I read a couple magazines at the gym tonight and was pleased to see that many of the ones geared towards parents give advice for how to avoid BPA and phthalates. Time magazine also recently published a great article about BPA and how much it increases in your blood from eating canned soup (1200%!!!). When my first child was a newborn in 2005, this information was nearly impossible to find. I’m happy to see it becoming more mainstream.
Speaking of BPA, I posted a year ago that Muer Glen tomato cans were lined with BPA, but that the company planned to phase out those cans (see undated post on their website as well). I bought a can to see and sure enough, the lining is now copper instead of a plastic looking white. Nothing printed on the cans mentions a change, but I wonder if the cans no longer contain BPA.
An article in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reports that 71 of the 78 cans tested for BPA contained anywhere from 2.6 parts per billion (ppb) to more than 500 ppb of bisphenol-A. You can read more about this latest research on sciencenews.org. Yet another reason to eat fresh foods. The only canned product we continue to consume in our home is Eden Foods beans. Their cans have been BPA free for years.
Appleton, the largest manufacturer of thermal paper (used to make receipts) and the only producer of BPA-free paper, has added small red rayon fibers to its paper so that consumers can know their receipt does not contain the endocrine-disrupting chemical BPA. About 3/4 of Appleton’s thermal paper will contain these red fibers for identification by the end of November. For more, read this article.
The book Slow Death by Rubber Duck doesn’t sound like a pleasurable read, but it is! Well, at least as much as could be given the subject matter of toxins that are slowly poisoning us and our environment.
The two Canadian authors, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, decide to experiment with phthalates, BPA, mercury, and PFC’s (non-stick chemicals) to see what their personal levels were and whether they could increase them via normal, daily activities (like using personal care products, eating canned foods, or eating lots of sushi). In addition to describing these mini-experiments (n=1), they elaborate on the history of these toxins, the science behind them, and why they are dangerous. Particularly interesting to me was the research showing that even infinitesimally small amounts of certain chemicals, like BPA, have measurable effects. Slow death indeed!
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A September 2010 letter from the Customer Service department of Muir Glen:
Bisphenol-A is a component of protective coatings in metal food packaging, and provides an important food safety and quality function in canned foods. Scientific and governmental bodies worldwide have examined the science many times and have concluded that the weight of evidence supports the safety of BPA, including recent comprehensive assessments in Japan and in the European Union.
In January 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced another review of BPA. This review in expected to take 18-24 months, and Health Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) will participate.
Most metal cans in the food industry utilize BPA in the can lining or can lid. Some of our products do, and many competitors′ products do as well.
Muir Glen continues to believe BPA is safe. However, we know that some of our consumers have wanted us to pursue alternatives. We have been working with our can suppliers and can manufacturers to develop and test alternative linings that do not use BPA for some time.
One alternative has proven safe and viable in our processing of tomatoes – and Muir Glen will transition to can linings that do not use BPA on our organic tomato products with the next tomato harvest. It is an approved non-epoxy alternative. Can coatings used by Muir Glen also comply fully with all applicable U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for safe use in food contact applications.
Your views are important to us. Again, thank you for contacting Muir Glen, and thank you for your support of our products.
It is increasingly difficult to avoid chemicals in our environment! I have tried to eliminate BPA from my home, but the darn thing keeps cropping up everywhere. A new (to me, at least), potent source of exposure? Cash register receipts. The ones you touch on a regular basis may be printed on paper that contains up to 3% BPA by weight, and this BPA can be absorbed by your skin when you handle the receipt. Most frustrating to me is that not only does BPA in receipts mean that I am exposed every time I touch them, but it also means that when those receipts get recycled, BPA enters into recycled paper products (like the toilet paper, tissue, and paper towels we use in our home).
For more, read the Environmental Working Group’s report, detailing the study that found 40% of tested receipts contain BPA.
Read this great article about BPA in canned foods.
On January 14, 2010, Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, sent the following letter to the FDA commisioner:
Dear Madam Commissioner,
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to issue its final decision on whether bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical and synthetic estrogen, should be used in food packaging. As even the chemical industry has acknowledged, BPA leaches into foods and beverages from polycarbonate plastic containers and epoxy-based metal food can linings.
As authoritative studies by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have demonstrated, nearly all Americans test positive for traces of BPA. Environmental Working Group’s most recent study of cord blood found BPA in 9 of 10 samples taken from children born in 2007 and 2008.
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As you can probably tell, I’ve been reading a lot lately. I just finally have the time to tackle some subjects I’ve always wanted to read more about. One of those topics I’m very passionate about is toxic chemicals in our environment and how to best avoid them. If that is interesting to you too, then I highly recommend you read The Body Toxic. The 230 page book was written by a journalist in 2008 and covers five major chemicals in a chapter each:
- Atrazine — most commonly sprayed agricultural pesticide/herbicide, commonly found in ground and stream water.
- Phthalates — a group of chemicals that make plastics like PVC flexible, also found in personal care products, detergents, soaps, food packaging, building materials, inflatable toys, and medical equipment like IV tubing.
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) — a family of flame retardants used since the 1970s that are chemically very similar to the now banned PCBs, found in upholstered furniture, mattresses, carpet padding, vehicle upholstery, and electronics.
- Bisphenol A (BPA) — a chemical building block for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, found in canned foods, food and beverage containers, PC (usually #7 plastic), and even some dental sealants/composites.
- Perflourinated chemicals — chemicals that resist water, grease, and stains, found in products with names like Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster, and GORE-TEX, and also found in nonstick cookware, stain resistance clothing/shoes/furniture, waterproof outerwear, some dental floss, microwave popcorn bags, and fast-food packaging. Continue reading »
Protecting my children from the chemicals and toxins in their environment is the passion that caused me to launch this blog 2.5 years ago. After researching BPA and phthalates and working hard to eliminate them from our home, I decided to start this blog to share what I had learned. Now that it is almost 2010, I feel like these subjects are much more common knowledge than they were when I stared looking (2005) and I’m even finding some well written books about the matter.
One of those books that I recently read is The Toxic Sandbox (2007). It is a quick read at only 175 pages. The format of the book is ideal for parents–highly organized with subject matter separated into chapters and sections and often easily ID’d by bold questions. The book is also based on solid research and written by a mom who has personal experience with toxins affecting her child (in her case, lead). You can skip to exactly what interests you and get the basic information you need to know about the dangers and how to protect your children. This book could easily be read or skimmed by a busy parent in a day or two.
The author, Libby McDonald, covers six toxins in six chapters: lead, mercury, plastics (including BPA and phthalates), PCBs and flame retardants (PBDE’s), air pollution, and pesticides. I found the PCB/PBDE chapter especially interesting, as it’s something I’m not as familiar with. Here are some of my favorite excerpts and facts from the book:
- Lead is so dangerous because it masquerades as calcium, allowing it to cross the blood brain barrier. Because babies’ and toddlers’ brains crave calcium in their effort to develop, until children are around six years old they can absorb three to four times more lead than an adult. Continue reading »