Why “BPA-free” isn’t as free
as it claims to be!
January 19th, 2014 by Holly Cornish
You might be familiar with the health dangers associated with exposure to the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) used to manufacture plastics.
This chemical is a polycarbonate used to harden the plastics that make up your water bottles… plates… sunglasses… the lining of canned goods… and hundreds of other products most people use often.
Many people try to avoid products that contain BPA. But now new evidence suggests you need to go beyond that. Keep reading for more…
The science and medical communities know that continued exposure to BPA throws your hormones out of whack—and even increases your risk of various types of cancer.
In an earlier story (Issue #196), I told you that a team of University of Cincinnati scientists found BPA acts as a synthetic form of the estrogen hormone.
These researchers found that when human breast cancer cells were exposed to low levels of BPA, the chemical stimulated the production of proteins that prevented cancer cells from being killed by chemotherapy drugs.
Despite the evidence of the health dangers BPA poses, the Food and Drug Administration continues to favor its use. The agency claims that most human bodies can easily process and expel low levels of this chemical.
With this kind of pro-BPA propaganda in place, it’s little wonder that this bizarre chemical has been found in the urine samples of about 95 percent of the American population!
In efforts to appease some environmental groups and concerned citizens, the FDA has updated its position to express “concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”
In a show of good faith, the FDA is now:
- Supporting industry actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market;
- Facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and
- Supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.
Before you breathe a sigh of relief and congratulate the government for protecting the public from a massive health destroyer, first ask this question:
How safe are the alternatives to BPA?
Well, you should know that one study concluded…
Even BPA-free plastics dump toxic chemicals
into your food and water!
A study conducted by PlastiPure, a technology company that works on developing safe plastics, performed lab tests on more than 20 top-brand baby bottles and more than 450 plastic food and beverage containers.
They bought hundreds of these containers at various retailers including
- Trader Joe’s
- Whole Foods
- And many other companies
Their tests included deli containers… flexible wraps… hard plastic containers… and plastic bags.
According to results published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers cut the plastic items into pieces, then put them in liquids that simulated foods and drinks.
They subjected each of the test samples to activities that mimic normal use, such as boiling water, microwaves and ultraviolet light similar to what’s found in sunlight.
The solutions were then applied to a type of breast cancer cell that multiplies quickly when exposed to estrogenic chemicals.
The researchers were shocked to find that over 90 percent of these plastic products leached estrogen-mimicking chemicals even BEFORE they were put through stresses!
And after being stressed, just about ALL of the plastics showed estrogenic activity when applied to the cancer cells!
Unlike the researchers in this experiment, most of us may not heat such containers before we consume whatever’s in them, but keep in mind that the food contents may have been hot at the time they were poured in. And of course, microwaving food in plastic containers is common. Even leaving a drink container in the sun may stimulate the release of these chemicals.
And keep in mind, most of the products they tested sported a “BPA free” label. Based on their results, the researchers concluded that there are thousands of possible chemicals that act much like BPA.
That part is news. It’s not just about BPA anymore.
And in some cases, these BPA replacement chemicals produce more estrogenic activity than does BPA itself!
Study author Stuart Yaniger, vice president of research and product development at PlastiPure, told Discovery News that it’s not their intention to send an anti-plastic message.
Yaniger said that it is very easy to make plastic without estrogenic properties. “Plastics are good, but they can be made safer.”
Amen to that. I have a bad reaction to the gases given off by plastics used in the interiors of cars or in consumer electronic items such as televisions and computers. I don’t have to wait 20 years till they give me cancer – they make me sick within minutes.
Some cars and other products made of plastic release these gases, some don’t. It would be simple for the manufactures to use the non-toxic types of plastic. But they don’t bother.
So how can you protect yourself?
Truth is, it’s darn near impossible to know which plastic products might contain hormone-disrupting chemicals.
But there are some things you can do to help minimize your exposure to the fake hormones these chemicals produce.
Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., suggests these protective measures:
- Continue to seek out BPA-free products. If a product isn’t labeled, keep in mind that some, but not all, plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA. On bottles, the code us usually found on the bottom.
- Avoiding canned foods and drinks (not a bad idea anyway, for a whole list of reasons). Most canned foods are lined with BPA-containing resin.
- Avoid heat. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics or putting them in the dishwasher, because the plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods.
- Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers.
These suggestions might not be a perfect solution to the problem… but it certainly won’t hurt to make these simple changes!
I’m a regular at a health food café where they serve soup-to-go in plastic containers. Bad idea. I asked them if the containers were rated to stand up to heat. They said yes. All the same, I’m not going to buy carryout soup at that place anymore.
On a happier note, our last issue talked about a new cancer prevention supplement I’m very impressed with. If you missed it, just scroll down and read it now…
A Great Cancer-Prevention Formula
You’ve heard me talk quite a bit about the importance of using a wide variety of foods and supplements to help you prevent cancer – because even though there are dozens of proven approaches for battling cancer and optimizing health, there’s no single magic bullet.
