What the Chemical Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know about Everyday Products

A September 18, 2008 article published on AlterNet reports that the chemical industry has enlisted its lobbyists, scientists, and “yes we can” legislators in their efforts to discredit scientific and medical evidence showing bisphenol A (BPA) is destructive to animal and human lives. This research has been growing for decades. Yet, the federal government still panders to the big chemical companies and their big dollar lobbies.

The chemical industry is a $3 trillion dollar business and BPA is a billion dollar concern. What Dow Chemical and other businesses are concerned about is not the health of society but the potential loss a product that makes them $6 billion a year. The value of BPA-based manufactured goods, from cell phones and computers to epoxy coatings and dental bindings, is probably incalculable.

University of Missouri-Columbia scientists Frederick Vom Saal and Wade Welshons are credited are the first scientists to discover that miniscule amounts of bisphenol A (BPA), an artificial sex hormone and integral component of a vast array of plastic products, caused irreversible changes in the prostates of fetal mice.

Their findings has touched off a steady drumbeat that has led to a ban on BPA-laden baby bottles in Canada, mounting support for a similar ban in the U.S., major retailers pulling plastic products off their shelves, a consumer run on glass baby bottles and a blizzard of scientific reports raising increasingly disturbing questions about the chemical’s dangers at the trace levels to which people are routinely exposed.

Washington State University reproductive scientist Patricia Hunt found that low-levels of BPA scrambled chromosomal alignment of eggs in mice.

A Yale University medical school research team discovered that after injecting African green monkeys for 28 days with BPA at the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is safe for people, the researchers found the chemical causes destruction of synapses in brain cells. In humans, these losses could lead to memory and learning problems and depression.

In April, a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives reveals scientific evidence that low-levels of BPA also damage the human immune system.

Could BPA be the root problem of the growing number of people with the Alzheimer and other degenerative diseases?

Another major problem with BPA is the ease with which the chemical can leach into our food, air, and skin cells. Plastics made with BPA break down easily when heated, microwaved, washed with strong detergents or wrapped around acidic foods like tomatoes, trace amounts of the potent hormone leach into food from epoxy lacquer can linings, polycarbonate bottles and other plastic food packaging. According to Dr. Mercola, cans of infant formula have been shown to be some of the worst offenders; just one to three servings can contain BPA levels that have caused serious adverse effects in animal tests.

The Chemical Industry and corporations like Dow Chemical are using every means possible to hinder any responsible action against their cash cow, bisphenol A. Earlier this year, the industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat a California legislative proposal to ban BPA in food packaging. The Chemistry Council and allied companies and industry groups hired an army of lobbyists, including Navigators LLC, the Washington firm that ran Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2003 campaign and his 2004 budget reform drive. Tactics included an industry email to food banks charging that a BPA ban would mean the end of distributions of canned goods for the poor.

And more recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forced Mary Gade to quit her job as head of the EPA’s Midwest office after her interactions with Dow Chemical. Gade had been locked in a heated dispute with Dow about long-delayed plans to clean up dioxin-saturated soil that extends 50 miles beyond its Midland, Michigan plant. The company had been dumping the highly toxic and persistent chemical into local rivers for most of the last century.

In an interview on May 1, 2008, Gade said of her forced resignation: “There’s no question this is about Dow. I stand behind what I did and what my staff did. I’m proud of what we did.”

The FDA recently evaluated these claims backed by over 100 studies, by health and consumer advocates, by lawmakers, and by scientists. The typical response of the FDA was to favor big dollar industry science.

According to Dr. Mercola, the FDA upheld their decision that BPA is safe and can remain in food packaging, including infant formula containers and baby bottles, despite the more than 100 independent studies linking the chemical to serious disorders in humans, including:

    * Prostate cancer
    * Breast cancer
    * Diabetes
    * Early puberty
    * Obesity, and
    * Learning and behavioral problems

There are several things you can do about this issue. You can ontact your state and federal representatives encouraging them to create and support legislation that will eliminate the manufacture and sale of products containing BPA. You can also buy products from a growing number of manufacturers that offer products without BPA. A list of BPA free resources may be found on Dr. Mercola’s website.


Alternet September 15, 2008

Current Natural Health Newsletter October 11, 2008

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