BPA

Photo by Lynne Peeples

Why Some Skin Care Products And Those Thermal Receipts May Be A Troubling Combination

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Photo by Lynne Peeples

“Those little slips of paper that accumulate in our pockets and purses may do more than just document recent take-out meals, pumpkin

spice lattes and shopping sprees. Receipts, according to a small study published Wednesday, could also deliver a potentially harmful rush of hormone-scrambling chemicals into our bodies.”

Read more from Lynne Peeples at the Huffington Post

Plants

BPA in the air: Manufacturing plants in Ohio, Indiana, Texas are top emitters

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By Brian Bienkowski

Staff Writer
Environmental Health News


October 14, 2014

As concerns mount over people’s exposure to the plasticizer bisphenol A in everyday products, it’s also contaminating the air near manufacturing plants: U.S. companies emitted about 26 tons of the hormone-disrupting compound in 2013.

Although research is sparse, experts warn that airborne BPA could be a potentially dangerous route of exposure for some people. Of the 72 factories reporting BPA emissions, the largest sources are in Ohio, Indiana and Texas, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’sToxics Release Inventory.

UC Irvine
Bruce Blumberg

No one has measured what people in nearby communities are exposed to. But the exposures are likely to be localized and smaller than other sources of BPA.

BPA breaks down quickly in the environment. But it also can attach to particles that infiltrate lungs, said Bruce Blumberg, a University of California, Irvine, biology professor.

“Inhalation of compounds is a big exposure route that most people do not usually consider for BPA,” he said.

BPA, used to make polycarbonate plastic, food can linings and some paper receipts, is found in almost all people tested. Low doses can alter hormones, according to animal tests, and exposure has been linked to a wide range of health effects in people, including infertility, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer.

In the only study of its kind, Japanese researchers reported that BPA was ubiquitous in the atmosphere worldwide. They suspected the emissions came from the manufacturing and burning of plastics.

In the United States, chemical manufacturing accounted for 54 percent of the BPA air emissions, while metal manufacturing and metal fabricating accounted for 21 and 20 percent, respectively, according to the EPA database. In addition, U.S. companies in 2013 reported releasing 3,313 pounds of BPA to surface waters, the EPA database shows.

The amount of BPA emitted into the air has been dropping in recent years. Although the number of companies reporting BPA emissions has remained about the same over the past decade, in 2013 the total tons declined 41 percent from 2012 and almost 66 percent from 10 years ago.

There is “no evidence that inhalation exposures are of concern.” –Kathryn St. John, American Chemistry Council Kathryn St. John, a spokesperson for the American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical manufacturers, said the data don’t reflect what people in surrounding communities might be exposed to. Factors such as the proximity of people to the plants and whether the emissions are continuous or intermittent are important when determining people’s exposures.

St. John added that there is “no evidence that inhalation exposures are of concern.” Studies have not provided any information on what happens to BPA if inhaled, such as whether it is absorbed in the lungs and if absorbed, whether it is metabolized.

Monica McGivern/flickr
BPA can attach to particles that are inhaled.

But Wade Welshons, an associate professor at the University of Missouri who studies endocrine-disrupting compounds, said airborne BPA could be absorbed through the lungs as well as the skin.

Both and inhalation and skin absorption “would deliver more BPA to the blood than an oral exposure,” he said.

Blumberg and Welshons said since these routes would bypass metabolizing organs such as the intestines and liver, airborne exposures may be more dangerous than food exposures.

“The liver is a great organ for metabolizing substances, lungs are for absorbing, not for metabolizing,” Welshons said.

No one has investigated the potential health effects of inhaling BPA. Regulatory agencies only consider oral doses when analyzing potential effects, Blumberg said.

Several communities with the biggest BPA emitters are also home to large volumes of other toxics from industrial plants.

Deer Park, Texas, had 4,100 pounds of BPA and 2.8 million pounds of other air toxics in 2013, while Defiance, Ohio, had 6,600 pounds of BPA and 387,454 pounds of others, according to the industry reports filed with the EPA. Freeport, Texas, home to a Dow Chemical plant, had 905 pounds of reported BPA air emissions last year and an additional 1.74 million pounds of other toxics.

Compared with exposure from consumer products such as polycarbonate plastic and food cans, there has been little concern about airborne BPA. “But this lower concern level is based on relatively little data,” said Laura Vandenberg, an assistant professor of environmental health at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who studies health effects of BPA. “This is something I would say is not discussed in-depth on our field but it should be.”

