Worries about the hormone-mimicking chemical bisphenol A (BPA) used in Nalgene plastic water containers have led a major Canadian retailer to remove Nalgene, along with other polycarbonate plastic containers, from store shelves in early December.
There is little dispute that the chemical can disrupt the hormonal system, but scientists disagree on whether the low doses found in food and beverage containers can cause harm. The FDA and the plastics industry have argued that BPA-based products do not pose a health risk.
However, an expert panel of researchers recently reported that the potential for BPA to affect human health is a concern, and more research is needed. Many Americans currently have higher levels of BPA than those found to cause harm in lab animals.
First of all congratulate yourself for being wise enough to subscribe to this newsletter, which will typically warn you of dangers many years before they hit the media.
I issued the first public warning about Vioxx and stroke five years before it was pulled, after killing over 60,000. And I first warned you about using Nalgene bottles more three years ago.
Although the colorful, durable, and lightweight Nalgene water bottles have been the choice of outdoor enthusiasts for years, scientific evidence has shown the plastic used to make these bottles may pose serious health hazards.
Made from lexan polycarbonate resin (marketed through Nalgene Outdoor Products), lexan was believed to be the ideal material for water bottles. It’s extremely durable and doesn’t allow odors or flavors to cling to distort the taste of whatever you store in it. It was also thought that lexan did not leach BPA -- a notion that has since been shown to be incorrect.
How Plastic Toxins May Damage Your Health
Suspicions were raised on all polycarbonate plastics after researchers found birth defects and developmental abnormalities that caused miscarriages in mice. In the last ten years, some 700 studies have been published about BPA -- most of them indicating serious health hazards, at least in animals. The most troubling problem with BPA is that it mimics the female hormone estrogen.
Your body is extremely sensitive to sex hormones, and miniscule amounts can induce profound changes. Therefore, scientists are afraid even low levels of BPA could have a negative impact on human health.
In animals, BPA increases aneuploidy, a defect consisting of abnormal loss or gain of chromosomes, which in humans could possibly lead to miscarriages or disorders such as Down Syndrome.
Moreover, there is evidence (among mice and rats) that even low doses of BPA can cause:
- Early puberty
- Increased fat formation
- Abnormal sexual behavior
- Disrupted reproductive cycles
- Structural damage to the brain
Despite all these findings, the U.S. health and environmental regulators keep insisting there is no evidence of harm to human health after 50 years of use.
Looking at this short list above, don’t some of these health problems sound remarkably familiar? Down Syndrome, hyperactivity (ADD/ ADHD), early onset of puberty, obesity… Are these not some of the wide spread health issues you’re surrounded by, which have increased dramatically in that time?
In a manner similar to those used in the pharmaceutical, tobacco, cell phone and artificial sweetener industries, the plastics industry finds ways to create misleading information about the safety -- or lack thereof -- of their products. The greed of the people who head up major corporations can, indeed, have a negative impact on your health.
Prior to 2004 I too used Nalgene bottles for traveling, thinking they were a safe option, but have since tossed them as well.
10 Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to BPA
1. Only use glass baby bottles and dishes for your baby
2. Give your baby natural fabric toys instead of plastic ones
3. Store your food and beverages in glass -- NOT plastic -- containers
4. IF you choose to use a microwave, don’t microwave food in a plastic container
5. Stop buying and consuming canned foods and drinks
6. Avoid using plastic wrap (and never microwave anything covered in it)
7. Get rid of your plastic dishes and cups, and replace them with glass varieties
8. If you opt to use plastic kitchenware, at least get rid of the older, scratched-up varieties, avoid putting them in the dishwasher, and don’t wash them with harsh detergents, as these things can cause more chemicals to leach into your food
9. Avoid using bottled water; filter your own using a reverse osmosis filter instead
10. Before allowing a dental sealant to be applied to you, or your children’s, teeth, ask your dentist to verify that it does not contain BPA
In the event that you do opt to use plastic containers for your food, be sure to avoid those marked on the bottom with the recycling label No. 7, as these varieties may contain BPA.
Containers marked with the recycling labels No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 do not contain BPA (however they may contain other unsavory chemicals that you’re best off avoiding by using glass instead).
How to Detoxify Your Body
Research has found that Americans have higher levels of BPA than those found to cause harm in lab animals, so chances are you could benefit from a detoxification program.
There are numerous methods that can be used to help detoxify your body, varying in cost, time and efficacy. I tend to gravitate toward treatments that are simple, effective, inexpensive, and don't involve taking a lot of supplements.
The treatments below fit all of these criteria, and can be incorporated into your daily life. They all work to support your body's natural detoxification systems, namely your digestive system, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin.
- Stimulate blood flow through your organs of elimination. Constitutional hydrotherapy treatments increase blood flow through your liver and kidneys, enhancing their filtering effects.
- Increase toxin elimination through the skin. Use a sauna regularly to increase how much, how often, and how deeply you sweat.
- Give your lungs some extra support. By practicing deep breathing exercises you can greatly enhance this vital detoxification mechanism.
- Stimulate lymphatic flow. Dry skin brushing and exercise are two of the only ways to increase the flow of the lymphatic system, your body's garbage collector.
- Maintain optimal levels of beneficial intestinal flora. The best ways to accomplish this are by incorporating fermented foods, such as natto or natural kefir into your diet.