PERSONAL CARE CHEMICALS:  Clean Up Your Life—10 Easy Steps


10 Easy and Affordable Ways to Reduce Your Chemical Burden Today mindbodygreen.com

1. Replace vinyl shower curtains with those made of natural fibers. This was one of the first things I did. Vinyl shower curtains contain phthalates which have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems, as well as cancer. These phthalates readily evaporate into the air and hot steamy conditions promote the release of these plasticizers.

2. Reduce use of plastic,
which can leach hormone-like chemicals; this includes plastics marked BPA-free (more on that here). Stop buying bottled water — they’re bad for the environment, expensive, and bad for your health. If you can afford to do so, swap out plastic for glassware. If you’re on a budget, start by replacing the items you use regularly like a few drinking glasses and food storage. If you can’t afford new purchases, don’t put hot or acidic food in plastic, and never microwave them.

3. Reduce intake of canned foods because, like plastic, they contain potentially toxic chemicals. If possible, buy food like beans in bulk from a health food store, and stock up when they go on sale. If you need to buy canned goods, try to avoid the really acidic food like tomatoes.

4. Break up with fragrance. They’re protected under trade secret law so you don’t know what kind of toxic stew you’re getting. Start by getting rid of things you can probably live without: scented body washes, air fresheners, dryer sheets, aftershaves, perfumes.

5. Stop using antibacterial products. They contain harsh chemicals like triclosan, which has been linked to liver toxicity and ends up in water sources. Washing hands with plain soap is just as effective and cheaper. We use the same bulk liquid soap for everything from showering to hand washing clothes to washing hands.

6. Don’t buy toothpaste with artificial sweeteners, colorings, and sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates. I don’t understand why toothpaste ever needs to look, smell, or taste like bubble gum.

7. Don’t buy vitamins with synthetic and industrialized chemicals
, colorings, additives, synthesized fillers, and binders.

8. Don’t use products with nonstick treatments such as Teflon. Instead, choose cast iron or stainless steel. If you can’t afford to replace this, at least discard those that show signs of deterioration.

9. Open your windows daily, especially while you cook and after you shower. Indoor air quality can be worse than outdoors, so let your home “breathe.” Open your curtains and let in the sunlight, a natural antibacterial agent. While you’re at it, bring in some air purifying plants. I have a snake plant that only cost $4, is extremely low maintenance, tolerant of irregular watering and less lighting, and has the potential to absorb airborne chemicals. They’re also stylish looking plants that put me in a good mood.

10. Leave your shoes at the door
so that you’re not spreading outdoor pollutants and additional toxic dust throughout the house. This is the easiest thing you can do, and costs you nothing.

(Thanks to Bertram)

Are BPA-Free Bottles Just As Bad?

You may have heard by now that bisphenol A, a chemical commonly-used to make hard plastic and is found in many water bottles, can have harmful health effects. Due to evidence suggesting BPA can impair brain and reproductive development and other reasons, the FDA banned its use in baby bottles two years ago. Since then, evidence increasingly suggests that the chemical that manufacturers have replaced it with, bisphenol S, may be just as bad.”

Learn more from popsci.

BPA’s Real Threat May Be After It Has Metabolized
Chemical found in many plastics linked to multiple health threats

Bisphenol A or BPA is a synthetic chemical widely used in the making of plastic products ranging from bottles and food can linings to toys and water supply lines. When these plastics degrade, BPA is released into the environment and routinely ingested.

New research, however, from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests it is the metabolic changes that take place once BPA is broken down inside the body that pose the greater health threat.

More than 90 percent of all Americans are believed to carry varying levels of BPA exposure. 

In recent years, numerous studies have reported alarming associations between BPA exposure and myriad adverse health and development effects, from cancer and neurological disorders to physiological defects and, perhaps, a cause of childhood obesity.

Of particular concern is that BPA exposure is correlated with disruption of estrogen signaling.  The chemical’s molecular structure is similar to that of estradiol, one of the human body’s three main estrogens, suggesting that BPA binds to estrogen receptors. The estrogen receptor is designed to grab and hold estradiol and related estrogens. Disparate chemicals, however, can share some structures found in estrogens, enabling them to bind to the estrogen receptor. When that happens, problems can occur.

