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Thanks specifically to then-Rep Edward Markey (D-Our Side of Almost Every Policy Fight) the FDA has finally banned BPA from any packaging material used for Baby Formula.  This was the step we we’re seeking in 2011-2012 when they only banned the substance from baby bottles and sippy cups.

This is good.  Plain and simple.  But the BPA story is long and the fight is far from over.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a synthetic compound used to harden plastic and prevent the growth of bacteria, because of this it is frequently used in food containers.  Specifically BPA-based resins are used to coat the inside of most canned foods and BPA plastic is used for everything from packaging (salad dressing bottles, plastic jars, etc) to consumer products (cups, bottles, bowls, utensils).

BPA was discovered in 1891 and documented in 1905.  Bayer and General Electric introduced the industrial processes and application of the substance in the 1950’s and it’s been in our food production ever since.

BPA is cheap, effective, easy to make, easy to use and makes many of products better.  What could be the problem?

The problem is that BPA is a very effective estrogen replicator.  This has been known since the 1930s. BPA was specifically researched as an estrogen therapy drug, with British Chemist Leon Golberg ultimately developing a method to synthesize a derivative of it called DES (diethylstilbestrol).  Since Mr. Goldberg developed this process at the University of Oxford UK law prohibited the drug from being patented since it was developed at a public institution (How’s THAT for an awesome law?!).

The downside of this is that this very cheap and effective drug was patent free and went on to be produced around the world and approved by the US FDA in 1941 for everything from gonorrhea, to postpartum lactation suppression to prostate cancer to ovarian failure and in a wonderful medical treatment of days-gone-by it was given to prepubescent girls to close off the growth plates in their developing bones in order to prevent the lamentable and utterly unfeminine condition called “Excess Height”.  

This was all stopped in 1971 when it was clear that pumping estrogen replicators into women, men and girls causes cancer and since it was given to pregnant women to prevent miscarriages we now have generations of what came to be known as “DES daughters” and “DES sons” that have major hormone-related disorders and elevated cancer rates through multiple generations.  

The lawsuits started in the 70’s, eventually led to the California decision of Sindell v. Abbott Laboratories and continue to this day where 53 DES daughters brought a case to Federal Court against multiple drug makers with the claim that their breast cancers are a result of the DES prescribed to their mothers while they were in utero.  The case was recently settled back in January of this year.

And so…. despite all of this sordid history with the nefarious estrogen replicator DES and despite the American Medical Association on the record with an official policy labeling BPA as an endocrine-disrupting agent….  ..the American Chemistry Council is still somehow convinced this is all perfectly safe.  

Except that we are learning more and more that its not.

BPA exposure, even at very low levels, is being found more and more to have negative effects, specifically contributing to obesity and causing an early onset of puberty in young girls.
When very young children are exposed it has been found to increase asthma risk, cause urological disorders, thyroid conditions, as well as links to brain and breast tumors.

So despite knowing that BPA was an estrogen replicator since the 1930’s and knowing estrogen replicators cause all kinds of health issues since the 70’s we still somehow find it A-OK to accept lobbying money from BPA manufacturers legalize BPA for wide-spread use including food and children’s items.

And the finger-pointing at the lobbyists is not unfounded here.  The Washington Post covered the specific strategies being devised and ruthlessly implemented to prevent any kind of ban on their profitable industry.  From truly disgusting things like:

The attendees estimated it would cost $500,000 to craft a message for a public relations campaign, according to the notes. "Their 'holy grail' spokesperson would be a 'pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA,' " the notes said.
To the simple our-scientists-are-better-than-your-scientists tactic we’ve seen with everything from tobacco addiction to climate change:
Despite more than 100 published studies by government scientists and university laboratories that have raised health concerns about the chemical, the Food and Drug Administration has deemed it safe largely because of two studies, both funded by a chemical industry trade group.
However, even the most well-paid lobbyist has to admit that having a product that is linked to baby-poisoning is not going to be a good PR position, and so the industry started to move.