Several communities with the biggest BPA emitters are also home to large volumes of other toxics from industrial plants.There isn’t a lot of research on what happens to BPA when it’s released into the air. BPA degrades fairly quickly, but it also can attach to dust particles, Vandenberg said.

Researchers tested for BPA in the dust of homes, dorms and labs at and around Murray State University and the University at Albany in 2011. They estimated that, while diet is the still the major exposure route, people’s BPA exposures through dust are about the same as the low concentrations that cause health problems in lab animals. It’s not clear how the BPA got into the dust; it could have been from indoor sources.

Sudan Loganathan, who led the study while a student at Murray State University, said the estimated daily exposure for people through dust was low compared with food exposure. But, she added, “when you look at the average dust intake for adults and then infants, this is more of a concern for infants. They are on the floor, and there’s more hand-to-mouth contact.”

Blumberg said air quality monitoring should expand to test for BPA.

“There are a lot of people studying inhalation exposure with things like particulate pollution, ozone and other major components of exhaust, but not much at all when it comes to chemical exposure like BPA,” Blumberg said. “That’s a big open area right now.”


Follow Brian Bienkowski on Twitter.

Original story at http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2014/oct/bpa-emissions

For questions or feedback about this piece, contact Editor in Chief Marla Cone atmcone@ehn.org.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

BPA

BPA and Reproductive Health

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In 2006 a panel of experts reviewed the literature to that point on potential health effects arising from exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a high-production-volume chemical that is broadly detectable in the environment as well as in most people’s bodies in developed countries.1 A new review takes stock of the knowledge gained since then, focusing on potential reproductive health effects while also considering new and lingering questions.

Jackye Peretz, Lisa Vrooman, William A. Ricke, Patricia A. Hunt, Shelley Ehrlich, Russ Hauser, Vasantha Padmanabhan, Hugh S. Taylor, Shanna H. Swan, Catherine A. VandeVoort, and Jodi A. Flaws

Read entire article here.

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Toxic Worries? SafeMarkets.org Helps Find Safer Products

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New website contains info on toxic chemicals in products; testing results

NEW YORK, Aug. 22, 2013 – Information gathered by advocates investigating toxic chemicals in food, baby products, toys, furniture, construction materials and other consumer goods was unveiled on a new website today to help identify potentially harmful products and safer ones. SafeMarkets.org reflects the work of many organizations working to remove toxic chemicals from the marketplace and promote an economy based on safe, sustainable products.

“People assume that if a product is on store shelves, that it’s safe; unfortunately that couldn’t be further from the truth. While we wait for urgent reform of federal chemicals regulations, it’s fallen on us to become educated on how to protect ourselves and our families from toxic chemicals in our homes, schools and hospitals,” explains Mike Schade, with Work Group for Safe Markets and Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ). “We’ve been sounding the alarm on toxic chemicals in back to school products, including lunchboxes, backpacks made from vinyl, a plastic with many hazardous ingredients like phthalates, linked to asthma and reproductive harm. Shoppers can find links to CHEJ’s 2013 safer school supplies guide on Safemarkets.org.

“This is a one-stop shop to provide information for consumers, retailers and manufacturers that are demanding safer products,” adds Beverley Thorpe, with Work Group for Safe Markets and Clean Production Action (CPA). “Here at CPA, we’ve developed the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals to help manufacturers and retailers choose safer chemical ingredients. This and our BizNGO Guide to Safer Chemicals help businesses make better chemical choices.”

“With toxic flame retardant chemicals in so many things – upholstered furniture, many baby products, and other common household items, even some brands of soda – it’s hard to avoid being exposed to them. Linked to neurological problems, infertility, endocrine disruption, even cancer, it’s crucial for consumers to educate themselves before they buy,” says Kathy Curtis, with Alliance for Toxic Free Fire Safety.

“People of color are disproportionately impacted by toxic chemicals,” explains Michele Roberts with the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance. “So it’s particularly important for us to access information about toxics in products marketed to us. SafeMarkets.org is a good start for gaining information on many products in our homes. We look forward to information on personal care products marketed to ethnic markets to be included here in the future.”

