Posts Tagged ‘nature’

FDA defends BPA

This comes as no surprise. As mentioned earlier, the FDA met today to once again review data on the safety of BPA. And once again they are standing behind its safety despite research they were presented that showed BPA could be linked to health issues in humans. They did conclude more research needs to be done, so really, we learned nothing new here.

The only thing that made sense in the entire NY Times article is this:

But Dr. Ana Soto of Tufts University said the study raised enough concerns to warrant government action to limit BPA exposure.

“We shouldn’t wait until further studies are done in order to act in protecting humans,” said Dr. Soto, who has called for more restrictions in the past.

Amen sister. If human health is at risk, then this should not be an “innocent until proven guilty” situation. There is enough evidence to the National Toxicology folks to give BPA a label of “some concern” when discussing BPA’s effects on human health.

While I had little hopes in the FDA doing the right thing, I am still dissapointed.

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New research links BPA to human disease

New research links BPA to human diseases

British researchers for the first time have linked BPA exposure to heart disease and diabetes. Humans are exposed to BPA in baby bottles, polycarbonate water bottles, from the linings of canned food and soda cans, some medical equipment, and plastic utensils.

Excerpt:
But British researchers, who published their findings on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed urine and blood samples from 1,455 U.S. adults aged 18 to 74 who were representative of the general population.

Using government health data, they found that the 25 percent of people with the highest levels of bisphenol A in their bodies were more than twice as likely to have heart disease and, or diabetes compared to the 25 percent of with the lowest levels.

“Most of these findings are in keeping with what has been found in animal models,” Iain Lang, a researcher at the University of Exeter in Britain who worked on the study, told a news conference.
So, while they are claiming the results are inconclusive, they do say it shows more studies need to be done.

The FDA will meet again today to review a draft report they released last month declaring BPA was safe for humans. But weeks later, here they are reviewing more research. The thing that appears to be different, at least on the surface, is apparently they will review additional research such as this, not solely the industry research they have based their stance on in the past.

Excerpt:
“The study, while preliminary with regard to these diseases in humans, should spur U.S. regulatory agencies to follow recent action taken by Canadian regulatory agencies, which have declared BPA a ‘toxic chemical’ requiring aggressive action to limit human and environmental exposures,” Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri and John Peterson Myers of the nonprofit U.S.-based Environmental Health Sciences, wrote in a commentary accompanying the study.

The article said obviously more studies need to be done to determine if BPA is a direct cause of these diseases. I guess the animal studies are not proof enough that BPA does cause harm, but if more human studies need to be done, then let’s do them!

Excerpt:
“Bisphenol A is one of the world’s most widely produced and used chemicals, and one of the problems until now is we don’t know what has been happening in the general population,” said Tamara Galloway, a University of Exeter researcher who worked on the study.

Read the entire article here.

I am not holding my breath, but maybe this, along with the multitude of other independent studies, will convince the FDA that the human population, especially infants and children, do not need to be exposed to this crap.

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How to avoid BPA
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FDA to re-examine safety of BPA

Tomorrow the FDA will hear more on the BPA “debate.” This time they will acknowledge environmental and safety groups’ studies showing BPA does have harmful effects on humans and human development.

They will also consider factors such as public opinion, BPA-bans and retailers who have also banned BPA products in their stores.

Let’s pray this time the FDA will side with the public’s best interest rather than the plastic industry and other special interest groups.

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How to avoid BPA
BPA in infant formula
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Dangers of BPA, Phthalates and a host of other substances

No matter who you are, whether or not you have kids, you are male or female, old or young, everyone should check out this article. Especially if you use a computer, drink out of plastic cups, use a vinyl shower curtain, use soap, eat food, etc. I think I understand why I am often tired and my husband is losing more and more hair. LOL.

It’s a lengthy article, but contains a wealth of information on various chemicals, plastics and other toxins that we encounter daily and that are harming us in so many ways. The author cites scientific studies in each instance and what the findings were. It’s disturbing that yet again, the FDA fails to protect us. As companies are voluntarily phasing out certain substances in the products they sell, it should be a wakeup call to us all that there is a reason for this! Those substances cause all sorts of diseases, abnormalities, cancer, birth defects, low sperm counts, just to name a tiny few.

Additionally, it also affects our environment and the animals that live it in. Ironically that does include humans. But recently in Colorado, they discovered many of the fish living in the “purest” lake were transgender. Male fish had female traits. Studies link this as an affect to the presence of bisphenol-a, phthalates, prescriptions drugs and other substances in the water.

