Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beyond BPA: PVC, DEHP, DEHA, and aluminum

My parents don't think its a good idea to make people feel guilty about what they're eating, so if you don't like my blog, don't read this one! This is upsetting.

I don't want to lead you astray that avoiding BPA is the all-safe method, because there are other hazards to avoid which may be in BPA-free products (AAAHH!) In my organics post you'll read about how the U.S. is still producing DDT, and all the endocrine disrupters in our water system are mutating and destroying animal habitats, so we have freak frogs and the like.

"In order to make certain plastics more flexible, chemical plasticizers called 'phthalates' (pronounced THAL-ates) are added to such items as tablecloths, blood bags, shower curtains, beer bottle caps, and PVC toys (rubber duckies). Phthalates are classified as cancer-causing substances. Some products contain as much as 40 percent phthalates by weight. Millions of tons of these chemicals produced every year find uses in cosmetics, adhesives, inks, detergents, solvents, lubricants, paints, and vinyl flooring. The most common phthalate, DEHP, is used in the cap-sealing resins of bottled foods and in the heat-seal coatings on metal foils (as in yogurt). This, and other endocrine-disrupting phthalates also find their way into many baby foods and infant formulas. Significant amounts of DEHP migrate to foods like those in retail packed lunches. The source here is the disposable gloves used by the workers who put the lunches together. PVC gloves have a high percentage of DEHP. "Also of concern is another plasticizer, DEHA, found in at least one brand of PVC cling wrap sold for home use (Reynolds) and in a number of brands of plastic wrap used by supermarkets to seal fresh food products. Although apparently not a hormone mimic like its phthalate cousin DEHP, DEHA leaches into foods wrapped in such plastic in substantial amounts- especially into fat-containing foods like cheese and meat, which have a strong attraction for this substance. DEHA migrates into foods in even greater amounts when in contact with foods that are being microwaved. These amounts typically exceed limits that have been established by the European Union. The disease-causing potential of DEHA is still not clear. For now, the U.S. EPA labels it a 'possible human carcinogen.' To be safe, it would be wise to avoid purchasing wraps containing this plasticizer for home use. Also check with your market to make sure they are not using DEHA-containing cling wraps. "As far as children's toys are concerned, a number of countries have banned the use of phthalates found in the PVC used in toys for children under three years of age- such as teething rings and pacifiers. Not willing to ruffle the plasticized feathers of the chemical industry, the United States now requires only warnings." (Barbee, 87)

Surprising sources of BPA, phthalates, and PVC in your house (it’s there!) states

"Nearly all baby mattresses are wrapped in PVC. PVC is generally considered to be one of the most toxic and environmentally damaging plastics in use and off-gasses nasty stuff into the air (it’s what makes new cars smell like, well, like new cars). Additionally, they’re filled with urethane foam, which releases nasties like benzene, and coated with a fire retardant containing things like antimony and arsenic. You can get around this by purchasing a cotton, wool, or natural latex mattress."

They also state to take all this information about endocrine disruptors with a grain of salt!

I added aluminum because I hear neuroscientists talk about aluminum being found in the brain and the adverse effects. I need to research it more, but aluminum is not a good thing to be eating, and it leaches into our food. If Coke can eat through an entire eggshell in a year, you betcha that it'll eat the can its in, too.

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