Friday, May 30, 2008

U.S. food company says BPA-free cans possible

May. 29 2008 News Staff

Bisphenol A is found in cans that contain many popular foods, including tomato paste and soup, but one company has been using BPA-free cans for almost a decade.

Eden Foods, a natural and organic food company based in Michigan, sells most of its canned food, except the highly acidic tomato products, in BPA-free cans. For now, the company is keeping its tomato products in cans with BPA because their shelf life would be drastically reduced without the chemical. The company's juices are sold in glass bottles. "We badgered our canned suppliers to come up with an alternative and one of them said they would accommodate us with a bisphenol A-free lining," said Eden Foods President Michael Potter. "They ended up with all our business. I did it because I didn't want to be in the loop of providing this contaminant, this toxin, to my children." Potter said most canned-good manufacturers should have no trouble following his company's lead, given that a 15-ounce BPA-free can costs only 2.2 cents more.

BPA is found in everyday items, including stereo equipment, some car parts, hard plastic food containers and beverage containers and the linings of food cans. During the manufacturing process, food is put into cans and then heated at high temperatures to kill bacteria. Scientists say that this is when BPA can leach out of the lining and into food.

A joint study conducted by CTV News and The Globe and Mail showed that trace amounts of BPA can be found in cans that contain popular foods such as soup and vegetables.

While baby bottles leach about 6 parts per billion of BPA, the exclusive tests of food cans showed:

* A can of children's ravioli leached 6 parts per billion.
* A can of peas and carrots leached 7 parts per billion.
* A can of tomato juice leached 14 parts per billion.


New tests find BPA in kids' food containers

Wed. May. 28 2008 News Staff

A controversial chemical that Health Canada is moving to ban in baby bottles has turned up in tests conducted on cans for foods commonly served to Canadian children.

Tests conducted on the food cans for CTV News and The Globe and Mail shows similar or higher levels of bisphenol A than in baby bottles.

While baby bottles leach about 6 parts per billion of bisphenol A (BPA), the exclusive tests of food cans show:

* A can of children's ravioli leached 6 parts per billion.
* A can of peas and carrots leached 7 parts per billion.
* A can of tomato juice leached 14 parts per billion.

In this study, the first of its kind in Canada, the method of testing used most closely mimics the canning process. Fourteen cans of popular Canadian foods were sent to XenoAnalytical LLC, a laboratory in Columbia, Mo . The cans were emptied of food and rinsed five times before being filled with water and heated for 24 hours at 95 C.

(The food itself from each can could not be accurately tested because other chemicals in the food could interfere with measuring the BPA.)

Studies have shown when cans are heated in the manufacturing process, BPA leaches out of the linings. Foods are first sealed in cans and heated to kill bacteria in the food. Cans are heated to temperatures between 116 C and 121 C, and the length of time varies according to the type of food.

"The tests we did in the cans are fairly conservative," said Julia Taylor, the lab technician that conducted the tests.

"We used water, which is less likely to pull out BPA in a can."

Because these findings show that BPA leached out of the cans and into water, it can be assumed that the chemical is leaching into the food itself when the cans are heated during the pasteurization process, Taylor said.

Environmental Defence, an advocacy group that has long called for a ban on BPA, conducted its own study into BPA levels in plastic baby bottles. It found that many of the bottles, manufactured by popular name brand companies, leached from five to eight parts of BPA per billion when heated.

Rick Smith, the executive director of Environmental Defence, finds these new results troubling.


Monday, March 24, 2008


Thanks for sharing this Leonard....worth viewing:

The story of stuff

Pollution in People

This Green Life, March 2008

For years, I thought I could keep my body free of dangerous chemicals by taking just a couple of simple precautions -- using natural cleansers and buying organic food. Wrong.
Biomonitoring tests to check for chemicals in people always find them. It doesn't matter whether the people are old, young, newborn or even fetal, nor what their history is. Contamination is always found. It is therefore a virtual certainty that if I were to be tested, I would learn I was contaminated, too. Not to cause panic, but so would you.
This pollution of our bodies is thought by many scientists to be universal today. It goes by the name of body burden.
Where do the chemicals come from? They are used in a seemingly endless array of industrial applications and consumer products, including baby toys, air freshener, laundry detergent, shampoo, nail polish, food containers, rugs and furniture, to name a few.
And how do they get into our bodies? Through our food, tap and bottled water, indoor and outdoor air and many of the things we touch or put on our skin. Babies get them in the womb from their mothers. Hence, the phenomenon of infants starting life with chemicals already in their systems.
Given how ubiquitous chemicals are, the question is not really how they get into us, but whether there is any way to keep them out. I will get back to that.
Let's first talk about whether and how the chemicals might harm us. The chemical industry predictably claims they are safe. In reality, next to nothing is known about the vast majority of them. That's because our laws allow chemicals to go on the market without prior safety testing.
But we do know quite a bit about a few chemicals, and what we know is not reassuring. For instance:

* Phthalates have been linked to problems with reproductive system development in baby boys and to insulin resistance and obesity in adult men. They are used in a wide variety of cosmetic products, such as moisturizers, nail polish and baby powder; cleaning products; plastic food wraps; and toys, especially those made with PVC plastic. Other uses include medical equipment and building supplies.
* Bisphenol A (also known as BPA) has been linked to breast and prostate cancer, reproductive problems, diabetes and alteration of brain chemistry and behavioral changes. It is used in many household products, including plastic baby bottles, hard plastic sports bottles and metal food cans, which are often lined with plastic to prevent a metallic taste in food.
* PCBs, which were formerly used as electrical insulators, among other things, have been found to affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. They are also considered a probable carcinogen. Though their production in the U.S. was banned in 1979, these long-lasting chemicals continue to circulate in the environment and in the food chain. New releases also occur when old equipment made with PCBs is damaged or improperly disposed of.
* Dioxins, a byproduct of the manufacture and burning of chlorine products, can affect the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and cause cancer.

