Chemical Plastic

May 9, 2011

Prenatal BPA Exposure May causes Asthma in Children

Guide: Exposure to the chemical bisphenol A during early pregnancy may cause asthma in children, according to a Penn State College of Medicine researcher.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical found in many consumer products, including plastic water bottles and food containers, according to a news release from the College of Medicine. It is present in more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, suggesting widespread exposure.

In their study of 367 pairs of mothers and infants, researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine measured BPA levels in the urine of the pregnant women at 16 and 26 weeks’ gestation, as well as after delivery. Nearly all the women had detectable BPA in their urine at some point during pregnancy.

At six months, the odds of wheezing are twice as high for children with mothers who had higher BPA than those who had mothers with lower BPA levels, the study showed.

Researchers also found that high BPA levels detected in women at 16 weeks’ gestation were associated with wheeze in their offspring, but high levels at 26 weeks’ gestation and birth were not, a possible indication that timing of BPA exposure in pregnancy may be more significant than the level of exposure.

“This suggests that there are periods of time during pregnancy when the fetus is more vulnerable,” Spanier said in the release. “Exposure during early pregnancy may be worse than exposure in later pregnancy.”

Until more information is available, Dr. Spanier recommended, women of child-bearing age should consider avoiding products made with BPA.

The researchers reported their findings at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in Denver on May 1. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences supported this project.

April 20, 2011

How to Cut our Exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) in Kitchen?

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is a chemical used to make hard plastic containers and the lining of metal food and beverage cans. Some scientific studies have linked the hormone-disrupting chemical to reproductive abnormalities and a heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems.

However, plastic containers and canned foods can be found in most kitchens because they are convenient and affordable. But there is growing evidence that our use of packaged food comes at a cost.

BPA is so ubiquitous – found even on cash register receipts – that more than 90 percent of Americans have traces of it in their urine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While scientists continue to study the health effects of BPA and debate what is a safe level to intake, there are steps we can take to cut our exposure to the chemical in our kitchens by opting for safe alternatives.

Experts say BPA is most likely to leach from metal and plastic containers into acidic, salty or fatty foods. BPA levels also rise in food when it comes in contact with plastic containers that are heated, particularly in the microwave. So please not to microwave in plastic, and perhaps the next step is to get rid of plastics, and switching to glass containers.

As reported in The Chronicle on March 30 (bit.ly/gQP8hk), a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that it is possible to significantly reduce exposure to BPA and other synthetic chemicals by limiting packaged foods from our diets and storing food in glass or stainless steel containers.

The study acknowledges that while it’s not practical to avoid food packaging altogether, it’s best to choose fresh or frozen instead of canned food as much as possible.

Food preparation avoided contact with plastic utensils and non-stick-coated cookware, and foods were stored in glass containers with BPA-free plastic lids.

BPA is also found in the epoxy resins used to line metal food cans. In Japan, most major manufacturers voluntarily changed their can linings in 1997 to cut or eliminate the use of BPA in response to concerns about health effects.

“If a plastic container is hard and clear and doesn’t say ‘BPA-free,’ assume it’s made with BPA and don’t buy it,” suggests vom Saal, who uses only plastics marked on the bottom with recycling codes 2 and 5.

* More ways to reduce BPA exposure:

- Get rid of scratched plastic containers, which may harbor bacteria, and if made with BPA, lead to greater release of the chemical.

- Do not put very hot or boiling liquid that you intend to consume in plastic containers. BPA levels rise in food when containers or products made with the chemical are heated and come in contact with the food.

- Use stainless steel water bottles rather than hard plastic, but avoid metal bottles lined with a plastic coating and the type of multi-gallon polycarbonate water coolers typically found in offices.

- Eat at home as much as possible so you know how your food is prepared and stored. Higher BPA and DEHP levels are associated with restaurant meals. When you do eat out, choose restaurants that use fresh ingredients.

Last, please remember that “anything you can do to reduce the amount of BPA in your body will lower your risk of disease.”

March 29, 2011

For Our Health Sake, Use Less Plastic for Food Packaging

Recently, researchers at Texas A&M University say they may have found a more eco-friendly plastic to keep packaged foods fresh longer, and scientists at Texas A&M University also have developed a material to keep packaged foods airtight, while using less plastic.