As of 2011, every manufacturer had phased BPA out of baby bottles and sippy cups.  This allowed the FDA to oh-so-boldly step up in July 2012 and BAN BPA from all baby bottles and sippy cups.  That’s right… a formal “Stop doing what you already stopped doing so everyone can see you’ve stopped doing it” ruling.  The American Chemistry Council actually petitioned the FDA to make this public relations advertisement ruling for them in order to “clarify the issue” and “boost consumer confidence”.  

That may seem a bit toothless, but its still progress.  The industry knew it was still on the ropes and kept moving to remove BPA from all packaging material (specifically the epoxy resin used to line the cans) for all infant formula.  Since that is now complete, we see this new “ban” from the FDA.

The next step is to ban BPA from all food packaging and/or label anything that contains BPA.

The ACC is still dumping a hell of a lot of lobby money to stop this but Diane Feinstein is already pushing on the labeling front and Ed Markey has introduced a Ban Poisonous Additives Act (Clever bill acronym on that one, eh?) to ban this stuff outright.

If the new standard is to let the industry work to stop the activity and then ban it, meh.. whatever… seems a bit weak but I’ll take whatever route we need to use to get this poison out of our food, homes and children’s mouths.

Originally posted to Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow--what a great diary! (21+ / 0-)

    I knew that BPA was bad and have been actively avoiding it for the last 6 years or so, but I knew nothing of its long history.  Thanks for this!  I hope this diary gets more traffic.

    •  Thanks (4+ / 0-)

      I don't have children so all the baby-bottle, formula, sippy cup stuff didn't apply to me, but this is just one more reason that my wife and I keep in mind as we try to reduce overall use of plastic as much as possible.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 10:06:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have two kids (4+ / 0-)

        and frankly they never used bottles, so that wasn't an issue for us, but BPA in the lids of baby food was.  And now that they're bigger, trying to keep them away from foods packaged in plastic, especially bottled water.  They both have bottles from the Swiss company Sigg.  

        There's not too much to be done about the other things that enter their bodies that come in plastic containers, like toothpaste and soap.  You do the best you can.

        •  My son never used bottles either, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Carol in San Antonio, Janet 707

          so I lucked out there, since ten years ago when he was an infant, I had never heard of BPA.

          There is a fantastic documentary on Netflix streaming, "Tapped" about all the problems with bottled water. One of the big ones is the BPA in the water bottles. A scientist quoted in the movie said that allowing BPA into food packaging is the biggest mistake the FDA has made in forty years. It's a must see if you're interested in this subject. After watching it, I stopped buying bottled water altogether, and I'm trying to buy food in glass as much as possible. Of course, that's always the most expensive way!

  •  Current House Co-Sponsors of BPA Act (15+ / 0-)

    Let's call our legislators and get them to sign on as co-sponsors

    Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR3]
    Capps, Lois [D-CA24]
    DeGette, Diana [D-CO1]
    DeLauro, Rosa [D-CT3]
    Ellison, Keith [D-MN5]
    Eshoo, Anna [D-CA18]
    Farr, Sam [D-CA20]
    Grijalva, Raúl [D-AZ3]
    Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA19]
    Lowey, Nita [D-NY17]
    Maloney, Carolyn [D-NY12]
    McCollum, Betty [D-MN4]
    Moran, James “Jim” [D-VA8]
    Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY10]
    Pingree, Chellie [D-ME1]
    Schakowsky, Janice “Jan” [D-IL9]
    Slaughter, Louise [D-NY25]
    Speier, Jackie [D-CA14]
    Tsongas, Niki [D-MA3]
    Michaud, Michael [D-ME2]

    "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being in DC."

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:49:12 AM PDT

  •  Some good points here (7+ / 0-)

    but note the conflation with DES in the diary is problematic since diethylstilbestrol (DES) is about 10,000 fold more potent than BPA at interacting with the estrogen receptor.

    Lots of things are estrogen mimics, which we are exposed to frequently, including soy, lavender,  and a fungus common on corn.  FYI cannabis is also.  In high concentrations these may have adverse effects, as can BPA.  In contrast DES is associated with effects at much  lower doses (note even in that case human adverse effects were associated with relatively high dose exposure during pregnancy).

