But where she we focus and how much money should we spend? It’s always about the money. Which leads me to “pinkwashing.” The phenomenon every October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month when everything is pink. But how much of that fundraised money goes to research and treatment? Not enough.
Wait! Didn’t our politicians save us from plastics by banning plastic bags and eliminating bisphenol A (BPA)? Those two actions did occur, but they haven’t even made a dent in the problem of estrogenic agents being release from plastic into us.
Researchers at the University of Texas, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, performed a highly detailed set of experiments on a range of plastics showing nearly all are leaching these potentially dangerous chemicals into us. The paper, “Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved” explains that potentially dangerous chemicals are released from even the “safe” plastics when environmental stressors like UV rays, heat from a dishwasher, or a microwave oven are applied.
From the paper:
Results: Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled—independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source—leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products.
Conclusions: Many plastic products are mischaracterized as being EA free if extracted with only one solvent and not exposed to common-use stresses.
What is so disturbing is, “chemicals that mimic or antagonize the actions of naturally occurring estrogens are defined as having estrogenic activity (EA), which is the most common form of endocrine disruptor activity.”
And why care? Because, “In mammals, chemicals having EA can produce many health-related problems, such as early puberty in females, reduced sperm counts, altered functions of reproductive organs, obesity, altered sex- specific behaviors, and increased rates of some breast, ovarian, testicular, and prostate cancers.”
As I have railed before, while we are distracted by the scare of the day in the news, unregulated or inadequately tested chemicals, like plastics, are slowly killing many of us. Take your eye off the potential future outcome of carbon dioxide for a moment and fix it on the chemical pollution killing our children and environment today.