In binding to the estrogen receptor, BPA can disrupt the body’s endocrine or hormone system, with consequences especially worrisome for fetuses, infants and young children. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Its use is more broadly banned elsewhere in the world.

In new research published in the October 4 online issue of the journal PLOS ONE,  two scientists at UC San Diego School of Medicine say three-dimensional modeling suggests a metabolite of BPA – a molecule produced when BPA is metabolized or broken down by the body – actually binds to the estrogen receptor much more strongly than BPA itself. The finding could point the way to development of a new class of drugs designed to specifically inhibit excessive estrogen activity linked to disease.

According to Michael E. Baker, PhD, UCSD professor of medicine, and Charlie Chandsawangbhuwana, a graduate student in the UCSD Department of Bioengineering, several research labs have reported that BPA binds weakly to the estrogen receptor, suggesting that something else is interacting with this receptor.

In 2004, Shin’ichi Yoshihara, PhD, and colleagues at Hiroshima International University, discovered that another compound, dubbed MBP, was produced when BPA was metabolized.  MBP has a 100-fold to 1,000-fold stronger bond to the estrogen receptor than BPA. However, the structural basis for MBP’s high affinity for the estrogen receptor was not investigated further.

In their PLOS ONE study, Baker and Chandsawangbhuwana revived Yoshihara’s research by creating three-dimensional, molecular models of MBP and BPA in the estrogen receptor and matching it against the crystal structure of estradiol in the estrogen receptor. They found that MBP’s longer structure allows both ends of the chemical to interact with the estrogen receptor in a way similar to estradiol. The shorter BPA molecule contacts the receptor at just one end, resulting in a weaker connection, providing an explanation for BPA’s lower affinity for the estrogen receptor.

“In other words, MPB is basically grabbing onto the estrogen receptor with two hands compared to just one hand for BPA,” said Baker. “Two contact points makes a much stronger connection.”

Baker said the 3D modeling supports the idea “that BPA is not the endocrine disruptor culprit. Instead, MBP is one (of perhaps several BPA metabolites) that causes disruption of estrogen signaling in humans and other animals.”

He said the research points to the need to measure MBP levels in urine and blood of patients suspected of BPA-mediated health effects, and may fuel development of a new therapeutic treatment for conditions linked to excessive estrogen levels and activity, such as some forms of breast and prostate cancers.

“One could use MBP, which has a novel structure, as a template to develop a new class of chemicals that could bind to the estrogen receptor with high affinity,” Baker said. “The goal would be to have these chemicals inhibit the action of estradiol instead of activating the estrogen response. These chemicals could control unwanted growth of estrogen-dependent tumors.”

Image: Contacts between the ends (red) of estradiol and the estrogen receptor are critical for biological activity. BPA is too short to have both contacts; MBP is longer and can mimic the sex hormone estradiol in the estrogen receptor.

stethoscopelife said:

Hii there :) Why is bisphenol considered carcinogenic/ how does it act?

For those who aren’t aware, bisphenol is a carbon-based compound, used to make polycarbonate plastics, often used in containers that store food or drinks.

An evaluation of the then current scientific research in 2002 found that bisphenol A (BPA) ‘is not likely to be carcinogenic in humans’. Similar reviews also concluded that research on rodents had not been sufficiently carried out in order to state whether there was a carcinogenic effect. 


However, since then, research in 2012 found that BPA can affect the mammary glands (milk producing organs) in female primates, adding to concerns that it may be a weak carcinogen in humans.

It has been suggested that any carcinogenic activity of BPA could come from its oestrogenic effects - that it could act in a similar manner to the products of the breakdown of oestrogen. Several studies support the idea that these can react with DNA to cause mutations, leading to the initiation of cancer. This proposed study from 2010 planned to attempt to gather evidence that BPA can act in this way, though it hastens to point out that even if this evidence is obtained, BPA is still, at most, very weakly carcinogenic in humans. Though this was a few years ago, I haven’t managed to find any follow up, however.

In short, the research on BPA still isn’t conclusive. Still, hope that at least partially answers your question!

