Ethics in Medicine

Eat Like a Mennonite: No Plastic

Kristen Sparrow • January 25, 2013


Rethinking Bacteria
Rethinking Bacteria

Discussion of the problems with BPA (bisphenol A) here (BPA and childhood obesity),  and here (Big Chem, Big Harm), here (BPA and Breast Cancer Link), and here. (Media fails to protect babies from BPA ). The last entry is from 4 years ago, so this has been an issue for awhile…
In this article the author tries not to ingest any food that has touched plastic. In addition, she avoids triclosan (discussed previously here) and phalates.  She is able to get the BPA in her urine  down by a large amount, but it is still  there perhaps from her eyeglasses!!
January 18, 2013
Eat Like a Mennonite
We wanted to see what it would take to nudge down our bodies’ levels of a handful of common chemicals with the potential to mimic or disrupt hormones, including phthalates (found in some plastics and added to products like lotions to bind fragrances), triclosan (an antibacterial ingredient in many soaps, toothpastes and cutting boards) and bisphenol A (or BPA, a plastic-hardener and epoxy additive that may affect children’s brain development and that some believe may be linked to breast and prostate cancers)…
A study published in 2010 found a very effective way to reduce urinary phthalate levels was to live meatless in a Buddhist temple for five days. A study recently published in the journal NeuroToxicology found that pregnant women in Old Order Mennonite communities, which eschew many modern conveniences, had urinary BPA levels one-fourth the national median. Those Mennonites eat more fresh food than the rest of us and make their own dairy products, but they also buy fewer consumer goods, which can be additional sources of BPA. The chemical is found in dental fillings, eyeglass lenses and CDs, among other products.
In lab-animal studies, BPA has been linked to mammary gland tumors, prostate and urethra problems and cardiac irregularities. The Food and Drug Administration maintains that BPA is safe in low levels, although in 2010 it expressed “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children.” And yet, last year’s bottle announcement seemed to be less about protecting infants than about putting confused parents at ease.
… My daughter’s level dropped even lower, to 0.65. That’s my little cave girl. The researchers speculated that perhaps my polycarbonate eyeglasses kept me from shedding more BPA…
It’s why we need the government to require testing of commercial chemicals for hormonal effects, and to regulate them in a meaningful way. And it’s why we need manufacturers to design products with safer substances in the first place.