Posts Tagged ‘safe plastics’

No more BPA in food and beverage containers!

That’s what leaders from the House and Senate are proposing. The bill was introduced Friday and would establish a federal ban on the use of BPA in all food and beverage containers.

canned-foods

From the Washington Post:
The move came a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it is now refusing to sell bisphenol A, known as BPA, to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. The company told investors that it cannot be certain of the chemical compound’s safety. Last week, six baby-bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles.

I am glad one of the big oil companies is taking a stand like this. Very impressive since the sale of BPA is a lucrative market for them.

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Scientists and environmentalists praised the move as an acknowledgment of the chemical’s danger, but some worried that more needs to be done to study how humans are exposed to the chemical.BPA is found lurking in many places including baby bottles, plastic containers (even some labeled microwave safe), food and beverage containers, eyeglasses, CDs, dental sealants and many other places.

“It may represent just the tip of a much larger iceberg,” said Pat Hunt, the professor from Washington State University whose work led to the discovery of the effects of BPA on animals more than 10 years ago.

“Recent work suggests that contaminated food and beverages alone aren’t sufficient to account for the levels reported in human blood. Thus, it’s clear that we need to know a lot more about how we are exposed to this chemical.”

 

BPA has been linked to behavioral problems, obesity, certain cancers, diabetes, miscarriage, low sperm counts, hyperactivity, heart disease, has been found to interfere with chemotherapy in breast cancer patients, and many other problems.

Why the FDA still considers BPA “safe” is beyond me. I mean other than they are in bed with the plastic industry folks. Hey, money talks. But its certainly infuriating as a parent knowing that hundreds of studies, another Federal Health agency and now even a BPA manufacturer all find there is enough evidence that this stuff does cause harm even in small amounts.

There are ways to avoid BPA in food and beverages. We do not use canned foods/beverages in our house, and I do not miss it or find it any harder to make dinner. I get fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. For soup, we make our own from scratch –it’s healthier and it tastes much better. If I really need canned something, which is usually just beans for taco night, I use Eden Organics whose cans are not lined with BPA (except tomatoes, which are too acidic). Even chicken and beef stock can be bought in a boxed form allowing you to avoid cans. Cream of whatever soups are the only other thing I use and I know there are recipes out there to make your own. For beverages, go for glass bottles (though the tops may be lined with BPA), or plastic (which is a whole other concern. We just gave up soft drinks all together a few years ago – there is no nutritional benefit to drinking it, it’s full of bad stuff and its not cheap.

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

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Sources:
JSOnline
Washington Post

BPA investigation: To read the Journal Sentinel’s ongoing investigation “Chemical Fallout,” go to www jsonline.com/chemicalfallout. JSOnAir Meg Kissinger on BPA To see Meg Kissinger talk about the national attention the Journal Sentinel is getting for its research into bisphenol A, go to jsonline.com/jsonair.

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Bottle makers to stop selling BPA containing baby bottles

It was bound to happen sooner than later – the six main baby bottle manufacturers have decided to stop selling polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA in the US. HOORAY!

The six manufacturers Avent, Dr. Browns, Evenflo, The First Years, Gerber and Playtex all already have BPA free bottles. It really is a no brainer move since large retailers including Target, Wal-Mart and Babies R Us vowed to stop selling baby bottles containing BPA at the end of 2008, and Canada banned the sale of polycarbonate baby bottles last year. So if there is no market or sales channel, then why bother? Either way, this is to be applauded. But sadly, these bottles will continue to be sold outside North America.

This is a great first step; however, there is still work to be done on this issue. BPA still lines the insides of canned foods, soft drink cans, lids of many jarred foods, dental sealants, etc. And of course the FDA still is trying to convince us BPA is safe even though 130 studies have linked BPA exposure to behavior problems, breast cancer, obesity, diabetes and several other disorders.

See how to avoid BPA.

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Follow me on Twitter!

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BPA may linger in body longer than we thought

New research shows that BPA may linger in the body much longer than we previously thought. Researches thought BPA was purged by the body in 24 hours, but that was based on limited research.

BPA is everywhere: in PVC pipe, in polycarbonate drink containers, in the plastic that lines food and soft-drink cans, and even in dental sealants. It’s also in our bodies. Virtually everyone has detectable levels of BPA in his or her body.

