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95% of Plastics Leach Estrogenic-like Chemcials–Even BPA-free

May 9, 2011

Image by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden via Flickr

Not only are Americans more filled with endocrine disrupters than Canadians, but we are being lied to about it by plastic-making manufacturing companies.  A new study shows that the majority of plastics, up to 95% leach chemical versions of endocrine disrupting toxins:

In a new study for the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers found that most plastic products leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals—and that was true even for products labeled “BPA-free.” Scientists led by George Bittner, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas, looked at 455 common plastic productsand found that 70% tested positive for estrogenic activity. Once those products were subject to real-world conditions—microwaving or dishwashing—that proportion rose to 95%. As the study concluded:

“Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably-detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA [endocrine activity] than BPA-containing products.”

BPA is particularly worrisome simply because it is so common. Nearly every American has some amount of BPA in their body, in part because plastics are so ubiquitous. (And the U.S. seems to be especially contaminated—a recent study found that Americans have twice as much BPA in their body as Canadians.)

Have Americans been lied to?  Most of my extended family drinks from plastic water bottles, thinking that they  need more water.  Water is safe, right?  Water is good for you.  And well, let’s face it, plastic is alluring:  it doesn’t break, comes in great colors, is light-weight, and just happens to be poisonous.  That’s right, poisonous.  We wouldn’t think of adding a teaspoon or so of estrogen to every drink have from infancy (if the baby is bottle-fed), but that’s the idea behind recent studies showing all plastics have estrogenic activity.  Hmm, links to plastics and breast cancer anyone?

And puhleeeze, People, if Wal-Mart is moving faster than the Feds to block this sort of thing, you know the Feds have already been bought by the chemical industry.  Dow Chemicals owns the US Govt you say?  Oh, I bet the other half was bought by Monsanto.  No worries, there is plenty of breast cancer and prostate cancer to go around, just look at how well that’s working out for us:

Even some corporations are moving faster than federal regulators on chemical safety—Wal-Mart announced last month that it had banned the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), a class of flame retardants that has been linkedto a number of health problems.

Just because some big companies are moving ahead on chemical safety doesn’t mean that industry as a whole is ready to be a leader—a spokesman for the American Council on Science and Health, an industry-funded lobbying group a watchdog with a history of skepticism towards chemical safety, criticized Wal-Mart for giving into environmentalists. In any case, there should be no doubt that our chemical regulations lag far behind the science—the Toxic Substances Control Act, the decades-old law that governs chemical safety, doesn’t give the government sufficient enforcement powers. Industry likes to talk about promoting “science-based” regulation. Based on the conclusions of studies like this one, I couldn’t agree more.

I think the Federal regulators agree that heaping dose of chemical-based estrogen is good for the planet, don’t you think?  I mean really, who wants plain water anymore?
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