Jamie McConnell, with Women’s Voices for the Earth and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, comments: “We’ve tested household products and found carcinogens and other harmful ingredients in cleansers, detergent, room fresheners and other everyday items used in many homes. SafeMarkets.org is helping to promote our reports and information and make them more accessible to consumers and businesses.”

Mia Davis, with Beautycounter, who is expecting her first child, says “It is about time we have a one stop web page that helps parents find safer products for their families. More than ever, people understand how important it is to shop with companies they trust and to support businesses working to create truly safe products.”

“This website helps consumers connect the dots between the choices they make every day to use healthier consumer products, like choices when making big budget decisions about how to build or renovate a healthy home,” according to Bill Walsh, with Healthy Building Network (HBN).  “The new SafeMarkets site features a link to the Pharos Project, HBN’s database for building materials.”

Info www.safemarkets.org

bpa

California Decides Chemical BPA is Toxic

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California on Thursday became the latest state to place restrictions on the chemical known as Bisphenol-A and declare it a reproductive toxicant.

The chemical, commonly known as BPA, is found in hard plastic bottles, the cans of food and beverages, sales receipts and dental sealants.

Growing research suggests that BPA, believed to be found in the bodies of 90 percent of the U.S. population, is an endocrine disruptor linked to infertility and other harm.

Consumer health advocates have pushed the state Environmental Protection Agency for years to recognize that BPA causes birth defects.

Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist at the San Francisco chapter of the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised the state’s decision.

“They haven’t backed down, and I think that’s to the benefit of public health in California,” she said.

The state agency is targeting BPA under Proposition 65, which publishes lists of chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects. When products in California contain hazardous amounts of a listed toxicant, they are required to carry warning labels. BPA could now show up on the warning labels of hundreds of household items.

The law does not ban the compounds, but consumer backlash can lead them to be phased out of the market.

A state panel of health experts first considered recognizing BPA as a reproductive hazard in 2009 but decided there wasn’t enough evidence.

This time, the state based its decision on a federal report that expressed concern about BPA’s effects on development of the prostate gland and brain, and behavioral effects in fetuses and infants.

The American Chemistry Council is suing the state to keep BPA off the list. Spokeswoman Kathryn St. John noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says BPA is “safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods.”


Story By: Stephanie M. Lee

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Chemical, toy industries oppose bill requiring phase out of children’s products with potentially toxic chemicals

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SALEM — Parents, public health advocates and small business owners squared off with representatives from the chemical, toy and retail industries over a bill that would require the eventual phase out of children’s products made with potentially toxic chemicals.

House Bill 3162 would require the Oregon Health Authority maintain a list of “high priority chemicals of concern for children’s health.” The agency would be required to post the information, including details on the health impacts associated with exposure to each chemical.

It would also require manufacturers who gross more than $5 million annually to phase out those chemicals in their products within five years or seek a waiver from the state.

Chemicals such as Bisphenol A, arsenic, mercury and cadmium would be subject to the requirements in the bill. Products such as children’s cosmetics, car seats, bicycles, toys and other items would be affected.

“As a matter of public health, the state should ensure that no Oregonian unknowingly purchases a product that contains hazardous chemicals for their child or family,” said Sheri Mahlstrom, a registered nurse speaking on behalf of the Oregon Nurses Association.

Jennifer Gibbons of the Toy Industry Association and Matt Markee of the American Chemistry Council said federal standards regulating such chemicals already ensure public health.

“The mere presence of a chemical in a product does not mean that it can cause harm to a child,” Gibbons said. “If those chemicals are in a product, that doesn’t necessarily mean it causes harm, because then you have to look at exposure and then you have to look at risk.”

Gibbons’ testimony sparked skepticism from Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, a sponsor of the bill. Conger’s daughter, now 13, was exposed as an infant to high levels of lead because they lived in an old house at the time, he said.

“You’re suggesting that none of the products we would list are harmful, which I find hard to believe because they include things like formaldehyde,” Conger said to Gibbons. “Are you suggesting that either none of those chemicals are in children’s products, or are you saying those chemicals are not harmful?”

Conger eventually relented in order to allow others signed up to testify to speak.

The bill is based on legislation approved in 2008 in Washington, which maintains a list of 66 chemicals of concern to children.

House Bill 3162 would require the listing of chemicals that are included in both Washington’s list and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s toxics focus list.