A scientist involved in the fish study said this:

“This particular study stands out because we’ve tried to address the question: What are the present compounds being broken down to?” Borch says. “It’s beyond the fact that these could have endocrine-disrupting effects.”

Check out this article. It’s well written and contains a wealth of eye-opening information.

http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/89453/?ses=2b135aa81b1a7d6b5e1b3017875dec7f

Some excerpts:

“Lab tests suggest that chronic, low-dose exposure to bisphenol-A — like drinking out of a coated cup or polycarbonate bottle daily — may cause women to have greater chances of breast cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome, a leading cause of infertility, and men to have increased odds of prostate cancer and reduced sperm counts.”

“As a computer warms up, particles inside start to fly and some catch a ride on dust. For years, I breathed in polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) from my laptop.”

“From 1979 to 2004, the EPA received more than 32,000 chemical applications, but agency personnel performed some level of review on fewer than one in eight cases. Eight out of every 10 applications are approved with no restrictions, often in less than three weeks. The agency has implemented restrictions on only five chemical classes, even though in the 1990s it reported that 16,000 compounds warranted concern because of their chemical structure or volume of use.”

“I have roughly 700 different synthetic chemicals in my body. That number probably won’t be going down any time soon. Every single day, the United States produces or imports 42 billion pounds of chemicals, about 140 pounds for every American. I also am what I eat out of, and with, and around.”

“Rather than yielding a regulatory hammer, the EPA generally allows the chemical industry to set its own standards voluntarily and conduct its own evaluations on endocrine disruption and chemical impacts on children. In cases where chemicals have gone through formal reviews, the results haven’t always panned out for public health and safety.

The Environmental Working Group recently exposed that the EPA had removed a government scientist from an external-review panel of deca-brominated diphenyl ester, one of the fire-retardant PBDEs, after the American Chemistry Council complained about her “appearance of bias.” “

“The public depends on EPA peer-review panels to help ensure the products they use every day are safe,” says Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., the committee chair. “The EPA seems to have a backwards way of composing these panels. The EPA is disallowing scientists who have valid public-health concerns about products, while encouraging participation by so-called experts who are paid by the chemical industry.”

Grass-fed beef is healthier

Beef has typically been flagged as unhealthy with high saturated fat and total fat content, not to mention high amounts of cholesterol. But grass-fed beef devotees claim it is as low in fat as skinless chicken breasts and even contains the same omega-3 compounds as fish.

Health experts tend to agree. 

“A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2006 found that compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is lower in both saturated and total fat, has higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, and “sometimes” higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.

According to the study, “The three omega-3 fatty acids — the so-called beneficial fatty acids — have been shown in many studies to improve health and prevent disease in humans.”

“It has 100 percent the same health benefits as salmon,” Castonguay said.”

Today, most cattle are grain fed and even some grass-fed cattle are given grain in the weeks before slaughtering.

 

Not only is grass-fed cattle better for human health compared to grain-fed cattle, it’s also better for the environment. Typically the grain is treated with pesticides, which we ingest through the beef and through drinking water as pesticides run off the fields and into our water ways.

 

Additionally, grass-fed cattle are not typically given antibiotics. Animals grassing in the pasture rarely get sick, while grain-fed cattle that spend their days in confined and crowded feed lots, often do get sick.

 

This also brings up the point that grass-fed cattle are more likely to be raised and live in more humane and healthy conditions.

 

Grass-fed beef is not much more expensive than grain-fed beef, and it’s naturally leaner. In my area, the difference is roughly 50 cents per pound. If you take into consideration grass-fed is naturally leaner, then comparing that way, there is very little difference in price.

 

We have been eating grass-fed beef for over a year, and now I am glad we made the switch when we did.

Safe, ‘Green’ Insecticides Can Reduce Chemical Exposure in Homes and Gardens

Awesome! I have been looking for a safe alternative for pest control. I hate paying Terminix. One because they are expensive and two because I hate spraying harmful chemicals around. Additionally, these chemicals cannot be sprayed in homes with young infants (usually less than 6 weeks) which is also a concern. I will definitely check out this product, it sounds pretty good and right up my alley!

Safe, ‘Green’ Insecticides Can Reduce Chemical Exposure in Homes and Gardens
 
ATLANTA, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — With organic food and eco-friendly cleaning supplies now widely available, being ‘green’ at home is getting easier. When it comes to killing bugs, however, most people still reach for chemical insecticides because they are not aware that safe and effective botanical alternatives exist.

