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More Plastics Than Bisphenol-A Disrupt the Endocrine System


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Copyright 2014, Susan Bennett. This article is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without explicitly written permission of the author.

If a plastic is not tested for safety, does that make it safe?

March 23, 2014. A ground-breaking, well-researched piece of investigative journalism published this month in Mother Jones magazine(1) that our health and that of our children and future generations is threatened by endocrine system disruptors we are exposed to in the form of plastics.

After the widely used plastic Bisphenol-A was finally banned because it is an endocrine system disruptor, the plastics manufacturers needed to find replacement plastics to use in the manufacture of plastic bottles, containers and so on. It appears that none of the plastic manufacturers tested the replacement plastics for safety.

The Mother Jones article centers around an independent lab that decided to test other plastics to see if they were endocrine system disruptors as well, and found that many of them were, some even more disruptive than the Bisphenol-A they were replacing. This lab was then sued by one of the corporations whose plastics was shown to be an endocrine system disruptor, the Eastman Chemical Company, and the lab's findings were ignored by government regulatory agencies, and a bad court decision concurred with Eastman Chemical Company, financially threatening the existence of the lab.

Many plastics found to be endocrine system disruptors

Bisphenol-A, is a much maligned and banned plastic that researchers found disrupts the endocrine system that was used in infant baby bottles widely used in sports bottles (Nalgene), was finally banned after years of debate and delay.

Unfortunately, according to the independent testing lab, many of the plastics replacing Bisphenol-A, including Tritan, developed by the Eastman Chemical Company (a spinoff of Eastman-Kodak) is also an endocrine system disruptor. Plastics are used to line metal and paper containers for canned vegetables, drinks, and other foods. The lab found that these estrogen like compounds would frequently leach into the substances contained within the plastic containers even if they were not heated.

What is the endocrine system and what happens when it is disrupted?

The endocrine system is the collection of organs in your body that produce hormones and include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid, parathyroid gland, hypothalamus, gastrointestinal tract, and adrenal glands. Amongst the many functions of these glands are their role in signalling growth and development in the womb, infants, and young children.

Endocrine system disruptors are chemicals that mimic hormones produced in living organisms. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a plastic that mimics the hormone, estrogen, and was discovered to cause malformations in the body parts and reproductive systems of birds and other animals in the Great Lakes region - animals were being found with deformed beaks, missing an eye.(2)

In recent years dozens of scientists around the globe have linked BPA to myriad health effects in rodents: mammary and prostate cancer, genital defects in males, early onset of puberty in females, feminization of boys, decreased male fertility, obesity and even behavior problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Some recent studies have even found that when BPA interacts with hormone receptors on cell membranes, concentrations of one part per trillion can stimulate physiological responses. That means basically any exposure to BPA could have consequences, an alarming conclusion, considering that in 2004 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found unmetabolized BPA in the urine of 93 percent of more than 2,500 human subjects. According to the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, BPA has also been detected in human blood and breast milk.

The average person now conservatively has 500 man-made chemicals in their body, which means that there are likely to be more far-ranging disruptions of the development of our children occurring.

Plastics replacing Bisphenol-A were never tested for safety until an independent lab tested them and found they were not safe.

Bisphenol-A has been replaced with plastics that were untested for safety. After they were replaced, independent lab decided to test other plastics and found that many of them were as or even more powerful endocrine system disruptors than Bisphenol-A.

Bottom line - best not to use plastics.

We have huge gaping holes in protection of our health by government agencies allowed to remain in place so corporations can profit.

It's not just plastics that disrupt the endocrine system; it's also pesticides such as DDT, organ-phosphate pesticides, and PCBs. On top of these, there are thousands of chemicals that have never been tested for safety that are allowed to be manufactured because there are no requirements by our government to prove a chemical or man-made product is safe for use before it is introduced into manufactured goods and into our environment. This is a huge loophole for corporations to do whatever they want at our expense and there should be a movement to put legislation in place to require that all man-made chemicals undergo testing and funding for testing of man-made chemicals and other materials that are currently in use.

For more information on other endocrine system disruptors, please click here.

Just because our government agencies say something is safe does not make it safe.

Federal regulatory agencies are aware of and often try to cover up or discredit studies that either prove or indicate it is like that a man-made product is unsafe.

Many of the administrators and appointed to work at the FDA are political appointees that come from the very companies that the FDA is supposed to protect us from. So instead protect theses companies. Politcally appointed federal judges also back them up as well.

For example, it is currently illegal in the U.S. for a research to test a genetically modified crop for safety unless the manufacturer of the crop gives them permission to do so. This is a violation of basic freedoms and certainly is a form of censorship for science. According to our Supreme Court, which is packed with political appointees who back large corporations, it is also legal for a agricultural giant such as Monsanto to sue a farmer if the pollen from a GMO crop contaminates the farmer's non-GMO crops and the farmer replants with seeds he is harvested.

There is a disconnnect is known to be unsafe, likely to be unsafe and what the FDA allows to contaminate our food supply. The FDA allows us to be exposed to hundreds, if not thousands of man-made products which have studies indicating they are likely to cause birth defects, cancer, and more.

One prime example of an unsafe product being deliberately introduced through political manipulation, is Aspartame, the artificial sweetener found in diet soda which has hundreds of studies indicating it is harmful, including initial studies of it which indicated it should have never been approved in the first place It was the Reagan Administration and Reagan's secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who was at the time the chairman of Searle, the company that owned the patent on Aspartame, that legalized the use of it through their political appointment of FDA commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes. For this strange history, as written up in the Huffington Post, please click here.

Links

(1) Read the article published in the March/April 2014 issue of Mother Jones for a well researched, highly disturbing journey into the corrupt underbelly of the too comfortable alliance of the federal government, judicial system, and corporations to cold-bloodedly endanger our health and the future of our children for profit. Here is the link to the Mother Jones Article: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tr...

 

(2) Here is a link to another article, published in Scientific American, about the scientist who discovered the endocrine system disrupting characteristics of Bisphenol-A, and explains why why BPA and endocrine system disruptors like it endanger our children and their children: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/just-how-harmful-are-bisphenol-a-plastics/