BPA

“The body evolved to handle stuff that gets into our system — the liver is designed to detoxify. There are a range of molecules that are natural, and some are incredible toxins. But when we start to make molecules that are not known to nature, we need to think a little more carefully about how they are going to interact with biological systems.” – Thomas Zoeller, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts

How true! This can be stated for many things, not just plastics. When you are creating synthetic food, drugs, and fibers. This quote is from an article in the NY Times “Study: Human Exposure to BPA ‘Grossly Underestimated’ “, there is more of the article below along with a link to the full article. In my attempt to be healthier and have limited waste – plastics are a big issue to me. Never did I realize when I started reading about these issues that they would change how I see everything so much.

I was reading through the backlog of the No Impact Man blog recently, and one post stuck out to me the most: My most amazing No Impact experience yet. After the No Impact Year, Colin and Michelle are going to make a new purchase – as stainless steel trashcan….

Meanwhile, we’ve been renegotiating the way we live, and she’s (Michelle) not a great lover of the compost bin. But she said that if we bought a proper, stainless steal trash can to replace the plastic bucket we keep the food scraps in, we could retain the practice (food in the landfill, by the way, is the United States’ second largest source of anthropogenic methane, a strong greenhouse gas, so composting is important).

So we go to Bed, Bath and Beyond, find a fancy bin, pay a ridiculous amount of money for it, get outside on the sidewalk, and suddenly, Michelle says, “I feel sick.” “Why?” I ask. “All that money. All that metal. It’s such a waste. It’s just buying for buying’s sake. I can’t stand it.” “Really?” “Really,” she says. “I want you to take it back. We can just wash out the plastic bucket and use it until we find a better trash can on the street or at the flea market.”

I felt that I related to that so well – in a different way of sorts. Now everytime we are going to the store and I am searching for non-plastic items, I feel the same. It is really hard to find no plastic items (though I am finding local farms and such that I will soon be visiting). So now, we leave the store and I just look in the bag and think how sad this is… it makes me in essence sick – or so sad that I know I am not doing good. In my goals, I plan to make my own yogurt, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, deodorant, shampoo, vinegar, lotions, hairspray, luffa ect. All of these are going to take time to put in place, I need to ease into them for many reasons – mostly so I don’t burn myself out or the family, easing in is smarter. But the bulk of these goals are to do with eliminating plastic as much as possible from my life and knowing what is in the products I am using on my body.

This is why BPA is such a problem – since I am not going to be able to eliminate 100% of the plastic in my life – I need to know which ones to avoid! So knowing the dangers of BPA is smart and a great motivator. Plastics stamped with 3 or 7 have BPA. So now to that NY Times Article…

Americans are likely to be exposed at higher levels than previously thought to bisphenol A, a compound that mimics hormones important to human development and is found in more than 90 percent of people in the United States, according to new research.

U.S. EPA says it is OK for humans to take in up to 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight each day. The new study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that we are exposed to at least eight times that amount every day.

“Our data raise grave concern that regulatory agencies have grossly underestimated current human exposure levels,” states the study.

The study also gives the first experimental support that some BPA is likely cleared at similar rates in mice, monkeys and humans, making it possible to extrapolate health studies in mice to humans.

Despite decades of research, questions about BPA have lingered and recently become politicized. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) hopes to add an amendment to the “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,” currently under consideration in the Senate, banning the chemical from children’s food and drink packaging. Republicans and industry representatives have been averse, saying that research has not shown conclusively that the chemical is harmful.

Hormones are essential during development and can determine, among other things, a child’s gender. BPA, since it mimics estrogen, is an “endocrine disrupter,” according to Thomas Zoeller, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. And amazingly, BPA has the ability to bind to not one, but three receptors — the estrogen, the male hormone and the thyroid hormone receptors, Zoeller said. READ MORE ON THE NY TIMES HERE

What do you think?