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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.
FDA continues its insistence that the plastic is safe, says its studies on mice more accurate than recent human study

Last month, DailyTech reported that in a preliminary review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had declared the plastic Nalgene safe.  While Nalgene and other products contain the hardening agent bisphenol A (BPA), a known disruptive agent of human physiology, the FDA concluded that sufficient quantities of the chemical did not leach into the liquids stored inside the bottles to cause harm.  Critics blasted the ruling, pointing out that studies have indicated that small, but significant quantities did leach into the water.

Now the first major study on the effects of bisphenol A has been completed and it indicates a clear link between the compound and diabetes and heart disease.  In the study, researchers from Britain and the University of Iowa examined a U.S. government health survey of 1,455 adults who had given urine samples.  The adults were then split into different groups based on the levels of BPA found in their urine.  All the adults were within the "safe" levels of BPA, according to the FDA's standards.

The study discovered that in the highest BPA group there were more than twice as many people with diabetes and heart disease.  No correlation between BPA and cancer was shown.

While the study certainly seems to indicate a clear link between BPA and these diseases, it raises a chicken and egg sort of debate.  If the findings hold true in additional tests, there are two possibilities.  One possibility is that the disease came first and somehow raised the body’s absorption of BPA.  The other possibility is that the BPA came first and somehow interact with the patients' bodies, putting them at higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Despite the fact that the largest study to date now suggests a link between "safe" BPA levels and disease, the FDA is refusing to change its stance.  In a scientific review the FDA declared that BPA is "safe" within suggested guidelines.  Laura Tarantino, head of the FDA's office of food additive safety, states, "Right now, our tentative conclusion is that it's safe, so we're not recommending any change in habits."

Tarantino says that if customers want to voluntarily avoid the chemical; that is their decision.  She says that bottles bearing the recycling symbol 7 are BPA-containing, and that heating food in these containers helps to release the BPA.

Ms. Tarantino and the FDA also argued that the agency's own studies on mice were more thorough and extensive than the recent human study.  The American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group, agreed and was quick to blast the study, saying it was flawed, substantially limited, and "proved nothing".

Several states are restricting BPA use, and there is legislation that may soon ban BPA use in baby bottles in Canada.  On a national level in the U.S. and in the European Union, the government food and health agencies have suggested that the compound is safe.  The FDA has acknowledged in the past that its own studies indicate "some concern" of the possible effects of BPA exposure on the brain in fetuses, infants and children.  BPA is commonly used in baby bottles in the U.S. and EU.

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Scientific Method?
By invidious on 9/17/2008 9:52:50 AM , Rating: 5
Last time I checked scienced was cause and affect, not see an effect and guess a cause. People with high BPA geting sick more could be caused by a wide range of underlying problems.

People react differently to the same levels of exposure. Lets say you expose 1 million people to a teaspoon of a chemical over the course of a year and the 500 of their bodies show up with higher than usual quantities in their body. Why would you be suprised that those 500 are more prone to other illnesses? There is clearly something wrong with thier immune system.

If you want to know if a chemical kills live then you give it to a bunch of mice and see what happens. Just like the FDA did and has been doing for longer than I can recall.

RE: Scientific Method?
By invidious on 9/17/2008 9:55:47 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmm, morning grammar. Not my proudest post

RE: Scientific Method?
By AntiM on 9/17/2008 10:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
Why take a chance? Why risk a baby's health? Ban its use in baby bottles and everyone will be happy. Adults have the option to choose whether or not to use products that contain BPA... babies don't. There's evidence that's it's harmful, no "proof". Just like there's no "proof" that cigarettes cause cancer in *humans*. (we know it does in mice though).

RE: Scientific Method?
By MrTeal on 9/17/2008 10:31:03 AM , Rating: 3
Don't most baby bottle include disposable plastic liners inside a hard shell?

RE: Scientific Method?
By pattycake0147 on 9/17/2008 12:27:28 PM , Rating: 2
While most bottles do, there are some that don't. The ones with the liners are specifically designed for infants and can be used by older babies as well, but the ones without the liner are typically used with only older babies.

RE: Scientific Method?
By BansheeX on 9/17/2008 1:13:30 PM , Rating: 2

If you're really concerned about chemicals leaching into your food/drink, get a stainless steel bottle. I have a sports one for working out, cleans better anyway. I'd avoid microwaving plastic as well, use ceramic or glass.

