There has been a lot of research coming out lately about pesticides. It seems like more and more people are becoming aware of the effects of these killing chemicals on us, not just the bugs they target. The information is fascinating. I thought I might put it all together as a general resource and provide some avenues for you to improve your life by reducing your exposure. After all, some of these new studies link pesticides to ADHD, others link them to Parkinsons Disease and yet others point to food and water contamination. It seems like it must be pretty wide spread considering that we grow a lot of food that bugs also eat. When we spray those plants with insecticide, we submit the chemical to the plants organism and this remains present in the plant after death, after cooking, after eating and swallowing. So you must have a lot of pesticides in you. That’s just the facts.

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I know you are hearing a lot about the water… the rivers, the oceans, the water in the tap.. and that it all seems complicated and overwhelming. Indeed, there are gyres of plastic in the ocean the size of a city and there are drugs in the tap water in New York City and the coral reefs are dieing off from pollution.. but there’s another one. One that hits really close to home and should be a major concern for you.

Recent studies prove that chemicals in the water supply (from the ocean up the waterways to your kitchen sink) are bending genders in wildlife. These chemicals are what is known as endocrine disruptors, similar to the BPA everyone has been talking about, and they change the sex in organisms. Aquatic organisms are switching from male to female and back again as a result of exposure to these chemicals. But the stuff isn’t isolated to distant waterways where nothing but creeping anemones sprawl on rocks and in caves; this stuff is right out there, where you might even be swimming. For sure, they are moving into the water that is used to make our tap water. No kidding.

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As you know from my previous writings on the subject, BPA or Bisphenol A is an organic compound used in a huge number of retail products, including plastic food and beverage containers, kitchen appliances, electronics (casings) and packaging of all kinds. It is even included in the resins used to line soda, soup and vegetable cans. It is currently known to be an “endocrine disrupter” or a synthetic chemical known to mimic the behavior of estrogen. It has been found to disrupt normal heart muscle function and prompt arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. BPA has come under increasing scrutiny by medical researchers for this endocrine-hormone-disrupting potential and has gotten a lot of media attention for this. This new information proves that it can interfere with reproductive, egg and fat cell development, as well as with thyroid hormone and neurological functions. The chemical has also been labled an “obesegen”, meaning it is linked to conditions that can prompt obesity and diabetes.

Suspected of being hazardous to humans since as early as the 1930s, current concerns about the use of bisphenol A in consumer products began in 2008. At that time several governments and their agencies issued reports questioning its’ safety. The news media grabbed the story and many retailers quietly removed products containing BPA from store shelves. Up until now, the main concern have been regarding the exposure of fetuses, infants and young children to products loaded with the compound.

But there is new, disheartening (excuse the pun), news. A study released this week by researchers at the University of Cincinnati says that exposure to bisphenol A may increase heart disease in women. And guess what? New research proves that these effects can occur at very low levels of exposure. In other words, you don’t have to drink more than a couple sodas a day or use more than 1 or 2 plastic food storage containers.

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I know this is not new news. I know it was first presented to the public back in March of 2009 but I can’t help but comment on this. Did you know that six major baby bottle makers in the United States have agreed to stop using the toxic chemical Bisphenol-A, an obesegen and toxic chemical, in their baby bottles?

The six companies are: Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex and Evenflow. They have all agreed to voluntarily ban BPA from bottles that they manufacture. This is a huge victory for human health in this country and now you have a choice. Buy the junk others make, loaded with BPA, or limit your purchases to these thoughtful companies.

Consumer groups in New Jersey and Delaware wrote in October, 2008, to the companies urging them to stop using the controversial chemical, widespread in plastic, after studies linked BPA to a range of health problems in infants. Not to mention that science has linked this chemical to obesity; so much so that scientist call it an “obesegen”. Read my recent post on Harmony Green. In fact, over 130 studies over the past decade have linked even low levels of BPA to serious health problems, breast cancer, obesity and the early onset of puberty, among other disorders.

Vocal consumer watchdog groups have been calling, loudly, for a complete ban on BPA. But this is small comfort in my opinion when you realize how much of this is going on, and not just with baby bottles. We should be in fear for our lives. In addition to all the other horrors discovered about BPA alone, toxicologists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found last year that the chemical could interfere with the brain development of fetuses and newborns. Ever wonder why so many of our kids are fat, hyperactive and have to be medicated for brain disorders? Is it going to come down to how rich some company can get? Is our health and well being a price you’re willing to pay?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its European counterpart, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have said the chemical is safe in the amounts used in such products as baby bottles. For my opinion on this matter, read my previous post on how the EPA lies to us about the chemicals in the products we buy.

