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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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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 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: 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

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