Higher Levels of BPA in Children and Teens Significantly Associated With Obesity

Science Daily

Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have revealed a significant association between obesity and children and adolescents with higher concentrations of urinary bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical recently banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from sippy cups and baby bottles. Still, the chemical continues to be used in aluminum cans, such as those containing soda.

The study appears in the September 19 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), dedicated to the theme of obesity.

“This is the first association of an environmental chemical in childhood obesity in a large, nationally representative sample,” said lead investigator Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine. “Our findings further demonstrate the need for a broader paradigm in the way we think about the obesity epidemic. Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity certainly contribute to increased fat mass, but the story clearly doesn’t end there.”

BPA, a low-grade estrogen, was until recently found in plastic bottles labeled with the number 7 recycling symbol, and is still used as an internal coating for aluminum cans. Manufacturers say it provides an antiseptic function, but studies have shown the chemical disrupts multiple mechanisms of human metabolism that may increase body mass. BPA exposure has also been associated with cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and infertility.

“In the U.S. population, exposure [to BPA] is nearly ubiquitous, with 92.6 percent of persons 6 years or older identified in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) as having detectable BPA levels in their urine. A comprehensive, cross-sectional study of dust, indoor and outdoor air, and solid and liquid food in preschool-aged children suggested that dietary sources constitute 99 percent of BPA exposure,” the investigators wrote.

Using a sample of nearly 3,000 children and adolescents, ages 6 through 19 years, randomly selected for measurement of urinary BPA concentration in the 2003-2008 NHANES, Dr. Trasande and his co-authors, Jan Blustein, MD, PhD, and Teresa Attina, MD, PhD, MPH, examined associations between urinary BPA concentrations and body mass.

After controlling for race/ethnicity, age, caregiver education, poverty to income ratio, sex, serum cotinine level, caloric intake, television watching, and urinary creatinine level, the researchers found children with the highest levels of urinary BPA had 2.6 times higher odds of being obese than those with the lowest measures of urinary BPA. Among the participants with the highest levels, 22.3 percent were obese compared with 10.3 percent of the participants with the lowest levels.

Further analyses showed this association to be statistically significant in only one racial subpopulation, white children and adolescents. The researchers also found that obesity was not associated with exposure to other environmental phenols commonly used in other consumer products, such as sunscreens and soaps.

“Most people agree the majority of BPA exposure in the United States comes from aluminum cans,” Dr. Trasande said. “This data adds to already existing concerns about BPA and further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children. Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans.”

The researchers wrote in their study that advocates and policy makers have long been concerned about BPA exposure. “We note the recent FDA ban of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, yet our findings raise questions about exposure to BPA in consumer products used by older children. Last year, the FDA declined to ban BPA in aluminum cans and other food packaging, announcing ‘reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the human food supply’ and noting that it will continue to consider evidence on the safety of the chemical. Carefully conducted longitudinal studies that assess the associations identified here will yield evidence many years in the future.”

Big Chem, Big Harm?

NYTimes
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

NEW research is demonstrating that some common chemicals all around us may be even more harmful than previously thought. It seems that they may damage us in ways that are transmitted generation after generation, imperiling not only us but also our descendants.

Yet following the script of Big Tobacco a generation ago, Big Chem has, so far, blocked any serious regulation of these endocrine disruptors, so called because they play havoc with hormones in the body’s endocrine system.

One of the most common and alarming is bisphenol-A, better known as BPA. The failure to regulate it means that it is unavoidable. BPA is found in everything from plastics to canned food to A.T.M. receipts. More than 90 percent of Americans have it in their urine.

Even before the latest research showing multigeneration effects, studies had linked BPA to breast cancer and diabetes, as well as to hyperactivity, aggression and depression in children.

Maybe it seems surprising to read a newspaper column about chemical safety because this isn’t an issue in the presidential campaign or even firmly on the national agenda. It’s not the kind of thing that we in the news media cover much.

Yet the evidence is growing that these are significant threats of a kind that Washington continually fails to protect Americans from. The challenge is that they involve complex science and considerable uncertainty, and the chemical companies — like the tobacco companies before them — create financial incentives to encourage politicians to sit on the fence. So nothing happens.

Yet although industry has, so far, been able to block broad national curbs on BPA, new findings on transgenerational effects may finally put a dent in Big Chem’s lobbying efforts.

One good sign: In late July, a Senate committee, for the first, time passed the Safe Chemicals Act, landmark legislation sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, that would begin to regulate the safety of chemicals.

Evidence of transgenerational effects of endocrine disruptors has been growing for a half-dozen years, but it mostly involved higher doses than humans would typically encounter.

