Thursday, January 24, 2013

Think twice about Plastics?

Our civilization has surged exponentially in the past one hundred years, finding new, innovative ways to live more comfortably and effectively. It has always made me wonder however, is being introduced to these lifestyle-changing inventions have a down side? (Since we are all taking this class we can agree that the obvious answer is yes). One thing specifically that I have always been perhaps superstitious about (simply because I knew very little about its make-up and possible effects) are plastics. Truthfully, this precaution goes back to my childhood when my mother would warn me not to warm up my food in the microwave in plastic containers because plastic, being more malleable, tends to leach into the food you eat.  
After reading Wiley and Allen’s chapter, two specific parts stuck out to me: precocious puberty among younger and younger females and environmental toxins. Though, Wiley and Allen did not mention plastic as an environmental danger to one’s health, it reminded me of an article I read at some point last year, describing a specific type of plastic, bisphenol A (BPA), that is considered an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) which can mimic, block or disrupt hormones. In an article written by Food Insight, conclusions are drawn from scientific studies showing that for adults, the low levels that come into contact with food are not harmful. The article goes on to state that in past and present studies, the chemical is found to be readily absorbed, detoxified and released from the body. However, the article continues to explain, according to recent FDA statements, pregnant women, infants and children are most at risk in coming in contact with BPA since their bodies are developing and their hepatic systems, that detoxify the blood and would eliminate this substance, are immature. (Article: Questions and Answers about Bisphenol-A (BPA))
There is no direct scientific link between BPA and early onset of puberty since many other factors surely contribute to this. However, it is scientifically certain that BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical acting as Xenoestrogen, binding with estrogen receptors (Molecular Cancer Therapeutics). BPA was released on the scene over forty years ago. Curious how early onset puberty ages have dropped since then.

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