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- info@cantondaycare.org

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

SUMMARIES & CONCLUSIONS
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, 17╬▓-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.

END OF REPORT


POINTS WORTH NOTING:

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:
Sch├Ânfelder 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.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Teether & Slipcover recalls

Amber, our preschool teacher, just shared these important recalls! Thanks Amber.


1. Slipcovers Used With Boppy Pillows
Recalled Due to Choking Hazard and Risk of Lead Exposure
Name of Product: Boppy® Slipcovers
Hazard: The zipper pull on the slipcovers can break, posing a choking hazard to young children. In addition, paint on the zippers contains excess levels of lead.
Description: This recall involves velvet and boa slipcovers intended for use with the Boppy® Bare Naked nursing and support pillow.
All Colors: Blue/Green Velvet; Pink/ Orange Velvet; Pastel Blue Velvet


2. Infantino® Recalls Infant Teethers Due to Choking Hazard
Name of Product: Infantino® Lion Teethers
Hazard: The plastic nose can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.Description: This recall involves Infantino® lion teethers. The yellow and orange plastic teethers have date codes 6116, 6129, 6158, 6137, 0606, 0806, 0906, and 1006. The date codes are located on the back of the lion’s head, above the Infantino® logo. Lion teethers with other date codes are not included in this recall.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Canadian News: Rage over 2007 Recalls

Rage over recalls topped 2007 headlines

Thu. Dec. 27 2007 10:04, CTV News, Nicole Tomlinson

Recalls galore made headlines in 2007, as companies scrambled to get products deemed to be dangerous off the shelves and away from consumers -- especially children. Parents worried as lead and "date rape" drug precursors showed up in toys, and over-the-counter kids' medicines came under scrutiny.

Toys
More than 20 million Mattel products were affected by three major recalls of Chinese-made toys within about a month. The items, which were found to contain either excessive amounts of lead paint or small magnets that could easily be swallowed by children, included well-known toys such as Barbie accessories, Fisher-Price Geotrax toys, and Dora the Explorer. Due to the massive recalls, Mattel vowed to tighten its controls at its Chinese factories, where about 65 per cent of the company's toys are made - 95 per cent all toy recalls in 2007, prior to the report's release, involved Chinese-made toys.

A U.S.-based coalition of environmental health groups released a report in December revealing 35 per cent of 1,200 toys they tested contained lead. Also, 17 per cent of the products tests had levels of lead above the 600 parts per million U.S. federal standard that would trigger a recall of lead paint.

Health Canada launched a new centralized website database in October to allow parents to search for recalled children's products dating back to 1995.

MORE TOY RECALLS DUE TO EXCESSIVE LEAD

IF YOU SEE ANY OF THESE TOYS ON STORE SHELVES PLEASE ASK THE STORE MANAGER TO REMOVE THEM IMMEDIATELY AS THEY HAVE BEEN RECALLED!


1. Fishing Game Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Fishing Games Sold at Grocery Stores Recalled by Far East Brokers
Hazard: The recalled game has parts that contain excessive levels of lead.
Description: The recalled Fishing Game contains a fishing pole, one large battery operated fish, and three small wind-up fish. The UPC #011546208270 and product #25741 are printed on the product’s packaging.


2. “Soldier Bear” Wooden Pull Along Learning Blocks & Wagon
Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard.
Hazard: The surface paint on the toys contains excessive levels of lead.
Description: Wooden Pull-Along Learning Blocks Wagon (alphabet blocks in a wooden wagon)


3. “Soldier Bear” Time Teacher Clock Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: The surface paint on the toys contains excessive levels of lead.
Description: Time Teacher (magnetic shapes & clock in pull cart)


4. “Soldier Bear” Wooden Riding Horse
Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: The surface paint on the toys contains excessive levels of lead.
Description: Wooden Riding Horse


5. “Soldier Bear” Vehicle Play Set Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: The surface paint on the toys contains excessive levels of lead.
Description: Vehicle Play Set (blue military vehicle with action figures)


6. Discount Supply Store "Measuring Chart" Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: The paint on the grow chart contains excess levels of lead.
Description: The Giant Grow Chart measures a child’s growth with a giant yellow ruler-shaped plastic chart. The grow chart also has a picture of a bean stalk painted on it from top to bottom.


