To be, or not to be, BPA-free

When consumer outcry got loud enough and states started their own bans, manufacturers stopped using bisphenol-A (BPA) in some baby products. In 2012, the FDA took limited action – no BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula cans. Thus, the “BPA-free” craze was born! Unfortunately, products that boast “BPA-free” may contain bisphenol-S (BPS), BPA’s less studied chemical cousin. Bisphenols, such as BPA and BPS, are found in polycarbonate plastics in products like sports bottles (the hard, transparent stuff),…

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Phosphate flame retardants: Bad to the bone?

If you go to the CDC’s ToxGuide it will tell you that data suggest Phosphate Ester Flame Retardants are widely distributed throughout the human body. You’ll also find this: Normal human levels? No data available Biomarkers? There are no biomarkers that can be used to quantify exposure… Level in air? No data… Levels in sediment and soil? No data… Read ToxFAQs and you’ll find “there is not enough data” to determine if they produce cancer in humans (though increases in…

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HBCD is on the way out – but use of questionable alternatives will persist

This week, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. But internationally, countries that have signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants have a different reason to give thanks: the amendment adding HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) to Annex A (Elimination) takes effect today. Under Annex A of the Convention, countries have up to five years to eliminate uses of HBCD in plastic foam building insulation, and any insulation materials containing HBCD during that phase-out period will need to be labeled. HBCD is a persistent,…

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It all comes out in the wash

Flame retardant chemicals don’t stay put in products. A study published in Environmental Science & Technology reveals they are hitching a ride on our clothes and taking a detour through our laundry, on the road to our rivers. Flame retardants (FRs) are in the bodies of humans and animals, and in our waterways. One pathway to rivers and oceans is laundry water. FRs migrate from household products and accumulate on dust and clothing. When we wash our clothes the chemicals…

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Dangerous inheritance: When chemicals pass from mom to baby

I can only imagine the joy parents must feel when they look at their baby’s face and see something of themselves in it. My own father proudly takes credit for my blue eyes while my mother insists that I got my big smile from her. Like so many of us, I inherited some of my best traits from my mom, but I also inherited something hidden and far more troubling—the burden of chemicals in her body. Everyone’s first environment is…

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Possible connection between flame retardants and autism in animal study

A new study from UC Davis found that female mice exposed to a component of the pentaBDE flame retardant in the womb showed changes in their brains, impaired learning, memory and reduced sociability as adults. The mother mice were from a special strain that models Rett’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. These results suggest that environmental PBDE exposures may increase the risk of autism in the genetically-susceptible. Read more in Environmental Health News. Full reference: Woods, R., Vallero, R. O.,…

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