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A variety of polycarbonate bottles, including the popular Nalgene shatter-free bottles contain the chemical bisphenol A. In sufficient quanitities the chemical is believed to disrupt hormones, but the FDA concludes in an early report that the levels in plastics are low enough not to be harmful.
Could a common chemical found in plastics be toxic? -- the FDA says no

There are plenty of health concerns to consider these days.  With some doctors worried about the possible effects of cell phones on the human body, components of our everyday lives that seem immovable have been called into question.

Another major health concern is possible toxins from plastics.  Some plastics contain chemicals that are carcinogenic and some have speculated that the minute traces of the chemical that leaches into the drinking water steadily with time could cause cancer.  Other chemicals are thought to be not primarily carcinogenic, but to disrupt hormones and wreak havoc upon the human body in other ways.

Among the plastics that fall into the latter category are those made by Nalgene.  Nalgene leaches a compound bisphenol A, which in animal tests has been shown to lead changes in behavior and the brain and possibly reduce the survival and birth rate of fetuses.  It is thought to have similar effects on the human body.  Bisphenol A is used in the plastic and in other applications as a hardening agent.

The debate is particularly fierce due to some of household products that contain the chemical -- Nalgene shatter-proof drinking bottles, Nalgene baby bottles, and canned food (bisphenol A is used to seal cans).  As these items are all ingested there is much concern that human health may be adversely affected.  It is also found in many other household products such as plastic sunglasses and CDs.

Not so, the Food and Drug Administration concluded last Friday.  While many are concerned, they say they have reviewed the research and believe the levels of the chemical found in household items to be tolerable by the human body and are not a threat to infants.  The conclusions were presented in a draft report on the topic.

The decision was lauded by the American Chemistry Council, a Political Action Committee (PAC) and public relations organization who seeks to improve the chemical industry's image.  Steve Henges, an executive director with the council, states, "FDA is the government agency we rely upon to assess food-contact products. They've assessed this issue in great detail and their conclusion is very reassuring."

Critics blasted the report, though; as they say it relied heavily on studies funded by the plastics industry and ignores studies by leading medical experts.  Pete Myers, chief scientist for Environmental Health Sciences complains, "It's ironic FDA would choose to ignore dozens of studies funded by [the National Institutes of Health] -- this country's best scientists -- and instead rely on flawed studies from industry."

The FDA decided to revisit the topic on the chemical, which has been used for decades, due to the federal National Toxicology Program decision that there was "some concern" that the chemical could be harmful to infants.

Sufficient levels of bisphenol A can cause negative physiological effects in humans, the FDA did conclude.  It also reported that 93 percent of American had traces of bisphenol in their urine, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.  However the FDA concluded that the amount of the chemical leaching from household products falls thousands of times short of harmful levels.

The FDA will continue its analysis of the chemical in September with outside advisers debating the compounds safety at a September meeting.  The final report is being anticipated by lawmakers as it may influence their legislation.  Canada is currently considering banning the compound in baby bottles and California, New Jersey and at least 10 other states are considering banning its use in children's products.

The outcome will have a significant effect on the chemical industry as 6 million pounds of bisphenol are produced yearly.  Dow Chemical, BASF, and Bayer AG are among the largest producers.  They and their representative, the American Chemistry Council, hope that the FDA will conclude in its final report that the chemical is not harmful.



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I read a report on this a while back...
By SilthDraeth on 8/18/2008 10:16:40 AM , Rating: 1
The chemical is dangerous as far as I am concerned. The FDA has a history of approving controversial chemicals. Look at:
fluoride
BPA
MSG
aspartame

As with all information, everyone chooses which side to believe. I personally believe them to be harmful. I haven't yet been able to go completely natural for food, etc, but I am definitely try to limit exposure to all of this stuff for myself and my family. Even if the affect is purely placebo, I have more peace of mind.




By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 10:31:58 AM , Rating: 3
Thankfully all plastic products contain a number code which will tell you where the product falls according to safe consumption guidelines.

Now, weather we believe these guidelines completely or not - that is up to you. If I were the FDA, I would put more merit into studies done by 3rd party independent scientists/physicians than inside the industry studies.

For more info on the guidelines:

http://tealady-health.blog.co.uk/2007/02/07/plasti...

100% US Government free source :) There are plenty others out there, just search a little. My wife recently made me aware of these. Before she did, I was totally oblivious to the differences in all of them.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By nafhan on 8/18/2008 10:36:21 AM , Rating: 5
In sufficient quantities, just about anything is dangerous, and/or can cause CANCER!

The best thing is to stay informed about products you use and make your own decisions on things like this. Personally, I feel like we have better things to worry about than Nalgene bottles...


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/18/2008 11:56:38 AM , Rating: 5
> "In sufficient quantities, just about anything is dangerous, and/or can cause CANCER!"

