This study, funded by the Breast Cancer Fund, shows how quickly and dramatically canned foods and plastic storage containers equate to BPA in the body. Learn how you can take control by changing your foods!
Posts Tagged ‘BPA’
Looking for something eco-friendly and totally safe to store your homemade baby food? I was too! A smart Canadian mama has just introduced the solution – Wean Cubes. These durable little glass containers are fitted with silicone sealed lids so that the product is completely BPA, Phthalate, PVC and plasticizer-free. They’re NOT plastic – Yah!
These remind me of Pyrex; but unlike Pyrex, they’re able to store liquids without leaks and come in baby-sized 4 ounce sizes. The smart-clips lock on each side of the lid for a very tight seal. Plus, they come in 4 fun colors: pea, blueberry, carrot and raspberry. Buy Wean Cubes in packs of four for $28.00, all one color or multi-color.
Time to make up some baby food!
Eliminating canned foods takes some work. But, there are readily available alternatives to most canned foods like fruit, vegetables and beans. When it comes to tomato sauce and tomato paste, I’ve been at a lost to find a replacement… until now!
Check out these gorgeous glass jars chock full of organic goodness! The Bionaturae organic foods company packages tomato sauce (strained tomatoes), tomato paste and a variety of fruit nectars in healthy, BPA-free glass. Thank-you very much!!! It’s available on Amazon, but the shipping is outrageous. A friend pointed out that the Bionaturae line is also available on Vitacost.com, an excellent natural living store from which I already purchase most of our toiletries. Fortunately, Vitacost has $4.99 flat rate shipping. I added a 12 pack of tomato paste and 6 extra-large jars of sauce to my order. They arrived without any breakage. Don’t they look pretty?
P.S. My rough calculations show that at Vitcost prices, Bionaturae organic tomato paste is about 75 cents more per jar than regular canned tomato paste. Bionaturae organic tomato sauce is sold in 24 oz jars, rather than the typical 16 oz can. As such, the Bionaturae sauce is about 45 cents more per 16 oz than regular canned tomato sauce. It’ll be easy to store partially used jars of sauce in the fridge for later use.
To me, this is very exciting.
When parents learn about the possible dangers from chemical estrogens in the environment, such as those found in some plastics, pesticides, and personal care products, one of the first questions I’m asked is, “What to do if your child was already exposed?”
BPA, one of these chemical estrogens, is found in hard plastics, in the linings of many food cans, and in many cash register receipts. And it doesn’t stay there. It gets into our bodies when we eat or drink something that has been stored or especially heated in one of these containers. It could get into our bodies when we handle receipts, then eat without washing our hands.
The CDC estimates that right now BPA is in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans, with higher levels in teens than in adults, and higher levels in children than in teens.
In animal studies, exposure to even trace amounts early in life has been linked to health problems including obesity, early puberty, and breast and prostate cancer.
Researchers at Duke University have shown that this early exposure affects the offspring’s epigenetics: it turns on and off different genes, resulting in the problems that we see.
Here’s the exciting part: They found that they could completely block BPA damage, even in the face of significant exposure, by giving pregnant animals extra folate (found mostly in green leafy vegetables – foliage – such as spinach) or extra genistein (found mostly in legumes such as soy). The amount of genistein given was comparable to what we would get in our diets if we ate soy foods regularly.
These nutrients switched the genes back the way they should be, and the BPA effect was completely nullified. The researchers describe this as compelling evidence that certain nutrients can counteract BPA when given during pregnancy.
Beyond this, the researchers propose that these nutrients could block the effects of chemical estrogen exposures, even if given later in childhood and possibly even in adulthood.
This research is still preliminary, but it makes sense to me.
Before this study, I already recommended including some green leafy veggies and whole soy foods in your family’s diet. This study suggests these may nourish and protect your child in more ways than we expected. Of course I do not recommend knowingly ingesting
BPA or other potentially harmful chemicals, but eating a healthy diet that includes green leafy vegetables and soy is a great idea for the times you or your children are unknowingly exposed.
by Alan Greene, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, Attending Pediatrician at Packard Children’s Hospital, and Senior Fellow at the University California San Francisco Center for the Health Professions. He is also founder of DrGreene.com, and author of Raising Baby Green and Feeding Baby Green.
Calafat, A.M., Kuklenyik, Z., Reidy, J.A., Caudill, S.P., Ekong, J., and Needham L.L. “Urinary Concentrations of Bisphenol A and 4-Nonylphenol in a Human Reference Population. Environmental Health Perspectives, Apr 2005, 113:391-395.
Dolinoy, D.C., Huang, D., and Jirtle, R.L. “Maternal Nutrient Supplementation Counteracts Bisphenol-A-Induced DNA Hypomethylation in Early Development.” PNAS, 7 Aug 2007, 104(32):13056-13061.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of Healthy Child Healthy World. Courtesy of Healthy Child Healthy World: a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit inspiring parents to protect young children from harmful chemicals.
By now you know that the FDA has decided to take “reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply.” I’m glad that the FDA has taken this stance, but there’s such a long way to go and so much at stake, especially for pregnant women.