Other classes of chemicals shown to be toxic include PBDEs (used as flame retardants) and PFCs (used to repel water, stains and grease).
All the chemicals listed above are endocrine disruptors, meaning that they interfere with the workings of the endocrine -- or hormone -- system. Hormones are our bodies' chemical messengers. They tell cells to start or stop carrying out key functions at the proper time. While key to basic body functioning throughout our lives, they are particularly important to fetal development. During the nine months in which a baby takes shape, an exquisitely timed orchestra of these chemical signals ensures that the baby's body develops as it should. Any tampering with the type or timing of the signals can have tragic consequences, from cancers that emerge later in life to missing body parts. They can also affect the brain and behavior. The years directly leading up to puberty, when hormones again play a major role in body development, may be another time when people are particularly sensitive to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
So, how can you protect yourself, your children and your children-to-be?
Unfortunately, moving somewhere remote is not, in itself, an answer. Many chemicals are highly mobile and resistant to breakdown. Over the last few decades, they have spread on wind and water currents to every corner of the globe, including the most pristine places.

However, your personal practices can make a difference in your LEVEL of exposure, not just to endocrine disruptors but to other toxins that humans are spewing out into the environment. These steps, in particular, can help:

* Buy organic food as much as possible. If cost is an issue, focus on the produce that will make the most difference, along with milk if you have young children.
* Eat less meat and meat products, especially fatty meats and butter, as many toxic chemicals are picked up by animals and stored in their fat (and ours).
* When choosing fish, follow these safety guidelines for avoiding mercury contamination.
* Reduce your use of cosmetics and fragrances and buy less toxic brands.
* Use unscented laundry detergent and cleaning products -- or use natural cleansers.
* Do not use chemical pesticides around your house, on your pets or on your lawn.

At the same time as you take these steps in your own life, keep in mind that the real solutions to body burden, like other forms of pollution, are societal not individual. Without government regulation, safety from chemicals is a losing battle.
—Sheryl Eisenberg

Tests reveal high chemical levels in kids' bodies

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Michelle Hammond and Jeremiah Holland were intrigued when a friend at the Oakland Tribune asked them and their two young children to take part in a cutting-edge study to measure the industrial chemicals in their bodies.

Tests showed Rowan's blood had high levels of a chemical that can cause thyroid dysfunction in rats. "In the beginning, I wasn't worried at all; I was fascinated," Hammond, 37, recalled. But that fascination soon changed to fear, as tests revealed that their children -- Rowan, then 18 months, and Mikaela, then 5 -- had chemical exposure levels up to seven times those of their parents.

"[Rowan's] been on this planet for 18 months, and he's loaded with a chemical I've never heard of," Holland, 37, said. "He had two to three times the level of flame retardants in his body that's been known to cause thyroid dysfunction in lab rats."

The technology to test for these flame retardants -- known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) -- and other industrial chemicals is less than 10 years old. Environmentalists call it "body burden" testing, an allusion to the chemical "burden," or legacy of toxins, running through our bloodstream. Scientists refer to this testing as "biomonitoring." 

Trasande says that industrial toxins could be leading to more childhood disease and disorders.

"We are in an epidemic of environmentally mediated disease among American children today," he said. "Rates of asthma, childhood cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders have exponentially increased, and it can't be explained by changes in the human genome. So what has changed? All the chemicals we're being exposed to."

In 2004, the Hollands became the first intact nuclear family in the United States to undergo body burden testing. Rowan, at just 1½ years old, became the youngest child in the U.S. to be tested for chemical exposure with this method.

Rowan's extraordinarily high levels of PBDEs frightened his parents and left them with a looming question: If PBDEs are causing neurological damage to lab rats, could they be doing the same thing to Rowan? The answer is that no one knows for sure. In the three years since he was tested, no developmental problems have been found in Rowan's neurological system.

Trasande said children up to six years old are most at risk because their vital organs and immune system are still developing and because they depend more heavily on their environments than adults do. "Pound for pound, they eat more food, they drink more water, they breathe in more air," he said. "And so [children] carry a higher body burden than we do."

Studies on the health effects of PBDEs are only just beginning, but many countries have heeded the warning signs they see in animal studies. Sweden banned PBDEs in 1998. The European Union banned most PBDEs in 2004. In the United States, the sole manufacturer of two kinds of PBDEs voluntarily stopped making them in 2004. A third kind, Deca, is still used in the U.S. in electrical equipment, construction material, mattresses and textiles.

Another class of chemicals that showed up in high levels in the Holland children is known as phthalates. These are plasticizers, the softening agents found in many plastic bottles, kitchenware, toys, medical devices, personal care products and cosmetics. In lab animals, phthalates have been associated with reproductive defects, obesity and early puberty. But like PBDEs, little is known about what they do to humans and specifically children. 

The Environmental Protection Agency does not require chemical manufacturers to conduct human toxicity studies before approving their chemicals for use in the market.

In the three years since her family went through body burden testing, Michelle Hammond has become an activist on the issue. She's testified twice in the California legislature to support a statewide body burden testing program, a bill that passed last year. Michelle also speaks to various public health groups about her experience, taking Mikaela, now 8, and Rowan, now 5, with her. So far, her children show no health problems associated with the industrial chemicals in their bodies.

"I'm angry at my government for failing to regulate chemicals that are in mass production and in consumer products." Hammond says. "I don't think it should have to be up to me to worry about what's in my couch."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Parents told to avoid lindane-laced lice shampoo

Sat. Mar. 15 2008

The Canadian Press

Parents are being urged to avoid over-the-counter lice treatments that contain the pesticide lindane, which has been outlawed for agricultural use in dozen of countries, including Canada.

Health Canada hasn't banned lice and scabies treatments that contain lindane, but some environmental groups say Canada should follow California's lead and take the products off the shelves.

They say exposure to lindane can lead to adverse effects on humans, especially children and seniors.

And California sought a ban because the chemical was turning up in water testing.

