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My take on Plastic Free July

The (lightly edited) text has been taken from the Plastic Free July  website... the comments in red are my observations

The challenge is quite simple…attempt to consume no single-use plastic during July.

Plastic Free July is a simple idea developed in 2011. It aims to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lived by encouraging people to eliminate the the use of single-use plastic during July each year.

It is an initiative of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) in Perth, Western Australia. It was developed by clever Earth Carers staff.
Plastic Free July started as a local community initiative in Perth’s western suburbs in 2011 to educate residents on the important notion of ‘reuse’.
In 2012 Plastic Free July expanded across Perth and even attracted interstate and international interest.
So in 2013 we’ve throw it open to the world!!!

So what do they mean by plastic free?

We have set some basic rules but have deliberately left the challenge simple so you can consider the issues and decide how it will work.

How can I go plastic free when everything around me is plastic?
Don’t worry, you can still use your computer, phone, car, etc during July. The challenge is about reducing single-use disposable plastic such as bags, straws, water bottles – you know, the packaging that you use for five minutes but lasts forever.

What do I do about milk?
Some brands are available in glass or cardboard cartons, just ask your local store or do an internet search for brands.

NB cardboard cartons will be plastic lined

Check out our recipes to make your own soy and nut milk.
How do I get meat, chicken and fish that is not in plastic bags/wrap?
Ask for it to be wrapped in paper or bring your own container, most shops are happy to fill them.
It’s best to explain what the challenge is about – otherwise shop assistants tend to put their hand in a plastic bag to pick up your produce and then throw the bag away!

What about using biodegradable or other environmentally friendly bags?
Single use plastic is, well, single use plastic. The idea of the challenge is to avoid single use plastic, however its made. ‘Biodegradable’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ are both terms without a single definition and can have wide ranging meanings.

I use compostable plastic (PLA) because my challenge includes finding sustainable packaging. If I am going to use compostable disposable paper then I am going to use compostable disposable cornstarch plastic

Is foil okay? As in foil around chocolate or chip packets?
Again, it depends how serious you want to get about the challenge!
Apparently chip packets are often made out of metal coated plastic film.
Use the scrunch test to check whether it is aluminium foil. If it springs back when scrunched in the hand it is not aluminum foil and most likely contains plastic!

I do not use plastic coated foil. The scrunch test does not work on certain types of plastic coated foil – you can read more here.

Are cans okay to purchase? I hear they’re often lined with some kind of plastic.
It depends how serious you want to get about the challenge!
Apparently most tins and cans are lined with plastic – usually containing BPA. (All most all tins are plastic lined)
There is information on the net about health concerns with these types of cans. If you want to be completely authentic about the challenge you would keep those tins in the dilemma bag.

Just keep any plastic you buy for your dilemma bag.

They do not mention glass jars with those pesky plastic lined metal lids. All metal lids are plastic lined!

So their definition of plastic free July (and believe me I am in no way being critical here) can mean only giving up what is obviously plastic (and only plastic) one-use packaging. Composite items like plastic coated card and tins are not necessarily included. Now the purists amongst you may well argue that products containing plastics fall well within the remit of  a single-use plastic and I (with reservations) agree. Here’s why…. 

  • If you want to raise awareness about how much plastic we really use then hidden and less obvious plastics have to be included. So many people for example are unaware that cardboard containers  have a plastic coating.
  • If you are at all concerned about BPA leaching into your food then you really need to know that tins are plastic lined.
  • You can find out more about sneaky plastics here ( watch out for those cardboard boxes with plastic inners)

However giving up tins, plastic lined papers and glass jars with plastic lined lids does make the project much harder….and while I feel that these points are important and do need making,  I think it is fine to tailor plastic free July to suit your own needs and circumstances. So it could mean anything from total hairshirt- no plastic- arghhhh to giving up one particular type of plastic, replacing a disposable with a reusable or going plastic free for a day.