At a meeting of the American Chemical Society this weekend in Anaheim, Calif., scientists presented “nano-bricks,” a product developed from the same material used to make bricks that they say will make plastic food packaging virtually airtight. Nano-bricks are composed of only 30 percent plastic polymers mixed with a natural clay material, making it more environmentally responsible than other types of plastics used to seal packaged food.

Plastic food packaging is often coated with another material to block oxygen from entering the package and spoiling the food inside. Some packaging has a layer of silicon oxide, a material similar to sand. Others products, like a bag of potato chips, use metalized plastics, plastics with a thin coating of metal or foil.

But some plastics can crack or break during transport, while metalized plastics cannot be microwaved and is not transparent, allowing shoppers to see the food inside. Nano-bricks solve these problems, its developers say, while using a material that is better for the environment.

February 28, 2011

Do you Know How are Plastics Produced?

Plastic is a polymer (which are large molecules), that consists of a long repeating chain of smaller molecules, which are called monomers.

Monomers are made of atoms, and easily extracted from organic sources, and fall into the class of chemicals known as petrochemicals. 

Plastics are produced by a process called polymerization.

In this process, thousands of monomers are joined together to form a polymer chain.

Common monomers used in the production of plastics, such as vinyl acetate, styrene, butadiene and vinyl chloride, are extracted from crude oil or natural gas.

In the world of “plastics”, there are two main types – thermosetting plastics and thermo-plastics.

Both of these main types are produced by pouring liquid monomers into molds, and they undergo a process called polymerization.

The thermosetting plastic type is permanent once molded, while the thermoplastic type will melt under heat.

The monomer liquid is superheated during the molding process, which causes polymerization to occur, and we end up with a product that is uniform and solid.

Some of the well known plastic products on the market today include: Formica, Teflon, Tupperware, Nylon, Synthetic Rubber and PVC.

Plastic is the most widely used synthetic in the world.

January 30, 2011

Choose your Water Bottle of Plastic very carefully

Choose your water bottles very carefully in order to prevent chemicals in the plastic from leaching into your water. So, which plastic water bottles don’t leach chemicals?

Plastic water bottles are very convenient for carting water around when we are on the go, as they don’t break if we drop them. However, it is worth paying attention to the type of plastic your water bottle is made of, to ensure that the chemicals in the plastic do not leach into the water.

If you taste plastic, you are drinking it, so get yourself another bottle. To be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a No.2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a No.4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a No.5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine.

The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a No.1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it. Better to use a reusable water bottle, and fill it with your own filtered water from home and keep these single-use bottles out of the landfill.

Unfortunately, those fabulous colourful hard plastic lexan bottles made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the No.7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA. Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies.

Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. For more of the science on the effects of BPA on our endocrine system etc.

See these studies: Environmental Health Perspectives Journal. Nalgene, the company that manufactures the lexan water bottles also makes #2 HDPE bottles in the same sizes and shapes, so we have a viable alternative. Order one at Nalgene. Unfortunately, most plastic baby bottles and drinking cups are made with plastics containing Bisphenol A.

In 2006 Europe banned all products made for children under age 3 containing BPA, and as of Dec. 2006 the city of San Franscisco followed suit. In March 2007 a billion-dollar class action suit was commenced against Gerber, Playtex, Evenflo, Avent, and Dr. Brown’s in Los Angeles superior court for harm done to babies caused by drinking out of baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA. So, to be certain that your baby is not exposed, use glass bottles.

Check the recycling numbers on all your plastic food containers as well, and gradually move to storing all food in glass or ceramic. Store water in glass or brass if possible, and keep it away from direct sunlight.

December 31, 2010

New Synthetic, Chemical-free, Antimicrobial Surfaces Inspired from Marine Animals

A team of five companies has come together to create anti-microbial surfaces for use on ships, lenses and even medical devices – all inspired from marine lifes.

Researchers from A*STAR’s Industrial Consortium On Nanoimprint (ICON) are using nanotechnology to create synthetic, chemical-free, anti-bacterial surfaces, which can reduce infections caused by pathogens such as S. aureus and E. coli and can be used on common plastics, medical devices, lenses and even ship hulls.

Nanoimprint technology, a form of nanotechnology, gives the engineered material ‘natural’ properties such as luminescence, adhesiveness, waterproofing and anti-reflectivity.

“With millions of years of experience behind her, nature has produced some of the most rugged, adaptable life forms. Who better to learn engineering from than Mother Nature?” said Dr Low Hong Yee, IMRE’s Director for Research and Innovation and head of the consortium.