Kevin Mercer of the environmental group Riversides says parents often go to the extreme to kill lice because they're disturbed by the thought of their kids harbouring bugs, and the stigma of becoming infected.

The Canadian Paediatric Society is reviewing its position on lindane products and currently recommends that they not be used on infants and children under 17. The society advises that other lice-fighting products that don't contain lindane are considered safe.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Prescription drugs found in drinking water across U.S.

March 10, 2008 Associated Press:

A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.
How do the drugs get into the water?

People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

A 'growing concern'

"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:

• Officials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's watersheds.

• Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.

• Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water Commission drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in Northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.

• A sex hormone was detected in the drinking water of San Francisco, California.

• The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.

The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test results in the major population centers documented by the AP.

Rural, bottled water also unchecked

Rural consumers who draw water from their own wells aren't in the clear either, experts say.

Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.

CANADA: Contamination is not confined to the United States. More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world. Studies have detected pharmaceuticals in waters throughout Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe -- even in Swiss lakes and the North Sea.

Read Full Article Here

MAP: See the cities where drugs were found in drinking water

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New Legislation on Lead, Cadmium, and Phthalates in Toys

Washington State Legislation Will Protect Children’s Health By Eliminating Lead, Cadmium, and Phthalates From Toys!

Olympia, WA
February 19, 2008

Parents, consumer advocates, and environmental groups cheered last night’s passage of the Children’s Safe Products Act of 2008 (HB 2647) by the House of Representatives. The bill passed with bipartisan support on a vote of 95-0. “Earlier generations got the lead out of paint and gasoline, it is time we got the lead and other toxics out of toys,” said Representative Dickerson, D-Seattle, the prime sponsor of the measure.

The bill will eliminate three toxic chemicals, lead, cadmium, and phthalates, from toys and other children’s products. It will also require manufacturers to report whether their products contain other chemicals found to be of a concern for children’s health.
“Toys should be the only things in a child’s toy box, not harmful toxic chemicals. The passage of this bill means children and parents are one step closer to having safer toys and other products,” said Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, environmental health advocate for the Washington Toxics Coalition.

Health professionals applauded the House’s action today. They are concerned because children are especially vulnerable to exposures from toxic chemicals. Even low levels of chemicals are linked to harm to reproductive development, learning, and health. “The House’s passage of this bill brings us closer to implementing pivotal steps to protect children’s health,” said Dr. Laura Hart, President, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, “We have a responsibility to protect children, our most vulnerable population, from chemical exposures. Health professionals throughout the state urge continued action to pass this legislation and create a healthier, safer world in which our children learn, grow and play.”

The legislation passed on the same day that Toys R Us, the national retail chain, announced new lower lead and phthalate standards for toys it sells. Wal-Mart, Target, and Sears are just a few of the retailers who have already announced plans to phase out toxic chemicals in toys and other children’s products.

The Children’s Safe Products Act takes immediate action to ban lead, cadmium, and phthalates from toys, starts the process of identifying other hazards in toys, and gives parents the information they need to make safer choices. If the legislation becomes law, Washington would join California, Michigan, and Illinois, as having taken action on toxic toys.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Toxic Plastics: Videos on Bisphenol A

Part 1:

Part 2:

NDP calls for ban on bisphenol A - Go Canada!

February, 2008:
OTTAWA - In light of new research confirming the dangers of BPA exposure for children, NDP Health Critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis renewed her call to Health Minister Tony Clement today, demanding urgent action to ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in children’s food and beverage containers. Wasylycia-Leis sent a letter to the minister in early January calling for a BPA ban.

“The government must act urgently to protect Canadian children exposed to bisphenol A,” said Wasylycia-Leis. “The hazards of this product have been known for some time, yet, despite its promises to boost Canada’s health protection system, the government keeps dragging its feet. Waiting until May to even consider action is unacceptable.”

A new peer-reviewed study by respected BPA authority, Dr. Frederick vom Saal, has underlined the dangers of bisphenol A consumption, particularly for infants and children. The potential long-term health impacts from early exposure to BPA, which mimics estrogen, include an increased chance of hormonal problems and breast and prostate cancers.

“Scientific concerns for children’s health are very serious and require immediate action,” said Wasylycia-Leis. “Children are developing and do not have the same capacity to deal with chemical hazards as adults. They require special protection and that’s why the NDP is demanding immediate action from the government starting with children’s products. To prevent more situations like this, the government must increase its capacity to evaluate products’ specific impacts on children’s health.”

Letter to Health Minister

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Safe Toys for Your Kids

Found this excellent website with an incredible array of European non-toxic toys that are available in the U.S.! Click here to browse!

America's bluff is being called: The world's other major economy is showing that safety and financial success are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, at a time of rising environmental sensitivity in the marketplace, many of these 'greener' businesses are now posing a competitive challenge to U.S. producers. The first candidate to realize that this issue strikes directly at American's sense of safety and security will reap the benefits.
Hillary Clinton has called for greater vigilance of our imports from China. At least that's a start.

Recommended reading: "Exposed, Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power" by Mark Schapiro.


Wed., 2/6/08, From Jim Hightower's Lowdown

"Made in China" has become a warning label. Look out toxics in toothpaste, arsenic in shrimp, lead in toys!

The shocker is not that Chinese-made toys are laden with lead, but that America's Consumer Product Safety Commission employs exactly one inspector to oversee the safety of all toys sold in the U.S. Likewise, the Food and Drug Administration has licensed 714 Chinese plants to manufacture the key ingredients for a growing percentage of the antibiotics, painkillers, and other drugs we buy, but provides practically no oversight of these plants.

An even bigger shock is that our consumer-protection laws are so riddled with loopholes that unsafe products can legally come into our country. Take phthalates, chemical additives in plastics that are suspected by scientists here and in Europe of inhibiting testosterone production in infant boys. Yet, Mark Shapiro, author of Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products, reports that while the European Union has banned the use of phthalates in products for children under three years of age, our government has refused to act.

