Most New Zealanders these days are apathetic and ill-informed. Children sit in front of TV sets absorbing corporate messages, while their parents eat rubbish derived from Monsanto GA21. Others work nine-hour days, and then get drunk so that they can forget about their meaningless lives for a number of hours. In these busy, troubled times, we often forget to read books or care about what’s happening in the world. Fortunately for lazy people, the corporate media has recently aired episodes of “What’s Really In Our Food”. In this sensational show, viewers are blasted with advertising, and are drip-fed a trickle of factual information. However, corporate media refuses to be serious about anything which challenges corporate power. In the first part of this article series, we will go in depth into the truth about bisphenol A plastic, and how you can avoid it.
Bisphenol A plastic and controversy
BPA is a chemical compound which is used to create poly-carbonate plastics, and the epoxy linings of some cans. It can be found in plastic containers, drink bottles, baby bottles, medical equipment, detergents and even the anti-flammable coatings on furniture. America alone produces over 900,000 tonnes of BPA annually. Over the last 14 years, the safety of BPA has been questioned by researchers, who have proven that BPA is an endocrine disruptor which interferes with normal bodily functions.
Cells rely on the endocrine system in order to function properly. An endocrine disruptor is a biologically active chemical or compound, which interferes with the bodies endocrine system. An endocrine disruptor does this by either binding with a cell’s receptor, or by disabling the cell’s receptor all together.
Endocrine disruptors can be either oestrogen-mimicking or anti-oestrogen. Some researchers point out that these types could cause permanent damage to unborn babies and children, depending on exposure levels. In other cases, people have gone as far as to say that BPA causes cancer, sexual dysfunction and diabetes. Biologist Fred Saal from the University of Missouri, has described endocrine disruptors as “the next tobacco”.
Studies on lab rats demonstrate that high levels of BPA will have a detrimental effect on the reproductive health of rats, and will also increase their chances of cancer. Sceptics still claim there is no proof that BPA is bad for humans. However, a recent (2009) study in the University of Rochester’s Journal of Andrology, concludes that phthalates (another oestrogen-mimicking compound) are feminizing the brains of boys in the womb.
In a slightly different story, a recently publicized study by the U.S. Geological Survey, found that there is “wide-spread” environmental contamination from endocrine disruptors in many U.S. rivers. This feminizes male bass and causes them to grow eggs, resulting in an abnormal amount of female fish. It is important to note that this particular case resulted from chemicals other that BPA.
Exposure and avoidance
Due to a lack of corporate media coverage, it is impossible to know everything about exposure to BPA and similar chemicals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved tens of thousands of chemicals. However, this doesn’t mean that they are safe. Dr. Huge Taylor, an expert at reproductive endocrinology and infertility, recommends that pregnant women and children in particular avoid BPA.
Exposure from food and drink items is usually considered to be the most dangerous. BPA lining is used inside many canned foods, including soups, tomatoes and tuna; likewise, liquids stored in BPA containers and bottles can also be a source of exposure. BPA can leach into food and beverages easily. The amount that leaches out can be drastically increased when items are warmed or frozen. Supermarket meat in plastic wrap should never be thawed in the microwave; ideally, plastic should not come into contact with food at all.
Conclusion and the future
BPA is a proven endocrine disruptor, and possibly even a carcinogen. It is used in day-to-day life and it has never been proven to be safe. Suspiciously enough, one in five New Zealand men cannot get their partner pregnant, and sperm counts have declined by 50% in a 20-year period. Further scientific research is required, and journalists need to start doing their job.
Consumer awareness is the most vital part; if consumers don’t know what is in the products that they are purchasing, then the problem will continue. Unfortunately, most people have very little reading time these days, thanks to the advent of Television. If the current trend continues, then we will witness yet another public health disaster before any progress is made.
Authored by Agent J,
NOTE: This document does not have proper sourcing, however, most of the content comes from online library databases. Three news items have been left below for further research:
Phthalate warning: Medications contain chemicals that “feminize” unborn baby boys
Natural News, 17/11/09 (also seen in the Daily Mail UK)
Originally from the University Rochester’s Journal of Andrology
Male bass in many US rivers feminised, study finds
3 News, 15/9/09
TVNZ’s “Sunday” programme, 29/11/09