“ICON and nanoimprint research gives our own R and D an added dimension and provides us with alternative options on how our existing technology can be applied”, said Mr Steve Ferriday, Technical Manager, Worldwide Marine Foul Release, International Paint Ltd (UK).

Chemical additives in biomedical devices can adversely affect different users in different ways. The anti-microbial surfaces derived from nanoimprint technology without the need for additional chemicals and coatings may offer us an alternative solution to this issue”, said Mr Tsuyoshi Watanabe, General Manager, R and D Center of Hoya Corporation, a Japanese-based company dealing in advanced electronics and optics technologies. (ANI)

November 1, 2010

US Study Discovered Plasticizer BPA may Cause Male Infertility

The controversial plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA) has been used in the lunch boxes, baby bottles and other plastic products for decades. As the material had been implicated in male impotence, it was dubbed as a “sex changing chemical”. According a report issued by the British “Daily Telegraph” on 28, Oct., “a latest study published on the United States magazine “Fertility and Sterility” shows that bisphenol A can also reduce sperm motility and quality, thus leading to male infertility.

BPA can interfere with human’s endocrine system, leading to abnormal secretion of hormone. There were early studies has found that BPA is relevant to low sexual desire, impotence, as well as sperm DAN damages. While a latest 5-year study found that the BPA levels in blood has direct correlation with men fertility.

Researchers in The Oakland Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Oakland, USA took a survey among 514 Chinese workers and found that men with higher urinary BPA levels, who occurred with the risk of lower sperm concentration, and poor vitality increased 2-4 times. In addition, men in USA with lower BPA levels in the blood to the average level in USA, whose fertility will be affected greatly, too. 

The major charger of this new research, Chinese genesiology expert Li Dekun (phonetic) , MD said: compared with men whose urine had no BPA, men with higher BPA level occurred with the risk of low sperm concentration and lower livability may increased by 3 times, and the sperm quantity decreasing risk may increased by more than 4 times, and the risk of sperm vitality decreasing may increased 2 times.

MD Li Dekun warned that everyone should try to stay away from BPA, BPA may hurt women’s reproductive too, which may add the incidence of various types of cancers or new type metabolism diseases. 

According to some authentic reports, the U.S. and Canada have banned the use of BPA presently.

August 31, 2010

Evils of Bottled Water

Filed under: Chemical Plastic Research — Tags: , , — Administrator @ 7:23 am

Drinking water is a basic human right, there is about a billion people around the world are not access to drink tap water safe and cheap. In the United States, about 1,000 bottles of bottled water were consumed per minute needs a lot of fuel, a high-quality public water supply systems should be established imminently.

World renowned water expert Peter Gleick has a new book – released in May 2010 – outlining the scientific evidence that bottled water use in the U.S. has become unsustainable. The book is called Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind our Obsession with Bottled Water.

Twenty five years ago in the United States, each American probably drank a gallon of bottled water a year, on average. Today it’s up to 30.

In the book, Gleick told us: Every second in the U.S. – we consume about 1,000 bottles of water. He spoke of the tremendous amount of fuel burned in order to make and transport these bottles, most of which ultimately end up in a landfill.

Peter Gleick: We did an estimate at the Pacific Institute that if you calculate the energy requirement of making all of the bottles that are consumed in the United States in a year, it’s on the order of 17 or 18 million barrels of oil equivalent.

He said that globally consumption of bottled water is about 40 billion gallons a year. But that’s not his biggest concern.

Peter Gleick: Probably my biggest concern is that I believe very strongly that water is a human right. There are a billion people worldwide today that don’t have access to safe, affordable tap water. The solution is not bottled water. The solution is developing high quality public water systems that can provide inexpensive water for everyone.

July 20, 2010

Chemical in plastic bottles causes safety problem

Filed under: Chemical Plastic Research — Administrator @ 2:13 am

The report was greeted by some environmental groups as confirmation of their concerns, while chemical makers latched on to the report’s preliminary nature and its authors’ warning against drawing overly worrisome conclusions.

The federal National Toxicology Program said Tuesday that experiments on rats found precancerous tumors, urinary tract problems and early puberty when the animals were fed or injected with low doses of the plastics chemical bisphenol A.

While such animal studies only provide “limited evidence” of bisphenol’s developmental risks, the group’s draft report stresses the possible effects on humans “cannot be dismissed.” The group is made up of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration and the Institutes of Health.