    There are also two very large government funded studies (one by FDA) of BPA over a wide range of doses which failed to find adverse outcomes.  DES was a positive control in at least one of the govt funded studies and was positive (meaning the strain/species tested was sensitive to potential estrogenic effects).  These studies should also be included when commenting on the available BPA literature.

    Please note my opinions are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.

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

    by barbwires on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 09:40:42 AM PDT

    •  DES is absolutely much much worse (7+ / 0-)

      My point was that we've been down the road of xenoestrogens before and the results are not pretty.

      DES dosage was higher, but BPA is infinitely more ubiquitous.  At 6.4 Billlion pounds per year it is one of highest-volume chemicals produced on Earth.

      And the BPS exposure is not even as low as previously thought.  A Harvard study found that after 5-days of consuming 1 serving of canned soup (from a BPA can) urinary levels were up 1200% over the control sample.

      I'd be curious to see the non-industry funded study that finds no adverse effect from BPA if you have a link.

      The Chapel Hill Consensus looked at hundreds of studies and aside from reaffirming the health concerns on everything from breast cancer to brain structure to overall body growth also noted that none of the phamacokinetic studies accurately accounted for continuous low-level exposure that has been repeatedly demonstrated in the human environment.

      There had been statements (studies?) previously trying to play down the toxicity risk by pointing to the efficacy in which the human body can process and eliminate BPA from the system... but the CHC's point was that biomonitoring routinely shows that while, yes, BPA can not remain in the human system or even in the environment, the level of constant multi-source intake was so overwhelmingly that average BPA exposure can only be classified as "continuous".  

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 10:04:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also, citing animal studies here is problematic (0+ / 0-)

      in that humans metabolize and react to this particular substance quite differently than do rats and mice.

      The Chinese study appears interesting based on a reading of the abstract. However, the product of a scientific community that has published results of clinical trials finding acupuncture to be effective, I will approach with extreme caution.  

      The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

      by Wolf10 on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 03:18:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then no study will meet your needs (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wolf10, kurt, Carol in San Antonio

        There is not going to be a study of a non-self selected controlled human population, some of whom are deliberately given a drug strongly indicated to be a carcinogen and endocrine disruptor just to see how bad it fucks them up.

        That is unethical on its face and could never meet AAHRPP standards.

        Also, the tests done of other xenoestrogens were conducted on animals and the results of those can be compared to those of BPA.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 03:41:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The observational human study by Li et al (0+ / 0-)

          is a valid, ethically acceptable type of study. That is, comparing groups with varying amounts of BPA blood levels and exposure. More of this type of work should be done on many possible environmental toxins.

          My concern about this particular one is that it was a Chinese study and as inadequate as our own governmental agencies are in protecting us from anti-social profit-seeking behaviors, I have even less confidence in Chinese institutions. That being said, this particular study might be a good one.

          The strength of inferences drawn from animal studies varies if there is a significant difference in the mode of action or if the ultimate effect varies greatly between test subject species. For example, dogs can get away with eating rotten meat that would make you or I quite ill.

          There are some posts regarding BPA at Science Based Medicine that are worth a look. Admittedly more recent research than they have cited may have changed things and BPA may indeed prove to be more harmful than has been concluded in their articles.

          The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

          by Wolf10 on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 07:14:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hope this makes the rec list (6+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your time and efforts!

  •  I'm pretty skeptical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, Wolf10

    BPA isn't very water soluble, limiting the ability of human bodies to even intake it.  At the doses most people see, we only have two very limited studies of mice.

    That's really insufficient evidence to ban anything.

    •  We have hundreds of studies (7+ / 0-)

      not sure what two mice studies you are referencing.

      There is absolutely no doubt or even attempted disputation of BPA saturation.  The CDC found BPA in the urine sample of 92.6% of the population.

      The industry dispute has always been that yes, its everywhere.. but its SAFE!

      And, again, there are hundreds of studies showing that its not.  Here's one in China suggesting a link to brain tumors.  Here is one from Japan linking BPA to miscarriages.  Here is a study that shows a link in adults, rather then children, that BPA exposure causes immune system issues.

