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  • InCurrent Research, Healthy Baby, Toxic Chemicals

    New Study Shows 69% Increase in BPA Levels with Polycarbonate Bottle Use

    New Study Shows 69% Increase in BPA Levels with Polycarbonate Bottle UseThe scientific journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, just published the shocking results of a new study done by Harvard University and Centers for Disease Control Prevention.   The levels of bisphenol-a in the urine of 77 Harvard increased by two-thirds after they drank cold liquids from BPA water bottles for only a week.

    Whether or not the intake of food and drinks from polycarbonate containers increases BPA concentrations in humans had not yet been studied.  This study was designed to  examine the association between the use of polycarbonate beverage containers and urinary BPA concentrations in humans.  The study's conclusion was straightforward and alarming.

    One week of polycarbonate bottle use increased urinary BPA concentrations by two thirds. Regular consumption of cold beverages from polycarbonate bottles is associated with a substantial increase in urinary BPA concentrations irrespective of exposure to BPA from other sources.

    It's becoming more clear that BPA is harmful at lower levels than previously suspected and that sources of exposure are numerous and often hidden.  Recent studies have also shown that BPA remains in the blood longer and is not metabolized as quickly as once thought.

    It's extremely important that we help the most susceptible individuals, pregnant women and children, to avoid known sources of BPA exposure.  Renee Sharp, Director of Environmental Working Group's California office responded with great clarity on this point:

    These astonishing results should be a clarion call to lawmakers and public health officials that babies are being exposed to BPA, and at levels that could likely have an impact on their development.  The adults in this study were willing participants who understood the risk of exposure, but babies are unwitting victims of the silent but serious threat this hormone- disrupting chemical poses to their health.

    Demand the ban of Bisphenol-a in food containers by supporting the Kids Safe Chemical Act!  Let your state reps know how you feel about this harmful endocrine-disrupting chemical, and keep sharing with your family, friends and neighbors.

    Photo source: Flickr by dharder9475

  • InCurrent Research

    The Daily Green: Bisphenol-A May Disrupt Cancer Treatment

    Bisphenol-A May Disrupt Cancer TreatmentCould BPA actually be a double-edged sword in relation to breast cancer?  According to breaking news on The Daily Green, new science raises yet another concern about the controversial ingredient in many plastics and in the lining of cans.

    Bisphenol-A mimics the female hormone estrogen, and has been implicated in a range of diseases and disorders by independent scientists whose work runs counter to official government pronouncements about the chemical's safety.

    The new University of Cincinnati study says that Bisphenol-A may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments. Bisphenol-A seems to bolster proteins that protect cancer cells, according to the research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

    Bisphenol-A is not only similar to estrogen, but to a cancer-promoting compound called diethylstilbestrol (DES). DES makes cancer cells proliferate, but Bisphenol-A seems to protect cells from chemical attack, as does estrogen.

    The researchers did the laboratory work on breast cancer cells.

    read more

    photo credit: Unhindered by Talent via photopin cc

  • InCurrent Research, Toxic Chemicals

    FDA Says BPA is Safe, but Offers Tips for Decreasing Exposure

    FDA Says BPA is Safe, but Offers Tips for Decreasing ExposureToday we watched as a most intriguing line was clearly drawn on the BPA front.  Sides were chosen without reserve and it all began with the FDA's bolstered defense of the toxic chemical, which was quickly followed by tips for decreasing BPA exposure.

    Huh?  Did I miss something?

    Washington (AP) Sept. 16, 2008 – FDA Defends Plastic Linked with Health Risks

    “Right now, our tentative conclusion is that it's safe, so we're not recommending any change in habits,” said Laura Tarantino, head of the FDA's office of food additive safety. But she acknowledged, “there are a number of things people can do to lower their exposure.”

    Okay, so now that the FDA has come right out with it, how did the rest of the world respond?  Articles diametrically opposed could be found in most major news reports.

    ABC News Sept. 16, 2008 – Study: Some Water Bottles Linked to Diabetes: Doctors Say BPA Shows Up Too Often in Diabetics and Heart Patients

    Scientists reviewed the health of 1,455 American adults and found that people with higher concentrations of BPA in their urine were slightly more likely to have heart disease and diabetes.The researchers also estimate that most Americans are exposed to a higher level of BPA each day than the current Environmental Protection Agency recommendation.

