The Poisoning of America
By: Nutritionist S. Keith Klein IV
Relapse Prevention: Food Education
Nutritionist S. Keith Klein IV’s article “The Poisoning of America” discusses the potential health risks of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure, a chemical used to produce certain plastics commonly found in food and drink containers. While some studies had suggested that BPA could harm human health, the evidence had yet to be conclusive until a recent study performed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The EFSA’s review has caused them to reduce the safe daily intake by 20,000 times, leading to questions of malfeasance on the part of the original group of researchers and those that have followed. The article also discusses the potential health risks associated with BPA exposure, including reproductive disorders, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The article concludes by providing tips to minimize exposure to BPA, such as avoiding heating plastic containers in the microwave, using microwave-safe glass or ceramic containers, and opting for BPA-free containers whenever possible.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to produce certain plastics which are used in most of Americas food and drink containers. There have been concerns that BPA exposure could have adverse health effects, particularly on the reproductive, and developmental systems of humans, and cause cancer. Over the years, numerous studies have investigated the potential health effects of BPA exposure to make sure the chemical is safe to be used. While some studies have suggested that BPA could harm human health, the evidence had yet to be conclusive, that is UNTIL NOW.
In 2018, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducted a comprehensive risk assessment on BPA. It concluded that current exposure to BPA through food was not a health concern for any age group. The EFSA had set a safe daily intake limit of 4 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. However, a newer study performed by the same group (the EFSA) just came out, which shows that BPA is a health risk after all! And after reviewing this recent study caused them to reduce the safe daily intake by 20,000 times! So where they used to allow a daily intake of 4 mcg of BPA per kilogram of body weight, the newest recommendation is now set to a limit of 0.2 nanograms or 0.2 billionths of a gram per kilogram of body weight per day!
This leads to the question of malfeasance on the part of the original group of researchers that studied BPA and those that have followed. The FDA, the group we trust to approve chemicals into our food supply, had opened the floodgates and allowed this chemical to flow across America since the 1960s. The FDA and the EFSA have misjudged the amount of safe BPA within the human bloodstream, which could be responsible for millions of Americans getting sick or worse.
The use of bisphenol A (BPA) has been widespread in plastics and food packaging since the 1960s. In the 1970s, BPA was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food contact materials, such as plastic containers and can linings, as it was considered safe at the time. Over the years, the use of BPA has become even more widespread in the American food supply. The chemical is used in a wide range of newer products, like plastic water bottles, baby bottles, and food storage containers for both the microwave and the freezer.
Other studies in the past have suggested that BPA exposure could have adverse health effects, particularly on fetuses, infants, and young children. At the same time that the 2018 EFSA said it was safe to consume the 4mcg per kilogram of body weight, many countries had begun to ban BPA in baby bottles and infant formula packaging out of concern. Those countries that banned the chemical from some of their plastics must have known they were harmful, so why didn’t our FDA? After all, they had access to studies performed by other countries that discovered potential harm.
Limiting exposure to BPA where possible is essential, particularly for vulnerable populations such as infants, young children and pregnant women. This can be done by avoiding the use of polycarbonate plastic containers, particularly for hot or acidic foods and drinks, and opting for BPA-free containers whenever possible. If you put food into an old plastic butter container and heat it in your microwave, you need to understand how poisonous doing that can be, especially for your children.
When you heat a plastic container in the microwave, the BPA levels in your food will increase substantially. Heat can cause the plastic to break down and release BPA into your food and beverages. The degree to which BPA is released depends on factors like the type of plastic the container is made from, the duration and intensity of the heat exposure, and the acidity of the food or beverage in the container. For example, heating an acidic food like tomato sauce in a container that is not BPA-free will dramatically increase the amount of BPA the container leaches into your tomato sauce.
BPA has been linked to potential health risks. Here are five of the most prevalent issues scientists have found associated with high levels of BPA in humans;
1. Reproductive disorders: BPA is known as a hormone disruptor, it has been shown to disrupt hormone levels and may cause reproductive disorders in both men and women, including reduced fertility, changes in menstrual cycles, and impaired development of the reproductive system in fetuses and children. Scientists have recently discovered that testosterone levels in younger American males have been dropping to the lowest levels on record.
2. Obesity: Studies have suggested that exposure to BPA may be linked to an increased risk of obesity. BPA can disrupt the hormonal balance that regulates appetite and metabolism, leading to weight gain. But it can also affect increased estrogen levels, which can lead to hyperestrogenism, affecting appetite and weight gain.
3. Diabetes: BPA has also been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Exposure to BPA may interfere with insulin production and glucose metabolism, leading to insulin resistance and higher blood sugar levels.
4. Cardiovascular disease: Evidence suggests that BPA exposure may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
5. Cancer: Studies have suggested that BPA exposure may be linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Avoid heating plastic containers in the microwave whenever possible to minimize potential health risks. Instead, use microwave-safe glass or ceramic containers. If you must use plastic, look for BPA-free containers labeled as microwave-safe, and avoid putting highly acidic foods or beverages in plastic containers. It is also essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and replace plastic containers that are scratched or damaged, as these can release more chemicals into your food or beverage.
For many Americans, this latest study is too late. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bisphenol A (BPA) can be found in the urine of more than 90% of Americans tested, indicating that exposure to BPA is very widespread in the United States. The CDC notes that most people are exposed to BPA daily because of its use in so many everyday plastic products.
Several symbols appear on all plastic containers, indicating that a plastic container is BPA-free and safe to use in a microwave. You’ll almost always find these symbols on most plastic containers’ bottoms. If it has no symbol, assume it is high in BPA and find one with the symbol.
Here’s what to look for;
1. The Microwave Safe symbol: This symbol looks like a microwave with some wavy lines on top, indicating that the container is safe to use in a microwave. It does not explicitly indicate that the container is BPA-free, but it is a good starting point to ensure the container is safe to use in the microwave.
2. The Resin Identification Code (RIC) 5 symbol resembles the number 5 inside a triangle. It indicates that the container is made from polypropylene, which is typically BPA-free and safe to use in a microwave.
3. The BPA-Free symbol: This symbol looks like a circle with the letters “BPA” crossed out, indicating that the container is free from BPA. This symbol may not suggest that the container is safe in a microwave, so looking for additional signs or information is essential.
4. The “Microwave Safe” and “BPA-Free” combination symbol: Some manufacturers may combine the Microwave Safe and BPA-Free symbols into one symbol to indicate that the container is safe to use in a microwave free from BPA.
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions and look for the appropriate symbols before using a plastic container in the microwave.
Copyright 2023 S. Keith Klein IV CN CCN