RE: Scientific Method?
By glennpratt on 9/18/2008 7:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
Just remember that many steel products, including water bottles and canned foods were/are lined with BPA.

RE: Scientific Method?
By cheetah2k on 9/18/2008 8:09:59 PM , Rating: 2
And stay away from Cling Wrap while we're at it. It also contains hormone disruptors, and should be used in moderation.

RE: Scientific Method?
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 11:49:52 AM , Rating: 2
Why go outside? A plane might fall out of the sky and crush you. Granted that'd kill you if you're in your home too. Better start building that bomb shelter.

And there is proof cigarettes can cause cancer.

RE: Scientific Method?
By jimbojimbo on 9/17/2008 2:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
And quit breathing! There are toxins in the air!

RE: Scientific Method?
By masher2 on 9/17/2008 11:52:18 AM , Rating: 4
> "Why take a chance? Why risk a baby's health? "

Easy answer. Because in a sufficiently large dose, **every** chemical compound is dangerous-- ncluding millions we consume naturally on a daily basis.

Ban everything that has some sort of potential risk, no matter how small, and you ban. . . everything.

RE: Scientific Method?
By Schadenfroh on 9/17/2008 12:01:53 PM , Rating: 3

So, feel free to drink 3 gallons of distilled water in about 5 minutes. So long as that distilled water is not in a PLASTIC bottle.

RE: Scientific Method?
By rcc on 9/17/2008 12:38:11 PM , Rating: 2
So, feel free to drink 3 gallons of distilled water in about 5 minutes. So long as that distilled water is not in a PLASTIC bottle.

You are aware that the military, and athletes, have had this specific problem on hot days?? Even when consumed over a longer period of time?

The human body needs it's electrolytes and minerals. Drinking a large amount of water, particularly when perspiring heavily, lowers these levels dramatically resulting in dizzyness, severe illness, and even death.

The plastic becomes the least of your problems.

RE: Scientific Method?
By Diesel Donkey on 9/17/2008 1:18:35 PM , Rating: 4
The plastic becomes the least of your problems.

I think that was the OP's point.

RE: Scientific Method?
By Lord 666 on 9/17/2008 1:27:44 PM , Rating: 4
Because in a sufficiently large dose, **every** chemical compound is dangerous-- ncluding millions we consume naturally on a daily basis

The disclosure of what really is a "safe" dosage or if a product contains a chemical in question is the issue. Hiding the potential risk, especially when it is used in products for children is demonstrating poor corporate social responsibility and is unethical. At least provide warning labels clearly indicating products contain BPA and not just going by if it has a #3 or #7 recycling label.

Warning labels on cigarettes - perfect caveat emptor. Nothing says it best by saying use of this product will cause death. Another good example is/was the saccharin warning labels.

Canada has a much better disclosure approach, even listing the amount of Nutrasweet in a can of Diet Pepsi.

From product liability perspective, if warning labels were used more often, wouldn't it reduce possible future tort claims?

RE: Scientific Method?
By omnicronx on 9/17/2008 12:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
I for one will take the chance.. why? Because this study is inconclusive at best. Does it really surprise anyone that someone with diabetes which puts a huge amount of stress on your kidneys(you know those things that filter chemicals from your body) could allow a chemical to be more common in your system? Does it not also seem kind of suspect that we have already made the connection between heart disease , cholesterol and kidney failure? (which once again would explain the results)

RE: Scientific Method?
By RussianSensation on 9/17/2008 12:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
FDA can argue all it wants....all sports bottles and any bottles with 'questionable chemicals' related to the article above have been officially banned for sale in all of Ontario. When an official governmental body bans a product in a developed country with strict rules and regulations such as Canada, there is a serious cause for concern.

RE: Scientific Method?
By clovell on 9/17/2008 2:49:12 PM , Rating: 1
Ontario != Canada.

I could point out the rest of the silliness in the post, but meh.

RE: Scientific Method?
By omnicronx on 9/17/2008 3:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
Funny you mention that, because it was actually banned in Canada for use in baby bottles.. not Ontario, our Premiere was just pushing it. And for those that wanted to know, you can still buy water bottles in ontario that contain BPA.

And how was his post silly?

RE: Scientific Method?
By clovell on 9/17/2008 3:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, see, I bit on the misinformation there.

Perhaps I misread, but I seemed to pick up on an implication that FDA isn't taking this seriously, and I think that's silly.