    In an accompanying editorial, Frederick S. vom Saal and John Peterson Myers take the government to task, asking the United States and Europe to follow Canada's lead and regulate BPA.

    “The FDA and the European Food Safety Authority have chosen to ignore warnings from expert panels and other government agencies and have continued to declare BPA ‘safe,'” wrote the authors.

    . . . Ultimately, though, it may not even matter what the FDA does — a new report by the Investor Environmental Health Network says that consumers, manufacturers and retailers are already forgoing the chemical, buying and selling BPA-free bottles and other products. Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R Us have already announced their intention to shift away from products containing BPA. Which shouldn't be surprising — in America, commerce leaves science and the government in the dust.

    Washington Post Sept. 17, 2008 – Study Links Chemical BPA to Health Problems

    The first large study in humans of a chemical widely used in everyday plastics has found that people with higher levels of bisphenol A had higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities, a finding that immediately became the focus of the increasingly heated debate over the safety of the chemical.

    The research, published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association by a team of British and American scientists, compared the health status of 1,455 men and women with the levels of the chemical, known as BPA, in their urine.

    The researchers divided the subjects into four statistical groupings according to their BPA levels and found that those in the quartile with the highest concentrations were nearly three times as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those with the lowest levels, and 2.4 times as likely to have diabetes. Higher BPA levels were also associated with abnormal concentrations of three liver enzymes.

    . . . On Capitol Hill, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) cited the study as he opened an investigation of the way the FDA has regulated the chemical, joining several Democrats, led by Rep. John D. Dingell (Mich.), who have been looking into whether chemical manufacturers unduly influenced the agency's stance.

    . . . More than 100 studies have linked BPA exposure to health effects in animals. The FDA maintains that BPA is safe largely on the basis of two studies funded by the chemical industry, a fact that was repeatedly cited at yesterday's forum.

    “We're concerned that the FDA is basing its conclusion on two studies while downplaying the results of hundreds of other studies,” said Amber Wise of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “This appears to be a case of cherry-picking data with potentially high cost to human health.”

    TIME Sept. 15, 2008 – Concerns About Chemicals in Plastics

    Though the FDA has ruled BPA safe, not everyone in the government agrees. Earlier this month the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a federal agency that gauges the safety of chemicals, reported that its research shows “some concern” about the effects of BPA on the brain development of fetuses and young children.

    These articles are a small sampling of the responses in opposition to the FDA's announcement.  We are personally more convinced than ever that a cautionary approach is warranted in relation to toxic plastic.

    The people have spoken – when will the FDA listen?

    photo credit: Redfishingboat (Mick O) via photopin cc

  • InCurrent Research

    USA Today Sounds the Alarm on Bisphenol-a and Phthalates in Baby Products

    USA Today Sounds the Alarm on BPA
    I am so excited to see that the media has finally stepped into the debate on toxic plastics in our babies' bottles and toys. Until now, the growing uproar over the “Everywhere Chemical” has been raging quietly in research labs and in living rooms across America. Thanks to an eye-opening article released by USA Today, this important issue has been laid out for everyone to see. The authors said it in a wonderfully plain way:

    Whether these chemicals should be banned or curtailed pits scientists against chemical companies, consumers against manufacturers, the EU against the United States and the state of California against toy makers around the globe.

    The article also points out that parents are beginning to take action on their own, choosing to err on the side of caution to protect their children.

    Though the government hasn't made up its mind, parents increasingly have. Marina Borrone of Menlo Park, Calif., aims to protect her home from chemicals that she fears could harm her family or the planet. The restaurant owner and mother shuns most plastic in favor of old-fashioned glass baby bottles and wooden toys.

    “Europe took it (phthalates) out of toys years ago,” Borrone says. “Why are we so behind?”

    Her home state is catching up with her. This month, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the country's first ban on the use of phthalates in toys and other children's products. Under the law, any product made for young children that contains more than one-tenth of 1% of phthalates cannot be sold or distributed in California beginning in 2009.

    The chemical industry disagrees with that approach.

    Born Free and Adiri baby bottle companies were named as great safer alternatives to polycarbonate baby bottles.

    P.S. Take time to read and listen to the excellent information presented at the top of the USA Today article in a section labeled “Toxic Legacy: Can a Plastic ‘Alter Human Cells'?” Dr. Fred Vom Saal has been an inspiration to my own personal research in the area of endocrine disruptors.

    photo credit: flattop341 via photopin cc