      Im not even going to TRY and link all the studies... asthma, heart conditions, obesity, precocious puberty, lung cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid problems, etc.

      If you want to dispute the studies thats one thing I guess... but there is no way to say that there are not a serious body of work out there on this.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 12:05:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most of those involve concentrations... (0+ / 0-)

        ...over those reported in actual populations.

        The Japanese study is for high exposures, well beyond what any normal person would experience from products containing BPA.  The 95% CL from the Chinese study put it within only a 2% increased odds range.

        The BPA immune system study only looked at indirect measurements of immune system response (cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibody levels.)

        There's plenty of correlation that BPA can be harmful at high concentrations... just not much at concentrations humans actually encounter.

        •  Its the exposure (3+ / 0-)

          as referenced in another comment up-thread, the Chapel Hill Consensus looked at hundreds of studies and not only concluded a growing body of evidence of BPA endocrine disruption but that none of the studies appropriately included the proper level of constant exposure.  That while agreeing that BPA can not persist in the human system the biomonitoring results from MANY studies show the multiple intake methods of BPA to be so ubiquitous that the exposure level for the average person can be considered to be CONSTANT.

          No one, not even the industry, will doubt the effects of large dose exposure of BPA, or any xenoestrogen.  I think we can all agree that is settled science.  But what the studies are collectively showing and what the Chapel Hill Consensus stated and what the AMA is now on-board with is that CONSTANT exposure to varying low and high dosages of BPA from the environment is becoming more and more indicative as a cause of numerous metabolic and hormonal conditions, particularly in young children and even more particularly in young girls.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 02:00:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Lots of food has at least a little fat, which (0+ / 0-)

      would take up (concentrate) BPA over time.  Given that canned goods are generally stored and not consumed immediately, low water solubility is not very protective.

  •  labelling isn't enough -- ban it (7+ / 0-)

    I've had breast cancer twice. Caused by BPA? who knows. But it is infuriating that I am being exposed to an estrogen-mimicking chemical, despite all my efforts to try to avoid it (cooking my own beans rather than buying canned, for example). Labelling does not solve the problem because food processors, restaurants, etc. etc. can still use it.

  •  Google these compounds (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, Carol in San Antonio

    Wikipedia shows both compounds to have two benzene rings in them, and we all know benzene to be very carcinogenic.  Remember PCBs (Poly-Chlorinated Biphenols)?  We're actually dredging the bottom of the Hudson River in New York because of PCB contamination, and Bisphenol A and diethylstilbestrol (DES) look a lot like PCBs, with the two benzene rings.
    Most insecticides and herbicides also have two benzene rings in their molecules, too.
    Look at the molecules of most amino acids, proteins and the four molecules that make up the rungs of the DNA ladders.  They all have benzene rings or derivatives of benzene rings in them.  
    Artificial molecules that look like my genetic material scare me.  Who knows whether natural processes will allow them to be substituted, and who knows what they will do to me if they do get substituted?  What we don't know can kill us.

    •  PCB's were also a estrogen replicator (7+ / 0-)

      As is DDT (banned), Atrazine (most widely used herbicide in the US), Dioxin (used as pesticide and for wood bleaching and pulping), Zeranol (banned animal growth hormone), PBB (banned plastic additive), and Endosulfan (agricultural pesticide).

      Estrogen replicators can be some scary stuff.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 12:18:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting that you mention Endosulfan. It is (6+ / 0-)

        indeed a pesticide, now banned worldwide, except for certain crop uses. I happen to live in an area with thousands of acres planted in pear. One of the last extension granted was to some fruit growers, who bought up all available supplies and are still using it.

        Because of this organochlorine used all around my home and found in my bloodstream, my doctors have told me I cannot live in the Kit House.

        The pernicious bit about these chemicals and the reason they were withdrawn from the market is that even as smaller bits they carry the same toxicity, only diluted. These compounds are sprayed as an aerosol and end up in the high atmosphere where they have been carried and found as far away as Antarctica.

        The phase "The solution to pollution is dilution." applies to these chemicals unless they are banned.

        Thank you for this interesting piece.

        Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

        by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 02:11:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed and the toxicity should be expected (5+ / 0-)

          Its one thing to label some foreign chemical as a "poison" which if ingested or inhaled to the body can have disastrous results.  These are things that cause your liver to kick in to try and detoxify the substance and then your kidneys to work overtime to try and flush it out.  This is the standard body response to "poison".

          But for substances like Endosulfan or BPA, we are talking about a substance almost perfectly designed to slip right into the millions and millions of ongoing biochemical processes in your body that react with, are triggered by, or a response to the presence (at whatever level) of estrogen/testosterone.  

          This is not something simply neutralized and eliminated.  I mean think about those warnings we hear voiced-over the Testosterone therapy drugs on TV:  "Women who are pregnant or might become pregnant should not handle tablets".  This is a legitimate drug for a legitimate condition so potentially disruptive that members of the opposite gender shouldn't even touch it.

          And yet we are told that its okay for this kind of chemical to be deliberately introduced into our food products?  Including products designed for children?  A hormone disruptor that we are okay with being exposed to prepubescent and pubescent children?  I mean how much of a scientist do you really need to be to stop for a minute and think "This is probably not a good idea"?

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 02:30:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No, amino acids and nucleotides are *not* benzene (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chantedor

      derivatives.  A compound can have rings but be completely unrelated to benzene.  You can infer very little from the shape of a molecule without knowing a lot more than just "6-membered ring".  Please, don't try to extrapolate complex biochemistry while skipping past basic chemistry and biology.

      •  Thank you and boy do I hate chemical ignorance (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA, chantedor

        Why isn't a PCB like an amino acid? Because it's missing the amino acid. Bisphenol A doesn't look like a PCB or an amino acid. Diethylstilbestrol doesn't look like a PCB or BPA or an amino acid. And none of those are able to react with DNA.

        There are plenty of small molecules that can enter the body and cause unwanted effects. Most drugs are still small molecules. But posts like the parent makes me wish we had a notes function for posters so I could write "ignorant of basic chemistry and biochemistry."

  •  Why isn't BPA banned everywhere? (3+ / 0-)

    I realize that babies/developing children are most vulnerable, but if it's as bad as I've read, it should be banned period.  

  •  They are having a suit in Texas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707, chantedor

    Over BPA involving two chemical manufacturer debating it safety ,one claim it safe the other say it not

    •  The Eastman Suit? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      The suit is brought by Eastman Chemical which manufactures "Tritan", which they market as a safe alternative to BPA plastic.

      They claim that PlastiPure (which manufactures plastic containing no substance with estrogenic activity) and CertiChem (which conducts plastic chemical analysis to test for estrogenic activity) make false statements in their marketing materials about the Tritan product claiming that, while it is BSA-free, it uses other products with similar endocrine-disruptive properties.

      One of Eastman's main arguments is a study they plan on presenting that shows Tritan plastic to be 100% safe and was touted as "independent", but that study was paid for by Eastman Chemical and this was not disclosed in its publication.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 02:11:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Terrific diary! A lot of great information here, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio

    thank you.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy -7.2, -7.9

    by helpImdrowning on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 02:56:20 PM PDT

  •  SO glad that my picky-eaters are not interested (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio

    in canned goods, that my one carbonated indulgence comes in old-fashioned glass(!), that we now CAN find non-BPA water bottles (thank you THERMOS steel), etc., etc.

    I do indulge in the canned, but not often... tuna, chili, etc. a couple of times a month, so it's not as bad as it might be, but I need to do more work on eliminating can lining exposure...

    anybody know if the can industry is working on switching away from BPA linings???... oy, just spent a while googling away! will have to do more later, but I got very mixed results on my particular personal things I'm interested in.