Any mom I’ve known isn’t content to wait for the government to purge BPA for the next generation of pregnancies. No, we want to protect our babies NOW. BPA has been shown to cause serious health conditions like breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and abnormal sexual development. It has also been shown to cause placenta cell death at very low concentrations – concentrations that match those found in today’s pregnant women (see study). To put it bluntly, exposure to BPA is a threat to your pregnancy.
BPA-exposure is about a lot more than ditching your Nalgene for a stainless steel Klean Kanteen. Canned foods are one of the biggest exposures to BPA in the modern diet, thanks to the plastic that lines the cans. I really enjoyed Jennifer Grayson’s article “How to Avoid the Sneakiest Sources of BPA.” She goes into a lot of detail to illuminate common sources of exposure that most of us have yet to realize and eliminate. I was thrilled to find a brand of tomato sauce that is sold in glass jars. Now if only I can get my local health food store to carry it!
A recent study published in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology has shown that low levels of BPA exposure during pregnancy harm the cells that attach the fetus to the uterus. From the Montreal Gazette:
Until now, most research has been carried out on the hormone-disrupting effects of BPA on infants who drink from hard-plastic baby bottles. But the Sherbrooke study raises concerns that BPA might be causing irrevocable damage even before birth.
“Very low concentrations (of BPA) that are a hundredth of what is found in the blood of pregnant women can affect . . . the development of the fetus,” said a co-author of the study, Aziz Aris.
“Research has shown that BPA is capable of easily crossing the placenta into the fetus.”…
Aris suggested that BPA exposure during pregnancy is probably behind a growing number of miscarriages.
In the placenta, cytotrophoblasts are necessary to provide nutrients and waste exchange between the mother and her fetus. Aris said BPA causes membrane damage to the placenta.
Pregnant women are exposed to BPA in all sorts of ways. BPA is a chemical that mimics the effects of estrogen and has been shown to cause all sorts of problems for young children. Common exposures include: plastic food storage containers (typically hard, clear plastics), plastic drinking glasses or bottles and in the linings of canned foods, boxed beverages and frozen food dinners.
For more on how to eliminate BPA exposure in your life, see:
Overwhelmed by all the info? Not sure which “non-toxic” items for baby are essential purchases? Here’s my list of Top 10 Toxic Baby Products, in order of approximate danger. Balance this priority list against your budget to determine what to buy for baby:
1. Baby Mattresses: for the crib, bassinet, cosleeper, etc. avoid like the plague mattresses that are covered with vinyl, filled with polyurethane foam, and treated with chemical fire retardants. Babies and toddlers spend 10-14 hours a day sleeping, inhaling air just inches away from these dangerous chemicals. For more info see, What’s Wrong with Conventional Mattresses? Organic mattresses are made with materials like cotton, wool and natural rubber.
2. Waterproof Mattress Pads: “Normal” mattress pads designed for babies utilize vinyl to provide waterproof protection against diaper leaks or accidents. For the same reasons as above, these are definitely not safe. A dense wool puddle pad can also provide waterproof protection, without the poisonous fumes.
3. Cheap Wooden Toys: In general, choosing wooden toys over plastic ones is a win-win for the environment and for your child’s safety. However, know your source. Toys cheaply made (and often in China) often use lead-tainted paints. Lead poisoning is so serious that it’s just not worth taking a single risk. A responsible toy-maker has it’s paints tested for lead. Testing is routine for European manufacturers and may become routine in the US starting in 2010.
4. BPA-contaminated Bottles: Baby bottles made with polycarbonate plastics (clear and hard) emit the toxin BPA. While the seriousness of BPA exposure to young infants is debated in our country (Still Not Sure about BPA?), other countries, like Canada, have outlawed BPA-emitting plastics in children’s feeding products. Nowadays, BPA-free baby bottles are easy to find and quite affordable. Still, don’t assume it’s BPA-free. Read the label. Or, just choose glass – it’s definitely safer and more environmentally friendly.
5. BPA-contaminated Sippy Cups: Same as above. Sippy cups are workhorses. It makes sense to opt for stainless steel sippy cups, over BPA-free plastics since they wear well and minimize the use of any plastic.
6. Soft Plastic Teethers: It’s smart to avoid plastic in general, but any soft plastics – like those most baby teethersare made with – are likely to contain phthalates. Phthalates are a class of chemicals that soften plastics. They are hormone disruptors, like BPA. Not something you want baby chewing on. For more details see, Toxic Toy Alert – Phthalates. Opt instead for cloth or wooden teethers. If you must do plastic, check that the label claims its phthalate-free.
7. Baby Washes and Lotions: Phthalates come into play here too. Most baby washes and lotions use artificial scents or “fragrances”. Any artificial smell is typically packed with phthalates, ready to do their hormone-disrupting worst. What’s more, these cosmetics are often packed with cancer-causing chemicals, even ones declared “unsuitable for use on infant skin”. There is no adequate policing of the cosmetic industry. You’ve got to become informed at www.CosmeticDatabase.com and/or rely on brands that are certified organic, free of chemical additives. For a case study, see Johnson & Johnson products Removed from Shelves in China!
