BPA and Perchlorate – Rolling the Dice with the EPA and FDA – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

I have recently read some alarming articles that I feel the need to share with all mothers. I will apologize in advance for any anger or sarcasm that may seep through.

Without making this blog too political, I will just say this once – I feel that the state of our government and its agencies is in shambles. One simple example – water. As a pregnant mother of two, I am at a complete loss of how to provide my children with the most basic of life’s necessities, or how, as a pregnant woman, I am supposed to drink it.

Now I know I am hyper-sensitive about everything I put into my body right now. Llast time I was pregnant it was (and still is!), pthalates. http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/factsheet_phthalates.pdf

And now, in one week, I have read two articles that truly scare me about the EPA and the FDA and their attempt to do their jobs. One about BPA’s (chemical commonly found in hardened plastic) and the other about a rocket-fuel additive, perchlorate.

Scientists who aren’t on plastic companies’ payroll, have been questioning the safety of BPA, or bisphenol A, for some time, but we were always reassured by the FDA and their industry-funded studies that it was safe. Here’s what a quick article search uncovered.

Just over a month ago we were told by the FDA that BPA was safe:

http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/08/18/fda-bpa-in-plastic-bottles-isnt-a-health-hazard/

“FDA has concluded that an adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses.”

And here’s what scientists who aren’t on the plastics companies’ payroll said:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/04/27/20080427plastic0427.html

A decade ago, Frederick vom Saal, a reproductive scientist at University of Missouri at Columbia, came up with a different research strategy. He theorized that because BPA can mimic estrogen, a female sex hormone, minuscule amounts introduced to fetuses or infants could change cell structure and cause significant health problems later in life. He found that doses 25,000 times below what the government has labeled as safe harmed developing cells in mice.

The compound, bisphenol A, or BPA, has been linked to breast and prostate cancer, behavioral disorders and reproductive-health problems in lab animals.

Cut to last week, and here’s what was being said after the relese of a new study examining the effects on humans:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/09/16/bpa.safety.ap/index.html

“Right now, our tentative conclusion is that it’s safe, so we’re not recommending any change in habits,” said Laura Tarantino, head of the FDA’s office of food additive safety. But she acknowledged, “there are a number of things people can do to lower their exposure.”

Government toxicology experts have also studied BPA and recently completed their own report based on earlier animal studies. They found no strong evidence of health hazards from BPA, but said there was “some concern” about possible effects on the brain in fetuses, infants and children.

That’s enough for me – so I went out and spent $12.99 a piece on water bottles for each of us – not cheap AT ALL – but what else am I supposed to do? I guess we’ll just go without something else this week.

And then, literally, in the same place where I had just bought the BPA-free bottles – in my gym cafe where my son and I were having a snack – I read this article about the EPA and a jet fuel additive, perchlorate, found in drinking water:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/09/22/rocket.fuel.epa.ap/index.html

The Defense Department used perchlorate for decades in testing missiles and rockets, and most perchlorate contamination is the result of defense and aerospace activities, congressional investigators said last year.

The Pentagon could face liability if EPA set a national drinking water standard that forced water agencies around the country to undertake costly clean-up efforts. Defense officials have spent years questioning EPA’s conclusions about the risks posed by perchlorate.

The Pentagon objected strongly Monday to the suggestion that it sought to influence EPA’s decision.

The ingredient, perchlorate, has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses, according to some scientists.

So, between the two, this can’t be great for my kids or my fetus, so what am I supposed to do? Does my water filter at home on my fridge get rid of perchlorate or do I have to now go spend more money on something else? Do I pour perchlorate free, yet BPA-laden water from a  bottle into my BPA-free water bottle?

As a mother, I feel really angry and helpless. I don’t feel that our government is looking out for our best interest, this just being the latest example. We have to be so pro-active just to be safe, who knows what else we may not know about! I am also angry at how expensive healthy alternatives are becoming, on top of food and gas. I truly hope this election cycle does bring “change” because I feel like the average American is being completely hung out to dry.

Aside from any political beliefs or perceived conspiracies, I hope this information helps other mothers make educated decisions about what goes into their children’s bodies. We must all take an active role in our health and pass it on to each other.

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