Healthy Legacy: Healthy people, a clean environment, a thriving economy.

17 posts categorized "Bisphenol A (BPA)"


The Chemical Industry Playbook

IrisdelayLast week, the NRDC came out with a compelling new report that uncovers the delay tactics used by the chemical industry to force delay upon delay of EPA assessments on harmful chemicals.

What game do they think they're playing?

The authors of the report, Jennifer Sass and Daniel Rosenberg, call it The Delay Game and describe how the chemical industry uses a set of tactics, named the Four Dog Defense, to help harmful chemicals bob and weave through the EPA and avoid regulation.

What's a Four Dog Defense?

  1. Angry dogMy dog does not bite. The claim might sound something like this: "What, Bisphenol A? Harmful? Just look at these studies funded by the chemical industry that show no harm is caused by BPA!"
  2. My dog bites, but it doesn't bite you. This is where the industry admits that a chemical might be harmful but argues that no one is exposed to it. This works well if the industry isn't testing or monitoring for the chemical.
  3. My dog bit you, but it didn't hurt you. As in, "Sure, people end up with BPA in their bodies, but it is excreted quickly so it doesn't hurt you." (Ignoring that most people are exposed to BPA on an ongoing basis and from several different sources).
  4. My dog bit you, and hurt you, but it wasn't my fault. To be used when other dogs have failed. With this dog you deflect the blame and liability to someone or something else, like: improper use or poor health.

Game Time: The Four Dog Defense in Play

The NRDC report has reviewed the timeline for three different, hazardous, chemicals that have been slated for EPA review for several years. One of the three is formaldehyde which has also been named as a Priority Chemical in Minnesota, putting it on a short list for the worst of the worst toxins that are found in children's products.

The first assessment of formaldehyde was published in 1989. Then, in 1998 the agency initiated an update of the assesment. During that time, science regarding the links between formaldehyde and certain cancers became increasingly available.

The industry's response? Fund more studies specifically targeted to discredit science linking formaldehyde exposure to leukemia, and leverage poltical support to pressure for further delays.

Despite the fact that the National Toxicology Program in 2011 named formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen in its 12th Report on Carcinogens, the EPA assessment is still awaiting completion, 13 years after the initial re-assessment began and more than 20 years after the first assessment was published. All the while, chemical companies continue to manufacture formaldehyde and use it in consumer products, leading to untold cases of illness.

We need to tell the chemical industry that our health isn't a game, and that's why Healthy Legacy supports reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)--the law that has failed to protect us from exposure to toxic chemicals. Visit the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families website to learn more about how the Safe Chemicals Act will fix our broken system.

In the meantime, you can use these tips to reduce your exposure to formaldehyde:

Formaldehyde pictureFormaldehyde is commonly found in textiles, cleaning products, composite wood products and as a chemical byproduct in personal care products. Exposure is linked to cancer and respiratory problems.

  1. Wash new clothes and linens before wearing or using to reduce formaldehyde levels.
  2. When purchasing composite wood products, look for those made for outdoor use which use phenol-formaldehyde (PF), a lower emitting resin than those with urea-formaldehyde (UF).
  3. Avoid personal care products with Quaternium-15; it can release formaldehyde over time.
  4. Purchase cleaning products without formaldehyde or its variants: formalin, methanal, oxymethyline, urea, 1,3-Dioxetane, Quanterium 15, methylaldehyde, methylene oxide, formic aldehyde, oxomethane formalin or phenol formaldehyde.

Download the Healthy Legacy guide Quick Tips to Avoid Toxins: Reducing Exposure to Priority Chemicals in Children’s Products.


Canned Foods Marketed to Kids Contain BPA

IStock_000003484852XSmallA new study just released by Breast Cancer Fund tested six different types of canned food for the  presence of BPA. Every sample tested contained the hormone-disrupting chemical, with Campbell's Disney Princess and Toy Story soups testing the highest.

A previous study by Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent Spring Institute published in Environmental Health Perspectives earlier this year found that levels of BPA in the body can be dramatically reduced by eliminating canned foods from the diet.

Despite the growing body of science that BPA is linked to several harmful health effects like early onset puberty and breast cancer, most companies have not phased this harmful chemical out of the linings of food cans.

Act Now!

Tell Campbell Soup Company, Con Agra (maker of Chef Boyardee), Annie’s Homegrown and Hain Celestial (maker of Earth's Best) to stop marketing BPA to kids. Early-life exposures to toxic chemicals are critical to later-life breast cancer risk, so let's protect kids now!


