Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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10 Canned Goods You Should Stop Buying—and Healthier Alternatives

Yes, they’re made of metal. But canned goods are commonly lined with Bisphenol a, better known as BPA, which has potential health complications ranging from weight gain to cancer. And, guess what? In the U.S., the primary source of BPA are canned foods. Here’s how you can find better-for-you options.

Canned tomatoes and sauces

Acidic foods leach out the BPA more than other foods, which means canned tomatoes and tomato sauces tend to test higher in BPA content according to Consumer Reports. Alternate packaging, such as tomato sauces in glass jars or chopped tomatoes in boxed containers lessen the amount of BPA content. For example, the brands Pomi and Cirio package their chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce in boxes. Many marinara varieties are available in glass jars. Tomato paste, although not shown to be high in BPA, can be purchased in tubes rather than cans—look for the brands San Marzano, Mutti, Amore, and Cento.

Tuna

Health Canada, the government health department, reported that canned tuna contained the highest amount of BPA among a wide variety of canned foods. Fortunately for tuna lovers, shelf-stable pouches provide an alternative to the canned version. Popular brands Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee, and Starkist sell tuna pouches.

Veggies

Canned green beans and corn tested higher in BPA than other vegetables. Better choices for your family include fresh or frozen green beans and corn, and as a bonus—fresh and frozen contain more fiber than the canned variety. Here are 30 more ways to sneak fiber in your diet.

Infant formula

A study reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found BPA in all liquid baby formulas tested, even after diluted with water. To avoid this, purchase the powdered formulas in plastic containers, or the liquid formula in boxed packages.

Soda

Multiple research studies show canned soft drinks contain BPA, and that goes for diet varieties, too, reports Health Canada. Highest BPA levels were found in Diet 7-up and Mountain Dew. Glass bottles are a safer bet—or better yet, trade your soda for one of these flavored waters.

Beans

To avoid BPA in your chili and burritos, choose dried beans over canned. While they take a bit longer to prepare, your pinto and black beans will be healthier. Try using a pressure cooker to reduce cooking time of dried beans. Or, cook dried beans in bulk and freeze in one to two cup portions for later use. Dried beans boast high nutrition content in an economical choice.

Soups and stews

Due to the variety of ingredients and recipes for canned soups, stews and entrees, the BPA content varies widely. Health Canada reported the highest BPA levels in Campbell’s brand of canned soups. Consumer Reports found that packaging soups in juice-box-type or plastic containers with peel-off metal lids decreases, but does not eliminate BPA from the food. Tomato-based pasta soups, such as Chef Boyardee’s Beef Ravioli in Tomato Meat Sauce and Spaghetti and Meatballs, contain BPA despite the type of packaging. In fact, the plastic container of the beef ravioli had more BPA than the canned variety. Steer clear of these processed soups and choose homemade healthier soups and stews.

Salsa

The Environmental Working Group’s comprehensive database includes organic and non-organic canned or bottled salsa on their list of foods that may contain BPA. With the acidic contents of salsa (think tomatoes, onions, and peppers), even the metal jar top appears to contribute to the BPA present in the popular condiment. Homemade salsa from fresh ingredients is your best bet.

Beer

Although fancy artsy canned beer is making a resurgence in popularity among craft breweries, the BPA may not be worth it. Reports in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture and the Journal of Food Protection demonstrated BPA in beer from cans. Opt for glass bottled beer or draught. Did you know you can do more with beer than drink it? Check out these unexpected uses for beer.

Aerosol cans

Those super fun aerosol spray cans of whipped cream contain BPA, per the Environmental Working Group. Other foods in aerosol cans, such as squirty processed cheese and cooking oil sprays, may contain BPA. Select fresh cheese for your snacks, liquid oils to grease your pans, and make your own fresh whipped cream. Find out what your favorite cheese says about your personality.