7. Curious George Plush Dolls
Recalled By Marvel Toys Due to Risk of Lead Exposure
Hazard: Surface paint on the toy’s plastic face and construction hat contain excessive levels of lead.
Description: This recall involves Curious George 12-inch plush dolls with a plastic face. The dolls are dressed to represent five various themes: birthday, fireman, sweet dreams, tool time and tool time with a soft face. The plush dolls were sold with a Curious George storybook or activity book. The following product and SKU numbers are printed on the packaging.
These include: Birthday, Fireman, Sweet Dreams, Tool Time, Tool Time (soft face).


8. Bell Racing Recalls Collectible Mini Racing Helmets
Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: Surface paints on the recalled helmets contain excessive levels of lead.
Description: The recalled products are six-inch tall, collectible, miniature helmets, modeled after helmets worn by several race car drivers. The follow models are included in the recall: Terry Borcheller helmet, part number 2005740; Kurt Busch helmet, part number 2001368; and Vitor Meira helmet, part number 2001381. The part number is located on the product’s packaging with the UPC.


9. Collectable Toy Robot by Schylling Assoc. Due To Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: Surface paints on the robot contain excessive levels of lead.
Description: The “Robot 2000” is a battery-operated, tin robot standing 12” tall. It has a red light on the head and chest panels that open.


10. Dizzy Ducks Music Box by Schylling Assoc. Due To Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: Surface paints on the wooden base of the music box contain excessive levels of lead.
Description: The Dizzy Ducks Music Box is a wind-up music box with ducks that spin as music plays.


11. Spinning Top Recalled by Schylling Associates Due To Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: Surface paint on the wooden handle of the top contains excessive levels of lead.
Description: The recalled spinning top is primarily metal and has wooden handles. The top is printed with Winnie-the-Pooh characters.


12. Toy Cars Recalled by Dollar General Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: Surface paint on the cars contains excessive levels of lead.
Description: The recall involves two styles of “pull and release” toy cars, including a four pack of Super Wheels (UPC #400016576344) and a two pack of Super Racer cars (UPC # 883788965002).


13. Toy Figures Recalled by Henry Gordy International Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:
Hazard: Surface paints on the recalled toys contain excessive levels of lead.
Description: The posable spaceman figures are about 4½-inches tall and come with two accessories. They were sold in various colors including yellow, grey, silver, blue, green, gold, black, and red.

TO CHECK ALL TOY RECALLS GO TO: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning with plastics #7, #3 and #6

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!

I woke up this Christmas morning thinking about all the children excitedly opening their Santa gifts and remembering the joy I felt as a young mother when my son and daughter were gleaming from ear to ear upon finding the toys they wanted under the tree. It truly is a magical time.

It dawned on me this morning that as a busy mother I wouldn't have had time to think about toxic toys, let alone read, research, advocate, and investigate the toys and products that I hurriedly fill my shopping cart with! I barely had time to sleep! So here I have started this blog at the beginning of December asking mothers to stand up and take notice and to ban together to protect the lives and health of their children, and if there is a single population who doesn't have time for this it surely must be young MOTHERS!

I have been resting uneasy since my Preschool Head Teacher Amber brought in an email response she received from GERBER yesterday. Amber happens to be one of these to-busy-to-breath new mothers, taking tender loving care of her beautiful infant son Logan. Several things stand out in their email...
"We can assure you that all Gerber products are safe and meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for safety. FDA has established regulations that define the limits for potential interaction between food and plastics." This sounds like a reasonable response, and so I went searching for the FDA guidelines and have yet to find them (I'll continue the search).