According to Katheryn at Second Hand Tales “when you register there are different options ranging from living plastic free for a day, week or the whole month. You can also choose to avoid all single use plastic or just the top four which are:

1) straws

2) plastic bottles

3) plastic bags

4) coffee cup lids”

So go with what feels comfortable and do what you can.  As it says on Plastic Free July website …

“Remember it is a challenge, not a competition. The challenge is intended to make you think about all the single-use plastic you consume every day. Whatever you can cut out is a job well done!”

If you are giving it a go, in whatever capacity, please do link up with me @polytheenpam and others in the UK on twitter #pfjuk. And you can find lots of other bloggers here

 

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Endocrine System & Endocrine Disruptors

A few quotes on the endocrine system…….

“Although we rarely think about them, the glands of the endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.

In general, the endocrine system is in charge of body processes that happen slowly, such as cell growth. Faster processes like breathing and body movement are controlled by the nervous system. But even though the nervous system and endocrine system are separate systems, they often work together to help the body function properly.”Kids health

“Endocrine systems, are found in all mammals, birds, fish, and many other types of living organisms. They are made up of:

Glands located throughout the body.
Hormones that are made by the glands and released into the bloodstream or the fluid surrounding cells.
Receptors in various organs and tissues that recognize and respond to the hormones.
Hormones are released by glands and travel throughout the body, acting as chemical messengers.

Hormones interface with cells that contain matching receptors in or on their surfaces. The hormone binds with the receptor, much like a key would fit into a lock. The hormones, or keys, need to find compatible receptors, or locks, to work properly. Although hormones reach all parts of the body, only target cells with compatible receptors are equipped to respond. Once a receptor and a hormone bind, the receptor carries out the hormone’s instructions by either altering the cell’s existing proteins or turning on genes that will build a new protein. Both of these actions create reactions throughout the body. Researchers have identified more than 50 hormones in humans and other vertebrates.

The endocrine system regulates all biological processes in the body from conception through adulthood and into old age, including the development of the brain and nervous system, the growth and function of the reproductive system, as well as the metabolism and blood sugar levels. The female ovaries, male testes, and pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands are major constituents of the endocrine system.”The EPA website

“The Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) focuses on the estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormones. Estrogens are the group of hormones responsible for female sexual development. They are produced primarily by the ovaries and in small amounts by the adrenal glands. Androgens are responsible for male sex characteristics. Testosterone, the sex hormone produced by the testicles, is an androgen. The thyroid gland secretes two main hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine, into the bloodstream. These thyroid hormones stimulate all the cells in the body and control biological processes such as growth, reproduction, development, and metabolism. For additional information on the endocrine system and endocrine disruptors, visit the Endocrine Primer.” The EPA website

“Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides.” National institute of Environmental Health Sciences
“Disruption of the endocrine system can occur in various ways. Some chemicals mimic a natural hormone, fooling the body into over-responding to the stimulus (e.g., a growth hormone that results in increased muscle mass), or responding at inappropriate times (e.g., producing insulin when it is not needed). Other endocrine disrupting chemicals block the effects of a hormone from certain receptors (e.g. growth hormones required for normal development). Still others directly stimulate or inhibit the endocrine system and cause overproduction or underproduction of hormones (e.g. an over or underactive thyroid). Certain drugs are used to intentionally cause some of these effects, such as birth control pills. In many situations involving environmental chemicals, however, an endocrine effect is not desirable.

In recent years, some scientists have proposed that chemicals might inadvertently be disrupting the endocrine system of humans and wildlife. A variety of chemicals have been found to disrupt the endocrine systems of animals in laboratory studies, and there is strong evidence that chemical exposure has been associated with adverse developmental and reproductive effects on fish and wildlife in particular locations. The relationship of human diseases of the endocrine system and exposure to environmental contaminants, however, is poorly understood and scientifically controversial (Kavlock et al., 1996, EPA, 1997).