Now there’s evidence that BPA might be in our water as well as in our food, and that it lingers in our fat tissues. If confirmed — and the current findings are very preliminary — it could mean BPA is a bigger problem than thought.

University of Rochester researcher Richard Stahlhut, MD, MPH, analyzed data on 1,469 U.S. adults from the CDC’s huge 2003-2004 NHANES study. That study gave fasting people one-time BPA tests, and also collected extensive dietary data.

“After 10 to 15 hours of fasting, there shouldn’t be anybody with any detectable levels of BPA,” Stahlhut tells WebMD. “But it just hangs there like the London fog. You do see a subtle downward trend, but what you don’t see is it falling off the map. And by 24 hours it’s still there.”

And FastCompany pulled this quote from the study.
Not wishing to weigh the argument unscientifically, the research paper even states that, “Whether BPA can cause human health effects is a matter of some debate; the potential for harm to infants and the fetus is currently considered more likely than harm to adults.” But the piece concludes: “In our data, BPA levels appear to drop about eight times more slowly than expected – so slowly, in fact, that race and sex together have as big an influence on BPA levels as fasting time.”

The study was not perfect, the subjects in the study could drink tap water, black coffee and diet soda (hopefully not from cans lined with BPA). However, there was more BPA detected in the body that still gives us reason to be concerned.

These findings suggests that BPA may linger in the body longer, or that BPA may come from other sources like tap water (where BPA leaches from PVC pipes). Another theory is that BPA may be stored in body fat.

This is interesting because BPA may play a larger role in disease that we thought.

A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people with higher urinary BPA levels have more medical disorders. Another intriguing study from 2008 showed that BPA — at normal levels of exposure — disrupts a hormone involved in insulin sensitivity and diabetes. And a 2007 study showed that obese people are much more likely to suffer insulin resistance if they have high fat levels of organic pollutants.

“Imagine if what we think is caused by obesity is actually caused by persistent organics in the fat of obese people,” Stahlhut says. “If they don’t have the organics, they don’t have the diabetes. That would be huge.”

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Follow me on Twitter!

Sources
WebMD
FastCompany

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BPA mimics estrogen and phthalates block testosterone

This article sums up pretty much what we already know, but it does a good job of showing how BPA acts like estrogen and phthalates block testosterone. I did learn that BPA exposure to babies in the womb have a greater negative effect on girls than boys, causing more reproductive harm than I thought.

Mice that were exposed to BPA as fetuses developed abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, and vagina, Dr. Taylor said. Other murine studies found genetic abnormalities in eggs, an increased risk of mammary cancers, and early puberty in females.

The list of problems was shorter for male mice exposed to the chemical, with reduced sperm production and increased prostate size at the top.

And for phthalates…

Studies in male animals have found reduced sperm production, undescended testes, hypospadias, decreased testosterone production, and reduced anogenital distance.

The chemical’s effects on female reproduction were far fewer, with murine studies linking it to delayed or premature puberty.

They touch on the FDA’s stance that BPA is safe, where the FDA states they did not have sufficient evidence. However, human studies would be difficult. For one, a human study on either substance would be difficult since the entire population is exposed to both chemicals. Also, subjecting humans to high levels of this stuff would be unethical.

“Sometimes you just have to make decisions based on ‘inadequate’ evidence,” Dr. Lustig said regarding the FDA’s investigation of BPA, and potentially phthalates. “You just [make them] based on the right thing to do.”

Amen to that.

Read the entire article here.

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See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

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The Real Story Behind Bisphenol A

How a handful of consultants used Big Tobacco’s tactics to sow doubt about science and hold off regulation of BPA, a chemical in hundreds of products that could be harming an entire generation.

I always liked FastCompany magazine. There are always great articles. Well, they have recently looked into the BPA controversy / debate as well and published an article here last week. They looked at both sides, the history, how the studies were done, what the FDA reviewed and who funded the studies, etc. Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about the BPA issue. They interviewed several folks from both sides. It’s a very long, but very interesting read.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article:
“The United States has a long tradition of keeping harmful substances — lead, DDT, tobacco, PCBs — on the market for decades after scientists find adverse effects.”

“Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who has launched numerous investigations into the agency, contends, “The FDA has got to be a watchdog, not a business partner with industry.”

“If these low-dose findings were counterintuitive to toxicologists, they made perfect sense to developmental biologists. After all, BPA is a synthetic hormone. Any physician knows that at small doses, most hormones are extremely powerful in stimulating their target organs, while at higher doses — above a certain threshold — they can paralyze these same organs. (Testosterone powers the male sex drive, for instance, but at high doses causes impotence.)”

