Kick the Can
Before you open that can of soup or pop the lid on that water bottle, ask yourself this: How much do I really care about my endocrine system?
Your answer is important because even if you’re hazy on exactly what your endocrine system does, I’ve got a feeling you’re a big fan.
It’s all about protecting your hormones.
Cart first…then the horse
Vital messages are being sent throughout your body. Your nervous system does it with electrical impulses. Your endocrine system does it with hormones.
Endocrine glands (such as the thyroid and pancreas) release hormones into the blood stream. From there, hormones go on to help regulate key functions such as metabolism, blood sugar, growth, mood, and reproduction, just to name a few.
In other words: It’s VERY important stuff!
Knowing this, how would you feel about eating or drinking something that contains a compound known as an endocrine disruptor?
Obviously, disrupting the endocrine system is not a good idea at all. And yet every day, millions of people eat food products contaminated with bisphenol A (BPA)–an endocrine disruptor.
About 70 years ago, BPA was found to have estrogenic activity in the body. This prompted one of the earliest attempts to create a hormone replacement medication. That idea went off the rails when BPA was soon found to be too toxic for use in a drug.
Nevertheless, the food industry saw no problem at all in putting BPA to use in food containers. What could possibly go wrong? The answer: decay. Over time, BPA polymer decays and leaches into canned foods and beverages, as well as liquids in plastic bottles. BPA is also used to make plastic eating utensils, plastic bowls, and–the worst!– baby pacifiers.
And THEN came the studies…
Two years ago, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that high urinary BPA concentrations might be linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and abnormal concentrations of liver enzymes.
New research confirms those risks.
When UK researchers matched BPA content in urine samples with years of health records for nearly 1,500 subjects, aged 18 to 74, they came to this conclusion: “Higher BPA exposure, reflected in higher urinary concentrations of BPA, is consistently associated with reported heart disease in the general adult population of the USA. Studies to clarify the mechanisms of these associations are urgently needed.”
This is where I would tell you that FDA officials have been stonewalling the BPA issue to cowtow to the food industry. And that’s true. But in a recent surprise move, the FDA issued a BPA “update” that recognizes recent research and warns consumers that infant exposure to BPA should be avoided.
Hmmm. Let’s see. Kids are, technically, the same species as you and me, so maybe it’s not too great a leap to assume that adult exposure to BPA should be avoided too.
In a recent article, Jon Barron cited a Consumer Reports investigation that found significant traces of BPA in every can of food they examined. So the first step in avoiding BPA is pretty obvious: steer clear of canned foods and beverages. One exception: Eden Foods. More than 10 years ago (WAY ahead of the curve), this organic food company went to great lengths to make the switch to BPA-free cans.
And you can easily shop for BPA-free food and beverage containers, including feeding bottles for infants. Just Google “BPA-free” and you’ll enter a world that’s just a little less toxic.
“Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration with Heart Disease: Evidence from NHANES 2003/06 PLoS One, 1/13/10, plosone.org
“Update on Bisphenol A (BPA) for Use in Food: January 2010 FDA, fda.gov
“Why Men Should Avoid BPA” Jon Barron, Healthier Talk, 12/23/09, healthiertalk.com
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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