BY JENNIFER BOWERS, PHD, RD
source: www.rd.com


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How Fast Food Messes With Your Hormones

Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin  April 13, 2016     

A new study shows people who eat fast food have higher levels of chemicals in their system

If you want to eat healthy, you’ll need to forgo fast food, which is high in sodium, sugar and grease. A new study supplies even more incentive to do so by finding that fast food is a source of chemicals called phthalates, which have been linked to a list of possible health burdens like hormone disruption and lower sperm count.

The new report, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that people who ate more fast food also had higher levels of two substances that occur when phthalates—which make plastic more flexible—break down in the body. “The same range of concentrations measured in this [group] overlaps with the range of concentrations that have been measured in some of epidemiological studies that find adverse health effects,” says study author Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Prior studies have shown that diet is a source of exposure for plastics chemicals like phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), and that processed food may be of particular concern. The new study is the largest to look at exposure from fast food fare specifically.

mcdonalds

To reach these findings, Zota and her co-authors looked at data from more than 8,800 people who were part of a survey where they detailed all the food they ate in the last 24 hours and then provided a urine sample. Two specific phthalate byproducts were identified: DEHP and DiNP. People who ate 35% or more of their total calories from fast food in the last 24 hours had around 24% higher levels of DEHP compared to people who didn’t eat fast food, and close to 40% higher levels of DiNP. The team also looked for traces of BPA, but did not observe a pattern.

In general, about a third of all the people in the study had eaten fast food in the prior day. “That’s a lot,” says Zota. “That alone tells you the public health impact of this type of food preparation.” It’s believed that phthalates could leach into food during preparation or packaging. Plastic gloves and conveyer belts could be sources, Zota says, and heat from cooking may also make it easier for chemicals to get into food.

The researchers say they hope the findings provide insight into how chemicals can enter our bodies. More research is needed to fully understand what effects these chemicals may have over time. “Our study helps shed light on one potential way that people can reduce their exposure to these chemicals through their diet, but it also points to a broader problem of widespread chemicals in our food systems that will require many different types of stakeholders to get involved in order to fix it,” Zota says.

source: time.com


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BPA is still everywhere, and mounting evidence suggests harmful effects

By Amanda Mascarelli    December 9, 2013

These days the baby aisle shelves are lined with products proudly announcing: “BPA-free.” As a mom and a consumer, this is reassuring. BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical used in the production of plastics and many other products, has been linked to a variety of health problems such as reproductive disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A 2003-2004 national health survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found BPA in more than 93 percent of 2,517 urine samples from people age 6 and older.

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration stated that BPA was safe for use in food-related materials such as plastic food containers and the linings of food and beverage cans, including containers for liquid infant formula. Last year, the FDA ruled that BPA could no longer be used in the manufacturing of baby bottles and sippy cups; this action came after the chemical industry and major manufacturers had abandoned the use of BPA in those products.

But the chemical is found in many other common items: medical devices, dental sealants and compact discs, to name a few. Even paper receipts from the grocery store and ATM machines often contain BPA. In short, it’s pretty hard to avoid the chemical.

In the past few years, the FDA has expressed greater concern about BPA. In 2009, the National Institutes of Health launched a $30 million, five-year program in collaboration with the FDA and the CDC to examine long-term health outcomes associated with developmental exposure to BPA. Research from this effort will be pouring out over the next few years. But the studies already emerging continue to add to the evidence that the safety of BPA is highly uncertain.

These and many other studies have converged on a central message: Even at low levels and particularly during prenatal development and early childhood, exposure to BPA — known to mimic the hormone estrogen — can have subtle but detrimental effects.

When chemicals such as BPA mimic hormones, it leads to what’s called endocrine disruption. “The effect is not necessarily toxic in the traditional sense,” says Sarah Vogel, director of the health program at the Environmental Defense Fund and author of “Is it Safe? BPA and the Struggle to Define the Safety of Chemicals,” but it is a disruption.

Hormonal signals work the way a lock and key work. We have receptors (the locks) that receive signals from hormones (the keys). “[BPA] is almost like a little master key because it can fit into many of these little locks that are in your body and in your cells,” says Emilie Rissman, a behavioral neuroendocrinologist at the University of Virginia.