Very interesting indeed. I could pull more quotes, but then I may as well copy the whole article! They have uncovered what many of us already know – there is enough evidence that it may cause harm at any dose so it is best to just avoid BPA altogether. Retailers such as Babies R Us, Wal-Mart and Target had said they would stop selling polycarbonate baby bottles at the end of 2008 (though I have seen them on the shelves as of last week). Nalgene has gone to a BPA-free plastic water bottle as consumers demand a safer product and the FDA sits and takes money from the plastic industry and tries to convince us that BPA is safe when there are over 100 studies not funded by the plastics that claim otherwise.

BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a hormone-mimicking chemical found in plastic polycarbonate baby bottles, water bottles, dental filings, in the lining of canned foods, etc. Even at low doses it can affect the endocrine system. Learn more here

I have several lists with safer alternatives to polycarbonate plastics.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage for kids

And I am finishing up my BPA free food storage list in between nursing my newborn, so please check back!

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Some toys with banned substances will stay on market

As always, there are loopholes in legislation that appears to be a good thing. In August, President Bush signed into law a ban on lead, cadmium and phthalates in products marketed to children under 12 years of age.

The reduction in the amount of lead that will be considered safe on Feb 10, 2009 will remain in place and any children’s product with lead levels higher than the safe amount on Feb 10 will be treated as a hazardous product.

So what about phthalates? For some reason, these will be treated differently. That reason is purley an economical one. But products containing the banned phthalates will still be found on shelves and legally sold as long as the product was produced prior to the Feb 10, 2009 date.

Read the entire article from the Washington Post.

So what is a parent to do?

1. Avoid plastic toys, especially vinyl ones where phthalates are typically found.

2. Read labels. Some manufacturers may label the product phthalate-free. If not, don’t buy.

3. Visit my safe toys list and find manufacturers who no longer use phthalates.

4. Opt for safer personal care products, like California Baby to avoid phthalates in the bath.

5. Look for a manufacturing date on the product before you buy it. If one is not listed, do not buy it.

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Government says no more lead in toys — but not until after the holiday season

All children’s products must be compliant with the new govermental standards for lead content by Feb 10, 2009, so a little late for safe and confident Christmas shopping.

This means companies can still seel their lead-containing toys until Feb 10, but they must be removed from the shelves in the US after that. Now, I wonder who will monitor that? Honor system? We know how well that worked…

Anyway, what many may not know about the law is this:

The new lead limit is part of a sweeping product safety measure that became law Aug. 14. The law stipulates that by Feb. 10, children’s products can not have a total lead content above 600 parts per million. Six months later, that limit drops to 300 ppm and then to 100 ppm in three years if feasible.

So this year, buy with caution. Read the entire article here from the Washington Post.

Please check back for more on this topic and where to find safe toys this Christmas season.

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Bisphenol A Linked to Metabolic Syndrome in Humans

The University of Cincinnati has used human tissue for their study on “average” BPA exposure. Their findings, though not surprising, supports other independent research that BPA does affect human health.

Excerpt:
In a laboratory study, using fresh human fat tissues, the UC team found that BPA suppresses a key hormone, adiponectin, which is responsible for regulating insulin sensitivity in the body and puts people at a substantially higher risk for metabolic syndrome.
 
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that include lower responsiveness to insulin and higher blood levels of sugar and lipids. According to the American Heart Association, about 25 percent of Americans have metabolic syndrome.  Left untreated, the disorder can lead to life-threatening health problems such as coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
 
Nira Ben-Jonathan, PhD, and her team are the first to report scientific evidence on the health effects of BPA at environmentally relevant doses equal to “average” human exposure. Previous studies have primarily focused on animal studies and high doses of BPA.

How was the study conducted?

…the UC team collected fresh fat tissue from Cincinnati patients undergoing several types of breast or abdominal surgery. These samples included three types of fat tissue: breast, subcutaneous and visceral (around the organs).
 
Tissue was immediately taken to the laboratory and incubated with different concentrations of BPA or estrogen for six hours to observe how the varied amounts of BPA affected adiponectin levels. The effects of BPA were then compared to those of estradiol, a natural form of human estrogen.

What were the results?