My investigation took me an interesting blurb from another concerned mother who says,

"I used to be totally psyched that I could get Gerber Tender Harvest organic baby food in my regular grocery store and I’ve been faithful to them for six years. Until now. Until some asshat decided that putting organic baby food in plastic containers, as well as killing off half of our favorite flavors in one fell swoop, would be a great idea. Hello? Plastics leach dangerous chemicals such as phthalates & Bisphenol A into food, particularly when heated. And guess what I found out when I called Gerber to complain? Their baby food is poured into these plastic containers while it’s still boiling hot. But they insist it’s safe. You know…like the Ford Pinto or lead paint. These containers are polycarbonate, as noted by the #7 on the bottom. Nice, eh? If you’d like to thank Gerber for this disappointing decision, call them at 1-800-4-GERBER. So now my choices are to continue buying it and pretend that I don’t know any of this, go somewhere out of my way to buy organic baby food in glass jars OR buy the non-organic stuff and contend with pesticides and fertilizer chemicals instead of pthalates and Bisphenol A. Mmmmm. Yummy." (Izzy)

For a few minutes yesterday I doubted myself, especially when reading Gerber's further response to the question of Bisphenol A, which states, "other leading scientific and regulatory authorities in Europe have concluded that the use of food contact polycarbonate plastics is safe" and "it sees no reason to ban or otherwise restrict currently authorized food contact applications." That sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Gerber is only following the established regulations and FDA's strict guidelines, right? So why is it that every single Environmental and Health group is warning parents to stay away from Bisphenol A and polycarbonate plastics (soft plastics and vinyl) #7, #3 and #6? Are they all just reactionaries who have something against the plastics industry? Do they simply have nothing better to do then to scare the public about things they know nothing about? Is GreenPeace, National Geographic (Green Guide), Children's Health Environmental Coalition, HealthyToys.org, The Ecology Center, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environment Working Group (EWG), Consumers Union, World Health Organization, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just trying to stir us up??

Some might think so. My gut instinct as a mother tells me otherwise. It tells me that the plastics industry, worth billions of dollars annually, (11.5 billion in NY State alone in 2005), accounting for 341 billion dollars in annual shipments and direct employment of 1.1 million people in 2005. The industries Free Trade Agreement with China and Central America means yet another 16 billion in the purchase of U.S. manufactured plastics, while in 2003 China became the third the third largest export market for U.S. plastics industry goods, with exports valued at 1.32 billion.

California, Maryland and Minnesota proposed to ban children's products that contained any level of bisphenol A (2006) Each bill would have prohibited the manufacture, sale or distribution in commerce of a wide range of toys or childcare articles intended for use by a child under three years of age.
Each bill has effectively died. The FDA conclusion stated that, "based on all the evidence available to us at this time, FDA sees no reason to change its long-held position that current uses with food are safe"and "considering all the evidence…FDA sees no reason at this time to ban or otherwise restrict the uses now in practice." Eliminating Bisphenol A (California Bill AB 319) would have essentially meant banning life-saving medical devices (e.g., incubators, kidney dialyzers, blood oxygenators, and drug infusion units), sports safety equipment (e.g., bicycle helmets, visors), healthcare products (e.g., eyeglass lenses, dental sealants), shatter-resistant baby bottles, and canned foods and beverages.

Several European Countries have also tried to ban Bisphenol A, but without success as yet. National Geographic's Green Guide website has quoted [Science News, 10/18/97], "A U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) study has shown that bisphenol A (BPA), a component of polycarbonate plastic that mimics the effects of natural estrogen, can migrate into liquids. FDA researchers found that polycarbonate baby bottles, juice cups and other food wares contain unbound BPA, which is released into fatty foods and baby formula at room temperature and when heated." Is this guy totally off the mark? Simply another reactionary?