This was a post-hoc analysis of data collected from a study that was not designed to answer such a question. There doesn't seem to be a significant correlation, either.

RE: Scientific Method?
By menace on 9/19/2008 1:43:00 AM , Rating: 2
Correlation != Causation

Canada is pretty silly

It comes as no surprise a country with strict rules and regulations would ban something on a flimsy study. I'd be more concerned if a country with few rules and little regulation banned it.

RE: Scientific Method?
By rudolphna on 9/17/2008 12:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
because it is illegal to test on humans :)

RE: Scientific Method?
By theapparition on 9/17/2008 12:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
Why take a chance? Maybe because it's not necessary. Plastics, for all thier assumed ills, have provided levels of sanitary that trumps any "potential" problems.

For all our dangerous plastics, bad transfats, carcinogin sugar-substitutes, and bad pollution, and poisoned water supplies........fact is, life expectancies are still increasing.

Sound like you want a solution to a problem that isn't one.

RE: Scientific Method?
By Sanity on 9/17/2008 10:41:41 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to know if a chemical kills live then you give it to a bunch of mice and see what happens. Just like the FDA did and has been doing for longer than I can recall.

Hmm...last time I checked, neither I nor anyone else I've met were mice.

Change that to death row inmates, and I'm right there with you.

RE: Scientific Method?
By jtemplin on 9/17/2008 11:27:31 AM , Rating: 4
Ok Dr. Josef Mengele...

Lets nominate you to Chairman of Medical Ethics.

RE: Scientific Method?
By Sanity on 9/17/2008 12:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
Ok! =)

RE: Scientific Method?
By menace on 9/19/2008 1:46:26 AM , Rating: 2
Vell you have a choice - take the chair or live for another veek and drink from this plastic bottle.

Vhat vill it be?

RE: Scientific Method?
By anonymo on 9/18/2008 7:48:28 AM , Rating: 3
Hmm...last time I checked, neither I nor anyone else I've met were mice. Change that to death row inmates, and I'm right there with you.

Change that from death row inmates to vegetarians and I'm with you.

But seriously, if you can't understand why they use mice and how it relates to humans, I don't recommend posting here.

RE: Scientific Method?
By Sanity on 9/18/2008 9:55:34 AM , Rating: 2
I understand exactly why they use mice and how it relates to humans. And I also understand exactly how it doesn't. There are parts to both. And if you don't understand that, I'm sorry, I don't care. So I'm going to keep posting, but thanks for the advice!!

RE: Scientific Method?
By Strunf on 9/17/2008 11:04:13 AM , Rating: 2
"Last time I checked scienced was cause and affect, not see an effect and guess a cause."
Say that to the thousands scientist that have seen the effects of gravity and are still "guessing" the causes of it, and like gravity there are many other subjects that we know they exist but can't do much than guess why.

"People react differently to the same levels of exposure."
And what makes you think the mice don't... or who knows if the mice are in general more resistant than humans to BPA.

RE: Scientific Method?
By menace on 9/19/2008 1:50:27 AM , Rating: 2
Here and I thought interaction between masses was the source of gravity. It was just a wild guess anyway.

RE: Scientific Method?
By guy007 on 9/17/2008 11:28:34 AM , Rating: 3
There are many different scientific studies. Some are cross sectional, others cohort and still others retrospective etc.

Scientific studies are not always cause and effect. Some studies hint at a correlations that are then further studied. It is very hard (often illegal) to do cause and effect studies in medicine (for example to expose someone to a potentially harmful drug and then see what happens). To do the experiments on animals you often have to have it approved by an ethics committee.

Also, a lot of adverse reactions in the body are not immune mediated. Many times it is metabolic (such as the cyp system, p450 etc). Your point of 500 ppl showing adverse reactions to some exposure definitely does not conclusively indicate anything about their immune system.

Although mice are often used first line to test chemicals. There are many differences between mice and people. For example when drug companies want to release a drug it is first tested in animals to establish safety doses but the final test before release to the general public is a test in humans. This is the gold standard to demonstrate that something is safe (and even then long term safety issues are often missed as you can see with drugs that are often pulled off the market like fen phen or bextra).

I would still not be so quick to use these bottles.

