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Entries in Plastic (2)

Tuesday
Jun282011

Chemical in Plastic Robbing Men of Sex Appeal?

John Foxx/Stockbyte(COLUMBIA, Mo.) -- A chemical found in common plastics may undermine a man's masculinity and his ability to attract a female, or at least that's what a new study on mice may suggest.

It is the latest research to question the health safety of the hormone-changing compound bisphenol-A, or BPA.

In the study, researchers found that female mice were not attracted to male mice that were exposed to BPA in the womb. They also noted that males exposed to the chemical in the womb were more likely to behave like females.

Researchers said female mice exposed to BPA were unaffected by the chemical.

It's possible that BPA exposure alters the males' hormone signals, researchers said, and some say the chemical exposure may have the same effect on people by altering developmental sexual traits in boys and girls.

"BPA has been shown to suppress the early production of testosterone. In short, the females can sense [the males'] compromised state and are less attracted to these males," said Cheryl Rosenfeld, associate professor in biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri and co-author of the study.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 1 million pounds of BPA are released into the environment each year, primarily used as an ingredient to harden plastic. The chemical has been widely scrutinized, causing several consumer products, including baby bottles, water bottles and microwavable dishware made with the compound, to be taken off the shelves.

Last year, the European Union and Canada banned the use of BPA in baby bottles. Many U.S. states are following suit by considering a ban on the chemical, as well.

Last week, the American Medical Association voted to adopt a policy which recognized BPA as a chemical that interferes with human hormones. The organization now urges makers of BPA plastics to label and identify the chemical in the product.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar302011

Study: Eating Fresh Food Reduces Exposure to BPA

George Doyle/Stockbyte(NEWTON, Mass.) -- Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals such as BPA, or bisphenol A, can be reduced significantly by eating fewer foods packaged in metal cans or plastic, according to a new report from the Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent Spring Institute.

"I knew, of course, that these chemicals were in food packaging, but I was surprised by the magnitude of the decrease that we saw," said Ruthann Rudel, lead author of the study and director of research at the Silent Spring Institute.

What Rudel and her colleagues found was that when fresh food -- not canned or packaged in plastic -- was given to 20 study participants over three days, the level of BPA and other chemicals in their systems dropped substantially.

On average there was 66 percent less BPA in their urine and a 53-to-56-percent decrease in the amount of DEHP, a plasticizer. When the participants returned to their normal eating habits, their levels of BPA and the DEHP compound spiked immediately.

While BPA is used to harden plastics and can also be found in paper receipts and the epoxy resin linings of food containers, DEHP is used to soften plastics and can be found in plastic food wrap.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. The Food and Drug Administration's website states that "at this interim stage, FDA shares the perspective of the National Toxicology Program that recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children."

Other studies have linked BPA and phthalates such as DEHP to infertility, heart disease and cancer, but there is still a debate over what levels of these chemicals are dangerous.

The Silent Spring Institute has issued these tips to reduce exposure:

1. Fresh is best: BPA and phthalates can migrate from the linings of cans and plastic packaging into food and drinks. While it's not practical to avoid food packaging altogether, opt for fresh or frozen instead of canned food as much as possible.

2. Eat in: Studies have shown that people who eat more meals prepared outside the home have higher levels of BPA. To reduce exposure, consider cooking more meals at home with fresh ingredients. When you do eat out, choose restaurants that use fresh ingredients.

3. Store it safe: Food and drinks stored in plastic can collect chemicals from the containers, especially if the foods are fatty or acidic. Next time, try storing your leftovers in glass or stainless steel instead of plastic.

4. Don't microwave in plastic: Warmer temperatures increase the rate that chemicals leach into food and drinks. So use heat-resistant glass or ceramic containers when you microwave, or heat your food on the stove. The label "microwave safe" means safety for the container, not your health.

5. Brew the old-fashioned way: Automatic coffee makers may have BPA and phthalates in their plastic containers and tubing. When you brew your coffee, consider using a French press to get your buzz without the BPA.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio