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How Hazardous Are Plastic Containers?

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Q. I have heard that an ingredient in plastic called bisphenol A can get into foods and beverages from containers. I was so impressed with the evidence of harm that I thought I would see what food I could buy without plastic wrap, plastic containers or cans.

My options were few! I bought a lot of fresh veggies, but had to put them in plastic bags. We don't drink sodas, but many 'healthy' drinks come in plastic. I searched for glass bottled juices and oils but found very few choices. The meats, eggs, 'smart' margarines--even the organic versions--all came in plastic containers, and were often wrapped in plastic.

My shopping cart was full of interesting new choices, but I wonder: How can I avoid plastic with bisphenol A?


A. There is a raging controversy about the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) found in polycarbonate plastics. This compound mimics estrogen. Water bottles, baby bottles and the lining of metal cans often contain BPA. Plastic containers may be marked with the recycling code 7.

On our radio show, we discussed the health consequences of BPA in great detail with some of the country’s leading experts.
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I listened to your radio report and read other things on your website. I immediately started going through my kitchen and it left me with lots of questions: What about cooking utencils, blender containers (not glass), old tupperware, or things with the triangle without a number? HELP, I feel like a bomb was laid and everyone walked away. Sometimes a little info is dangerous.
I would really appreciate some answers.

Audrey

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: DON'T USE YOUR PLASTIC CONTAINERS IN THE MICROWAVE, AND DON'T WASH THEM IN THE DISHWASHER. IF IT SQUISHES WHEN YOU SQUEEZE IT, IT IS NOT POLYCARBONATE AND DOESN'T HAVE BPA. IF IT IS HARD, CLEAR PLASTIC --A GLASS LOOK-ALIKE--WITH NO CODE, YOU MIGHT WANT TO REPLACE IT.

plastic today is ubiquitous.I read a book by Randall Fitzgerald "The Hunded Year Lie" If you haven't you should. After I read it I figured planet earth is doomed, why bother, go ahead and eat what you want. It was highly disturbing. I put the book away and stopped thinking about it. I still eat right and all the rest but wonder is it's really worth it.

I recently learned that plastics with the recycling numbers 3, 6, and 7 should never be used and was horrified that some of my baby's bottles and bowls had them. Also, plastic bottles that water comes in are usually a number 1 and should only be used once, not refilled. I learned all of this from the Today show on NBC.

I think I agree with Audrey (4-14). The more I read about plastics, preservatives, etc. etc. etc. the more confused I get. So I figure when my time comes, so be it! In the meantime, I'm living the rest of my life for ME! (I'll probably get hit by a bus anyway!!)

I have a 4 years old son. It is too late for him, since he already use those products with (BPA). I would like to reduce his changes now I am going creazy trying to fin a rigth drinking bottlel for him . Since school is asking for one. What is the rigth recycling code that I can get for him?

For those who are disheartened by the gross level of toxicity to which we are all exposed, your fears are legitimate. The steroids and pesticides in today's foods are greater concerns then BPA. The resulting free radicals which occur in our bodies cause damage to our cell's DNA resulting in degenerative and autoimmune diseases such as cancers, diabetes, MS, Fibromyalgia, Lupus and others. People in their 30s and 40s are suffering with diseases that our parents avoided altogether or did not experience until their 70s and 80s.

The University of California Berkeley has published extensive research on the affect of free radicals on our cells as well as the protective agents found in antioxidants. Unfortunately, today’s steroid-grown food (including produce) has 1/3 the nutritional value it had in 1953.

The American Cancer Society along with most wellness professionals are encouraging quality, bioavailable supplementation as essential for protecting one's cells from oxidative damage due to environmental toxins. But Supplements can be another "racket" if you're not an informed consumer.

Your article on chemicals in food and the information about bisphenol A presented one side of the story, but not all sides of the story. The scientific community has not reached consensus on the potential health effects of BPA to humans, but they are getting closer.

This week, an independent panel of scientists, the BSC reviewed the National Toxicology Program's Draft Brief on BPA. The NTP's highest levels of concern in the Draft did not reach "concern" or "serious concern" for any effect. Furthermore, the BSC peer review of this Draft recommended lowering the levels of concern about the effects of BPA on puberty in females and effects on the mammary gland from "some concern" to "minimal concern".
This means that all but two effects are rated as of "negligible" or "minimal" concern and two (neural and behavioral and prostate) are of "some concern". These levels of concern differ from those recommended by the NTP CERHR BPA Expert Panel in only 1 area (the prostate). http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/files/BSCactionsBPA_508.pdf

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