How Does the FDA Know What Is Safe to Eat or Buy If It Doesn’t Define Safe?
More than 90 percent of Americans carry residues of the chemical BPA in our bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control. We encounter the chemical through every day products such as plastic water bottles, canned food, and ATM receipts, and this steady exposure poses significant risks. Independent scientific studies show that BPA interferes with estrogen and alters the development of the brain, prostate, and breast tissue. The evidence is so strong that 11 states have begun to regulate BPA.

The Food and Drug Administration, however, has delayed taking action on BPA for more than five years—effectively leaving consumers to believe it is safe. Yet when public health organizations ask the agency to explain why it hasn’t protected Americans from this harmful chemical, the FDA stonewalls. NRDC recently had to sue the FDA just to make it comply with our Freedom of Information Act request for material on the agency’s BPA review.

It shouldn’t take a lawsuit for the public to find out what government officials think about health risks posed by consumer products. But as detailed in an exposé by Barry Estabrook in the latest edition of NRDC’s OnEarth Magazine, the agency repeatedly fails to protect Americans from known hazards. Not only does it discount the weight of scientific evidence on issues ranging from antibiotic use to raise livestock to mercury contamination in seafood. But it also has refuses to share how it determines something is free of harm. Read more.

Photo: Lisa Beebe

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Here are 5 reasons why not to purchase bottled water:

  1. Bottled water is not any healthier or cleaner than tap water, although the industry may claim
  2. One plastic bottle can take hundreds of years to decompose; therefore, loading up our landfills for years at a time.
  3. Expensive and costly compared to drinking tap water or filtered water from a reusable, biodegradable bottle
  4. The production of one plastic bottle uses energy, omits toxins into the air, and uses more water to produce than actually put into the bottle for drinking
  5. Plastic bottles contain a harmful substance called polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is dangerous to human health.

Here are 5 benefits of using a reusable water bottle:

  1. Better for our environment by reducing the amount of fossil fuels and toxins released into the air during production
  2. Durable, stylish, and can help you decrease your carbon footprint.
  3. Tap water is more cost-efficient. Bottled water can cost up to 500 times the cost of tap water
  4. Better for your health and the health of your family by using a BPA-free, lead-free reusable bottle
  5. Convenient. Most public facilities have water fountains to fill up your water bottle
FOOD CHEMICALS: BPA Quick and Dirty Fun Facts


Oh sure, you are savvy and in the loop and already know that there are now hundreds of scientific replication studies demonstrating that the chemical Bisphenol-A (aka BPA) is a powerful endocrine disruptor that can adversely affect your hormones at even low levels but…

Did you know that…?


1-The two leading manufacturers of BPA are Dow Chemical and Bayer Chemical (aspirin maker and maker of the infamous bee killing chemical imidacloprid).


2-BPA is still commonly used by U.S. food packaging manufacturers in plastic bags (think snack foods and breakfast cereal), ‘hard’ (structured) plastic food containers, and metal cans used for food and drink—all of which have been shown to allow BPA to leach into the food. (Tomato paste and tomato sauce are the worst offenders by the way, as the acidic content can cause high levels of BPA to leach into the food.)


3-BPA Sales Are Booming A research group says that global sales of the dodgy plastic ingredient will jump 50 percent over the next five years.  Wha’?  (Hint:  China is the leading user of BPA so if you’re looking to avoid it, steer clear of things marked ‘Made in China’.) [READ MORE]

BPA Exposure Too Low to Cause Problems

A controversial component of plastic bottles and canned food linings that have helped make the world’s food supply safer has recently come under attack: bisphenol A. Widely known as BPA, it has the potential to mimic the sex hormone estrogen if blood and tissue levels are high enough. Now, an analysis of almost 150 BPA exposure studies shows that in the general population, people’s exposure may be many times too low for BPA to effectively mimic estrogen in the human body.

The analysis, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting by toxicologist Justin Teeguarden of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, shows that BPA in the blood of the general population is many times lower than blood levels that consistently cause toxicity in animals. The result suggests that animal studies might not reflect the human BPA experience appropriately.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/02/bpa-exposure-too-low-cause-problems