One example of the devastating consequences of the exposure of developing animals, including humans, to endocrine disruptors is the case of the potent drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen. Prior to its ban in the early 1970’s, doctors mistakenly prescribed DES to as many as five million pregnant women to block spontaneous abortion and promote fetal growth. It was discovered after the children went through puberty that DES affected the development of the reproductive system and caused vaginal cancer. Since then, Congress has improved the evaluation and regulation process of drugs and other chemicals. The recent requirement of the establishment of an endocrine disruptor screening program is a highly significant step.docrine disruptor screening program is a highly significant step.”The EPA website

Find out more about the endocrine disruptors in plastic here

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Plastic in Fish

Blackfin tuna (Manooch and Mason. 1983)

Chelsea M. Rochman, Rebecca L. Lewison, Marcus Eriksen, Harry Allen,

Anna-Marie Cook, Swee J. Teh,

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in fish tissue may be an indicator of plastic contamination in marine habitats, Science of The Total Environment, Volumes 476–477, 1 April

2014, Pages 622-633, ISSN 0048-9697,

(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969714000679)

Abstract: The accumulation of plastic debris in pelagic habitats of the subtropical gyres is a global phenomenon of growing concern, particularly with regard to wildlife. When animals ingest plastic debris that is associated with chemical contaminants, they are at risk of bioaccumulating hazardous pollutants. We examined the relationship

between the bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in myctophid fish associated with plastic debris and plastic contamination in remote and previously unmonitored pelagic habitats in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Using a published model, we defined three sampling zones where accumulated densities of plastic debris were predicted to differ.

Contrary to model predictions, we found variable levels of plastic debris density across all stations within the sampling zones.

Mesopelagic lanternfishes, sampled from each station and analyzed for bisphenol A (BPA), alkylphenols, alkylphenol ethoxylates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), exhibited variability in contaminant levels, but this variability was not related to plastic debris density for most of the targeted compounds with the exception of PBDEs. We found that myctophid sampled at stations with greater plastic densities did have significantly larger concentrations of BDE#s 183 –209 in their tissues suggesting that higher brominated congeners of PBDEs, added to plastics as flame-retardants, are indicative of plastic contamination in the marine environment. Our results provide data on a previously unsampled pelagic gyre and highlight the challenges associated with characterizing plastic debris accumulation and associated risks to wildlife.

Keywords: Plastic debris; Myctophid; Polybrominated diphenyl ethers

(PBDEs); South Atlantic Gyre

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More reports on other animal deaths can be found here

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Yogurt & Yogurt makers

Yogurt comes in plastic pots  and I of course refuse to use one use disposables. So the pots have to go,but who can live without yogurt? Not us, so I had to learn how to make my own.

I had heard of how you could make it in a flask but I just ended up with curds and whey and an evil-smelling flask. Then Husband remembered how they used to make it back in the village  of his birth. He ended up with curds and whey and evil-smelling blankets.

So I bought me an Easy Yo Yogurt maker – – really easy – just mix the contents of the sachet with water – yes that’s right – the plastic foil sachet that came in the plastic packed box. Didnt think it through. Not best pleased – it did make very good yogurt though. If only they sold the mix in a jar – or cardboard box. Ho hum back to the drawing board.

And maybe it might be worth doing some in depth research:

So What Is Yogurt

Milk like everything else is full of bacteria. Even pasteurised milk as pasteurisation only kills a certain percentage of bacteria in milk. After a time these bacteria start to multiply. Some bacteria cause milk to go bad, others can turn it to yoghurt. Depending on which gains the upper hand, the end result can be evil smelling gunk or a tasty snack.

The main (starter) cultures or bacteria needed to turn milk into yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

These are used to ferment the lactose (milk sugar) in milk. This results in lactic acid which decreases the pH, and breaks down the cell membranes so the proteins clump together and form the soft gel or as we know it, yoghurt.
Yoghurt is actually a very soft cheese.

If the yoghurt making bacteria are dominant they multiply and consume the food supply (milk sugars) starving out other bacteria, including the type that makes milk go off

Traditional yogurt has a high acid content, which many bacteria cannot survive in which is another reason yogurt stays fresh longer than milk.

Making Yogurt

The yoghurt making process is one of favouring certain bacterias over the others. This is done by killing off existing bacteria, introducing yogurt making bacteria, the starter culture, then ensuring that conditions suit the growth of that bacteria.