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As I’ve reported before in this blog, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as a rule, allows companies to keep new information about chemicals they use in their products a secret from the public. This includes compounds and additives that have been shown to cause cancer, respiratory problems and immune reactions. This boils down to a conspiracy of sorts, whereby the EPA and the companies they protect lie to the American people.

In a recent investigation, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper examined more than 2,000 filings in the EPA’s registry of dangerous chemicals for the past three years. In more than half the cases, the EPA was shown to have agreed to keep the chemical name a secret. In hundreds of other cases, it allowed the company filing the report to keep its name and address confidential.

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According to a fantastic investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ) has kept data about potentially dangerous chemicals secret.. The newspaper said its analysis of more than 2,000 EPA dangerous chemical filings over the past three years found that the agency allowed the names of chemicals added to consumer products to remain undisclosed in more than half those cases. As well, in hundreds of the registered reports, both the company and its address remained confidential.

In its mission to protect human health and the environment, the EPA is supposed to act as a clearinghouse for information about hazardous chemicals. It is not a protectionist agency and it should not be invested in trade secret keeping or other patent and copyright protection activities. Therefor, there is no excuse for keeping these chemicals secret except to protect specific companies from public backlash. Their first duty is to the consumer, not the producer.

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I found this online at Science Daily and it freaked me out. I mean, they are finding that toxic chemicals in plastics may be the cause of metabolic syndrome, a condition that makes people fat, slow and sick. This report was based on new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and this research implicates the primary chemical used to produce hard plastics-bisphenol A (BPA)-as a “risk factor” for metabolic syndrome and its consequences. When I saw this, I was immediately feeling anger as I thought “what if they find” that plastic is making America obese? I mean, wouldn’t that just take the cake?

Getting back to the Science, this report states that in a laboratory study, using fresh human fat tissues, the UC team found that BPA suppresses a key hormone, adiponectin, which is responsible for regulating insulin sensitivity in the body and puts people at a substantially higher risk for metabolic syndrome. This syndrome, as I’ve read about it online, is also a cause of Diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that include lower responsiveness to insulin (insulin resistance) and higher blood levels of sugar and lipids (cholesterol). According to the American Heart Association, about 25 percent of Americans have metabolic syndrome. Left untreated, the disorder can lead to life-threatening health problems such as coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

And they are saying that some chemical in plastic bottles, forks, containers, bags, etc.. is causing this? Seriously. I find this unsettling.

The article also refers to Nira Ben-Jonathan, PhD. This doctor and her team are the first to report scientific evidence on the health effects of BPA at environmentally relevant doses equal to “average” human exposure. Previous studies have primarily focused on animal studies and high doses of BPA. Think of how many bottles, forks, bags, wrappers, bowls, etc… your family uses every day.

Scientists are now estimating that over 80% of the people they have tested have measurable BPA in their bloodstream. The UC study was designed to mimic a realistic human exposure (between 0.1 and 10 nanomolar) so that a more direct correlation between human exposure and health effects could be drawn.

Ben-Jonathan is a professor of Cancer and cell Biology at UC and has studied BPA for more than 10 years. She has been quoted as saying that “people have serious concerns about the potential health effects of BPA. As the scientific evidence continues to mount against the chemical, it should be given serious attention to minimize future harm.”

“Experimenting with human tissue is the closest we can come to testing the effects of BPA in humans. It’s a very exciting breakthrough because epidemiological studies looking at BPA effects on humans are difficult since most people have already been exposed to it,” she concedes.

To conduct this study, the UC team collected fresh fat tissue from Cincinnati patients undergoing several types of breast or abdominal surgery. These samples included three types of fat tissue: breast, subcutaneous and visceral (around the organs). This tissue was immediately taken to the laboratory and incubated with different concentrations of BPA or estrogen for six hours to observe how the varied amounts of BPA affected adiponectin levels. The effects of BPA were then compared to those of estradiol, a natural form of human estrogen.

The researchers found that exposing human tissues to BPA levels within the range of common human exposure resulted in suppression of a hormone that protects people from metabolic syndrome.

“These results are especially powerful because we didn’t use a single patient, a single tissue source or a single occurrence,” Nira Ben-Johnathan has noted. “We used different fat tissues from multiple patients and got the same negative response to BPA.”

According to the source quoted in Science Daily, UC’s Eric Hugo, PhD, Terry Brandebourg, PhD, Jessica Woo, PhD, J. Wesley Alexander, MD, and Christ Hospital surgeon Jean Loftus, MD, participated in this study. The study was funded by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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