Bisphenol A is an estrogen mimic, found in some of the plastics we use in our everyday lives. How much of a problem is this endocrine disrupter? Are there other compounds that should concern us?

Biologists suggest that some natural experiments could help illuminate this question. For example, cats are experiencing an unusually high number of thyroid problems. What could be triggering this hormone disturbance? Alligators in Florida lakes also demonstrate abnormal development. What can they teach us?

This is the second in a two-part series on endocrine disruption.

 Bill Moyers Journal did a story on BPA and the science behind the regulation.

Guests: Linda Birnbaum, PhD, is Division Director of Experimental Toxicology at the United States Environmental Protection Agency. She is past president of the Society of Toxicology and president elect of the International Union of Toxicology. Dr. Birnbaum also serves on the faculties of both Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

Louis Guillette, PhD, is distinguished professor of zoology at the University of Florida in Gainesville and professor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

 

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  1. Ssarah
    Reply

    Trader Joe’s canned tomatoes are NOT bpa-free! I noticed that there’s a posting here that Trader Joe’s does not use can linings containing bisphenol-a. I’d just like to mention that their canned tomatoes DO contain bisphenol-a. Trader Joe’s organic diced tomatoes are packed by muir glen, which does use epoxy linings in their cans. Unfortunately, TJ’s has not been honest about this, and for this reason I would recommend avoiding their canned foods. Please read below:
    When I wrote to ask Trader Joe’s last year if any of their canned goods contained BPA, they wrote back as follows:
    —-
    From: “Web Customer Relations”
    Date: July 9, 2007 8:13:34 AM PDT
    Subject: RE: Trader Joe’s Product Information Form
    Hello Sarah,
    Trader Joe’s uses food grade enamel to line our cans of tomatoes. We never use BPA in any of our cans.
    Thank you for your inquiry and thank you for shopping at Trader Joe’s.
    Kellye
    Trader Joe’s
    Customer Relations
    —-
    So a few months later, I bought a case of their canned tomatoes. I noticed that the cardboard box that the cans came in was labeled ‘muir glen’, and I had previously written to muir glen to ask if they used BPA in their linings, and they said they did. I also noticed a white plastic lining inside the tomato cans. So I wrote back to Trader Joe’s to ask about this, including a specific, yes-or-no question [do your canned tomatoes contain BPA?]
    Here’s the response I got:
    —-
    Sarah,
    Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Realistically, BPA is an industry-wide issue for manufacturers putting products in cans, certain types of plastic containers, and even products like Nalgene reusable drinking bottles.
    If you are concerned about BPA it may be best to avoid canned food. The matter is the subject of much debate and there’s yet to be definitive information from the discussions.
    As the affected manufacturing industries respond to the developments, we’ll have a better sense of what our next steps will be.
    Sincerely,
    Amy
    Trader Joe’s
    Customer Relations
    —-
    As you may notice, this did not answer the question.
    So I wrote back one last time, explaining that I had a specific question about the canned tomatoes and wanted a yes-or-no answer; not a generic list of talking points.
    I got the following response:
    —-
    Sarah,
    Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Realistically,
    BPA is an industry-wide issue for manufacturers putting products in
    cans, including our canned tomatoes, certain types of plastic
    containers, and even products like Nalgene reusable drinking bottles.
    If you are concerned about BPA it may be best to avoid canned food.
    The matter is the subject of much debate and there’s yet to be
    definitive information from the discussions.
    As the affected manufacturing industries respond to the developments,
    we’ll have a better sense of what our next steps will be.
    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth
    Trader Joe’s
    Customer Relations
    —-
    I think it’s pretty sleazy that they lied about this the first time I asked, and then refused to answer the question the second and third time. I’m not shopping there anymore; please write to them and tell them to be honest about what’s in their food packaging.

  2. Ann Leonard
    Reply

    I wrote to several grocery store chains to see which, if any, were working to remove bisphenol A from cans. Trader Joes replied that none of their cans contain bisphenol A which was great news!

  3. Gwen
    Reply

    How do I find out if Dioxyn is in Nalgene bottles????!!

  4. TB
    Reply

    You can find stainless steel bottles at ReusableBags.com. They also sell SIGG-brand bottles, which are aluminum with an inert lining and guaranteed not to interact with anything. They come in various sizes and with different lids, including some especially for kids. I’ve seen some of these at Wellsprings and Earth Fare lately.

  5. JFP
    Reply

    Excellent program. Great courage of Dr. Birnbaum to speak out, given the ambivalent position of EPA on dioxin.
    I know I can download the program to listen to it. Can I get a printed transcription?

  6. Pat
    Reply

    Where can we find the stainless steel water bottle mentioned by the Dr. in today’s program?

  7. Louise Dotter
    Reply

    In light of this information, maybe Dow Chemical Co. should change their slogan to “We bring WEIRD things to life”? And maybe all you non-smokers can quit picking on smokers who are NOT the cause of all the pollution/health problems, just the most visible and vulnerable to public pressure. I think we will find that the funding behind all the anti-smoking propaganda came from the chemical companies. Good smoke screen/diversion tactic.

  8. Ken Ingold
    Reply

    Joe, Terry
    Your 2-part presentation on endocrine disruptors was an excellent and fair reporting of the science and the often difficult proving of cause and effect. I particularly liked your thoroughness. More n>1–part programs like this, please!
    Ken

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