are sloughed, washed and/or rubbed off.

    Re can linings, there are two issues.  One is risk benefit; the can linings provide a seal to keep acidic products from eating away at the metal in the can.  This helps keep metal out of your tomato soup; also helps keep bacteria out of canned products, like the bacteria that cause botulism because non-acidic foods that need to be can be processed at higher temperatures.  My personal opinion is that botulism is a far greater concern than BPA.  I also would prefer to keep metal ingestion to a minimum.  In any case the risks of potential exposures to chemicals used to line cans should be weighed against the risks of other contamination, food poisoning or worse.  Looking for alternative materials for can linings, or alternatives to cans is also important.

    The second issue is route of administration, which can markedly alter what gets to cells and how much.  Much of the research purporting to demonstrate adverse effects of BPA is done, as the experiment referenced in the diary was, by applying BPA directly to cell cultures, or by subcutaneous (under the skin) or intraperitoneal (into the gut lining) exposures.  Neither mimics potential human exposures well.  It's a reasonable assumption that most potential human exposure is oral, with a small dermal component as discussed above.  Very large scale studies of BPA (at both high and low doses, for those concerned with homeopathic low dose effects) have shown no effects from oral exposures on reproduction, fertility, cancer or other endpoints of concern.  These include recent studies conducted by the EPA as well as prior industry sponsored studies.

    It should also be noted that the EU assesses risk using a "precautionary" approach that eliminates consideration of exposure levels.  Chemicals may be banned in the EU because of high dose effects regardless of whether human exposures ever approach even a very small fraction of the levels associated with adverse effects.  The approach in the US for non-genotoxic (not mutagenic) chemicals is to establish an exposure level showing no adverse effects, and then to apply very conservative safety factors (typically 100-1000 fold) to determine a reference dose considered to have an extremely low probability of an effect.  This reference dose is then compared to estimated human exposures, with the exposures also calculated very conservatively assuming lifetime exposures to maximal measured amounts.  If the exposure levels exceed the reference dose the chemical is regulated to further reduce exposures.

    Thus finding higher than anticipated levels of a chemical in a product may be a reason for reevaluating the potential risk, but it is not a defacto reason to ban the product.

    Please note my views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Tue Oct 18, 2011 at 12:41:10 AM PDT

  •  Just FYI the organic food supplier Eden Foods (4+ / 0-)

    took care to line their cans with a non-BPA coating; they also note that it costs more, and that not many other products are available for this purpose.

    So when you do need to buy canned food, particularly anything acidic, it's important to use it as quickly as possible.

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