Thus, China has factories that manufacture two lines of toys one without phthalates for European countries, and one with phthalates for export to our children.

The problem is not with the Chinese, but with our own corporate chieftains. They've moved their manufacturing to China specifically to get these kinds of low-cost shortcuts in production, while simultaneously demanding that Washington cut back on regulations that protect us consumers."

Europeans responded to a growing body of evidence suggesting that a plastic additive called phthalates may contribute to decreased production of testosterone in infant boys by banning the substance from use in products aimed at children under the age of three. Much of the evidence used by the Europeans to make that decision came from American scientists, some of whom have been supported in their research by our own EPA. But there has been no one in the US government willing to listen. The result: toys are manufactured in China without phthalates for export to the European Union, and with phthalates for export to the United States. European manufacturers have found far less toxic alternatives and European kids have as many plastic animals and other goofy playthings as their American counterparts.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

PVC: The Poison Plastic VIDEO

Recycle # 3.
PVC (Polyvinyl chloride, also known as vinyl), poses risks to both the environment and human health. PVC is also the least recyclable plastic.

Vinyl chloride manufacturing creates air and water pollution near the factories, often located in low-income neighborhoods.

needs additives and stabilizers to make it useable. LEAD is often added for strength, while plasticizers are added for flexibility. These toxic additives contribute to further pollution and human exposure.

in air emissions from PVC manufacturing and disposal or from incineration of PVC products settles on grasslands and accumulates in meat and dairy products and ultimately in human tissue. Dioxin is a known carcinogen.

Low-level exposures are associated with decreased birth weight, learning and behavioral problems in children, suppressed immune function and disruption of hormones in the body.

Center for Health, Environment and Justice
The Campaign for Safe, Healthy Consumer Products

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Study Warning Dangers of Bisphenol A News: 2/8/08 Release:

A new report is warning about the dangers of popular plastic baby bottle brands sold in Canada, noting that when heated, the bottles can release potentially harmful chemicals.

The study, commissioned by the Canadian group Environmental Defence, found that the bottles ooze bisphenol A (BPA) into the beverage inside in levels that surprised even the researchers.

Researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia were asked to test nine polycarbonate bottles from three manufacturers -- Playtex, Avent and Gerber. The bottles were filled with water and heated in an oven at 80 degress Celsius, to simulate how the plastic would react to dozens of washings.

The laboratory tests detected 5-8 nanograms per milliliter (parts per billion) of bisphenol A leached out of all the bottles when they were heated -- a level that Environmental Defence calls "very significant."

All the Playtex products leaked BPA, regardless of whether they were heated or not. All three of the Gerber bottles and one of the Avent bottles had no detectible levels of BPA in fluids stored at room temperature.

Researcher Julia Taylor, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, says the results disturbed her. "They were a little scary. You don't like to think that that amount of chemical would leech out into milk contained in a bottle, but clearly that's a potential problem," she told CTV News.

Taylor notes that the study represented how many parents typically use the bottles, heating them to sterilize them and then adding heated liquids, such as breast milk, formula or cow's milk. "That tells us that with repeated use and repeated heating and increased damage to the bottles that would come through washing, we would see increased amount of bisphenol leaching out as the bottles age," she says.

Industry calls study 'scare tactics'

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, the industry group representing the bottle manufacturers says the levels detected in the study are still considered "safe," and says it "stands by the scientific research indicating that plastic baby bottles are safe and reassures consumers not to fall victim to scare tactics."

"There is irrefutable data available on the safety of Bisphenol-A," the group said in a statement. "In spite of this strong scientific support, misinformation about polycarbonate baby bottles continues to circulate and as a result is needlessly scaring parents and caregivers away from a trusted and safe product."

Rick Smith, the executive director of Environmental Defence, disagrees, saying that recent research suggests that even lower levels of BPA exposure can alter cell function. "What the results show is that babies are being contaminated by the very bottles that are supposed to be giving them life and nutrition," he says.

Environmental Defence says while the testing focused on nine brands, they believe the results can be considered indicative of almost all polycarbonate plastic baby bottles sold in North America.

CTV News asked for comment on the study from each of the three manufacturers. Gerber and Avent have not yet provided responses; Playtex referred us to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association statement.

Bisphenol A has been the focus of much scrutiny in recent years, with worries that the chemical mimics estrogen. There are fears it can cause earlier onset of puberty in girls, declining sperm counts, and raise the risk of breast and prostate cancer.

But most of the scientific evidence demonstrating the effects of BPA have been conducted on laboratory animals such as mice, so there is little clinical evidence of the chemical's effect on humans.

While BPA is not bioaccumulative (meaning it doesn't persist in the environment or build up in fat stores), the European Commission recently classified the chemical for reproductive toxicity.

Health Canada is conducting 'high priority' evaluation.

For its part, Health Canada says it's currently conducting a "high priority" evaluation of the safety of bisphenol A, with a report due this May. In a statement released this week to CTV News, it noted: "Health Canada is conducting several different studies on the leaching rate of bisphenol A. One of these studies does look at bottles first filled with boiling water. These results will be considered in the risk assessment as well as other potential consumer use scenarios.

"Health Canada is aware that bisphenol A (BPA) migration from polycarbonate bottles is temperature dependent and in its assessment of BPA is reviewing the results of other Canadian and international studies."

Last week, a report in the journal Toxicology Letters found that polycarbonate plastic drinking bottles release BPA 55 times more rapidly and in higher amounts than when they were filled with room temperature water. When the bottles were filled with cool water, the rate of BPA release ranged from 0.2 to 0.8 nanograms per hour. After the bottles were exposed to boiling water, rates increased to 8 to 32 nanograms per hour.

Smith says precautionary action should be taken now.

"The federal and provincial governments should immediately ban this chemical from food and beverage containers," he says. "And if any parents have these bottles at home, they should get rid of them immediately."