But at least, now, I’m glad to see the next best thing. Keep reading and I’ll tell you about it. . .
This recently introduced supplement is all natural, based on academic research, and available without a prescription. It’s called NEGDATM, and appears to be effective in preventing most of the common cancers—breast, pancreatic, prostate, and colorectal included.
The makers, of course, would never call it a cancer-prevention formula. The regulatory authorities won’t permit them to do that. But as a mere journalist protected by the First Amendment (for as long as it lasts. . .) I can speak the plain truth.
A blend of some of the
most reliable cancer-fighting elements
Each of the ingredients that make up the NEGDA supplement is backed by research that shows it has merit in cancer prevention. Most appealing to me is the 100 percent natural turmeric extract.
I’ve mentioned turmeric’s benefits before, along with curcumin, an extract from the turmeric root (curcumin is not related to cumin, by the way—that’s a spice made from the seeds of a different plant). Turmeric and curcumin extract both have anti-inflammatory properties and potent antioxidant properties. Curcumin in particular can reduce pain and cellular deterioration.
Overall, turmeric is a terrific anti-inflammatory herb that’s an excellent replacement for NSAIDs. I take the extract, curcumin, every day, and I’m convinced it’s the reason I’ve been able to decrease my use of ibuprofen when the rare sinus headache hits. The only side effect I know of is that it may stimulate bowel movements in some people.
The company behind the NEGDA supplement has a patent pending for its enhanced bioavailable form of turmeric, called BCM-95®. In fact, it’s said to be seven to eight times more bioavailable than existing turmeric extracts, and its efficacy has been confirmed by human clinical trials.
Another NEGDA ingredient is ginger, in the form of a blend between ginger root and ginger extract. Along with being a well-known alternative way to soothe nausea, ginger has quite a few phenolic compounds which display anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.
Green tea extract is also part of the NEGDA blend, which you may well know has terrific antioxidant properties. We just wrote about green tea a week ago in Issue #359.
Green tea also has polyphenols that are known to inhibit the growth and metastasis of cancer. These polyphenols scavenge the body for free radicals and act as antioxidants. Plus, it’s believed they react with enzymes responsible for cellular replication and tumor angiogenesis.
Most scientists believe the benefits of green tea come from something called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG, an antioxidant with a documented ability to enhance the body’s metabolism. The green tea extract used in NEGDA is made up of more than 45 percent EGCG.
I frequently start the morning with a cup of green tea, but the truth is you need a lot of cups of tea to achieve a clinical dose of EGCG – as many as five to ten! That’s why a supplement such as NEGDA is a much more convenient way to take green tea.
A final ingredient in the basic NEGDA blend is Vitamin D3, which is something I strongly believe few of us ever get enough of. This particular vitamin plays a crucial role in helping your body absorb both calcium and phosphorous, which translates to strong bones and teeth.
Vitamin D3 also supports immune, breast, colon, and pancreatic health. A NEGDA capsule contains 1800 iu of vitamin D3. This may sound like a large dose to people who haven’t caught up with the revolutionary discoveries about D3, but in fact it’s quite modest. I take more than 4,000 iu daily, as directed by my doctor. 1800 iu should be quite safe.
One other note on the ingredients—there’s a men’s and a women’s formula. The difference is that the men’s formula has 25 percent more green tea extract as well as some pomegranate extract. Pomegranate extract — known to fight free radicals and oxidation – in addition contains 40 percent ellagic acid (a natural phenol antioxidant). But most importantly for men, pomegranate extract is known to support prostate health. I take a big dose of pomegranate extract every day.
The group behind it all
NEGDA boasts other features you may find attractive. It’s vegetarian, and all the ingredients are regarded as safe under FDA guidelines, though the product itself has not been evaluated by the FDA. The NEGDA website also states that the product is manufactured in the U.S., which lends some credence to the quality of the ingredients. There are doubts about the quality of some China-sourced supplements.
A long list of qualified scientific advisors stands behind NEGDA. Each one carries either a PhD or MD, or both, and they hail from a mix of cancer research centers including M.D. Anderson in Houston, the Cancer Institute at Emory University, and various international universities.
The biggest draw:
Convenience in a supplement
The biggest advantage as I see it is that all the individual ingredients in NEGDA are known to play important roles in cancer prevention, so it’s convenient to have them all in one formula. At the least, it’ll save you hassle since you won’t need to buy each ingredient separately. At the most, it’ll act as a superior prevention formula that helps you stay healthy.
Is NEGDA all you need to prevent cancer? Of course not. There are dozens of different foods and supplements that can help – and some, such as sugar or foods containing MSG, that can slash your cancer risk provided you never go near them. But NEGDA is a nice mix of some of the best anti-cancer remedies, in one pill, and for a price that seems reasonable to me.
If you’re interested, you can learn more at www.negda.com. They have offered Cancer Defeated readers a ten percent discount if you enter 03448 in the box on their order form that says “Enter Your Discount Code.”
Lee Euler, Publisher