RE: Scientific Method?
By dragonbif on 9/17/2008 12:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
I find the human study to be a little low on the control. It’s fine to do this type of study for a first test but you really need to do the study with a control group and sometimes more then one. Also did the human tests have a family history of diabetes and heart disease? Last time I looked the number of diabetes and heart disease was going up in the US anyway with the high sugar intake so without a better look at the study we will not find the truth of it. For all we know all the tests could have had a strong family history of diabetes and heart disease. Why does it only affect those 2 things and not Kidney or liver disease the things that filter the bad stuff out?
I do think that the stuff should not be in Baby bottles because the levels that affect them could be allot lower then adults and they did say that if you heat stuff up it releases more of the chemical! If they use bags in the bottles it could be ok but as long as they can not use the bottle without a bag.

RE: Scientific Method?
By PresidentThomasJefferson on 9/17/2008 12:26:56 PM , Rating: 5
Having majored in Molecular Cell Bio/Biochemistry at UCBerkeley, I can tell u that there have already been lab studies of BPA in animals/cell cultures --BPA interferes with a hormone that helps protect against heart disease/diabetes

The issue wasn't whether BPA is harmful (it's already been shown to be harmful in lab studies of animals/cell cultlures), it was if BPA leeched in sufficient amounts from plastic bottles/etc to cause harm to humans

Since there are traces of BPA found in humans now and that those with the highest levels of BPA found have twice the heart disease/diabetes risk of those with the lowest BPA

Now it's just a question of if BPA caused the heart disease/diabetes(as was the case in animal lab/petri dish studies) or whether heart disease/diabetes increased absorption of BPA

Get it now?

Some provinces like Ontario,Canada have a 'better safe than sorry' & have already banned BPA in human-use bottles/food containers

RE: Scientific Method?
By clovell on 9/17/2008 3:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that was actually half his point - that correlation does not imply causation. In this case, there doesn't even seem to be a significant correlation.

Furthermore, it's not simply a question of whether BPA caused increased CHD, or CHD caused increased BPA - there could be many other confounding factors (e.g. if high cholesterol increased BPA absorption).

This study is a yellow light - not green, not red, but a good reason to take a closer look. I suppose if folks want it banned in the meantime, especially in vulnerable populations (baby bottles), that's certainly reasonable. But, everyone needs to realize that this isn't decided yet.

RE: Scientific Method?
By guy007 on 9/17/2008 5:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
nice to see a fellow mcb on dt. i was mcb at Cal too. go bears!

RE: Scientific Method?
By Mojo the Monkey on 9/17/2008 6:43:31 PM , Rating: 1
so is it pretty much only the bottles with the "7" inside the recycle symbol? or are there specific properties of the bottles I should be on the lookout for? Any help understanding which types of plastic are being implicated is much appreciated.

RE: Scientific Method?
By fibreoptik on 9/22/2008 12:42:10 PM , Rating: 1
Awww... ain't that swell?


RE: Scientific Method?
By menace on 9/19/2008 1:56:33 AM , Rating: 2
Yes I completely agree. I am also a major in Molecular Biology. You can tell by the way I type in thick letters.

RE: Scientific Method?
By illuvatar81 on 9/17/2008 1:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't that what science has been doing for the last hundred years, seeing effects and guessing up possibilities that could've caused them and than stating those possibilities as facts.

RE: Scientific Method?
By birdoprey on 9/18/2008 1:55:16 AM , Rating: 3
Actually no, that would be religion. And it goes back a lot farther than the last hundred years.

RE: Scientific Method?
By geddarkstorm on 9/18/2008 2:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
Um, no, that's science. Science is the /process/ of inquiry whereby an event is observed and the factors which cause the event are teased out via manipulation of variables (either directly or by simply viewing more events in different contexts) while keeping other variables constant. In this way, the relationships of variables to the outcome of a process can be deduced. Once this is done, a model of reality can be made to explain what causes and influences observed events. That's science. If you already know the cause of an event definitively, all knowledge is complete and nothing more can be gained - that is the end of science.

So the OP was totally wrong. Science is all about observing an event and then guessing (hypotheses) the cause, but then /testing/ that guess to see how valid it is, which is why it's a constant process (technically, religion is only fundamentally different from this in that the guess cannot be tested). Once you have enough evidence that a variable influences an event in one way, you have a theory - that is, again, a model of explanation with predictive power.

RE: Scientific Method?
By d0gb0y on 9/17/2008 3:48:25 PM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked scienced was cause and affect, not see an effect and guess a cause.

Global Warming?

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