Environmental Defence is also encouraging retailers to stop selling products that contain BPA. Both Mountain Equipment Co-op and Lululemon recently chose to take polycarbonate plactic drinking bottles off their shelves.

Worried parents can switch back to traditional glass bottles, though the bottles do carry the risk of breakage. There is also a new generation of BPA-free plastic bottles now being sold in North America and Europe, mostly in health food stores and specialty baby stores.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

ALERT! January 2008 Recalls

10 January recalls:

1. Shims Bargain Recalls Pacifiers Due to Choking Hazard
Name of Product: “BabyTown” Pacifiers"
Hazard: These pacifiers fail to meet federal safety standards for pacifiers. The pacifier shield is too small and could easily enter the mouth of an infant. Also, ventilation holes are too small and not placed to allow for the insertion of a tool to remove the pacifier when lodged in the mouth of a child. Finally, the package fails to display the required warning instructing consumers not to tie a pacifier around a child’s neck, which would present a strangulation hazard.
Description: The recalled pacifiers were sold in a 4-pack of assorted colors. “BabyTown” and model #39864 are written on the product’s packaging.
Sold at: Dollar stores nationwide from March 2004 through December 2007 for $1. Made in China.

2. Coin Banks Recalled by TJ Promotions Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard
Name of Product: “Fish Coin Banks"
Hazard: Surface paint on the coin banks contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Description: This recall involves coin banks made of plaster that are shaped as a fish. The coin banks are orange with white stripes. Made in China.

3. Toy Wrestler Figures Recalled by A.A. of America Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard
Name of Product: “Toy Wrestler Figures"
Hazard:The surface paint contains high levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Description: The recalled toy is a package of four action figures. Each figure is about 5 3/4 inches high. The UPC number 604111230003 is printed on the product’s packaging.

Sold at: Dollar stores and discount stores nationwide from January 2007 through December 2007 for about $1.
Made in China.

4. Sears and Kmart Recall Play Stoves Due to Tip-over Hazard
Name of Product: “My First Kenmore” Play Stoves"
Hazard: A metal bracket connecting the door to the stove can cause a tip-over when the door is opened. This poses a risk of injury to young children.
Description: The self-assembled, wooden play stove is painted pink with six white knobs and a timer. The dimensions of the stove when assembled are 11 1/2” W x 13 3/4” D x 32 7/8” H.

Sold at: Sears and Kmart stores nationwide from September 2007 through November 2007 for about $100. Made in Taiwan.

5. Cranium Cadoo Board Games Recalled Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard
Name of Product: “Cranium Cadoo Board Games"
Hazard: The surface paint on the die contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Description: Only the die found in Cranium Cadoo board games with lot numbers 2007195 through 2007244 are included in the recall. The Cranium Cadoo game is packaged in a square cardboard box with an orange background. The seven digit lot number is printed under the plastic tray on the bottom half of the box.
Made in China.

6. Toy Racing Cars Recalled by OKK Trading Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard
Name of Product: “Toy Racing Cars"
Hazard: Surface paint on the toy cars contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Description: This recall involves toy racing cars that are operated with a remote control. The toy racing car comes with four additional tires and one remote control. “Formula 1” is printed on the packaging.

Sold at: Retail dollar and discount stores nationwide from October 2007 through November 2007 for about $1.
Made in China.

7. Battat Recalls Magnetic Construction Sets; Ingested Magnets Pose Aspiration and Intestinal Hazards
Name of Product: “Battat Magnabild Magnetic Building Systems"
Hazard: Small magnets inside the building pieces can fall out. Magnets found by young children can be swallowed or aspirated. If more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets can attract each other and cause intestinal perforations or blockages, which can be fatal.
Description: This recall involves the 293-piece (item number BB1502H) and the 180-piece (item number BB1431H) Magnabild Magnetic Building System sets. Both sets come in rotating display cases that contain 1-inch and 4-inch rods with magnets, curved 1-inch rods, triangle and square pieces with magnets, square-shaped plastic building pieces, triangles and 5-sided pieces, and metal balls. The pieces come in different colors. All of the plastic building pieces, except the 4-inch flexible rods, have the word “Magnabild” in raised lettering on them. The item number is found on a hang tag attached to the set. The product is designed for children older than three years.

Sold at:
Various retailers nationwide and online sellers from 2005 through 2007 for between $30 and $40. Made in China.

8. Toy Wooden Block and Train Sets Recalled By Christmas Tree Shops Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard
Name of Product: “Big Wooden Blocks and Jumbo Wooden Train Sets"
Hazard: Surface paint on some pieces of the toys contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Description: The Big Wooden Blocks contain 30 or 60 colorful block pieces in 11 geometric shapes. The Jumbo Wooden Train Sets contain 70 wooden pieces including trees, stop and railroad crossing signs, a red wooden engine and green train cars. The following style numbers and UPC numbers are printed on the packaging of
13275A 7211, UPC# 14217340).
Sold at: Christmas Tree Shops from October 2006 through November 2007 for between $4 and $20. Made in China.

9. Kids II Inc. Recalls Crib Toys Due to Choking Hazard
Name of Product: “Baby Einstein Baby Neptune™ Soothing Seascape Crib Toys"
Hazard: The anchors that hold the straps to the back of the turtle can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.
Description: The Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Soothing Seascape crib toy is a plastic molded turtle with a toy aquarium body that has woven fabric straps that attach to the side rails of a crib. The toy turtle has a stuffed fabric head and feet. Model number 30858 is printed on the label on the leg of the turtle. Only crib toys manufactured in October 2007 with date code BJ7 printed on the back of the battery compartment, are included in the recall.

Sold at: Discount department stores and on-line retailers nationwide from November 2007 through January 2008 for between $25 and $30. Made in China.

10. Baby Sterling Silver Teethers Recalled by Elegant Baby Due to Choking Hazard
Name of Product: “Heart and Car Sterling Silver Teethers"
Hazard: The hearts and cars on the teethers can break off, posing a choking hazard to infants.
Description: The sterling silver teethers are circle shaped with either a heart or car in the center. The teethers have beads inside. The teethers measure two inches in diameter.

