Caution – Poison……

13 Apr

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‘If it’s organic it must be good for you, right?  Well, not necessarily.  Bisphenol A (BPA) is organic, the Food Standards Agency says it’s safe and they’re the Government so you can trust them……’

 

Call Me a Sceptic But……

John Selwyn-Gummer

John Selwyn-Gummer

I can clearly remember John Selwyn-Gummer stuffing a beef burger into the mouth of his innocent four year old daughter as he assured us that beef was ‘perfectly safe’ to eat.  Now we can’t even be sure that it is beef and the 227 people with a ‘spongy-form’ brain disease might disagree.  Then there is the ongoing Genetic Modification (GM) debate which in controlled laboratory tests appears to pose no threat, however, when released into the environment the effects of cross pollination with other species is still unclear.  As well as the horsemeat scandal questions have been raised regarding the source of fish, particularly with respect to processed foods such as fish-fingers, some scampi and even whole pieces of Cod and other white fish being substituted with cheaper alternatives.  The Neonicotinoids, pesticides which many seeds are treated with, has now been directly linked to the Colony Collapse Disorder that is killing the bees which pollinate 80% of our food crops.

So when the trustworthy politicians and the departments responsible for our health tell us ’there’s nothing to worry about’ I take it with a large pinch of salty scepticism……

Polyethylene Teraphthalate

Polyethylene Teraphthalate

Plastic……

Plastics are undoubtedly one of mankind’s must useful discoveries.  There is hardly a household item that doesn’t use plastic to some degree but plastic has some unhelpful properties which, when combined with our endless ability to pollute the environment, is now a matter of great concern to some scientists.

The ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ is an area in the Pacific Ocean.  Estimates of its size vary but it is thought to be approximately 5.8 hundred thousand miles square, almost twice the size of the Unites States of America.  As the waterGreat Pacific Garbage Patch within the area covered by the garbage patch circulates, non-biodegradable human waste, including huge amounts of plastics, collects.  Most plastics don’t degrade naturally, however, they can be ‘ground’ down into ever smaller particles until they reach the point at which they can be ingested by the creatures at the base of the food chain and, in turn, upwards and on to us.  A process called Photodegradation also breaks down some of the plastics into the cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals from which they are made……

Bisphenol A (BPA)…… 

BPA is used to make certain types of plastic including Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) which is amongst the most controversial, predominately because it used in food packaging including the clear bottles that mineral and spring water comes in.  The plastics industry uses 3.6 million tons per year of BPA.  BPA is known to affect the human endocrine system, responsible for hormones.  Research is continuing worldwide into BPA and any links to health conditions.  As we have used this chemical since the late 1950s and it has found other routes into the food chain you would assume its safety was well established; it isn’t.

The BPA Molecule

The BPA Molecule

Beside the immediate concerns about BPA leaking from PET packaging into the food it contains, there is another concern; one which we should all be aware of.  The laboratory tests for BPA contaminating the food in the container being tested suggest that, although a small amount of BPA leaches into the food, it is within the ‘safe’ levels as defined by EU regulations.  These so called ‘safe’ levels are disputed in some circles and we cannot be sure of the long term effects of exposure to BPA even at low levels.  Considering that BPA is contained in everything from plastic bottles, tin can coatings and even baby bottles we have a right to be concerned especially as no consensus on what constitutes a ‘safe’ level is disputed by different groups of scientists……

Untested Reasons for Concern……

We all reuse water bottles for taking drinks to work or on days out.  As you repeatedly wash the bottles there is a possibility that the surfaces become warn, potentially releasing more BPA into whatever is contained within.  Due to Photodegradation, if you were to leave your water bottle on the dash board of your car there is further concern about the potential levels of BPA being released…….

Conclusion……

You can buy plastic containers which do not contain Bisphenol A and are marked ‘BPA Free’.  I would recommend thatPoison Logo 02 you don’t reuse any pre-packaged food containers, particularly for your kids whose endocrine systems are still developing and are vital in reaching sexual maturity; one of the subjects under debate.  Finally, recycle your plastic or put it in landfill at least that way the Great Pacific Garbage Patch won’t grow any faster.  Incidentally, plastic particles of all sizes, even one that can only be seen under a microscope, have been found in every place tested and in all the world’s rivers and oceans.

Bisphenol A is not the only chemical contained in plastics which is a cause for concern.  I’ll leave it to you to ‘Google’ if you want further information……

Useful Links for More Information: 

‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’

‘Polyethylene Terephthalates’

‘Bisphenol A’

‘Chemicals in Plastic Bottles’

With thanks to Wikipedia and The National Research & Development Centre

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