That's the key point. There are over 1200 chemicals found naturaly in a cup of coffee. Roughly half of them are carcinogenic in a large enough dose. The same is true for many other foods, natural or otherwise.


By Oregonian2 on 8/18/2008 2:32:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, John Stossel has an interesting story about carcinogens. The guy who came up with the test for carcinogens (who the test is named after) thinks his test goes overboard (and that he got something banned that perhaps shouldn't have been). He showed a bowl of mushrooms that would be off the chart with his carcinogen test, but he had no problem eating them (the guy who came up with the test).

Just read Stossel's book recently:

http://www.hardcoverdeals.com/rel/v2_viewupc.php?s...

He's off-base about 10% of the time I think, not fully understanding the broader aspects of some issues at hand, but the other 90% are very interesting.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By stryfe on 8/18/2008 12:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In sufficient quantities, just about anything is dangerous, and/or can cause CANCER!
Including reading DailyTech comments!


By DASQ on 8/19/2008 12:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
Should I be suing you for adding one extra comment to my daily safe saturation limit?


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 10:59:47 AM , Rating: 3
On a further note - I try to be 100% MSG free as well.

I will tell you it is not the easiest thing to do. The isles are stocked full of products at the grocery store with MSG in it. Literally almost everything there has it in some form or another. It is sick.

Soup - check
Snacks - check
Sausage and processed meats - check
Frozen food - check
Seasonings/Mixes/Helpers - check

I could go on. A lot of chain restaurants use it as well. Typically, if it is a chicken dish that is not fried, it probably has MSG in it. Pretty sick.

The day I stopped consuming products with MSG in it was the day I began feeling clearer in thought and conscious effort.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By blaster5k on 8/18/2008 11:05:46 AM , Rating: 5
Ever hear of the placebo effect?


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 11:13:58 AM , Rating: 3
Sure I've heard of it - and I'd believe it if I didn't have some relatives with a high sensitivity to MSG as well.

A couple of them get severe headaches when they eat food containing MSG. I get dizzy and spacey feeling.

MSG effects everyone differently. From my personal experiences it is not a substance I want in my body.

Looking back, prior to being aware of MSG and what it does to me, I can explain a whole slew of situations where I had eaten something that made me dizzy/spacey/off in the past that I shrugged off at the time as being not a big deal. Now I know the food I had eaten contained MSG.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/18/2008 11:54:44 AM , Rating: 2
> "A couple of them get severe headaches when they eat food containing MSG. I get dizzy and spacey feeling."

I know people that can die if they eat a single shrimp. Or a peanut or two. Those foods obviously need to be banned as well!


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 12:10:20 PM , Rating: 4
I love how you extrapolate BAN BAN BAN from my post when I never even mentioned it.

I simply mentioned I did not like to eat it.

Your mastery mind reading needs further practice.


By Icelight on 8/18/2008 1:56:19 PM , Rating: 4
Certain DailyTech authors thrive in sensationalism so much they have begun to migrate to new habitats in order to spread it further.


By Solandri on 8/18/2008 8:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
I get severe headaches from MSG, bad enough to keep me home from work. I never really cared about MSG, in fact I used to use Accent as a topping when I was a kid. But shortly after grad school I started to occasionally get really bad headaches. After tracking all sorts of possible causes and deliberately subjecting myself to them, I finally narrowed it down to a Chinese restaurant that used MSG in some of their dishes (the ones without MSG didn't give me any problems).

So yes, some of us are very adversely affected by it. I don't want a ban - if you want to eat it, by all means feel free. But I would really appreciate it if it's labeled so I can avoid it and stay functional the rest of the day.


By tmouse on 8/18/2008 1:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
Well glutamate is a non essential amino acid. Some people do have sensitivity to it and like many with defective metabolic disorders will have a very difficult life trying to avoid it. Stay away from vegetarian life styles since soy products contain high amounts. Same for any product that has "hydrolyzed" protein as an ingredient. For everyone else is safe although the sodium component is probably far worse.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By TETRONG on 8/18/2008 7:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
Recently I tried panda express for the first time because I was with a friend who was concerned about spending too much money on food.
When I was 3/4 of the way through the meal my head had a strange dull ache combined with a spaced out feeling. My friend described the exact same sensation. I tried to drive to our destination, but we both decided it was safer to pull over and try to walk it off. The drug-like sensation subsided after about an hour.

Not sure if it's due to MSG or not, but I won't be eating there again.


By bety on 8/19/2008 1:55:07 AM , Rating: 2
Oh brother. Well it is amazing that:

1.you have avoided msg till now because you have such an unusually severe reactio to it to the point where you cannot drive

2.your friend, coincidently, has the same reaction


By DASQ on 8/19/2008 12:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad MSG doesn't really affect me. It's pretty tasty, even though I'll avoid eating/using too much purely because it starts to taste really 'fake' after a bit :p


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By Oxonium on 8/18/2008 11:18:42 AM , Rating: 3
I call BS. MSG is a naturally occurring substance. Therefore a lot of foods will have it. It is produced by fermenting carbohydrates. It's impossible to be MSG-free. Yes, some people are sensitive to it just like gluten and phenylalanine. Foods containing those two compounds aren't banned, nor should they be. So why should MSG?