You will need…

milk 1 liter
starter culture (bacteria) 3 tablespoons of live yogurt or a powdered starter – see below for more details
a way to heat the milk
a food thermometer
A container for your yoghurt.
a way to keep the yogurt at a warm and constant temperature.

Chose your Milk
To make yoghurt you need milk proteins and milk sugars – milk in other words. But which milk?
I use Pasteurized milk from the milk man. Check out this list of people who deliver milk in glass bottles.
Ultra-pasteurized is said to be too sterile(I don’t know why that matters if you are introducing the culture), raw milk I don’t work with.
The milk can be whole or reduced-fat.
Or a mixture of the two.
Adding dry milk powder will increase the amount of whey protein and create a richer textured yogurt. See where you can buy loose powdered milk here.
Cream apparently doesn’t work at all.

Pasteurize the Milk
The milk mixture needs to be heated to 185°F (85°C) for 30 minutes or at 203°F (95°C) for 10 minutes. Which means you warm the milk to just below boiling on the stove, maintain the temperature keeping an eye on it all the while.
Some recipes say for half an hour though many say less time is needed.
This serves 2 functions:
First it breaks down the milk proteins resulting in a more stable yoghurt
Secondly it kills off any unwanted bacteria already present in the milk.
N.B. Even Pasteurization of milk only kills a certain percentage of bacteria in milk.

Cool Milk
Put the milk into your containers.
Allow the milk is cool to 108°F (42°C) the ideal growth temperature for the yoghurt making bacteria, (starter culture).

Add bacteria
Now add your Starter Culture. This usually a dollop of live yogurt though you can buy starter culture in other forms. more on this below.

Mix well

Allow To Ferment
The mixture now has be kept at 108°F (42°C) until a pH 4.5 is reached allowing fermentation to take place. Fermentation results in the soft gel known as yogurt. This process can take several hours. Too hot or too cold and your bacteria won’t work.
You have to find a reliable way to keep your mixture warm and at a stable temperature.

Ways to keep warm
an electric yogurt maker,
an insulated container or flask
an oven with just the light
a food dehydrator
Lots of blankets

To check the yogurt is ready, try tilting the pot. If it moves as one you have made yogurt.Yay. If it separates into liquid and solids the bacteria has run out of food.

The longer you let your yoghurt ferment the more acid it becomes and the more tart the taste.

Cool
To stop the fermentation process cool the mixture to 7°C.

Starter Cultures

The yogurt starter can be made from live yogurt bought from a shop. make sure it says “live cultures.
You can  use your own homemade live yogurt as a starter culture.
You can buy starter cultures as a powder. These are from Amazon. Obviously the packaging contains some plastic but so does a pot of yogurt.

Trouble Shooting

Theoretically you should be able to use your own home made live yoghurt to make more yoghurt indefinitely However we find that after a while our home made live yoghurt seems to loose its strength and we cannot make more using this batch. So every few weeks we need to buy a new container of yogurt for a fresh culture.

This is because the bacteria is weak, possibly dead

One solution is the freeze a fresh batch as soon as the yogurt is made. This keeps your bacteria feisty.

Keeping it warm. If you dont have a constant heat source,  yogurt making can be tricky. I tried putting it in the oven and making it in a flask but the results were too variable. finally got me an electric yogurt maker from Lakeland – mail order. The yogurt is made in a plastic container -BPA free for those of you worried about leaching chemicals. It works really well. So although it is a plastic product I feel it is worth it as it cuts our overall plastic consumption. It does make good yogurt and is very easy to use. If you are busy I would recommend getting one of these.

Update

Trying Homemade Again Since then VB has re-learnt his yogurt making skills and now makes it in a pan which he leaves wrapped in a blanket overnight. Completely plastic free.

Reusing the Easy Yo And if you check the comments you will find out how to make yogurt using hot water and how to use the Easy Yo yogurt maker without purchasing more sachets.

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Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are the only 2 cultures required by law  to be present in live yogurt.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus subsp. casei, and Bifido-bacteria are probiotic cultures. These, it is claimed, help improve  lactose digestion, gastrointestinal function, and stimulate the immune system.

