Health

Infographic: Consumers Agree Glass is Better

In April of this year, Omnibus conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers here in the U.S. The survey was an effort to better understand how we think of glass relating to the safety and quality of our food and beverages. Recently on this blog, we’ve shared a lot about the health and environmental dangers of plastic. So when we ran across this terrific infographic summary of the Omnibus survey, well we just had to share.

Safety and Quality of Glass for Food and Beverage

Infographic Courtesy of OI

Top 10 Ways to Avoid BPA

We’ve posted about the harms of BPA (Bisphenol-A) here, here and here. The estrogen-mimicking chemical has been banned in bottles in Europe, Canada and China while remaining legal here in the U.S. Until the laws change or businesses figure out BPA-free is competitive advantage, we’ve put together a list of 10 ways you can avoid BPA and cut down on your exposure.

  1. Cut down on the plastic in your food and beverage choices and choose glass, ceramic or metal (non-coated) whenever possible.
  2. For your next cookout, use paper-based plates instead of plastic or plastic-coated plates.
  3. Buy your milk in a cardboard carton instead of a plastic gallon.
  4. Choose fresh or frozen foods (in cardboard box, not the plastic steam-in-a-bag variety) over canned foods. This past winter, Consumer Reports found alarming levels of BPA in the lining of most canned foods in our grocery stores.
  5. Choose glass instead of plastic for storing leftover foods.
  6. Avoid microwave-ready, plastic wrapped foods. Instead choose a make-ahead meal and store it in portable glass container that can go from the fridge to the microwave.
  7. If you see a number “7” on our plastic products, it more than likely contains BPA; send it to the recycling bin.
  8. If you have a baby and you’re using formula, choose powder over pre-made. You’ll save money and avoid the bottles for pre-made which contain BPA.
  9. If you do have plastics, always hand wash even when it says “dishwasher safe.” The heat from the dishwasher can break down the plastic making it easier to leach chemicals into your food or beverage and therefore into you.
  10. And for your daily water, choose a reusable glass water bottle over plastic water bottles.

 What tips would you add?

Of Mice and Men: How BPA Makes Men Less Attractive

Today, the news was released from a very interesting study from researchers at University of Missouri – turns out the BPA (bisphenol-A), found in plastics, can make men less attractive to women. While the researchers tested the theory on male deer mice, we humans can learn quite a bit from their reactions.

The unversity study found that male deer mice exposed to BPA through their mother’s diet exhibited compromised spatial learning abilities, a dominant trait exhibited in males. So these BPA-exposed males had a harder time finding females in the laboratory. To quote the researchers:

The disruption of male spatial cognition and the supporting brain systems would severely compromise the ability of the male deer mice to find mates in natural settings, and even if they did locate females, such animals would seem to be less likely to be chosen as mates than males that had not been exposed to BPA.

And, perhaps most disturbingly, both BPA-exposed and control females preferred the clean males to BPA-exposed males. BPA-exposed males were rejected 2 to 1 by the females in the study. In very simple language, BPA makes male deer mice less attractive to the female deer mice.

We’ve seen BPA and plastics linked with breast cancer, infertility and early puberty in females. Now we’re seeing it affect men’s brains and our attractiveness as well.

Even noted author John Steinbeck couldn’t have imagined this link between mice and men.

Video: Breast Cancer and the Link to Plastics

Once again, the links between plastics and our health are making headlines. In a recent article in Slate magazine shared:

Recent studies show that some pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and plastic additives appear to change when and how the mammary gland develops. Even low doses, close to what average Americans are exposed to currently, have been linked to altered development, cell growth, and gene expression in animal mammary glands. The chemicals include the notorious baby-bottle chemical bisphenol A, dioxin (a by-product from burning plastic and a common food contaminant), phthalates (plastic additives), atrazine (a top-selling herbicide in the United States, now banned in Europe), flame retardants, and stain repellants. PFOA, a common chemical used to make Teflon, appears to delay puberty in animal pups and reduce the size of the mammary gland, while chemicals that mimic estrogen may accelerate puberty.

Just reading that one paragraph, reminded of this great TED talk from Jeanne Rizzo, the CEO of Breast Cancer Fund:

What do you think?

New Study: Food Packaging Impacts BPA Levels in People

It seems that plastics are being more and more closely scrutinized for their potential role in impacting our health (not to mention the environment).  This new study asked the question, “What happens when you remove BPA from your diet?”  To get to the answer they replaced common food packaging for families for three days – and the results? Their individual BPA levels dropped more than 60% – that’s right more than 60% in just three days, amazing. And it wasn’t just BPA they tested for, they also tested for phthalates (DEHP and others) and other hormone-disrupting chemicals and every level dropped.

How’d they do it? They replaced canned or plastic packaged food with fresh foods for three days, testing families before, during and after. You can get the full details of the study here.  What really strikes me though, is the dramatic impact after only three days.  The takeaway from The Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute which conducted the study:

“…you can reduce your BPA exposure by cooking fresh foods at home, avoiding canned foods, choosing glass and stainless steel food and beverage containers, and not microwaving in plastic.”

Better still, they offer a handy wallet card or mobile card listing 10 top packaged foods to avoid.  They also recommend using glass or stainless steel food and beverage containers.

The study was conducted by Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute, with funding from the Passport Foundation.