8. Popular Diaper Creams: Diaper creams are cosmetics too and likely to carry the same concerns as the above. I list them separately because your loyalty to Desitin, Balmex, Butt Paste or the like may be so strong that you forget to evaluate it’s safey too! Check your miracle cream’s toxicity rating at www.CosmeticDatabase.com. Here are some case studies I’ve done: Desitin – Safe or Toxic? and My Cosmetic Purge.
9. Pesticides in Baby Food: Pesticides are poisons. Their “safety” levels are based on exposure in adults, not in tiny baby bodies that eat far more produce than the average adult. Buying organic baby food definitely adds up faster than conventionally grown baby food, but it’s worth it. I can’t, as a parent, feel very good about serving up bug poison. If your budget burst a few items earlier on this priority list, try to make baby food at home from organic produce. It is a bit cheaper. Or, for maximum savings, grow your own.
10. Disposable Diapers: Not too well known is the fact that disposable diapers aren’t entirely “pure” no matter how white they’ve been bleached (and actually, bleach is part of the problem). Disposable diapers contain chemicals that are known to cause skin irritations, bleeding, fever, infection, cancer, sterility, and even death if ingested. Read more about Health Risks with Disposable Diapers. Of course, using cloth diapers is actually cheaper. But, if cloth is not your style, safer options include Tushies and 7th Generation disposable diapers.
*Note: It was difficult to order these dangers, but I realize that some kind of frame of reference is helpful when dealing with the realities of life (limited budget). Because of the extremely well documented dangers of lead poisoning, I placed “Cheap Wooden Toys” above BPA issues. In reality, we are still learning about the potential ramifications of BPA and phthalate exposure.
Let’s face it, when most of us eat fish… it’s tuna from a can. Since eating DHA-rich fish is so important for our health - especially if we’re pregnant, nursing or feeding a young child – a cursory reading of my last post may send you to the cupboard for some tuna.
STOP! Did you know that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) strongly recommends that pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under 5 “not eat albacore tuna at all, because a significant portion of albacore tuna has very high mercury levels.” Basing their conclusions on the FDA’s own guidelines for what constitutes a safe amount of mercury, the EWG warns, “People eating this tuna will exceed safe exposure levels by a wide margin.” And, what about light tuna? We don’t know. Light tuna contains less mercury, but no one (including the FDA) has determined what amount is safe for pregnant women.
You can get all the details at EWG’s Tuna Calculator. The calculator will determine how much tuna you can safely eat, based on your weight, if you’re NOT pregnant, nursing or a child under 5.
P.S. Need another reason to ditch the canned tuna? It’s CANNED. Canned foods are lined with BPA-tainted plastic. Yup, virtually all of them! Only a very, very few brands are starting to use non-BPA can linings, but they’re few and far between and very hard to find in your local store.
Here’s a sobering statistic… 1 in 5 American 4-year-olds is clinically obese. That’s up 300% since 1980. And, many more are seriously overweight.
What is going on? Anyone might reply that poor diet and lack of exercise are at the heart of this frightening problem, and they may be right. Certainly, proper diet and exercise are a MUST. But, did you know that studies are starting to reveal that certain common chemicals are contributing to the problem by messing with our hormones?
You’ve heard me rant before about the dangers of BPA, Phthalates, PFOA, etc. These are chemicals found in many plastic products from your vinyl shower curtain to non-stick cookware; from stain-resistant carpet to canned foods. These synthetic chemicals are classified as hormone disruptors. They can cause many serious developmental problems, cancer… and possibly obesity as well. “A small, but growing body of evidence in both animals and humans are finding a variety of hormone disruptors linked to obesity, including tributyltin, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), organotins, BPA, and PFOA“ (from Healthy Child, Healthy World).
For more information on these chemicals and how you can avoid them see some of my previous posts:
- BPA-Free for Your Pregnancy
- Hormone Disruptors and Your Health
- Toxic Toy Alert – Phthalates
- Phthalates causing Birth Defects in Boys
- Simple Habits to Keep the Toxins out of your Food
Or explore the links in Healthy Child, Healthy World’s Article Chemicals Increasingly Linked to Obesity and How You Can Fight Fat .
Girl, Disrupted: Hormone Disruptors and Women’s Reproductive Health is a new 35 page report designed to explain what we know today about hormone disrupting chemicals to regular people like you and I. It was published by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment and focuses, specifically, on how several synthetic, hormone-disrupting chemicals are destroying women’s health. The report details studies that link hormone disruptors to early puberty, infertility, , , and others.
I know I’ve written time and agan about dangerous chemicals Americans are commonly exposed to, such as BPA, pthalates and more. I tend to focus on what we should do to protect our health. Rather than giving a list of to-do’s, this report gives you clear, concise reasons why you should be concerned about hormone disruptors.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the 35-page report. Who has time for that? Fortunately, they also published a concise summary brochure that gets right down to it: Hormone Disruptors and Women’s Health: Reasons for Concern. Go here, download the PDF and share it with your friends. If you’re pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive you’re at a particular vulnerable point. You should take steps now to protect the health of your baby.