There are yogurts that culture at room temperature, which is even easier!

Find other plasticfree recipes here.

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Why does my tin can have a plastic liner and is it bad for me?

Metal food and beverage cans have a thin coating on the interior surface, which is essential to prevent corrosion of the can and contamination of food and beverages with dissolved metals (UK FSA, 2002).

Cans

Aluminium drinks cans have a polymer plastic lining. It’s there to stop acids in the beverage from corroding the metal which is not good for the can or the flavor of the contents.,If you don’t believe me, you can try this experiment, as done by Steve Spangler, to separate the two. However you will need to be “a chemistry teacher or someone with the proper training to handle hazardous chemicals”)

If you are neither, just make do with this picture.

You might wish to know that when the can is recycled, the liner is burnt off.

“The History of the Liner – Technicians at the American Can Company, even before Prohibition, began toying with the idea of putting beer in a can. As early as 1929, Anheuser-Busch and Pabst experimented with the canning process. Schlitzeven proposed a can design that looked like a small barrel.

The major problem the early researchers were confronted with, however, was not strength, but the can’s liner. Several years and most of the early research funds were spent to solve this perplexing problem. Beer has a strong affinity for metal, causing precipitated salts and a foul taste. The brewers called the condition “metal turbidity”.

The American Can Company produced the flat or punch top can in 1934. The lining was made from a Union Carbide product called “Vinylite”, a plastic product which was trademarked “keglined” on September 25, 1934.”  Steve Spangler

Tins

Nearly all tin cans are plastic lined with epoxy resin.

They have been since the 50s.

In tins the liner can be white or yellow or transparent in which case it is  undetectable.  In most cases it is best to assume that your can has a plastic liner.

It helps to prevent canned foods from becoming tainted or spoiled by bacterial contamination.

Epoxy resins, are used because of their “exceptional combination of toughness, adhesion, formability and chemical resistance.”

these coatings make it possible for food products to maintain their quality and taste, while extending shelf life.

Bad for you?

You might not want to know that the lining contains Bisphenol A (BPA) a chemical building block that is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins.

 So what?? To cut a long story short it would seem that BPA is toxic and does leach from plastic liners into the food.

The Bisphenol A Organisation argues that it is in such small amounts as to be negligible.

Based on the results of the SPI study, the estimated dietary intake of BPA from can coatings is less than 0.00011 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day. Stated another way, an average adult consumer would have to ingest more than 230 kilograms (or about 500 pounds) of canned food and beverages every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

It is true that several scientific panels including the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food, the National Toxicology Program and the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis have concluded that the claims that low doses of BPA affect human health have not (yet ), been substantiated. While accepting that animal testing has produced adverse results, they can find no concrete evidence that humans will react the same way.

BUT BPA is now considered by many to be  a hormone disruptor, a chemical that alters the body’s normal hormonal activity. There are many counter claims on the internet and in the media  that BPA  is lethal. You can read all the arguments  here

Why  use BPA at all  you might ask ? Here’s some information from the bishenol-a.org

It must also be noted that  despite claims that BPA is as safe as safe, research is  ongoing into alternatives. And maybe they have found one. According to Food Production Daily

“Researchers in the United States have developed a chemical derived from sugar with the potential to replace bisphenol A (BPA) in a number of products, including the lining of food cans. The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) said Professor Michael Jaffe had received a US patent for an epoxy resin based on isosorbide diglycidyl ether that could make consumer products safer.

“The patent will enable us to create a family of isosorbide-based epoxy resins that have the potential to replace bisphenol A in a number of products including food can linings”, Jaffe told FoodProductionDaily.com.

Note  the statement by Food Production Daily that this will  make consumer products safer. And I hardly need say that the creators of this new product are clear in their statements that BPA is not a good thing.

Hmmm – the choice is yours. As for me I boycott nearly all tins and cans – tonic, tomatoes, coconut milk, tomato puree and baked beans are the exceptions. I don’t like the plastic or the BPA.