The Labour Environmental Alliance Society in Canada makes a strong point, "The problem with that assurance is that the FDA and the American Plastic Council have also assured consumers that there is no cause for concern in using the soft plastic teething rings and soothers made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Meanwhile, the European Union moved this year to ban plastic toys "intended to be chewed or sucked by children under three" them because of concern over the phthalates used in the plastic to make it soft and pliable. Apparently, Europe is more concerned about the health of its citizens than U.S. regulators."

No state has effectively banned or limited the use of Bisphenol-A or Phthalates from baby products, however the European Union did move to eliminate Phthalates by unanimously approving a permanent ban on 6 types of Phthalates in September 2004. Other countries that have banned some, or all, use of Phthalates include: Austria, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and Japan. Canada has issued a national health advisory on Phthalates. SO WHAT'S WRONG WITH AMERICA? In the absence of both state and federal government action and adequate information about the presence of toxic chemicals in consumer products, the Environment California Research and Policy Center recommends that parents and others caring for children do the following:

• Avoid allowing children to put polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastic toys in their mouths;
• Use glass containers for food and drink storage when possible;
• In washing plastic products, avoid harsh dishwashing soap and hot water, both of which speed up the leaching process

There are so many alternatives to making plastics without these potentially harmful chemicals. If Gerber is really interested in "helping parents raise happy, healthy babies" why doesn't the company simply act on the side of caution until further evidence does come forth? In their letter they also state, "Gerber chose the multi-layer #7 plastic package so it ensures the quality of the product by helping ensure freshness of food." PLENTY OF ENSURANCES!

I have a little stack of Gerber's baby foods in #7 plastic containers that I removed from our Infant room immediately after reading that #7 plastics contained polycarbonate. We effectively ended our plastic baby food purchases and we have made a simple switch to glass containers, with little effort whatsoever! At this point is seems Gerber has no intention of taking the lead by stepping up to ensure that safety truly is their "top priority"!!

So here is what I propose we mothers do.

LET'S KEEP IT SIMPLE
, because I do understand that you are all rightfully busy tending to your precious babies and you shouldn't have to be preoccupied with worries concerning the optimal health of your children. Let's not even bother to second guess the plastics industry. What IF all these health organizations and environmental activist groups ARE right? Do we really have time to kick ourselves several years down the road when the FDA calls a ban on all leaching plastics?

1. When you go to the grocery store just don't buy any baby food in plastic containers! Go back to glass containers, which are still available on most grocery shelves.
2. Share what you know and what you are doing (skipping the #7 plastic baby food containers) with every mother you know.


If every mother stops buying Gerber's *new* plastic baby foods and reaches for glass containers then your local store will begin to get the picture. If EVERY store manager has to throw out expired plastic containers they will have no choice but to stock what mothers are buying! Seems like a small and easy step towards forcing necessary change, doesn't it? Gerber and all the other "safety first" big-money corporations are NOT going to switch to alternative plastics unless it impacts them financially!

If YOU can take just one precautionary measure to ensure your child's safety do it TODAY.
Every mother doing one thing, picking away at eliminating plastics #3-PVC, #6-PS, #7-Polycarbonate, will certainly add up to:
A lot of mothers in a lot of communities making a lot of difference to a lot of children!!

These are my thoughts on this perfectly peaceful Christmas morning. Good will to all....



Sunday, December 23, 2007

Are chemicals eliminating boys from our populations?


Man-made chemicals blamed as many more girls than boys are born in Arctic

Paul Brown in Nuuk, Greenland
(excerpts from The Guardian):


Twice as many girls as boys are being born in some Arctic villages because of high levels of man-made chemicals in the blood of pregnant women, according to scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (Amap).

The scientists, who say the findings could explain the recent excess of girl babies across much of the northern hemisphere, are widening their investigation across the most acutely affected communities in Russia, Greenland and Canada to try to discover the size of the imbalance in Inuit communities of the far north. In the communities of Greenland and eastern Russia monitored so far, the ratio was found to be two girls to one boy.