Report Back from the Toxic Red Carpet

DSC04150Red carpet events are common enough, but none are quite like “The Toxies.” Costumed characters,  dressed up to personify common toxic chemicals found in consumer products, accepted awards on Thursday evening for their prevalence in our daily lives and their linkages to harmful health effects.

In Minnesota, we recognized four of the chemicals nominated at the national level that are also on the Minnesota priority chemicals list. The nine chemicals on this list are found in children’s products and are linked to harmful health effects. They are: Formaldehyde, Lead, Bisphenol A and decaBDE (representing the Halogenated Flame Retardants, a whole class of chemicals). 

While all of the toxic, bad actor nominees deserve our attention, they couldn't all win an award. Here's the breakdown on who took home the trophies:

  1. Most Annoying Priority Chemical of 2011: decaBDE. Minnesota has banned the use of penta and octa BDE, but a close relative of those chemicals, decaBDE is still in use, landing it a spot on the “priority chemicals” list. DecaBDE is a chemical flame retardant and is part of a larger group of halogenated flame retardant chemicals that are persistent in the environment and are linked to several negative health problems like cancer, thyroid hormone disruption, and adverse impacts on learning and development.
  2. MN People’s Choice Award for Worst Performance of the Year: Bisphenol A (BPA). Minnesota was the first state in the nation to ban BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, a step which has contributed to manufacturers removing those products from the shelves across the country. However, other exposures to bisphenol A remain through products like the linings of food and infant formula cans, receipt paper, dental sealants and more. BPA is linked to serious health effects including early onset of puberty, certain types of cancers, obesity and diabetes.

You can watch their acceptance speeches here.

We also had the great fortune to honor Representative Kate Knuth with the "Best Performance in a Legislative Session" for her work on the Toxic Free Kids act in 2009, which culminated in the Minnesota Department of Health creating the "priority chemicals" list earlier this year. Rep. Knuth has been a champion on this issue and continues to work for policies that will protect children's health from toxics. Take a look at the presentation of her award!



The Toxies are Coming to Town!

Blog banner copy
You've heard of the Oscars, the Emmys and the Grammys, but now there's a new, up-and-coming awards ceremony: The Toxies. Join us for this free event on Thursday, June 16th at Intermedia Arts (map) from 5:15-7:30 pm. From 5:15-6:00 there will be a reception with light appetizers and drinks. The awards show will begin following the reception. RSVP now!

The Toxies is a satirical awards show that recognizes “bad actor chemicals," referred to as such by researchers due to their harmful effects and prevalence in our lives. Formaldehyde, Bisphenol A (BPA), Lead and others will be in attendance. These chemicals—portayed at the show by actual, good actors—are known to contribute to certain types of cancer, development disorders, infertility and other health problems. They are in our homes, workplaces and schools, and it’s time they are recognized for their harmful effects.

Help raise awareness around the important issue of toxic chemicals in our every day products. RSVP now to this limited-seating event for free!

And don't forget to vote below for Minnesota's People's Choice Award for Worst Performance of the Year by a toxic chemical. The winning toxic chemical will receive a Minnesota Toxie Award live at the event.

Need help choosing? Watch videos from the chemicals themselves on why they should win, or read The Toxie Diaries, blog posts from the chemicals on what they've been up to.


The Toxie Diaries: BPA

Bisphenol-A_320x480Hey everyone! Have you heard the big news? Soooo excited. I've been nominated and will be  appearing at The Toxies this year! Soooo pumped. Y'all should come to the awards on June 16 to see me in all my plasticky glory. RSVP here.

So what if it's for the "Least Sexy Performance" award? I know I'm hot. No one wants to give me love right now, since I'm all "toxic." 

I wasn't too sure if I'd get recognized this year, what with the increasing number of states banning me in baby products, but it turns out I'm in soooo many other things. Like, did you know I'm in aluminum cans? I line the insides of canned vegetables, fruits and soups. Yup, you'll be getting a dose of homestyle BPA with those green beans.

I was also glad people scoffed at Maine Governor Paul LePage's statement on me. Can you believe what he said? "[T]he worst case is some women may have little beards.” Beards. Really? How can he not know about the nasty health effects I'm linked to? How about those links to breast and prostate cancer? Or diabetes? Heart disease? Miscarriage? Do your research, people! It's all over the news. He's just trying to steal my thunder! Soooo annoying. 

