Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common chemical found in plastics and other products that is linked to a host of medical disorders. To avoid this toxin, many people look for alternative products that are BPA-Free. But now research suggests that many of these “safer alternatives” have the same properties that make BPA so harmful. Are any plastics safe?
As an estrogen mimic, BPA has been linked to health issues like cancer, diabetes, obesity, asthma, liver problems, heart disease, miscarriages and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although estrogen has important functions in the body, having too much or too little of the hormone can be seriously detrimental to health.
In response to the movement to ban products containing BPA in 2008, companies started manufacturing BPA-free products. Yet a 2011 study on them found synthetic estrogen was released from a majority of the commercially available plastic food storage containers tested. And what’s more, this occurred even when the products weren’t exposed to heat from a microwave, dishwasher or sunrays. In fact, some BPA-free products leached out synthetic estrogens that could be more harmful than BPA.
It turns out that in the rush to manufacture BPA-free products, many of the chemicals used weren’t tested to see if they had effects that were similar to BPA. The expose that rocked the plastic world was conducted by scientist George Bittner at CertiChem, a lab in Austin, and published in Environmental Health Perspectives.
Plastic War: the Shocking Use of Dirty Big Tobacco Tactics
The release of this study ushered in a mega-fight with the $375-billion-per-year plastics industry. Discrediting the scientific evidence that linked these chemicals to health problems became the primary objective. Shockingly, factions of the plastics industry borrowed dirty tactics from Big Tobacco to accomplish their goal.
Just as Big Tobacco relied on scientists who discredited studies linking smoking to disease, so also the plastic industry found biased studies that concluded BPA was not harmful to health. Big Plastic not only used Big Tobacco’s underhanded strategy, they also used some of the same scientists and journals who tried to bury the truth about smoking. In other words, the same “experts” who attempted to lull the public into believing smoking does not cause lung cancer also tried to pull the wool over the public eye regarding BPA.
Plastic War: The Use of Big Money
After Bittner’s expose appeared, the American Chemistry Council, a lobbyist for plastic manufacturers, began their efforts to refute the study. They approached Chris Borgert, a former tobacco industry scientist, and offered him $15,000 to write a letter to the journal discrediting Bittner’s research. Borgert’s assignment was to indicate the CertiChem study was unconvincing and enlist another scientist to sign on.
At the same time, Eastman Chemical, the manufacturer of Tritan, a widely used plastic listed as BPA-free, paid a researcher named Thomas Osimitz $10,000 to conduct a study on their product. Osimitz was a puppet working under the instructions of an Eastman toxicologist who designed the study in such a way that it almost guaranteed estrogenic activity wouldn’t be found in Tritan. Journals normally require authors to disclose any conflicts of interest, but the article published in Food and Chemical Toxicology failed to mention Eastman’s role.
Eastman sued CertiChem to keep it from making public the findings that Tritan was estrogenic. The jury ruled in its favor. So is Bittner laying down his sword in the fight to reveal the harmful effects of BPA-free plastics? By no means. He told Mother Jones that while Eastman won the battle, it won’t necessarily win the war.
Researcher Says We Need a New Plastic Revolution
With all the deception and lack of integrity in the plastic industry and certain members of the research community, it can be difficult for the truth to come out. However, it seems clear that for the sake of the public health, a major reformulation of plastic products is needed
Rolf Halden, a scientist at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute says, “We need a new plastic revolution.” In an announcement concerning his overview of plastics published in Reviews on Environmental Health, he explained the first revolution failed to choose plastic-making materials judiciously. The consequences were widespread pollution and the exposure of people to toxic chemicals, Halden adds.
In the research on BPA-free plastics led by Bittner, he asserts that plastics can be made with existing inexpensive materials that don’t have estrogenic activity. Until this happens, consumers can use glass and steel containers rather than plastic. Additionally, as the small bodies of children make them more susceptible to the harmful effects of plastic, feed babies with a glass bottle and avoid plastic products like sippy cups for toddlers.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.