Processed Foods

Heart fears over common chemical plastic packaging Bisphenol A is commonly used in food packaging
Higher levels of a chemical often found in plastic food and drink packaging are associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, a study has suggested.
The group with the highest levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) in their urine were found to be more than twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease.
But the Journal of the American Medical Association research did not show that Bisphenol A caused the conditions.
And a UK toxicology expert stressed the study's findings were "preliminary".
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7612839.stm
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Billy
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This was the article in local paper saying FDA still considers BPA safe:
http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008309170004
I've been following and have been concerned that BPA has demonstrated undesirable effects in animals even at low concentration. OTOH, as a polymer chemist, I worked with the stuff for years and probably had exposure thousands of times beyond public with no ill effect. I know of no epi studies with BPA workers and companies are obliged under TSCA to disclose problems with workers.
Still think it is a good idea to reduce childhood exposure like through not using plastic feeding bottles or cups. Other sources of exposure may be epoxy resins in coatings or seals in cans or jars.
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I would think prudence would be in order. Even as the FDA (which has been susceptible to the influence of lobbyists) was ducking a definitive statement, it was telling people how to avoid BPAs.

"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."
For example, consumers can avoid plastic containers imprinted with the recycling number '7,' as many of those contain BPA. Or, said Tarantino, they can avoid warming food in such containers, as heat helps to release the chemical."
BPA isn't toxic in the arsenic sense of the word but it is classified by "some" as a endocrine disrupter.
For those who are concerned about BPA I would suggest http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocrine_disruptor.
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The general public might like to know that in order to get food contact approval for a plastic from the FDA, a petitioning process is undergone where the manufacturer presents all his process data, toxicity studies on the plastic and toxicity on extracts of his material under simulated food contact. It is possible to miss some subtle effect but important things like effect on animal birth is studied. Since peoples lives do not depend on the product like with medicinals it can take many years to get approval. One I was observing for a simple polyester must have taken 10 years.
The public should also appreciate that major toxicity problems with foods reside in the food itself and not the packaging. Additives to the food itself are also more of a concern. Then there is such as some ot the criminal activity out of China with pet food and baby formula where food was adulterated with cheap materials.
Here's a link to the code of federal regulations for food contact and additives:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_99/21cfrv3_99.html
Frank
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True or false. The additive manufacturer does the testing?
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Depends. Large chemical company like DuPont has/had reputable toxicology lab (Haskell Labs) and could do complete testing. Other companies would farm out. All data and results are reviewed by the FDA. When it comes to the ultimate product, it is the obligation of the manufacturer to test the final item.
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Fox guarding the hen house. That is a major problem with the current FDA. In case after case, it has been shown repeatedly that companies have hidden data showing defects and health/life-threatening characteristics of their own products. At the same time, they have exaggerated health claims. Vioxx, Vytorin, Avandia.... to name a few.

Tell that to all the microwave popcorn workers who died or whose lungs have been damaged because of the popcorn packaging.

A significant number of the CFRs having to do with public health and safety--- things that cost companies money--- have been rewritten and weakened in especially the last eight years. Public involvement in the regulatory process has been thwarted by the Bush administration in particular which has curtailed public notice, hearings, and comment periods. And then there are the secret White House meetings with industry heads that have set the momentum for such actions. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and many State-enacted Sunshine Laws are often ignored. That so much information is hidden speaks volumes about the contempt for the citizenry.
Isabella
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