Sold at: Independent infant clothing boutiques nationwide from February 2005 through September 2006 for about $50. Made in Mexico.


Hello all,
January - a month to remember as one that made it impossible for me to find time to keep up on all the latest recalls and important issues related to child care! Hopefully I can get back on track with a posting of all recalls in the past month. I also want to share an email I received from a friend of ours, Jim Barry, retired chemistry teacher and advocate on the benefits of modern technology. I asked Jim to review the lengthy "Official Report on the Toxicity of Bisphenol A" released by the National Toxicology Program (see last blog entry in December 07), which he was generous enough to do (a 400 pg document!), and his welcome response was thus,

"Basically when you put any liquid in a container some of the chemicals in its walls will dissolve into the liquid. What dissolves and how much is obviously your concern. Probably the safest container would be glass. However, having glass around youngsters can also be a potential problem with broken glass containers. Even using metal cups could be a problem if an acidic liquid, such as OJ, are put in them.

I read the summary on BPA. Conclusion: this is a very heavily used chemical. It has a multitude of uses. In addition, I think the studies are inconclusive and incomplete in their analysis of the effects of BPA. Even if you decide not to use containers made from it youngsters will still be exposed to this chemical from many different sources (including coated water pipes). Hence, you have a dilemma in trying to find a different container. If you chose another plastic who is to say it would be a safer one?"
At this point I can not recommend any action for you to take. However, if I come across new data I will share it with you."

Thank you for your valuable feedback Jim. Please do let me know if you come across any new data that would impact negatively on the health of young children!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Official Report on the Toxicity of Bisphenol A

I'd like to thank the person who provided the Study on Bisphenol A. Although it is nearly 400 pgs long I weeded through it in search of points that would be relevant to daycare centers (in particular) and parents of young children. I have copied the Summaries and Conclusions here, along with several studies that stand out. Should anyone be patient enough to read through the study (a chemist perhaps?) and want to comment on any items of significance your contribution is more than welcome! Please send your opinions via email and I will add them to the bottom of this posting-

National Toxicology Program
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

From the Expert Panel Report
On the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity of Bisphenol A

5.1 Developmental Toxicity
No data on the effects of human developmental exposure to Bisphenol A are available. There is a large literature describing studies in rodents and some work in other species. A large experimental animal literature was reviewed, assessed for its utility, and weighed based on the criteria established by this panel.
From the rodent studies we can conclude that Bisphenol A:
• Does not cause malformations or birth defects in rats or mice at levels up to the highest doses evaluated: 640 mg/kg/d (rats) and 1250 mg/kg/d (mice).
• Does not alter male or female fertility after gestational exposure up to doses of 450 mg/kg bw/d in the rat and 600 mg/kg bw/d in the mouse (highest dose levels evaluated).
• Does not permanently affect prostate weight at doses up to 475 mg/kg/d in adult rats or 600 mg/kg/d in mice.
• Does not cause prostate cancer in rats or mice after adult exposure at up to 148 or 600 mg/kg/d, respectively.
• Does change the age of puberty in male or female rats at high doses (ca. 475 mg/kg/d).
Rodent studies suggest that Bisphenol A:
• Causes neural and behavioral alterations related to disruptions in normal sex differences in rats and mice (0.01-0.2 mg/kg/d).
The data on bisphenol A are insufficient to reach a firm conclusion about:
• A change in the onset of puberty in male rats or mice at doses up to 475 – 600 mg/kg/d.
• An acceleration in the age of onset of puberty at a low dose in female mice at 0.0024 mg/kg/d, that Bisphenol A:
• Causes neural and behavioral alterations related to disruptions in normal sex differences in rats and mice. (0.01-0.2 mg/kg/d).

The data on bisphenol A are insufficient to reach a firm conclusion about:
• A change in the onset of puberty in male rats or mice at doses up to 475 – 600 mg/kg/d.
• An acceleration in the age of onset of puberty at a low dose in female mice at 0.0024 mg/kg/d, the only dose tested.
• Whether Bisphenol A predisposes rats toward prostate cancer or mice towards urinary tract deformations.

5.2 Reproductive Toxicity
There are insufficient data to evaluate whether bisphenol A causes male or female reproductive toxicity in humans. A large experimental animal literature was reviewed, assessed for its utility, and weighted based upon the criteria established by this expert panel, including an evaluation of experimental design and statistical procedures. These animal data are assumed relevant for the assessment of human hazard.
Female effects:
There is sufficient evidence in rats and mice that bisphenol A causes female reproductive toxicity with subchronic or chronic oral exposures with a NOAEL of 47.5 mg/kg bw/day and a LOAEL of ≥475 mg/kg bw/day.
Male effects:
There is sufficient evidence in rats and mice that bisphenol A causes male reproductive toxicity with subchronic or chronic oral exposures with a NOAEL of 4.75 mg/kg bw/day and a LOAEL of .47.5 mg/kg bw/day.

Human Exposures
Bisphenol A is FDA-approved for use in polycarbonate and epoxy resins that are used in consumer products such as food containers (e.g., milk, water, and infant bottles) food can linings. Resins, polycarbonate plastics, and other products manufactured from bisphenol A can contain trace amounts of residual monomer and additional monomer may be generated during breakdown of the polymer.

Environmental Exposures
Bisphenol A emitted from manufacturing operations is unlikely to be present in the atmosphere in high concentrations. However, it was found in 31-44% of outdoor air samples with concentrations of <>Exposures through Food
The highest potential for human exposure to bisphenol A is through products that directly contact food such as food and beverage containers with internal epoxy resin coatings and through the use of polycarbonate tableware and bottles, such as those used to feed infants. Studies examining the extraction of bisphenol A from polycarbonate infant bottles in the U.S. found concentrations < 5 ug/L. Canned infant formulas in the U.S. had a maximum level of 13 ug/L in the concentrate that produced a maximum of 6.6 ug/L when mixed with water. Breast milk studies in the U.S. have found up to 6.3 ug/L free bisphenol A in samples. Measured bisphenol A concentrations in canned foods in the U.S are less than 39 ug/kg. Limited drinking water sampling in the U.S. indicates that bisphenol A concentrations were all below the limit of detection (<0.1 ng/L).