Now Endocrinology, a peer-reviewed journal, has published a study measuring the impact of low doses of BPA. The study is devastating for the chemical industry.

Pregnant mice were exposed to BPA at dosages analogous to those humans typically receive. The offspring were less sociable than control mice (using metrics often used to assess an aspect of autism in humans), and various effects were also evident for the next three generations of mice.

The BPA seemed to interfere with the way the animals processed hormones like oxytocin and vasopressin, which affect trust and warm feelings. And while mice are not humans, research on mouse behavior is a standard way to evaluate new drugs or to measure the impact of chemicals.

“It’s scary,” said Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia and the lead author of the report. She said that the researchers found behaviors in BPA-exposed mice and their descendants that may parallel autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit disorder in humans.

Emilie Rissman, a co-author who is professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at University of Virginia Medical School, noted that BPA doesn’t cause mutations in DNA. Rather, the impact is “epigenetic” — one of the hot concepts in biology these days — meaning that changes are transmitted not in DNA but by affecting the way genes are turned on and off.

In effect, this is a bit like evolution through transmission of acquired characteristics — the theory of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, the 19th-century scientist whom high school science classes make fun of as a foil to Charles Darwin. In epigenetics, Lamarck lives.

“These results at low doses add profoundly to concerns about endocrine disruptors,” said John Peterson Myers, chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences. “It’s going to be harder than just eliminating exposure to one generation.”

The National Institutes of Health is concerned enough that it expects to make transgenerational impacts of endocrine disruptors a priority for research funding, according to a spokeswoman, Robin Mackar.

Like a lot of Americans, I used to be skeptical of risks from chemicals like endocrine disruptors that are all around us. What could be safer than canned food? I figured that opposition came from tree-hugging Luddites prone to conspiracy theories.

Yet, a few years ago, I began to read the peer-reviewed journal articles, and it became obvious that the opposition to endocrine disruptors is led by toxicologists, endocrinologists, urologists and pediatricians. These are serious scientists, yet they don’t often have the ear of politicians or journalists.

Related: EVEN BPA-FREE PLASTIC NOT ALWAYS SAFE

Corporations Add Equally Toxic ‘BPS’ to BPA-Free Products

Natural Society

We’ve all seen the “BPA-free” labels affixed prominently to new plastic products. And many of us have fallen for the ruse, purchasing these new water bottles and food storage containers thinking we can still enjoy the convenience of plastics without the hormone-altering BPA. But what manufacturers are using in place of BPA might not be any safer. It’s known as ‘BPS‘ and as a matter of fact, it could be even worse.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) has made headlines over the past several years for the growing awareness of its dangers. Namely, it mimics estrogen in the body, throwing hormones out of whack. Although the United States and Europe have banned BPA in baby bottles, Canada remains the only country that has officially declared BPA as a “toxic substance.” Because of this, many people have smartly begun shunning plastics, opting for glass or metal, or choosing the new slick and expensive drinking bottles labeled “BPA-free”.

In place of BPA, manufacturers have begun using something called bisphenol-S (BPS). Unfortunately, there is no indication that BPS is any safer. On the contrary, it could be even worse than the villainized BPA. So, why are manufacturers using it? Well, because they can!

There is little information available on BPS at this point. Scientific research is lacking, and because there is little to say that it’s bad for you, manufacturers don’t have to worry (yet) about the repercussions of putting it in their products and selling it to unknowing consumers.

According to the Environmental Science and Technology, BPS is actually of a “comparable potency” to BPA. Also, it is “less biodegradable, and more heat-stable and photo-resistant” than its predecessor BPA. What does this mean? Well, it has the same estrogen-mimicking qualities and it doesn’t degrade as quickly as BPA, so it can stick around in your body for longer periods of time.

This isn’t a new practice—skirting public fears by playing on their ignorance. Plastic manufacturers know that the information about BPS is still in an infancy stage. They know they can get a few good years off of this “BPA-free” label craze before science catches up with them. So, in the meantime, they will keep selling you their new supposedly-safer products and probably even sell them at a higher price!

The bottom line is that we don’t know everything that is now being included in plastics. They are likely an “alphabet soup of toxic chemicals,” according to Mercola. Even canned goods are lined with BPA. Your best bet is to stick with glass whenever possible for food storage, drinking water, and microwaving (if you still do that).

Monsanto-Funded Science Denies Emerging Roundup-Cancer Link

GreenMedInfo
by Sayer Ji


Monsanto-funded research has been proliferating as uncontrollably as their genetically modified (GM) plants, and the bugs increasingly resistant to them.