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 03:42:48 PM PDT

  •  BPA is also in cash register receipts!!! (3+ / 0-)

    It is absorbed through the skin when you touch them.  I have heard stories about scientists who will not touch receipts ever because they know how dangerous BPA is.  Here is a quote from a New York Times story:

    For their study, Dr. Liao and his co-author, Kurunthachalam Kannan, analyzed 103 thermal receipts collected from cities in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam in 2010 and 2011...
    They found BPA in 94 percent of the receipts they tested. Japan, which largely phased out the chemical in 2001, was the only country in which traces did not turn up in any samples.
    ...100 percent of the receipts collected in the United States contained BPA — even some marketed as “BPA-free.”
    ...they were particularly concerned about cashiers and other people who handle thermal paper on a regular basis.
    Read the full story here.

    Note that Japan has phased out use of BPA!

    •  Actually, it's a major source of BPA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chantedor

      The BPA that is used to make polycarbonate (a clear hard plastic) is incorporated into the long carbon chains that make up the plastic, and therefore cannot escape under normal conditions. Only small quantities of free BPA that didn't react when the plastic was made is left to leach out into foodstuff that contacts the plastic.

      In thermal paper, which is what almost all cash receipts are made of, all the PBA is free, and there is lots of it. So if you are worried about BPA, you definitely should wash your hands after you touch any cash receipts.

      "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

      by Drobin on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 10:55:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Phthalates (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chantedor

    are another major category of endocrine disruptors. As far as I am concerned, they are actually a bigger concern than BPA. Like BPA, They are also used in plastics, where they help make the it soft and pliable. Most plastics that is not hard and rigid contain some amount of phthaltes, usually at the level of a few percent, but very stretchy and rubbery items can contain 40% or more.

    One phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, is also used as an additive to cosmetic products such as nail polish, shampoo, sunscreens, etc. It's been banned in the EU, but is still being used in the US.

    The phthalates in plastics do easily leech out into the environment, and as a results every single person in the country has detectable levels in their blood stream. One study showed clear signs of feminization in male babies (in the form of a smaller penis, among other things) whose mothers had elevated levels of phthalates in their bloodstream during pregnancy. As many as 25% of US women fall into this category. It has also been linked to early puberty in girls, and may be associated with increased risk for breast cancer. There may even be a link between phthalates and the obesity epidemic in the Western world. There is also suspicions regarding a connection between phthalates and asthma, both in children and adults.

    Phthalates are so ubiquitous that they are virtually impossible to stay away from. They can enter the body through the food you eat, the air you breathe, and even directly through the skin. Simple things like taking a shower (there are phthalates in the shower curtain), putting on perfume (the perfume probably has phthalates in it, as does most perfumed products), living in a home with vinyl flooring, or even riding in a car can measurably raise blood levels of phthaltes.

     Europe and Japan has made strides in banning and reducing the worst of the phthalates, but things are predictably moving much slower in the US. Phthalates were banned from toys recently, and any toys made since 2009 should be phthalate-free. Given the amount of it in our living space, I don't know how much of a difference that really makes.

    The only way to be sure to be rid of them, is to get get rid all soft plastics, fragrances and many cosmetics from your life. That means your home, your work, and whatever mode of transportation you use to get around (invest in a bike). Since pesticides contain phthalates, you also need to stick to eating organic food. But don't wrap your food in plastics, since cellophane contains quite a bit of it. Spending time outdoors is also a good idea, since phthalates break down pretty rapidly in the environment, and there is very little of it outdoors.

    "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

    by Drobin on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 11:51:50 AM PDT

  •  Water bottles (0+ / 0-)

    I've been wondering about the water bottles I'm usually drinking out of, which I refill and reuse both to save money and help keep from adding large numbers to the landfill. I just did an online search and found sources that said the ones of concern that contain bisphenol-A are some of the bottles with the recycling code 7 on the bottom (apparently some with a 7 contain it but others don't).

    I was a little relieved to see that mine don't have a 7 but a 1 and the word PETE, but I didn't know what that meant. So I found this website that lists all the different recycling symbols on plastics and what they mean. It's kind of interesting. Fortunately, it says this is the most common plastic for beverage bottles and that the PETE plastic "poses low risk of leaching breakdown products," although I should probably get new ones more frequently just to be on the safe side.

  •  We cut down our use of canned foods (0+ / 0-)

    Dramatically because of this.

    Hopefully they will phase it out of everything soon.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 12:05:32 AM PDT

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