Biological Measures of Bisphenol A in Humans
The panel finds the greatest utility in studies of biological samples that use sensitive and specific analytical methods (LC-MS or GC-MS) and report quality control measures for sample handling and analysis. The panel further focused on biological monitoring done in U.S. populations. In the U.S, adult urine concentrations of free bisphenol A are less than 0.6 ug/L and total bisphenol A concentrations are <19.8 ug/L. The 95th percentile total bisphenol A concentration for 394 adult volunteers (males and females; 20–59 years old) from the NHANES III survey was 5.18 ug/L. Girls age 6-9 in the U.S. have concentrations of total bisphenol A < 54.3 ug/L, with median concentrations ranging from 1.8-2.4 analytical methods (LC-MS or GC-MS) and report quality control measures for sample handling and analysis. The panel further focused on biological monitoring done in U.S. populations. In the U.S, adult urine concentrations of free bisphenol A are less than 0.6 ug/L and total bisphenol A concentrations are <19.8 ug/L. The 95th percentile total bisphenol A concentration for 394 adult volunteers (males and females; 20–59 years old) from the NHANES III survey was 5.18 ug/L. Girls age 6-9 in the U.S. have concentrations of total bisphenol A < 54.3 ug/L, with median concentrations ranging from 1.8-2.4 ug/L (86, 97). No U.S. studies have examined blood or semen concentrations of bisphenol A. Amniotic fluid total bisphenol A concentrations in the U.S are less than 1.96 ug/L. Dental sealant exposure to bisphenol A occurs primarily with use of the dental sealant bisphenol dimethylacylate. This exposure is considered an acute and infrequent event with little relevance to estimating general population exposures.

Bisphenol A Intake Estimates:
The panel found that previous oral intake estimates for infants fed formula and breast milk did not use levels reported for the U.S. population, so the panel estimated intake based on typically-used parameters.
The panel found the food intake estimates made by the European Commission used concentrations of bisphenol A comparable to U.S. food concentrations in their intake estimates, so have included these estimates as well. Estimates from duplicate diets in U.S. children found lower bisphenol A concentrations in foods than those estimated by the European Commission, therefore the aggregate estimates of intake by Wilson were somewhat lower than those estimated by the European Commission. However, the aggregate intake estimates by Wilson et al. are in line with the estimates based on urinary metabolite measurements for children described above.

Overall Conclusions
The panel spent a considerable amount of time attempting to interpret and understand the inconsistent findings reported in the “low dose” literature for bisphenol A. Conducting low dose studies can be challenging because the effects may be subtle and small in magnitude and therefore more difficult to statistically distinguish from background variability. The inherent challenge of conducting these types of studies may be exacerbated with bisphenol A because the endpoints of concern are endocrine-mediated and potentially impacted by factors that include phytoestrogen content of the animal feed, extent of bisphenol A exposure from caging or water bottles, and the alleged sensitivity of the animal model to estrogens. The panel believed that high dose studies are less susceptible to these types of influences because the toxicologic response should be more robust and less variable. While the panel did not necessarily expect a specific effect to display a monotonic dose response (e.g., consistently increasing organ size), many members of the panel expected the high dose studies with bisphenol A to detect some manifestation of toxicity (e.g., altered weight, histopathology) in tissues reported to be affected at low doses even if the study could not replicate the reported low dose effect. There are several large, robust, well designed studies with multiple dose groups using several strains of rats and mice and none of these detected any adverse reproductive effects at low to moderate dosage levels of BPA administered via the relevant route of human exposures. Further, none of these studies detected changes in prostate weight, age at puberty (rat), pathology or tumors in any tissue, or reproductive tract malformations. For this reason, panel members gave more weight to studies that evaluated both low and high doses of bisphenol A compared to low-dose-only studies in cases where the target tissues were comparably assessed.

Every chemical that produces low dose cellular and molecular alterations of endocrine function also produces a cascade of effects increasing in severity resulting in clearly adverse alterations at higher doses, albeit the effects can be different from those seen at low doses. With these endocrine disrupters, but not BPA, the low dose effects are often causally linked to the high dose adverse effects of the chemical. This is true for androgens like testosterone and trenbolone, estrogens like DES, 17β-estradiol and ethinyl estradiol, xenoestrogens like methoxychlor and genistein, and antiandrogens like vinclozolin, for example.
Hence, the failure of BPA to produce reproducible adverse effects via a relevant route of exposure, coupled with the lack of robustness of the many of the low dose studies (sample size, dose range, statistical analyses and experimental design, GLP) and the inability to reproduce many of these effects of any adverse effect strains the credibility of some of these study results. They need to be replicated using appropriate routes of exposures, adequate experimental designs and statistical analyses and linked to higher dose adverse effects if they are to elevate our concerns about the effects of BPA on human health.
The lack of reproducibility of the low dose effects, the absence of toxicity in those low-dose-affected tissues at high doses, and the uncertain adversity of the reported effects led the panel to express “minimal” concern for reproductive effects.
In contrast, the literature on bisphenol A effects on neural and behavioral response is more consistent with respect to the number of “positive” studies although it should be noted that the high dose studies that proved to be the most useful for evaluating reproductive effects did not adequately assess neural and behavioral responses. In addition, even though different investigators assessed different neural and behavioral endpoints, the panel concluded that the overall findings suggest that bisphenol A may be associated with neural changes in the brain and behavioral alterations related to sexual dimorphism in rodents. For this reason, the panel expressed “some” concern for these effects even though it is not clear the reported effects constitute an adverse toxicological response.