Story by: Yuxing Zheng

Original Link: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/03/chemical_toy_industries_oppose.html

Flyering Picture

An Insider’s View of The Toy Industry Association Flyering Event

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My name is Tommy Mutell and I just started working at CHEJ’s New York City office as an intern last month. Last Tuesday I was given the opportunity to participate in a flyering event alongside about forty other people organized by the JustGreen Partnership to bring awareness to the nation-wide lobbying efforts of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) against the discontinuation of harmful chemicals such as BPA, phthalates, and mercury in toys.

TIA claims to have the best interests of its consumers as a primary mission to their association. However, what they say to consumers about toy safety and what they do regarding toy safety legislation and regulations are two different things. Our time at the Toy Fair, an event that attracted tens of thousands of visitors from 92 countries, was spent calling out TIA for their recent lobbying of continued usage of toxic chemicals in toys and other consumer products.

“The Toy Industry Association should stop toying around with our children’s health, and support state and federal efforts to protect children from toxic chemicals in children’s products,” said Mike Schade, Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ).

The flyering event was really a great learning experience and I received a lot of satisfaction in helping to spread the word to the issues we are working to resolve. It felt like the few dozen of us accomplished the amount of work in about an hour that it would take me alone months to complete. I am learning that our collaborative efforts of flyering and raising awareness are really at the frontline of making an impact and bringing about change, and I am going to continue to work on the discontinuation of toxic chemicals in toys and consumer products in the months to come.  I also enjoyed meeting and working with other interns, staff, and volunteers at different environmental groups within the city, as well as members of NYPIRG, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and the Center for Environmental Health to name a few.

SararhVogelBook

Is It Safe? New Book

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We are all just a little bit plastic. Traces of bisphenol A or BPA, a chemical used in plastics production, are widely detected in our bodies and environment. Is this chemical, and its presence in the human body, safe? A new book by our friend and colleague See summary.

BPA in Receipts – The chemical that’s everywhere, or so it seems

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It’s very likely that you’ve heard of a chemical called BPA or bisphenol A. It’s been in the news because it’s an endocrine disrupting chemical used in making plastic products and in the lining of metal cans. The problem is that BPA leaches out of plastic bottles, canned foods and other products and gets into the food and drink. Trace amounts of BPA have been found in the urine of at least 90% of Americans.  BPA mimics the hormone estrogen in the body and has been linked to reproductive and developmental abnormalities as well as other adverse health effects.

Source: American Chemical Society

Concerns about these adverse health effects led Canada to define BPA as a toxic substance and 11 states to ban its use in baby bottles and sippy cups. The FDA followed suit in July of this year. Concerns remain however about BPA leaching into infant formula, food and beverages. Approximately eight billion pounds of BPA are used each year worldwide.

Although diet is the primary route of exposure to BPA, research has shown that it can also be absorbed though the skin in a less familiar way – the handling of receipts of all kinds. BPA is the primary chemical used in cash register and thermal receipts commonly used in stores, ATM machines, gas stations, various tickets, and many other uses. BPA is used as a color developer for the printing dye. It’s applied as powder coating that acts in the presence of heat to produce an image without ink. The problem here is that the chemical is not bound to the paper, so it rubs off when you handle the receipt. It gets on your fingers and quickly gets into your blood stream. If you handle receipts every day, and it accumulates in the body, you increase your risk. This is especially a concern for workers who handle receipts all day long, or for pregnant women.

While there’s no way to tell if a receipt contains BPA or not, a number of studies have tested receipts for BPA. One study reported in the New York Times of 103 thermal receipts collected from cities in the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Vietnam in 2010 and 2011 found 94% of the receipts to contain BPA. All of the receipts in the U.S. had traces of BPA, even some marked as BPA-free. A study by researchers in Boston found 8 of 10 cash register receipts had BPA, and a study by the Environmental Working Group in 2010 found 14 of 36 receipts collected from fast food restaurants, retailers, grocery stores, gas stations and post offices tested positive for BPA.

Although studies in animals have found that very low concentrations of BPA can produce adverse effects, it’s unclear what level of exposure in people can produce adverse effects. It’s also unclear how much exposure from thermal receipts contributes to a person’s total exposure to BPA. Diet remains the primary route of exposure. It is clear, however, that there are readily available alternatives to BPA and this is another source of chemical contamination that can easily be eliminated. It’s also easy to say “no thank you,” when asked if you want your receipt.