More than 90 percent of Americans are exposed to trace amounts of bisphenol, according to the CDC. The chemical leaches out of water bottles, the lining of cans and other items made with it.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents manufacturers, said the report “affirms that there are no serious or high level concerns for adverse effects of bisphenol on human reproduction and development.” Among the manufacturers of bisphenol are Dow Chemical Co. and BASF Group.

The group said it supports additional research to determine whether adverse effects seen in animals “are of any significance to human health.”

Environmentalists, meanwhile, hailed the report as the first step toward reassessing a chemical they believe could contribute to cancer and other health problems.

“We’re hoping this decision will force FDA to recognize the toxicity of this chemical and make manufacturers set a safety standard that’s protective of the most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Anila Jacob of the Environmental Working Group.

The toxicology group’s findings echo those of researchers assembled by the National Institutes of Health, who last August called for more research on bisphenol in humans.

The FDA in November said there is “no reason at this time to ban or otherwise restrict its use.” The agency on Tuesday did not immediately have any comment about the new report.

But growing concern about the chemical has pushed many consumers toward glass alternatives, and triggered investigations by state and federal lawmakers.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., called on FDA Tuesday to reconsider the safety of bisphenol, saying the toxicology report’s findings “fly in the face of the FDA’s determination.”

Dingell, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued letters to seven companies that make baby formulations earlier this year, questioning whether they use bisphenol in the lining of their cans and bottles.

The companies included Hain Celestial Group, Nestle USA and Abbott Laboratories.

A spokeswoman for the International Formula Council, which represents baby food makers, said Tuesday “the overwhelming scientific evidence supports the safety” of bisphenol, adding that no foreign governments have restricted or banned its use.

The National Toxicology Program will take public comments on its initial report through May. A final version will be issued this summer.

Earlier this month state lawmakers in New Jersey passed a bill that would ban the sale of all products containing bisphenol.

Canada’s health agency is also examining the health risks of bisphenol is expected to issue its findings in coming days

The health effects of BPA is still in investigation

Filed under: Chemical Plastic Research — Administrator @ 1:44 am

On Friday, the government of Canada said it would begin a 60-day public comment period on whether to ban baby bottles containing bisphenol A. And water bottle manufacturer Nalgene announced April 18 it would phase out use of BPA in its containers in response to public concern about the chemical. The NTP report focuses primarily on the possible reproductive and developmental effects of BPA (such as changes in fertility, birth weight, and the development of certain brain regions), not on cancer. However it does note that in some animal studies, BPA has shown effects on breast and prostate tissue, as well as on how early puberty occurs. These effects could be linked to cancer, the report says, but the authors caution that there is not enough evidence to know whether BPA causes cancer — in animals or in people. The health effects of BPA are being studied because so many people are exposed to it on a daily basis. The chemical is widely used in plastic water and baby bottles, food packaging, compact discs, and other consumer products; plastics made with BPA usually have the number 7 on the bottom. One survey conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detected BPA in the urine of 93% of people age 6 years and older. Most Studies in Animals, Not People The effects on breast and prostate tissue were seen in baby rats. When pregnant rats were injected with BPA, their female pups showed breast tissue changes that some researchers suspected might eventually progress to breast cancer, and male pups showed prostate tissue changes that researchers thought might eventually lead to prostate cancer. Some studies also showed that female mice entered puberty earlier than normal. In humans, early puberty is linked to higher breast cancer risk. However, the report is careful to explain that these animal results are difficult to apply to humans. For one thing, the studies did not follow the pups long enough to see whether cancer actually developed. Another problem is that while people are primarily exposed to BPA through their diet, the rats and some of the mice were injected with BPA (some mice got oral doses). The different methods of exposure may affect how the body processes the chemical — and therefore how BPA affects the body. The report concludes that there is “some concern” about the adverse health effects of BPA in fetuses, infants and children. “Some concern” is the third level on a scale of 5; “negligible concern” is the lowest level, while “serious concern” is highest. Even though the evidence isn’t conclusive about BPA’s link to cancer or other problems, Michael Thun, the American Cancer Society’s vice president of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, says limiting exposure is “prudent.” For those who are concerned about BPA exposure, the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences recommends these steps: ? Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures. ? Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom. ? Reduce your use of canned foods. ? When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids. ? Use baby bottles that are BPA free.

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