BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth, is tied to hyperactivity, study says – The Washington Post

In a groundbreaking study, researchers have shown why a chemical once thought to be a safe alternative to bisphenol-A, which was abandoned by manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups after a public outcry, might itself be more harmful than BPA.

University of Calgary scientists say they think their research is the first to show that bisphenol-S, an ingredient in many products bearing “BPA-free” labels, causes abnormal growth surges of neurons in an animal embryo.

The same surges were also found with BPA, though not at the same levels as with BPS, prompting the scientists to suggest that all structurally similar compounds now in use or considered for use by plastic manufacturers are unsafe.

“A lot of the alternative chemicals have not been adequately tested because they don’t have to be,” said lead author Deborah Kurrasch. “A compound is considered safe (by the Food and Drug Administration) until proven otherwise.”

The disruption of prenatal cellular activity in zebra fish, which share 80 percent of their genes with humans and are considered a good model for studying human brain development, seemed to result in hyperactivity, according to the Canadian study, which was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

via BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth, is tied to hyperactivity, study says – The Washington Post.

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More Evidence Links BPA to Childhood Obesity – WebMD

More Evidence Links BPA to Childhood Obesity

Study finds preteen girls who had high levels of common chemical were twice as likely to be overweight

By Brenda Goodman

WEDNESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) — There’s fresh evidence that the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, may play a part in childhood obesity.

BPA is a chemical that is widely used in food packaging. Government studies have shown that 92 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies.

There’s intense scientific interest in BPA because it is chemically similar to the hormone estrogen, and there’s some concern that it may mimic estrogen’s effects in the body, causing harm to the brain and reproductive organs, particularly in children.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, though manufacturers had already stopped using it. The agency declined to ban it from other food containers, pending further research.

In a new study published online June 12 in the journal PLoS One, researchers measured BPA levels in the urine of more than 1,300 children in China and compared those levels to their body weights.

The study authors also asked the kids about other things that may influence body weight, such as how often they ate junk food, fruits and vegetables, how muchexercise they got, whether their parents were overweight and how long they played video games, on average, each day.

After taking all those factors into account, the investigators found that girls aged 9 to 12 who had higher-than-average levels of BPA in their urine were about twice as likely to be obese as those with lower-than-average levels. The researchers didn’t see the same association for boys or for older girls.

One explanation for the results may be that girls who are entering puberty are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals, said study author Dr. De-Kun Li, an epidemiologist at Kaiser Foundation Research Institute and the Stanford School of Medicine, in California.

“Human studies are starting to confirm animal studies that show BPA can disrupt energy storage and energy metabolism,” said Li.

One of the most recent questions raised about BPA is whether or not it may be an obesogen, or a chemical that contributes to the development of obesity.

In laboratory studies, BPA produces many of the molecular hallmarks of obesity. It makes fat cells bigger, it blocks the function of a protein called adiponectin, which protects against heart disease, and it disrupts the balance of testosterone and estrogen — hormones that are important for maintaining a healthy body mass.

One expert found the study results troubling.

“Clearly, unhealthy diet and physical activity are still the leading causes of the childhood obesity epidemic worldwide, but this study adds further concern to the notion that environmental chemicals may be independent contributors,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and health policy at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City.via More Evidence Links BPA to Childhood Obesity – WebMD.

BPA substitute could spell trouble: Experiments show bisphenol S also disrupts hormone activity

Definitely seeing the merit of just buying glass from now on! I love my BPA free water bottle but… who knows what’s in it instead?

Jan. 22, 2013 — A few years ago, manufacturers of water bottles, food containers, and baby products had a big problem. A key ingredient of the plastics they used to make their merchandise, an organic compound called bisphenol A, had been linked by scientists to diabetes, asthma and cancer and altered prostate and neurological development. The FDA and state legislatures were considering action to restrict BPA’s use, and the public was pressuring retailers to remove BPA-containing items from their shelves.

The industry responded by creating “BPA-free” products, which were made from plastic containing a compound called bisphenol S. In addition to having similar names, BPA and BPS share a similar structure and versatility: BPS is now known to be used in everything from currency to thermal receipt paper, and widespread human exposure to BPS was confirmed in a 2012 analysis of urine samples taken in the U.S., Japan, China and five other Asian countries.

According to a study by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers, though, BPS also resembles BPA in a more problematic way. Like BPA, the study found, BPS disrupts cellular responses to the hormone estrogen, changing patterns of cell growth and death and hormone release. Also like BPA, it does so at extremely low levels of exposure.

“Our studies show that BPS is active at femtomolar to picomolar concentrations just like endogenous hormones — that’s in the range of parts per trillion to quadrillion,” said UTMB professor Cheryl Watson, senior author of a paper on the study now online in the advance publications section ofEnvironmental Health Perspectives. “Those are levels likely to be produced by BPS leaching from containers into their contents.”

Watson and graduate student René Viñas conducted cell-culture experiments to examine the effects of BPS on a form of signaling that involves estrogen receptors — the “receivers” of a biochemical message — acting in the cell’s outer membrane instead of the cell nucleus. Where nuclear signaling involves interaction with DNA to produce proteins and requires hours to days, membrane signaling (also called “non-genomic” signaling) acts through much quicker mechanisms, generating a response in seconds or minutes.

Watson and Viñas focused on key biochemical pathways that are normally stimulated when estrogen activates membrane receptors. One, involving a protein known as ERK, is linked to cell growth; another, labeled JNK, is tied to cell death. In addition, they examined the ability of BPS to activate proteins called caspases (also linked to cell death) and promote the release of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates lactation and influences many other functions.

