BPA and PFOA
October 22, 2018
BPA or bisphenol A is a chemical that was first brought to commercial levels in the 1950's. It is a base material used in the production of plastics and resins. It became a major concern for safety after it was found to act like estrogenic hormones in mammals. We also learned that this chemical has the ability to affect the expression of our DNA as the work of Randy Jirtle and Dana Dolinoy showed over 15 years ago.
The chemical is leaving society finally as companies and states are starting to ban its use. We should all breath a sigh of relief. Or should we? When it comes to our children,
I think that we have much work to do and here is a story to shed some light on the why?
I recently had the sad privilege of seeing a sneak peak of the upcoming documentary, The Devil We Know, about the Dupont corporation's teflon PFOA chemical nightmare in the West Virginia countryside. This documentary is a window into the sad reality of a trusted American company that put profits over human health. In 2019, this video will be available on netflix and I highly encourage all to watch the film. As Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group notes, this concern is all too common in the United States where the onus is on us to prove risk and not on the company that is releasing this chemical into the environment.
In the film, the Dupont chemical company knowingly polluted the local Ohio river and paid a paltry 16.5 million dollar fine and lost a 300 plus million dollar lawsuit for inducing cancer, autoimmune diseases and birth defects in the local population exposed to the chemical. As with bisphenol A, we would think that this is the end for a dangerous chemical when we learn that it is unsafe. Unfortunately, it is not. Dupont went on to spin off a smaller company called Chemours to continue production of similar chemicals like GenX, a cousin of PFOA, which would allow for continued production of non stick pan coatings. This chemical is now known to be contaminating the drinking water of residents of North Carolina near the Chemours plant and potentially down the entire Cape Fear river region.
Fast forward to a new article by Maya Wei-Haas on the state of BPA related plastic chemicals in the United states. BPA is on the decline in society, true. However, the problem is that like GenX it is being replaced by cousins BPS or BPP or BPF and so on. Houston we have a problem!
From the Wei-Haas article, "Scientists have a term to describe this analogous chemical swapping: regrettable substitutes. And the issue isn't limited to BPA. Many groups of compounds are suffering from the problem of too-similar replacements, including flame retardants (used in furniture, vehicles, and electronics), phthalates (used in cosmetics, personal care products, adhesives, plastics, and pharmaceuticals), and polyfluoroalkyl substances (used in nonstick products like teflon). There are startlingly few regulations to keep this from happening. And many of the tests to identify endocrine disruptors such as BPA are outdated. "The old standard toxicology testing methods were devised decades ago," says Hunt. "And they're pretty crude techniques."
I could go on and on about corporate malfeasance and governmental stupidity for allowing these events to take place, but alas it is of no use at this time. What we need is to think about self protection and preservation.
When it comes to your children and safety at all levels, plan to try to avoid products that have not been proven to be safe. Visit the website www.ewg.org to learn how to stop these chemicals from entering your sphere of life. Folks, this is serious stuff. We are seeing more and more disease in our clinic and mechanistically chemicals are a big part of the problem. Toxicity is real. To put your head in the sand is akin to allowing the devil we know to win at your expense.
We have the natural ability to heal all problems in our body. First and most important part of the healing process is to remove the irritant to normalize function. Removing chemicals from your environment is key. Second, provide whole foods loaded with the precursors to the detoxification systems to augment residual chemical removal. Here I think of fiber from legumes and berries, sulphur from cruciferous vegetables, amino acids cysteine and glycine from eggs and broccoli. Add in lots of fresh water and exercise to sweat frequently and you have a pathway to remove chemicals from your system.
Be prepared and ready to live chemical free,