By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 11:20:51 AM , Rating: 3
I never said MSG should be banned. I just said I avoid it because of how it makes me feel.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By Ratinator on 8/18/2008 11:40:28 AM , Rating: 1
Marijuana is a naturally occurring substance too and that isn't exactly healthy for you. Just because it's "Natural" doesn't mean it is good for you.


By freshmint on 8/18/2008 12:01:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well I can tell you first hand that marijuana is certainly good for me.. so I don't think that is a very good example.


By johnnyMon on 8/18/2008 12:32:49 PM , Rating: 2
Who said marijuana is not healthy for you? Studies funded by governments and those who stand to benefit from marijuana being illegal, perhaps? ;)


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By MrPickins on 8/18/2008 12:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
Be sure to stay away from Grape Juice, Peas, Corn, Tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, ect...

Free gtlutamate ions are found in high concentrations in all of these foods naturally.


By MrPickins on 8/18/2008 12:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Forgot to link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutamic_acid_(flavor...

And misspelled "Glutamate" :-p


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 12:24:30 PM , Rating: 3
You are correct, they are.

There is, however, a difference between the glutamate ions that are naturally occuring and those of "processed" foods which are man-made consisting of processed glutamate or MSG.

I just know that those foods you mentioned above - Grape juice, peas, corn, tomatoes, parmesan etc. do not have the same effect on me as food that contains MSG.

I'll choose to avoid it where possible. I'm glad we have more choices than ever before in the supermarkets - places like Trader Joes, Whole Paycheck and local Co-op supermarkets.

Long live America and our freedoms to choose.


By Oregonian2 on 8/18/2008 2:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
The biggie is staying away food with soy bean or soy bean products in them due to the high level of MSG "naturally".

Don't mind folk who think your problem with MSG is mental. Back when MSG-is-bad became popular, they did blind testing with folk who though it was bad for them and as it turns out the vast vast majority only had problems with MSG when they knew they were eating it. So for that reason it gets pooh-pooh'd quite a bit now, but even with those tests not ALL had no problems. Some indeed had problems with it even in the blind test (even if a small number even among those who professed problems). So you certainly could be one of those who indeed has a problem or sensitivity.

P.S. - "No MSG added" is one of those trick statements. Kindof like those organic versions of usually-cured meats that say "no nitrates/nitrites" added" but mysteriously have celery juice added (has it naturally).


By MrPickins on 8/18/2008 6:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

There is, however, a difference between the glutamate ions that are naturally occuring and those of "processed" foods which are man-made consisting of processed glutamate or MSG.


No, there isn't. Free Glutamate is free glutamate. Glutamate bound in protein is different however. Hence my strict use of the term "free glutamate"...


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By mmntech on 8/18/2008 11:15:28 AM , Rating: 5
Funny you should mention aspartame. It's supposed danger is a well known hoax. It was being linked to all sorts of crazy diseases yet all reputable studies independent of the FDA have confirmed that this wasn't true.
http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/aspartame.asp

I have to be skeptical whenever someone tells me something I use everyday will kill me. Same goes with these municipal pesticide bans. Health Canada did numerous independent studies showing they were safe but the cities banned them anyway. Now the noxious weed populations have skyrocketed. Some such as hogweed have chemicals in them that can cause serious burns. Of course, there's also the allergy issue. I guess our society just needs something to be afraid off all the time.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By Oxonium on 8/18/2008 11:20:27 AM , Rating: 2
Same thing with saccharin. That has been pretty much vindicated as well. In fact just a bout every toothpaste uses it.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By SilthDraeth on 8/18/2008 2:54:00 PM , Rating: 1
I am not sure why I got voted down. I said everyone needs to choose which side of which study to believe. I have my own beliefs.


RE: I read a report on this a while back...
By bety on 8/19/2008 1:59:48 AM , Rating: 2
Probably because we don't all choose your methodolgy of simply "choosing" what to belief based apparently on whimsy. Some of us like to look at the available facts/studies and combine that with common sense. Further, when you simply "choose" to believe that certain substances are dangerous and then simply state outright that they are dangerous, you can expect that some people won't think too highly of your declarations.


By SilthDraeth on 8/19/2008 9:56:48 AM , Rating: 1
If you actually read what I wrote, you would notice I didn't claim any of them to be dangerous. I said the FDA has a history of approving CONTROVERSIAL additives/ chemicals, etc.

I also look at available studies. Just because I choose to believe one side over the other does not mean I simply "choose" with no logic behind my choices.


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