“These pathways form a complicated web of signals, and we’re going to need to study them more closely to fully understand how they work,” Watson said. “On its own, though, this study shows us that very low levels of BPS can disrupt natural estrogen hormone actions in ways similar t

The New Scary Threat in Canned Soup: BPA

The New Scary Threat in Canned Soup | Rodale News.

I just wrote – and accidentally clicked out of at the end – a let’s asume awesome post about fad diets. But as wordpress did not save it, please enjoy this article about the scary stuff in canned products instead. After reading this, I will be learning how to make my own soup!

Chinese researchers have just given you one more reason to ditchcanned soup for good: A controversial chemical used in canned-good linings, as well as in certain types of plastics and the coatings for cash-register receipts, has been associated with higher rates of brain cancer.

The study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Oncology, compared levels of bisphenol A (BPA) to rates of meningioma, a type of cancer that grows in the membrane that surrounds your brain and spinal cord, in about 500 adults who were being treated at a clinic in China. About half of those people had been diagnosed with meningioma, while the other half had not.

The researchers found that the adults with higher levels of BPA in their urine were more likely to have that particular form of brain cancer than those whose levels were lower. The people with the highest concentrations of BPA were 1.4 to 1.6 times more likely to have the cancer than people with the lowest levels. That was even after the researchers controlled for things like weight, family history, and whether the person had been on hormone replacement therapy.


The Truth About Canned Soup


BPA is a hormone disruptor, meaning that it interferes with the way your body produces and regulates estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones, such as insulin, which is why past studies have linked it to breast and prostate cancers and to metabolic diseases like diabetes. Meningioma is a hormonal cancer influenced by high levels of female hormones, which is one reason the cancer is more often seen in women.

Although this study doesn’t show that BPA causes meningioma, it does add to a growing body of research linking the chemical to serious health issues. In addition to those listed above, BPA has been linked to heart disease and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Brain Cancer or Breast Cancer? 
Canned-food manufacturers are beginning to recognize that the public doesn’t want this toxic chemical in its canned goods and are starting to find alternatives, even though the Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly refused to ban BPA from food packaging. But the alternatives? Just more cancer-causers, says Margie Kelly of Healthy Child Healthy World, a nonprofit devoted to protecting children from toxic chemicals. “It’s just not acceptable to move from BPA to another toxic chemical that just doesn’t have the same bad PR,” she says.

According to the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, a trade group of can manufacturers, the most common replacement for BPA right now is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), otherwise known as vinyl, the same material used to make your bathroom shower curtain. PVC contains hormone-disrupting chemicals of its own, and it’s been linked to breast and liver cancers; the Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a known human carcinogen.


The 3 Biggest Sources of Chemicals in Your Home


Another alternative being studied is bisphenol S, or BPS, which is similar in structure to BPA and just as likely to interfere with your hormones.

And both chemicals are being used in cans advertised as “BPA free.” “‘BPA free’ doesn’t necessarily mean safe, any more than ‘natural’ means anything,” says Kelly.

Crickets Chirping at Food Company HQ
Kelly’s group led a campaign to get Campbell Soup to remove BPA from its cans, and after they collected 20,000 signatures on a petition, the company ultimately announced that it would. Similarly, Kroger, the country’s largest grocery store chain, announced that it would require canned-food manufacturers selling products in its stores to phase out BPA, and other large agribusinesses, including ConAgra, General Mills, and Heinz, have all announced that they’re either phasing out BPA or researching alternatives for use in their cans. But no one is saying what they’ll use instead, whether it will be cancer-causing vinyl, hormone-disrupting BPS, or yet another unknown, untested chemical.

“No one fought, signed petitions, did research on the Internet only to have cans be lined with something that’s equally dangerous,” Kelly says.

Her group has now partnered with the nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund in a new campaign called “Cans Not Cancer” that’s pressuring canned-food companies to be more transparent about the alternatives in use. Currently, the nonprofits are pressuring Campbell Soup to disclose what’s being used in its cans. You can sign the petition here.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Avoid ‘Em
According to the Breast Cancer Fund, food packaging remains our largest exposure source to BPA, and they’ve published tips on the best ways to avoid the toxic chemical (and any of its toxic replacements). Here are the group’s suggestions:

• Canned beans: Eden Foods is the only company using a nontoxic BPA alternative in its cans, made from vegetable oil. If you can’t find that brand, check the freezer section for frozen cooked beans, or buy dried.

• Fruits: Replace your canned fruit with fresh or dried, and you’ll not only avoid BPA, but also the added sugar and calories in canned fruit.

• Ravioli, pasta with meatballs, and other canned meals: These all-in-one meals have some of the highest levels of BPA of any canned foods, the Fund says. Cooking from scratch is the easiest way to avoid these, but if you’re in a pinch, buy a frozen meal instead. Just keep an eye out for the sky-high sodium levels in some frozen dinners, and remove them from their plastic packaging first. It can contain BPA, as well.


The Most Underutilized Tool in Your Kitchen


• Restaurant meals: Don’t be afraid to ask your server if the restaurant uses canned ingredients in the meal you order. Generally speaking, many restaurants do use canned foods, so it might be tough to completely avoid BPA in your restaurant meal.

• Soups: Look for soups in Tetra Pak containers—those cartons of soup generally reserved for broths and gourmet foods. The containers are made from layers of cardboard, aluminum, and PET plastic, which is BPA free. These aren’t always recyclable, so encourage your municipal recycling program to include them if it doesn’t already.

• Vegetables: Vegetables have some of the highest levels of BPA of any canned foods, according to product tests. Opt for frozen or fresh, particularly when your local farmer’s markets are brimming over. Canned tomatoes can now be found in Tetra Paks, as well, but often those options aren’t organic. Buy huge amounts of organic tomatoes at your farmer’s market and learn how to can them yourself in glass jars.