“Most Americans don’t realize that they can kill household insects without using conventional pesticides that leave behind a harmful chemical residue,” said Steven Bessette, the president of EcoSMART Technologies, which makes organic insecticides that are safe to use around children and pets, and are recommended by the non-profit group Healthy Child, Healthy World.

EcoSMART’s university-tested botanical pesticides kill bugs as effectively as synthetic pesticides, but their formulation is based on the centuries-old natural defenses that plants and trees use for their self-protection against insects and pathogens — essential oils. EcoSMART’s unique blends of essential oils block specific neural pathways in insects that regulate insect movement, behavior and metabolism. This results in instant immobilization and/or knockdown followed by the insect’s death. Because these neural pathways do not exist in mammals, the formulations are completely safe to use around children, animals, birds and fish.

“There are many smart and affordable ways to create a safer, healthier environment for children,” said Christopher Gavigan, CEO / Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World, which offers free information and expertise to help create healthy environments for families and children.

At its website, http://www.healthychild.org, parents can find tips such as these for healthier pest control:

    —  Prevent pests through good sanitation and food storage habits

    —  Remove shoes and wash hands immediately after playing outside to

        prevent tracking dirt indoors.

    —  Seal cracks and install door sweeps

    —  Use or fix window screens

    —  Manage outdoor lights to prevent insects gathering

    —  Eliminate moisture problems to keep the home dry

    —  Properly store all food

    —  Use non-toxic products

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recent reports indicate at least one pesticide product is used indoors by 75 percent of U.S. households each year and that 80 percent of the average person’s exposure to pesticides occurs indoors EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pesticid.html.

The active and inert ingredients in EcoSMART products are exempt from EPA registration and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These oils are commonly used to add flavor and aroma to many cosmetic, beverage and food products.

The new 14-ounce aerosols, available in Wal-Mart, Albertsons and other large retailers, include Ant & Roach Killer, Flying Insect Killer and Wasp & Hornet Killer. Consumers can also buy EcoSMART products online at http://www.ecosmart.com.

“EcoSMART has made it easier to protect children by reducing their exposure to harmful chemical pesticide residues while keeping homes clean and bugs under control,” Gavigan said.

In the spring of 2008, EcoSMART will also launch a highly effective 6 oz personal insect repellent that provides 2-3 hours of protection against mosquitoes, gnats, biting flies and no-see-ums. It is DEET-free and safe for kids.

For more information, visit http://www.ecosmart.com or call (877) 667-0006.
 

Popular ‘green’ products test positive for toxicant

Well, this just sucks. Guess I have to change my soap and shampoo again. Ugh.

Popular ‘green’ products test positive for toxicant

A cancer-causing chemical is found in almost half of 100 such goods studied.

By Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 14, 2008

New tests of 100 “natural” and “organic” soaps, shampoos and other consumer products show that nearly half of them contained a cancer-causing chemical that is a byproduct of petrochemicals used in manufacturing.

Many items that tested positive for the carcinogen are well-known brands, including Kiss My Face, Alba, Seventh Generation and Nature’s Gate products, sold in retail stores across the nation.
 
The findings of the Organic Consumers Assn., a consumer advocacy group, are sending a jolt through the natural products industry. Gathering today in Anaheim for a national trade show, many leaders worry that the test results will taint the industry in the eyes of the public.

Of the 100 products tested, 47 had detectable levels of 1,4-dioxane, which the Environmental Protection Agency has declared a probable human carcinogen because it causes cancer in lab animals.

Most traditional soaps and shampoos contain 1,4-dioxane. But the discovery that the chemical is present in many housecleaning and personal care products, including some for babies, that are advertised as being natural, organic or “green” comes as somewhat of a surprise.

“For companies to knowingly or even carelessly put a carcinogen into commerce in this day and age is barbaric, I think, particularly products that have the moniker of natural or self-proclaimed ‘organic,’ ” said consumer advocate and author David Steinberg, who directed the study.

“We need standards,” he said. “Consumers walk into a health-food store or natural-product supermarket with the expectation that the product they purchase will be natural or safer than what they could purchase at the drugstore or supermarket.”

The compound is not intentionally added to products; it is a byproduct of a process used to soften harsh detergents. It is formed when foaming agents, or surfactants, are processed with ethylene oxide or similar petrochemicals.