In one village in Greenland only girls have been born. "Here in the north of Greenland, in the villages near the Thule American base, only girl babies are being born to Inuit families."

The scientists measured the man-made chemicals in women's blood that
mimic human hormones (BISPHENOL-A) and concluded that they were capable of triggering changes in the sex of unborn children in the first three weeks of gestation. The chemicals are carried in the mother's bloodstream through the placenta to the fetus, switching hormones to create girl children.
The Arctic scientists have discovered that many of the babies born in Russia are premature and the boys are far smaller than girls. Possible links between the pollutants and high infant mortality in the first year of life is also being investigated.
Aqqaluk Lynge, the former chairman of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference who hails from Greenland, said: "This is a disaster, especially for some 1,500 people who make up the Inuit nations in the far north east of Russia.

Full results for the widening of the survey would not be published until next year but preliminary results for Greenland showed the same 2:1 ratio in the north.
 

DON'T ASSUME TOYS ARE SAFE!

Arlene,
I love you for sharing this August/07 letter from Govenor Spitzer with other's in our field, but by reading this parents and providers are going to think the toys on stores shelves are now safe because the Gov. started addressing this half a year ago. This is clearly NOT happening! The problem with the whole system stems right from the very beginning - the import stage! If these toys weren't being allowed in the country in the first place then they wouldn't be put on shelves. The real problem is the toy industry is big business and it's almost impossible to stop these corporations without a HUGE campaigne, overloading the public with an understanding of the chemicals that are in the toys and products they are buying for their children, and seriously advocating for safe toys on a daily basis.
I just added some interesting info to my forum. Did you know: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a level of 40 parts per million (ppm) of lead as the maximum that should be allowed in children's products. The federal recall standard used for lead paint is 600 ppm! Tests are being done on hundreds of items and the toxic level of lead in most of them is astounding - the Fisher Price Medical Kit we've been providing for our children for years now has 3,410 ppm of lead in some of its parts! That product is still on toy shelves, and I'm sure many children will be receiving it from Santa in a few days.

Lead isn't the only serious problem. What about arsenic? Did you see those lovely little shoes for infants with seriously toxic levels of arsenic on their soles? I just sent an article to our County newspaper about this week's Top 10 Worst Toys. These are NOT toys that have been recalled. They still sit on store shelves. Just last month I went to the Dollar Store in Canton and bought 2 "Baby Bead & Wire Toys" for the toddlers - the other day I received a few new recall notices, and this toy contained "excessive amounts of lead"! Honesty, we just can't keep up. Please continue to send any recall notices my way, but more importantly parents have to do their own homework. They can't trust that the toys on store shelves are safe simply because the Gov. said he would do something about it 6 months ago. Parents need to assume that any painted toy is toxic and before they purchase it they need to know that no law requires or regulates labels, and few products are labeled with chemical contents. They need to be pro-active and can go to www.HealthyToys.org to type in the product and see the tested results before purchasing a toxic toy!

Soft plastic and vinyl toys and products (including all plastic baby bottles except for Evenflo glass or colored, and GreenToGrow) contain potentially harmful chemicals such as DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and BBP (butylbenzyl phthalate), as well as DEHP (Di-Ethylhexyl Phthalate) and DINP (diisononyl phthalate) - which can cause liver and kidney disorders, damage to the reproductive tract, increased incidence of certain forms of cancer and diverse effects on development and metabolism. The effects of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride or vinyl) in plastics is already showing itself in Greenland.....just yesterday it was announced that scientists believe PVC exposure is responsible for the fact that infant boys are no longer being born to mothers in Greenland!! PVC is widely used in toys and other children's products and is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created. The safest way to ensure our children are not being given toxic toys is to completely avoid ALL soft plastic and vinyl products until we have done our homework and know what the product contains! Some toys now contain "PVC free" labels - assume that if the soft toy doesn't have this label it is unhealthy for a child! It is clear that we can not trust the toy industry to protect our children, and it is going to take drastic and ongoing action on the part of our government (both local and federal) to make the necessary changes. We are probably looking at years before we can relax and feel safe about pulling a toy from a store's shelf.