CONCERNS are expressed relative to current estimates of general population exposure levels in the U.S.
1. For pregnant women and fetuses, the Expert Panel has different levels of concern for the different developmental endpoints that may be susceptible to bisphenol A disruption, as follows:
• For neural and behavioral effects, the Expert Panel has some concern
• For prostate effects, the Expert Panel has minimal concern
• For the potential effect of accelerated puberty, the Expert Panel has minimal concern
• For prostate effects, the Expert Panel has minimal concern
• For the potential effect of accelerated puberty, the Expert Panel has minimal concern
• For birth defects and malformations, the Expert Panel has negligible concern

2. For infants and children, the Expert Panel has the following levels of concern for biological processes that might be altered by Bisphenol A, as follows:
some concern for neural and behavioral effects
minimal concern for the effect of accelerated puberty

3. For adults, the Expert Panel has negligible concern for adverse reproductive effects following exposures in the general population to Bisphenol A. For highly exposed subgroups, such as occupationally exposed populations, the level of concern is elevated to minimal.

The findings and conclusions of this report are those of the Expert Panel and should not be construed to represent the views of the National Toxicology Program.



1. Current manufacturers of bisphenol A in the US are Bayer MaterialScience, Dow Chemical Company, General Electric, Hexion Specialty Chemicals, and Sunoco Chemicals. 2003 consumption patterns included 619,000 metric tons [~1.4 billion pounds] used in polycarbonate resins, 184,000 metric tons [~406 million pounds] used in epoxy resins, and 53,000 metric tons [~117 million pounds] used in other applications. The production of bisphenol A is increasing annually in the U.S., while the European Union is phasing out bisphenol A production.

2. Bisphenol A in daycares and home environments:
Two studies examining aggregate exposures in preschool age children in the US used GC/MS to measure bisphenol A concentrations in environmental media. In the first study, bisphenol A concentrations were measured in air outside 2 day care centers and the homes of 9 children. Bisphenol A was detected in 9 of 13 outdoor air samples at daycare centers and at homes. In indoor air from day care centers and homes, bisphenol A was detected in 12 of 13 samples. At those same locations, bisphenol A was detected in all of 13 samples of floor dust and play area soils (25-70% of indoor dust samples). In the second study, bisphenol A concentrations were measured inside and outside at least 222 homes and 29 daycare centers. Bisphenol A was detected in 31–44% of outdoor air samples from each location, and 45% to 73% of indoor air samples contained detectable concentrations of bisphenol A.

3. Potential exposures from food and water:
The European Union noted that the highest potential for human exposure to bisphenol A is through products that directly contact food. Examples of food contact materials that can contain bisphenol A include food and beverage containers with internal epoxy resin coatings and polycarbonate tableware and bottles, such as those used to feed infants.

4. Exposure of Bisphenol A in daycare and home food:
The highest potential for human exposure to bisphenol A is through products that directly contact food such as food and beverage containers with internal epoxy resin coatings and polycarbonate tableware and bottles, such as those used to feed infants. Dietary sources account for 99% of exposure.
A study examining aggregate exposures of US preschool age children measured bisphenol A concentrations in liquid food and solid food served to the children at home and at child care centers. Duplicate plates of food served to 9 children were collected over a 48-hour period. GC/MS analyses were conducted on 4 liquid food samples and 4 solid food samples from the child care center and 9 liquid food samples and 9 solid food samples from home. Bisphenol A was detected in all solid food samples, 3 liquid food samples from the child care center, and 2 liquid food samples from the home. Concentrations of bisphenol A were found in liquid and solid food.
The study examining aggregate exposures of US preschool age children was repeated with a larger sample and again measured bisphenol A concentrations in liquid food and solid food served to the children at home and at child care centers. Bisphenol A concentrations were measured by GC/MS in food served over a 48 hour period to at least 238 children at home and 49 children at daycare centers. Bisphenol A was detected in 83–100% of solid food samples and 61% to 80% of liquid food contained detectable concentrations of bisphenol A. Data were also collected for hand wipes of 193 children at daycare centers and 60 children at home. Bisphenol A was detected in 94–100% of handwipe samples, and food preparation surface wipes. Bisphenol A was detected in 85–89% of food preparation surface wipes from homes.

5. Bisphenol A and chlorine use:
When exposed to chlorine disinfectant, bisphenol A disappears within 4 hours, but the chlorinated bisphenol A congeners that are formed can remain in solution up to 20 hours when low chlorine doses are used. The toxicity of these chlorinated bisphenol A congeners is unknown; however, there is some evidence that estrogenic activity and receptor binding remains after chlorination.

6. Bisphenol A in fetuses:
Schönfelder et al. examined bisphenol A concentrations in maternal and fetal blood and compared bisphenol A concentrations in blood of male and female fetuses. In a study conducted at a German medical center, blood samples were obtained from 37 Caucasian women between 32 and 41 weeks gestation. Bisphenol A was detected in all samples tested. Mean bisphenol A concentrations were higher in maternal than fetal blood. Study authors noted that in 14 cases fetal bisphenol A plasma concentrations exceeded those detected in maternal plasma. Among those 14 cases, 12 fetuses were male, revealing significantly higher mean bisphenol A concentrations in the blood of male than female fetuses.

7. General toxicity:
Gross signs of toxicity observed in rats acutely exposed to bisphenol A included pale livers and gastrointestinal hemorrhage [reviewed by the European Union]. Acute effects of inhalation exposure in rats included transient and slight inflammation of nasal epithelium and ulceration of the oronasal duct. Based on LD50s observed in animals, the European Union concluded that bisphenol A is of low acute toxicity through all exposure routes relevant to humans, however there is evidence that bisphenol A is irritating and damaging to the eye and is irritating to the respiratory tract and possibly the skin.

8. Human developmental effects:
No studies were located on possible human developmental effects of bisphenol A.