Learning Your ABCs Through BPAs

I am writing from Cincinnati in my husband’s home away from home during his work week.  He gets some lovely afternoon sun on his balcony and I’ve been trying enjoy the sun while reading out there, but a bumble bee keeps coming around mistaking me for a flower or something.  I figured I’d come in and do some writing and maybe it will wander off so I can try again later.

My BFF, Stick, has encouraged me on numerous times to start canning, which I do want to do, but I’ve never taken the time to learn.  A couple of weeks ago, she did a video for me while she was doing some canning for herself.   She’s a great teacher and I pick things up from her rather quickly than I do anyone else.  I was pretty excited while watching the video and mentally filed the information she gave me.

About a week later, a friend posted in Facebook a link to the Ball website to leave a comment about them using BPAs in their lid liners.  Holy frijoles, Batman!

What are BPAs?  It is a polychorinated biphenyl (PCB) called bisephonal A.  They are found in baby bottles, polycarbonate drinking bottles (the older Nalgene bottles), and the interior liners of food and drink cans.  It’s used to make the bottle or can more durable.  Sound good?  Think again.

“Take the women who fish in Lake Ontario, which is known to have high levels of [PCBs].  A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that fisherwomen who ate more than one fish meal a month for several years had shorter menstrual cycles than women who didn’t.  Other studies on women who eat fish from PCB-laden lakes suggest they have a harder time getting pregnant.

Girlie bits aren’t the only ones affected.  Boy rats exposed to just one dose of dioxin in the womb produced 74 percent fewer sperm than those that had not been exposed. Their levels of testosterone were lower than normal, and the size of their genitals was significantly reduced.  The researchers said it was clear that prenatal exposure to dioxin “demasculinize and feminizes male rats…

Some studies have also shown that when animals are subjected to PCBs and dioxins, their thyroid glands change in ways similar to the way people react to Hashimoto’s disease.  When pregnant rats are exposed to increased levels of PCBs, their babies have less thyroid hormone and wacky neurotransmitter levels.  Carbon tetrachloride, a chemical sometimes found in drinking-water tests, has been linked to thyroid dysfunction.  Researchers are also beginning to see that fish in lakes and rivers are actually getting chemically induced sex changes – boys are becoming girls – because of high levels of man-made estrogens in the water!

These xenoestrogens are endangering us at all levels of life.  In April 2008, Canada became the first country to ban [BPA], a chemical that’s been shown to mimic estrogen in the body, from baby bottles…Thereafter, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that higher BPA concentrations in people’s urine were associated with a 300 percent greater risk of cardiovascular disease and a 240 percent greater risk of diabetes, as well as abnormalities in liver enzymes.  Women with [polycystic ovarian syndrome] PCOS have higher blood levels of BPA compared with women who don’t have the disease.  Even low doses of BPA have been shown to create new fat cells and increase their size.  In all, more than 130 animal studies have linked very low doses of BPA to breast and prostate cancer, early puberty, brain damage, obesity, diabetes, lowered sperm count, hyperactivity, damaged immune system, and other serious conditions.

…BPA is everywhere – more than 6 billion pounds of BPA are produced in the world every year, one-third of it by the United States…

These toxic endocrine disruptors in our environment do more than just mess with our metabolism – they may give us hormonally-influenced cancer.  A recent Harvard study found that as many as 50 percent of all prostate cancers are linked to excess estrogen in the body.  According to Physicians for Social Responsibility, some of the most common pollutants found in plastics, fuels, drugs, and pesticides cause cancer in animals (and likely in  humans) precisely by interfering with healthy hormone activity.

Those of us Gen X- and Yers, who are younger than baby boomers, may be doubly screwed – we didn’t have a childhood foundation free of these endocrine disrutpors that could’ve shielded us or at least given us a bit of resistance against some of this.  Instead, we’ve been raised in an environment that essentially has been upping the hormones on all sides, all with the net outcome of making us fat – and unhealthy!

And it’s combination of all these factors that cares the crap out of me.  One report looked at the impact of PCBs and dioxin, both of which were widely detected in people’s bodies.  The combination of these two chemicals inflicted four hundred times as much damage to the liver as dioxin alone.  Now multiply that by the number of chemicals out in the environment today.”

~Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels with Mariska Van Aalst

So you can see why I went looking for alternatives when my friend posted the information about BPA’s being in the lid liners of Ball and Kerr products.  In my search, I found this article from Treehugger on the BPAs in the lid liners made by Jarden Home Brands.  Even if you don’t normally read the articles I link in my blogs, I urge you to read this to inform you better as there have been BPAs found in the lids of baby foods, as well.  Jarden’s stance is that of the FDA, the amount is insignificant to be a concern.  I say, any amount is a concern given the repeated exposure through everything BPAs line.  Again, this is a reason for me avoided buying canned goods at the store when possible unless I know for sure the makers do not use BPAs.  Another reason to give up sodas, too.  BPAs + HFCS = BAD.  In my looking, I discovered that Leifheit and Weck make BPA-free canning products.  When I am ready for the canning world, I will most definitely buy their products instead of those made by Jarden.

This is also one of the reasons why I use a water filter and I take a reusable water bottle with me to work full of filtered water.  If you haven’t seen my previous posts, we have lead in our water at work.  Something, I had no idea about and was drinking tap water there for months, which could have played a part in my thyroid going haywire.  I brought that water bottle with me on my trip up here, too.  The only time I drink unfiltered water is if I am at a restaurant or someone else’s home that does not use a filter.

If you feel angry enough about BPAs, start writing to companies that use it in their products (most companies have convenient webforms now), stop buying their products (hit them where it really hurts – if they don’t make the bottom line, they’ll eventually listen), and tell your friends so they can tell their friends and they can tell their friends.

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