What bothers me the most is that I recently read this information, "When purchased for laboratory use, DINP (chemical that softens toys) is labelled with a number of hazard phrases, including "harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed", "possible risk of irreversible effects" and "may cause cancer". In contrast, toys containing up to 40% by weight DINP in a readily leachable form are frequently labelled "non toxic".

Lead in toys is just the tip of the iceburg, but it's nice that Govenor Spitzer is on our side. Hopefully we will all continue to pester him about lead and all the other harmful chemicals in our children's hands and mouths. Parents and childcare providers need to do some heavy YELLING in order to get heard!!


Friday, December 21, 2007

More December Recalls

NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

1. Children’s Toys Recalled by Dollar Tree Stores Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard -
Name of Product:
Baby Toys Baby Bead & Wire Toys and Speed Racer Pull Back & Go Action! Cars.
Hazard: The recalled toys contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.


2. Children’s Water Globes Recalled Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard; Sold Exclusively at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores -
Name of Product: Children’s Robbie Ducky Holiday Water Globes
Hazard: The painted base of the water globes contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.




Alright. Time for some personal comments here!
How long are we going to allow the government to continue in this distructive manner?!! I just received the latest "Top 10 Toxic Toys"..... please read this carefully and don't tell me you aren't as angry as I am right now!
Lovely little dinner party set - remember moms, how we used to enjoy playing with these? Set up the tea party and invite all of our animals friends? So let's give our own daughters this same wonderful experience, shall we?! Try this lovely TOXIC LEAD Dinner Party set, made in China, distributed by Almart...... only 12,635 ppm on the small painted side of the ceramic kettle! (remember American Academy of Pediatrics recommended allowance is 40 ppm; federal recall allowance is 600 ppm).
Ask your daughter's friends over for a tea party so they can sip on the tiny tea cups with only 3,740 ppm of lead going directly to their innocent mouths!
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THESE PRODUCTS ARE GETTING PUT ON STORE SHELVES???? 
Who is asleep at the wheel?!
It is seriously way past time for every single parent to stand up and take action
on behalf of our children! Someone has to do it, we ALL have to do it. 
Have you started to advocate for safe toys yet? If not, why not?! 
Who else can we count on to stop this insanity??
Lovely little "Dinner Party"? 
Anyone letting their precious children play with this chemical that
isn't even on the recall list yet?



LATEST TOXIC TOYS LIST

IMPORTANT NOTE:

LEAD:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a level of 40 parts per million (ppm) of lead as the maximum that should be allowed in children's products. The federal recall standard used for lead paint is 600 ppm! Very high levels of lead were found in a number of products. Recent testing by Healthy Toys detected more than 6,700 ppm in animal figurines, 3,056 ppm in a Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Game pack, and 1,700 ppm lead in baby shoes. 

Arsenic, Cadminum, and Mercury: Has also been found in a number of products! These 3 chemicals have been found at levels greater than 100 ppm. The toy industry has established a voluntary migration standard for the amount of arsenic that can migrate from toys of 25 ppm.


Results of some recently tested toys that contain high chemical levels.
Detailed results can be found at Healthy Toys.

1. Medical Kit (Fisher Price): High lead (3,410 ppm); High arsenic (293); med chlorine/PVC


2. 
Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Game (Disney): High Lead (3,056); High arsenic (250); med chlorine/PVC

3. Kids Slippers: Royal Designs (sizes 3-4) (Max Grey): High Lead (1,363); High arsenic (132); med chlorine/PVC

4. Squeeze Fish (3) (Babyking): High Cadmium (184)

5. My Little Sunshine Mirror (Sassy): High arsenic (859) - especially pink cheeks and yellow fabric

6. My Pasture Play Set (all animals), (Dollar Store): High Lead (6,733); High arsenic (204); med chlorine/PVC

7. Kids Boots: Boot Style 443449; Item 1682 (Circo); on yellow vinyl & blue trim: High Lead (1,687); Med arsenic (204); med chlorine/PVC


8. Infant Shoes (Target) Style 443559 (Circo): High Lead (5,197 white sole); med chlorine/PVC


9. Bath Float Toys (Babyking): High Cadmium (429); med lead; low chlorine/PVC



Urge Your Daycare to Become Bisphenol-A FREE!



Ontario, Canada:
Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario, is considering banning Bisphenol A in the Province of Ontario."Why is it that at the beginning of the 21st century one in four Ontarians are dying of cancer?" "We need to do a better job of understanding the influence of these chemicals toxins and carcinogens in our environment and our quality of life." Rick Smith of Environmental Defense said "It's just ridiculous that we have baby bottles sold that have known hormone-disrupting chemical in it."

Babies and children can be exposed to bisphenol A at their daycare centres.
That’s why the Environmental Defence is urging daycare centres to become bisphenol A-free."

You can help.
Urge your children’s daycare centre to go bisphenol A-free. 
Here is a sample letter composed by the Environmental Defence 
that you can give your childcare provider. 
(CLICK HERE)

Daycare Centers and Providers should send a letter to their suppliers
asking them to eliminate toy, food and beverage products that contain bisphenol A.
(Sample Letter HERE).

Monday, December 17, 2007

NY Consumer Protection Board asking for Public Participation!

Advocacy Key to Month Long Commemoration of National Toy Safety Month Dec 2007

The New York State Consumer Protection Board (CPB) is calling on the public to participate in and advocate for toy safety as part of its month-long commemoration of National Toy Safety Awareness Month. They have provided this information & link. SIMPLY CLICK TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR CHILD'S LIFE!

(CPB): "With your voice, we can try to prevent the distribution of dangerous toys.
Use this letter to urge the Toy Industry Association
to take steps to improve the quality and safety of toys.
"

GET YOUR CHILDREN INVOLVED!!
Use NY State Consumer Protection Board's
TOY SAFETY INVENTORY CHECKLIST





New York's Safe Children's Products Campaign


PROTECT NEW YORK'S KIDS CAMPAIGN

The JustGreen Partnership (Working for Environmental Health and Justice for New York's People and Communities) is working with legislative champions to develop a Child-safe Products Act to be introduced in and passed through both houses of the New York State Legislature and signed into law in 2008. This bill should contain the following policy elements:
  1. Dates certain for phase-out of toxic chemicals from children’s products and by which substitution of safer chemicals or processes is required.
  2. Safety labeling for all products stating that they are in compliance with the law (i.e., do not contain the law’s identified chemicals), and warning labels for all products that are not (i.e., contain toxic ingredients). (bilingual)
  3. Support for an independent, third-party certification program such as GreenSeal or LEED to verify claims.
  4. Regular inspection at the retail and importation level, funded by the Environmental Protection Fund.
  5. Penalties for non-compliance.
  6. Partial exemption from liability for retailers who require contents disclosure from their product suppliers.
  7. Technical Support and compliance assistance for businesses.
  8. Requiring the newly funded Pollution Prevention Institute to prioritize solutions for identified toxic chemicals and product categories.
  9. Authorization of participation in an Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse, to bring together research and data gathered on chemical hazards, alternatives, and initiatives for implementation of safer chemicals policies by the states into a single location, while establishing new data, research, dialogs and collaborations. Also funded through the Environmental Protection Fund.
Join the New York State "JustGreen Partnership" and take action today!

Email your Senator (click here)
Email your Assembly Member (click here)
Email Judith Anck, Deputy Secretary of the Environment (click here)