They call me an "Endocrine Disrupter," which totally sounds like some kind of awesome monster truck or something. Soooo awesome.

OMG you guys, The Toxies are gonna be off the hoooooook!! Hope you all can make it. I'm gonna be all, "BPA is money! Seriously, I'm all over paper currency!" Oh that's hilarious, I'm gonna write that down.

Well, I should head out. I have a full day of causing hormone disruption, and contributing to reproductive disorders and breast cancer. Oh, before I go, I made this video after I found out about my nomination. Check it out!!

Yeah, I'm totally going to win, and I deserve it! See you at the Toxies on June 16!


Loud and Clear: "Message in a Bottle" Report Finds State Laws Get BPA out of Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups

By Katie Rojas-Jahn, Healthy Legacy Coalition Coordinator

ToddlerWithBottle250 Are you a parent? How many times have you thought about your child today? Worried about her or him? Today we’ve got some good news! In several states, parents have one less thing to worry about when trying to keep their families safe and healthy.

Today, a new market survey, Message in a Bottle: A Market Survey on Bisphenol A (BPA) in Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups (PDF), announces that state legislation has been a key driver in phasing out the use of BPA in these products. Thanks to the actions of key states, parents in those states with BPA bans can be pretty sure that baby bottles, sippy cups and breast-milk storage products on the market are free of bisphenol A (always look for a BPA-free label, though). Unfortunately, states without BPA laws, like Oregon, still have BPA-containing children’s products lurking on some store shelves.

The market survey checked the inventory of baby bottles and sippy cups in 89 stores from 35 communities in five different states. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Chicago, and New York all have laws on the books that ban the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. The survey findings confirm that in these locations, nearly all bottles and sippy cups are BPA-free and labeled as such. However, in Oregon where legislation to ban BPA is still pending, parents need to be alert for BPA containing products still on store shelves. Based on our samples, parents should be particularly alert on shelves of dollar stores, value stores and drug stores.

Both state and federal action are needed to ensure that parents in every state, no matter where they live or where they shop, need not worry about BPA in baby products such as bottles and sippy cups. While the U.S. lags behind the European Union, China and Canada in federal action to restrict BPA, states are still moving to phase out BPA in baby products and food can linings. Beyond baby products, families should have information that makes it easy to make BPA-free purchasing choices when it comes to canned food and other consumer products.

We also need to fix the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the broken and out of date law that is failing to protect public health from exposure to toxic chemicals. Current legislation introduced by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg seeks to fix many of the problems with TSCA through the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. In Minnesota, Senators Franken and Klobuchar are both co-sponsors of the bill. Take a moment to thank them for their support.


Food packaging major exposure route for BPA

A new peer-reviewed study published today in Environmental Health Perspectives has found evidence suggesting that food packaging is a major source of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA).

Breast-cancer-fund The study, conducted by the Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent Spring Institute, recruited five  families (each with two parents and two children, for a total of 20 people) and tested them for levels of BPA and certain phthalates in their urine while feeding them a diet of freshly prepared foods. 

41791_133587755319_960_nBPA is a known endocrine disrupting chemical and has been linked to numerous health effects, including behavioral changes,  early onset puberty, reproductive harm, diabetes and even cancer. Due to its dubious reputation, it was also recently named on the Minnesota Priority Chemicals list, which includes toxins that are harmful to children and are present in products kids are exposed to. Phthalates are no treat either, having been linked to poor sperm quality, obesity, and cancer.

What did the study do?

On the first two days of the study, participants ate as they normally do. On the following three days they were provided with freshly prepared organic meals--no canned food, and no plastic storage containers. After that they went back to their normal diets.

The levels of BPA and a particular phthalate called DEHP (used in food packaging) dropped substantially (an average of 60% for the BPA, and 50% for DEHP) during the three days when participants were only eating the freshly prepared foods.

Reduce your BPA exposure

Bpa_topten_media These findings suggest that food packaging (canned food, grease resistant wrappers and polycarbonate bottles, for example) is a major exposure route for BPA and that removing it from food packaging would lead to an immediate and significant drop in BPA levels for the general population.

One recommendation from the authors is to cut out consumption of pre-packaged foods and to  cook from fresh as much as possible. They've even created this handy chart which shows the top ten canned foods that leach the most BPA, so start by avoiding those if you can.

BPA and phthalates have both been linked to certain types of cancer. You can act now by asking President Obama to take a strong stand on getting these cancer causing chemicals out of our products!

Healthy Legacy