They found that exposing human tissues to BPA levels within the range of common human exposure resulted in suppression of a hormone that protects people from metabolic syndrome.
 
“These results are especially powerful because we didn’t use a single patient, a single tissue source or a single occurrence,” she adds. “We used different fat tissues from multiple patients and got the same negative response to BPA.”

Again, very interesting findings. This does support other independent research, yet the FDA still claims the safety of BPA. I am really not all that surprised, yet I am in shock. I cannot believe with all this mounting evidence, they can stand by that claim.

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BPA impairs brain function in monkeys

Well, well, well… yet another independent study comes out that shows BPA is harmful at low-levels. This particular study, conducted at Yale, used monkeys, not rodents. Because primates are human’s closest relative, you can draw the conclusion that results in humans would be quite similar.

Excerpt:

“They also used lower levels of the chemical than in past studies. ‘Our goal was to more closely mimic the slow and continuous conditions under which humans would normally be exposed to BPA,’ said study author Csaba Leranth, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and in Neurobiology at Yale. ‘As a result, this study is more indicative than past research of how BPA may actually affect humans.’”

How was the study conducted:

Over a 28-day period, Leranth and his team gave each primate 50 micrograms/kg of BPA per day, adjusted for body weight, the amount considered safe for human consumption by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The team also administered estradiol, the major form of hormonal estrogen that modulates nerve cell connections in the brain. Best known as one of the principal hormone products of the ovary, estrogen has also been shown in past studies to be synthesized in the brain, where it aids the development and function of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

And the results?

The team then used an electron microscope to count nerve cell connections in the brain. They found that BPA inhibits creation of the synaptic connections in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, areas of the brain involved with regulation of mood and formation of memory.

 “Our primate model indicates that BPA could negatively affect brain function in humans,” said study co-author Tibor Hajszan, M.D., associate research scientist in Yale Ob/Gyn. “Based on these new findings, we think the EPA may wish to consider lowering its ‘safe daily limit’ for human BPA consumption.”

Hajszan said that although daily exposure of an average person to BPA usually does not reach the level that was applied in this study, human exposure to BPA is not limited to a single month, but rather is continuous over a lifetime. “The negative effect of BPA may also be amplified when estradiol levels are naturally lower than in healthy adults. That is why exposure to BPA may particularly be risky in the case of babies and the elderly.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but the more studies such as this that are released, I am losing more and more confidence in the FDA, who are STILL claiming BPA is safe for human consumption. Obviously, they are still siding with the plastics industry and relying on biased research to draw their conclusion. Thanks to manufacturers taking things into their own hands, at least us parents who want BPA-free alternatives can get them readily. Hopefully thought the FDA will wake up, ban BPA, making our purchasing decisions much easier.
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Feds concerned about bisphenol-a (BPA)

It seems this “debate” will never end. Today the National Toxicology Program released a report sharing their findings of the safety of BPA.

“They concluded that current human exposure to the chemical, which is used in many polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, is of “some concern” for effects on development of the prostate gland and brain and for behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children.”

This is no surprise to those of us who have been looking at the independent research, rather than relying on biased-industry research.

“As to how consumers should use this information, Michael Shelby, director of the program’s Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction said in a press release, ‘Unfortunately, it is very difficult to offer advice on how the public should respond to this information. More research is clearly needed to understand exactly how these findings relate to human health and development, but at this point we can’t dismiss the possibility that the effects we’re seeing in animals may occur in humans.  If parents are concerned, they can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of their infants and children to BPA.’”

The report also expressed minimal concern for BPA accelerating puberty in females and negligible concern that pregnant women exposed to BPA can result in fetal or neonatal mortality, birth defects or reduced birth weight and growth in their offspring. There is also negligible concern that BPA causes reproductive effects in non-occupationally exposed adults and minimal concern for those adults exposed to higher levels at their job.

And what does the dear FDA think about this?

“’We are pleased to see the finalization of the NTP report,’ said Frank Torti, the Principal Deputy Commissioner and chief scientist at the FDA. ‘The FDA will consider this final report in our role as a regulatory agency and joins NTP in the call for additional research in this important area.’”

In other words – just a bunch of hogwash. The FDA continues, time and time again, to protect the industries, not the American public. I have pretty much decided that if the FDA has approved something and declares it “safe,” then avoid it. I try to look at the EU and other agencies who actually care about the health and well-being of its citizens. Any faith I have had in the FDA is lost.

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