Related Articles

You can find more reports, studies and media scares on BPA here

And how to make epoxy resin here

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BPA

Bisphenol A or BPA is it is known to its chums is used in

  • some thermal paper products such as till receipts.
  • the epoxy plastic liners found in many cans and tins,
  • polycarbonate plastics used to make hard plastic for CDs, cell phones, car parts, medical devices, safety goggles
  • Plastic microwave oven ware, eating utensils and  bottles (including baby bottles).
  • Plastics  labelled with the number “7” identification code. HOWEVER not all plastics labelled with the number “7” contain BPA. The number “7” code is assigned to the “Other” category, which includes all plastics not otherwise assigned to categories 1-6.

The chemical was invented in the 1930s during the search for synthetic estrogens.  Diethylstilbestrol was found to be a more powerful estrogen, so bisphenol A was put to other uses. It was polymerized to form polycarbonate plastic and used to make a wide range of products including those listed above.

Over the years there have been an increasing number of claims that the polymer  is not stable. That, over time, BPA breaks down over time and releases hormones into whatever product it comes into contact with.  Research has indeed proved that  BPA can leach into food from the epoxy linings in cans or from polycarbonate bottles, and that the rate increases if the containers are heated i.e. babies bottle being sterilised or a tin being heated.

However additional studies are now suggesting that the ingestion of leached BPA could be harmful. In March 1998 for example a study in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) found that BPA simulates the action of estrogen when tested in human breast cancer cells. A more recent study published in EHP shows a significant decrease of testosterone in male rats exposed to low levels of BPA. The study concludes that the new data is significant enough to evaluate the risk of human exposure to BPA.

BPA is now considered by many to be  a hormone disruptor, a chemical that alters the body’s normal hormonal activity.

In the last 10-15 years that concerns have been raised over its safety, particularly during pregnancy and for young babies.

In April 2008, the United States Department of Health and Human Services expressed concerns about it.

The Canadian government have just banned listed it a toxic substance and banned it from being used in baby bottles.

The following chart was taken from the very informative and interesting Wikkipedia article but you can find the same information all over the internet

Low dose exposure in animals

Dose (µg/kg/day) Effects (measured in studies of mice or rats,descriptions (in quotes) are from Environmental Working Group)[104][105] Study Year
0.025 “Permanent changes to genital tract” 2005[106]
0.025 “Changes in breast tissue that predispose cells to hormones and carcinogens” 2005[107]
1 long-term adverse reproductive and carcinogenic effects 2009[76]
2 “increased prostate weight 30%” 1997[108]
2 “lower bodyweight, increase of anogenital distance in both genders, signs of early puberty and longer estrus.” 2002[109]
2.4 “Decline in testicular testosterone” 2004[110]
2.5 “Breast cells predisposed to cancer” 2007[111]
10 “Prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer” 2006[112]
10 “Decreased maternal behaviors” 2002[113]
30 “Reversed the normal sex differences in brain structure and behavior” 2003[114]
50 Adverse neurological effects occur in non-human primates 2008[44]
50 Disrupts ovarian development 2009[77]

 

So why the hell is BPA still being used  you might ask – between  nervously checking your genital tract and belting the kids.

‘BPA is such an easy chemical to make and it’s so useful,’ explains Tamara Galloway, a professor in ecotoxicology at the University of Exeter, UK.  ‘It is made from very cheap ingredients – acetone and phenol – and it makes a nice, clear, rigid polycarbonate and is really useful for making epoxy resins. ” Via Chemistry World .

According toPlasticsEurope, an association representing European plastic manufacturers, polycarbonate technology contributed €37 billion to the EU in 2007. And they state that more than 550,000 jobs in the EU depend – either directly or indirectly – on the production and use of polycarbonate. Via Chemistry World .

Also the science is by no means conclusive. It has become something of a cause with consumer and green groups who are vociferous in their opposition. Media  reporting tends to concentrate on the negative aspects of any new reports. Yet several scientific panels, including the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food, the National Toxicology Program and the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, have all concluded that the claims that low doses of BPA affect human health have not (yet ), been substantiated. While accepting that animal testing has produced adverse results they can find no concrete evidence that humans will react the same way.