Two studies have appeared in scientific journals in the past eight months, both funded by Monsanto, and both discrediting a Roundup herbicide-cancer link.

The context within which these new studies are appearing is the growing body of experimental research indicating that the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, along with the surfactants and related “inactive” ingredients found within glyphosate-based formulations, cause genetic damage associated with cancer initiation, and at levels far below those used agricultural applications and associated with real-world exposures.

This has put manufacturers and proponents of glyphosate, as well as “Roundup Ready” GM plants in a vulnerable position.

If, the precautionary principle is employed and a much-needed reclassification of glyphosate as a class III carcinogen to a class II or I occurs, the increasingly global dominance of GM-based food crop systems will come to a screeching, regulation-induced halt.

So, given the threat posed by non-industry funded research on glyphosate’s toxicity, Monsanto has been putting money into research and development — but not in the reputable sense of the phrase — bypaying for research to develop the storyline that, despite damning research to contrary, Roundup is still safe.

The newest study, published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology titled, “Epidemiologic studies on glyphosate and cancer: A review,” declared its glaring conflict of interest in the following manner:

Conflict of Interest Statement
The authors have disclosed the funding source for this research. JSM [study author] has served has a paid consultant to Monsanto Company. Final decisions regarding the content of the manuscript were made solely by the four authors.
Acknowledgment
This research was supported by the Monsanto Company, St. Louis, Missouri

Even if no such a conflict was explicitly declared, industry-funded research is almost exclusively positive, minimizing or denying harms to exposed populations associated with the products they are evaluating.

A salient example is the recent summary of 176 studies by Baker[viii] which found that published research looking into the impact of Bisphenol A on human health resulted in exclusively pro-industry findings:

Funding Harm No Harm

Industry 0 13 (100%)

Independent (e.g. government) 152 (86%) 11 (14%)

Adding to the problem, the editorial boards of some of the journals within which the questionable science is printed are populated by paid consultants of the very industries they publish ostensibly impartial research on.

For example, the editor of the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology withinwhich latest Monsanto-funded glyphosate-cancer review was published, Gio Batta Gori, is notorious for being a tobacco industry consultant and for publishing junk science in his journal, which has been called: “A Scientific Journal with Industrial Bias as Its Specialty.”

His journal published research in 2003, provided by the same company, Exponent, which employs three of the researchers who authored the latest glyphosate-cancer study, as well as one author on the 2011 glyphosate-cancer study, on the purported non-carcinogenicity of dioxin, a highly toxic ingredient in Agent Orange.

Given these obvious conflicts of interest, from the bottom up and the top down, the time has come for people to enact reform with their dollars and their forks, and when worthwhile ballot initiatives emerge, their votes.

#1: Stop buying anything not explicitly labeled non-GMO or certified organic, which amounts to the same assurance.

#2: Grow it yourself, or support local organic growers.

#3: Support the California Ballot Initiative to label GMOs.

How Plastic Food Containers Could Be Making You Fat, Infertile and Sick

sott.net, Oct. 27, 2011

In previous articles here, here and here, I wrote about the dangers of an environmental toxin called bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is a chemical that is found in several plastics and plastic additives. It’s in the water bottles some folks carry to gyms, the canned tomatoes and coconut milk they cook with, and in the baby bottles moms use to feed their infants.

We’ve known for decades that BPA has estrogenic activity. In vivo animal studies and in vitro cell-culture research has linked low-level estrogenic activity associated with BPA exposure to all kinds of fun stuff, like diabetes, ADHD, heart disease, infertility and cancer.

There is now significant evidence suggesting that even low levels of BPA-exposure can cause harm, and this is particularly true in vulnerable populations like pregnant women, infants and the chronically ill. (1)

Full story

Are you enjoying your daily chemical cocktail?

Monsanto advertisement from the 1970’s

Grist, Apr. 27, 2011

Chemicals and additives found in the food supply and other consumer products are making headlines regularly as more and more groups raise concern over the safety of these substances. In a statement released this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asked for reform to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The group is particularly concerned about the effects these substances have on children and babies.
Last month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) held hearings on the safety of food dyes but failed to make a definitive ruling. The most recent study on Bisphenol-A (BPA) added to growing doubts about its safety; but the FDA’s stance on it remains ambiguous. Meanwhile, in 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported [PDF] that the FDA is not ensuring the safety of many chemicals. Yet while the FDA stalls and hedges on the safety of these substances, Americans are exposed to untested combinations of food additives, dyes, preservatives, and chemicals on a daily basis.

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