Category Archive: BPA
This Holiday Shopping Season, We Encourage Consumers to Mind the Science
The holiday season is almost upon us, as consumers begin to think about what gifts and goodies to stock up on during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As retailers and manufacturers jostle for consumer dollars, it’s pretty common to see products labeled “non-toxic,” “all natural,” or “green” in an attempt to attract the growing pool of health-conscious shoppers. Unfortunately, this advertising – as well as a wealth of misinformation about chemical safety circulating around the internet – makes it hard for consumers to feel confident about product safety. After all, a product isn't unhealthy simply because it lacks a flashy claim...Read More
FDA Says BPA is Safe. So What Does That Mean for You?
Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been used for over 50 years to make plastics strong and shatterproof, create coatings which keep bacteria from contaminating canned food, and manufacture paper that changes color with heat, like receipts. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’re probably familiar with BPA from the scare campaigns claiming it causes everything from obesity to breast cancer to infertility. But for anyone still scared of their water bottle, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some good news: BPA is safe. Six years ago, researchers with the FDA and two branches of the...Read More
Leftovers Are Great, But What About Those Plastic Containers?
As parents resume the early morning rush of sending their kids back to school, leftovers and make-ahead meals are often the easiest way to ensure everyone is getting the nutrition they need. But while busy families try to make better health decisions, some activists are blaming an unlikely aggressor for America’s expanding waistline: plastics. In recent years, flawed research has linked phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic containers to health issues like insulin resistance and weight gain, respectively. Some incorrectly claim that microwaving food in plastic containers makes the problem worse. In 2008, Good Housekeeping magazine put these claims to the test. It...Read More
School supplies don’t come with a toxic dose of chemicals
Earlier this week, our chief science officer Dr. Joseph Perrone wrote an opinion piece for The Tribune-Democrat about toxic chemicals supposedly lurking in your children’s school supplies. You can read a portion of the piece below, or the entire article on The Tribune-Democrat’s website: With the competitive back-to-school market expected to reach almost $30 billion this year, the anti-chemical trend appears to be the latest tactic for brands and activist groups to latch on to. The strategy goes like this: pick a chemical with a hard-to-pronounce name (phthalates are taking the scarlet letter this year.) Then, convince parents that weakly relevant studies,...Read More
When It Comes to Athletics, Chemistry is the Real MVP
Friday night lights are soon to be ablaze as schools across the nation welcome the return of their students – and fall sports. And although the jock-verses-nerd plot will surely continue to have a home in popular culture, our student athletes owe much of their safety to chemistry. High school football players suffer roughly 1 concussion per 1,000 games and practices, making helmet safety a top priority. New helmet designs developed in the last decade often make use of a flexible polycarbonate shell that surrounds different types of shock-absorbing plastic. One design by a team of mechanical engineers at the University of Michigan uses an elastic-like plastic to absorb...Read More
No, Humanity Isn’t On the Brink of Extinction
Have you heard? Chemicals are crippling Western men’s sperm at a rate so alarming, humanity is in danger of extinction! And if you believe that, we have a bridge to sell you. Early last week, a study in the journal Human Reproduction Update reviewed previous scientific literature and found that men in Western countries are producing 59 percent fewer sperm than their grandfathers. Although the study controlled for variables like age, abstinence time, and semen collection method, the review was still severely limited by the quality of data available to analyze. But tell that to the media, which fell into a frenzy...Read More
Grocery Stores Still Carry Cans Containing BPA – Should You Be Worried?
Few chemicals get as bad a reputation as bisphenol A, or BPA. Just this week, headlines pushed by a new report from activist group Center for Environmental Health warned that “Canned food still contains toxin BPA.” Toxin? Hardly. Most metal cans are lined with a thin interior coating that contains BPA in order to protect them from corrosion, thereby preventing dissolved metals and deadly bacteria from contaminating your food. Speaking of bacteria, one particularly deadly bug, called Clostridium botulinum makes itself very happy living in improperly canned foods. The bacteria produces an actual neurotoxin that causes muscle failure, impaired vision, breathing problems, vomiting, paralysis, and in some cases, death. It’s without...Read More
Is America’s Sperm Crippled by Chemicals?
Following the lead of a New York Times article, numerous headlines have emerged blaming endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) as the source of an emerging male fertility crisis. As the narrative goes, modern chemicals that improve the functionality and safety of plastics, cosmetics, and furniture are damaging sperm development, reducing our ability to procreate, and calling into question the future of the human species. Let’s take a deep breath. The jury is still out on whether sperm quality is declining at all. A BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) debate identified several major problems comparing sperm count between studies, because “data collected in different...Read More
The Age of Atrocious Articles
We’ve always believed hastily penned health news contributes to Americans’ prolonged misunderstanding of science. But it’s often difficult to convey to a lay audience exactly why sleeping with onions in your socks can’t cure the common cold when such messages proliferate online. But every so often, critics of modern health journalism strike pay dirt in the “I-told-you-so” department. In reporting “Bisphenol-A Linked to Endocrine Disorders in Pets, Humans,” CBS’s St. Louis affiliate not only perpetuated misconceptions that BPA, a component of can linings which prevents spoilage and contamination, is a danger to human health, but managed to do so in a near-unintelligible fashion. A quick excerpt: “More importantly, we...Read More
Kardashian Health Tips: Fact or Fiction
Kourtney may be the least irrational Kardashian, but the eldest sister of a family that's somehow famous for being famous has a low bar to clear when it comes to normalcy. The Kardashian family's health advice includes eating your own placenta (in pill form), using manuka honey to "prevent" illness, and staying away from any food that isn't organic. Kourtney's new branding identity as a wellness guru should offend anyone involved with public health. Her latest rant details her aversion to plastic. She admits to using stainless steel cups, bowls, lunchboxes, and even straws because the material is “more durable, more hygienic and...Read More