And even if they do, the amounts of BPA we ingest are so minimal as to be negligible.

In Europe, the tolerable daily intake for BPA is set at 0.05 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This value is an estimate of the amount of a substance that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable risk. The figure was calculated in 2006 by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), who at the same time stated that intakes of BPA through food and drink, for adults and children, were well below this value.Via Chemistry World .

The current U.S. human exposure limit set by the EPA is 50 µg/kg/day.

Which means, as the BPA industry’s voice over at to bishenol-a.org puts it

“Based on the results of the SPI study, the estimated dietary intake of BPA from can coatings is less than 0.00011 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day. This level is more than 450 times lower than the maximum acceptable or “reference” dose for BPA of 0.05 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Which means an adult would have to eat  230 kilograms  of canned food and beverages every day of their life to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As the toxicologists love to say – it’s not the poison but the dose…..

However, what is certain  is that  BPA is a $6 billion plus global industry. According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 940,000 tons of BPA are produced in the U.S. per year. About 21% is used in epoxy resins and most of the rest goes to polycarbonate.

want to know more – this is another good read.

You can find reports, studies and media scares on BPA here

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More bad BPA news

Could sterilising plastic bottles in hot water do more harm than good? Scott Belcher and his colleagues at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio have found that polycarbonate plastic bottles release up to 55 times more bisphenol A (BPA) after they’ve been washed in boiling water.

BPA is found in many plastic food and drink containers and has been linked to breast and prostate cancer. Because they are often reused, Belcher wanted to test whether old containers leached BPA into their contents faster than new ones. His team filled new and used polycarbonate plastic bottles with water and kept them at room temperature for a week. They found that the rate of BPA release into the water by new and used bottles was an average of 0.49 nanograms an hour.

But when the team mimicked sterilisation by filling the bottles with boiling water and leaving them to cool, they found that the average rate of BPA release jumped to 18.67 nanograms per hour. This continued even after the bottles had cooled and been rinsed out (Toxicology LettersDOI: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2007.11.001).

While the levels of released BPA fall within safe limits as currently defined by the European Food Safety Authority, Belcher suggests switching to bottles made of high-density polyethylene as a precaution.

As reported in new scientist

Meanwhile Canada has already banned BPA in babaies bottles an American lawmakers are discussing banning BPA in childrens food products

More

“As staunch supporters of the anti-BPA campaign we were very pleased to see coverage in the British media last Friday of a new report linking BPA to breast cancer. The Daily Mail and the BBC both featured articles about Professor Anna Soto, an expert in cancer development ar the University of Ulster, who has recently carried out research on BPA . She is warning that BPA can trigger toxins which lead to cancer after discovering that foetal and neonatal exposure to the chemical increases the likelihood of development of malignant tumours later in life.

To read this artice in full including up to date reports from the BBC go to baby born free of baby born free feeding bottles. to quote the website “BornFree’s award winning leak proof BPA-Free baby bottles come in plastic (PES) or glass and feature an anti-colic vent designed for comfortable and safe feeding.”

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In 1998, Dr. Patricia Hunt of Case Western University in Ohio discovered that damaged or worn or warm plastics made from polycarbonate resin can leach biphenyl. She is still studying the subject. You can read about her here….

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Interesting article here

Teeguarden says that pM levels of BPA ought not to be a concern for us. This is because if the hypothesis that BPA causes harm by mimicking oestrogen is correct, then the dose of the chemical your average person receives everyday is 100 to 10,000 times lower than those needed to activate the hormone receptors. He also makes the point that the term ‘low dose’ has become somewhat debased in the BPA literature. When he looked at 130 animal studies using that term, the vast majority used BPA levels many times higher than a person would ever encounter in their diet. He says that this is more than just an academic point as it has contributed to confusion among toxicologists, epidemiologists and the general public.

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B.P.A. Soup thats gross.

Heinz ‘committed’ to cutting health scare chemical BPA | News | The Grocer.

I am so glad I boycott tin cans

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Find out more about BPA “here