Said Martin Wolf, Seventh Generation Inc.’s director of product and environmental technology, “The natural world is filled with things that can harm. . . . All we can do is work as hard as we can to keep the levels as low as possible and keep our products as safe as possible.”

Hain Celestial Group, the Boulder, Colo.-based owner of four of the tested companies — Alba, Jason, Avalon Organics and Zia Natural Skincare– said Thursday that it would reevaluate all of its products. Two Alba and three Jason products contained 1,4-dioxane, but the chemical was not detected in tested Avalon and Zia products.

“We are committed to selling products without detectable levels of 1,4-dioxane . . . and will review all formulations accordingly,” said Lisa Lehndorff, Hain Celestial’s director of corporate consumer relations.

No one knows exactly what amount of the compound may be unsafe. In scientific studies, lab animals that had been fed 1,4-dioxane for many weeks developed nasal, liver and gall bladder cancers. But scientists do not now know what, if any, cancer risk humans face from years-long use of products containing the chemical.

The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates cosmetics, has set no standards for 1,4-dioxane. The agency has occasionally tested products for the compound since the late 1970s and says levels of it have substantially declined since then. The FDA says the current levels “do not present a hazard to consumers,” although it has advised the industry to reduce amounts in cosmetics as much as possible.

Many companies in the “natural” business have been striving for years to eliminate 1,4-dioxane. They use coconut or other plant oils as surfactants, and they have reformulated products and added a process called vacuum-stripping. But traces still remain, in the parts-per-million range.

Josef Koester of Cognis Corp., a Cincinnati-based chemical company that caters to manufacturers seeking “green” compounds, said most companies can avoid 1,4-dioxane but that it “typically requires a higher price point and sometimes performance restrictions for the product. How green the formulators want to go — it is their choice.”

Some organic company owners said it is deceptive for many products to be called natural when the carcinogenic compound indicates that petrochemicals are used in their manufacture.

No standards govern the words natural or organic for personal care products. But a few companies, including TerrEssentials, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Sensibility Soaps Inc., which makes the Nourish brand, have certified their products as organic under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food standards.

“It makes it really difficult for us to communicate real organic when our little voice gets lost in this sea of products that are all claiming to meet the [USDA organic] standard when, in fact, they don’t,” said Diana Kaye, co-founder of TerrEssentials, a small Maryland company. All six TerrEssentials soaps and other products tested were free of 1,4-dioxane.

Other brands, including Burt’s Bees, Desert Essence and EO, are not certified to meet organic food standards but still contained no 1,4-dioxane in the tests.

But because the vast majority of shampoos, soaps and other consumer goods do not carry the USDA organic seal, it’s nearly impossible for buyers to know whether the ones they use contain 1,4-dioxane because the chemical is not listed on ingredient labels. Products most likely to contain the compound usually list polyethylene glycol or compounds with the syllables PEG, short for polyethylene glycol, -eth or -oxynol-,according to the FDA.

Method, a San Francisco-based company whose products are sold at Target, intentionally does not call its products “natural,” said co-founder Adam Lowry. Instead, the labels say “naturally derived” because the plant oils have been processed with ethylene oxide to make them better cleansers.

Three of its products were tested, and two — its ultra-concentrated dish soap and a hand soap — contained 1,4-dioxane.

“For us there are no alternatives that are still effective,” Lowry said. “Unless you can have a high-performance product, if you have a green product or a natural product, then what’s the point of having one that doesn’t work?”

Method’s creamy hand soap, which had 7 parts per million of 1,4-dioxane in the tests, has been reformulated and now contains none, Lowry said.

“We 100% believe that our products are completely safe and there’s zero risk,” he said.

Whole Foods on Thursday declined to say whether the test results would prompt any changes in products sold at its stores. Three of four products tested in Whole Foods’ own product line, 365 Everyday Value, contained 1,4-dioxane.

Dishwashing liquids are particularly hard to keep free of 1,4-dioxane because they require surfactants that are powerful grease cutters.

Seventh Generation uses coconut oil in its dish soaps, which although it is processed with a petrochemical and vacuum-stripped, still contains almost 2 parts per million of 1,4-dioxane. Wolf said the only way to remove all traces would be to use another surfactant that irritates skin, which the Burlington, Vt.-based company considers unacceptable.

Seventh Generation is “working with several surfactant manufacturers to look for alternatives to this process to modify coconut oil,” Wolf said. “We’re not there yet. We have more work to do.”