Hey Everyone, Let’s Panic!

By now you must all know about BPA, right? If not (are you trapped under something heavy?), Bisphenol A is a chemical that, among other things, makes hard plastic bottles shatterproof and is found in the lining of most cans and food packaging.

On Monday, Washington State voted to ban BPA in products for children under the age of 3. Similar restrictions are in place in Chicago, Minnesota, Connecticut and Suffolk County in New York. In Congress, a bill has been filed that would block BPA from all food and drink packaging. Those wise Canadians banned BPA in baby bottles in 2008.

90% of us have this stuff in our bodies and recent studies have found a presence in the majority of newborn babies. In the last 50 years, dozens of studies have linked BPA to health problems, including abnormal growths and tumors in animals. Some studies say BPA alters healthy breast cells, turning them into abnormal cancer cells. Other studies say BPA contributes to tumor growth by mimicking estrogen in the body.

My cancer was hormone positive. That means there were teeny-tiny receptor sites on the outside of my cancer cells that estrogen would bind to. The abundance of estrogen (naturally occurring and from BPA and other toxins) in my system may have accelerated my tumor’s growth.

This is how my war, not just against cancer, but against estrogen began. Chemo drugs shut down my ovaries. After treatment, I started receiving injections to stay post-menopausal but the drug didn’t always work as planned, and I popped in and out of medically-induced menopause multiple times.

Let me take a moment to acknowledge how wrong it is for a person to go from post-menopausal to pre-menopausal. It’s like changing the rotation of the earth and moving from winter back to fall. You can imagine the mood swings. Picture me with my hands clutching my mother’s collar screaming at her to clean my fridge. Right this minute. I sounded like my two year old (I guess some relationships never change). Just do it LADY

I also started avoiding BPA by drinking from glass and stainless steel containers. If I hadn’t had all that fake estrogen in my system, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten cancer at 31 or, if I had, maybe it wouldn’t have been hormone positive.  

Let me be clear: I’m not saying I believe BPA definitively caused my cancer. I don’t believe any one thing causes cancer. I am saying there is a good chance BPA played a part in its development.   

But enough about me, back to the topic at hand. Perhaps you’re asking yourself why Washington state is banning BPA, isn’t this the FDA’s job? In past years the FDA has maintained that BPA is completely safe based largely on the findings of two industry-funded studies. In January the FDA reversed their position and they have expressed concern about the effects of BPA.

Then this from the Washington Post

FDA officials also said they were hamstrung from dealing quickly with BPA by an outdated regulatory framework.

Awesome. And then this:

One administration official privy to the talks said the FDA is in a quandary. “They have new evidence that makes them worried, but they don’t have enough proof to justify pulling the stuff, so what do you do?” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “You want to warn people, but you don’t want to create panic.”

Sure, let them eat poison but, for god sake, don’t freak anybody out.

10 thoughts on “Hey Everyone, Let’s Panic!

  1. Tami

    wow, seriously? you don’t want to create panic. That’s pretty outrageous. I hate to say it, but it often seems lawsuits are the one thing that calls industry to action. So maybe some lawsuits are in order here. In the meantime, I’ll keep drinking out of my klean kanteen. And washing my hair with baking soda. Sometimes it seems like all our conveniences are toxic.

  2. Mary Beth Hawkins Petersen

    Katherine, you are so fabulous. How do you put so much information in a neat little fun to read package and like a ballerina make it seem so effortless.
    I have a three year old, where do you get time to do research!!!!
    I agree that cancer is caused by many things, but that being said I was 32 with no family history of breast cancer. I mean the chances of that are like 1 in a bajillion (see all the research I do). It just seems to point to environment.
    So like Tami I use vinegar to clean everything in the house and wash my hair with crazy stuff. BUT I had no idea about this!
    Thank you for your research. Armed with information like this I am one step closer to keeping my daughter happy, healthy and cancer free!
    Mary Beth

  3. Barb

    Yah – the government response of being worried but not having enough evidence to pull the stuff reminds so much of the CDC’s response to the new “gay plague” that was popping up in San Francisco. Can you imagine how many fewer people would have died if the CDC had gone public with its worries rather than worrying about “justifying it?”

    I understand the need to keep from creating panic and overreacting if there isn’t evidence of a major problem, but when there is evidence of a problem, we expect Big Brother to step in and do something. Geesh.

  4. laura

    what pisses me off is if there is little regulation on what must be disclosed about products we buy. Some have cashed in on the recent surge in BPA-freeness, but things like the Sigg bottles I paid dearly for to avoid the hardened plastic sippy cups for my boys were lined with that fantastic BPA laden plastic. And they didn’t have to say a word, nor did they until much much later.

  5. Karen

    I got an idea–let’s ban the FDA. There’s nothing in the name “Food and Drug Administration” to suggest they’re looking out for us. And we know they’re not. There’s gotta be some other agency that can do better.

  6. Tami

    Laura, did you hear sigg will replace the old bpa bottles with the new bpa free bottles? Check their website.

    Here’s what pisses me off, along with sigg. Turns out bpa lines the inside of our canned foods. Now in our house we don’t really use canned food, with the exception of tomatoes which we use copiously. Which canned food has the highest amounts of bpa, thanks to its high acid content? Tomatoes. Even organic. Damn it.

  7. Katherine Post author

    Hey Tami, The January PCC newsletter mentioned a few brands of canned food that don’t use BPA. I was hoping one would sell tomatoes but no luck. Here’s what they said:
    We haven’t confirmed more than a few canned foods produced without BPA. These are Eden Foods’ bean products, the Hatch Chile Company’s chiles and sauces, and Nature’s One organic powdered infant formula. Other vendors say, “Yes, we use BPA. It’s approved by the FDA.”
    http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/sc/1001/editor.html
    I wonder if anyone sells tomatoes in glass jars.

  8. Tami

    I found a glass jar of tomatoes at our local healthfood store. It was $10. I pay that for an entire case of organic canned tomatoes at costco. We are working on arranging for a big share of a local farmers crop and canning ourselves in glass. Bpa free. Hopefully also botulism free.

  9. Jody

    Oh for crying out loud! I thought Eden was all BPA free! If they think that beans should be in BPA free cans why can’t they can tomatoes in them??? Can’t somebody get this right? I have been buying Eden tomatoes. I read an earlier article in PCC which I thought said Eden was BPA free. Thanks for the link to this more recent one. I have looked for jarred tomatoes but to no avail. Where’s that little corner I like to curl up in??

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