Rissman and other researchers are finding that when humans and other animals are exposed to BPA during critical developmental windows such as in the womb and in infancy, the chemical can scramble cellular signals and leave lasting biological effects.

receipt
BPA is found in such common items as receipts.

For instance, a 2012 study found that when female rhesus monkeys were exposed to low doses of BPA during their second or third trimesters of pregnancy, the chemical caused defects in egg formation in the offspring. In other studies of the same rhesus monkeys, researchers found abnormalities in the development of other organ systems including the brain, lungs and reproductive tract following prenatal BPA exposure.

BPA has also been linked to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers have also found that newborn rats that were exposed to low doses of BPA for a short period had a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer (an estrogen-induced cancer) later in life. “It’s as if early life exposure [to BPA] programmed a memory in the prostate gland,” says Gail Prins, a physiologist at the University of Illinois in Chicago who led that research. In soon-to-be published studies, Prins’s group has found nearly identical results with human prostates created from stem cells and exposed to BPA during development.

Prins’s work and that of others is finding that BPA is causing alterations at the level of the epigenome — the modifications, or tags, that tell genes when to turn on and off. For instance, a study published this year found that BPA disturbs the epigenetic programming of gene expression in the brains of mice.

Most concerning, recent studies suggest that these epigenetic changes may be heritable between generations. Rissman and her colleagues have found that low-level exposure to BPA in pregnant mice suppresses gene expression of two proteins that are important in regulating social behavior — oxytocin and vasopressin — and alters social behaviors in the fourth generation (the great-great grandchildren) of the exposed mice. The implications of Rissman’s work are “profoundly disturbing,” says Pete Myers, chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit research organization in Charlottesville. The levels of BPA that Rissman is experimenting with, he notes, are in the same range as those found in most people.

We can reduce our BPA exposure by making choices such as opting for electronic receipts, using fresh and frozen vegetables rather than canned, choosing glass and stainless steel containers and not microwaving food in polycarbonate plastic containers. (The heat in a microwave can cause plastic to break down, allowing BPA to leach into food or liquids.) Still, the chemical is all around us, and there is controversy around whether current replacements are any safer.


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Five Reasons to Avoid Plastic Containers

By Joshua Corn    Guest writer for Wake Up World

The great American novelist Norman Mailer once said, “I sometimes think that there is a malign force loose in the universe that is the social equivalent of cancer, and it’s plastic. It infiltrates everything. It’s metastasis. It gets into every single pore of productive life.” You would think this was a recent quote, something he might have said after the green movement became popular. But no – he said this in 1983, before America’s obsession with everything plastic was even close to reaching its peak. What amazing foresight he had.

Plastic has its role in modern society. It’s an essential part of our cars, computers, mobile phones, children’s toys – and practically most everything we use on a day-to-day basis. But there’s one place where plastic has worn out its welcome – and that’s as a container for the food we eat and the water we drink.

The bottom line is that plastic is made from toxic materials. It’s a known fact that these toxins can leach into whatever they come into contact with. And it’s a known fact that when the compounds that make up plastic are ingested, they damage your body on a cellular level and cause health problems.

The pundits will say that the human body can easily handle the “small” amounts (which the government insultingly likes to call “acceptably safe levels”) of toxins that are ingested from plastic. But I find this excuse to be one of the world’s biggest cop-outs. If the human body wasn’t designed to ingest plastic, then no amount is good. Period.

Here are 5 reasons why you should avoid plastic containers:

1. Toxic compounds in plastic can make you really sick.

It’s typical to suffer from a variety of health problems as you age. But is this just “part of getting older”? Or is this perhaps the result of a toxic overload in the body? It’s common knowledge that illness and disorders such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease, vision impairment and many others health problems are all on the rise. Could this be in some way associated with the increasing amount of plastic in our lives? Plastic food and beverage containers became popular fairly recently (in the 1970s) and have become ubiquitous in our lives since then. More and more research is proving that toxic compounds found in plastic cause health problems ranging from cancer to infertility.

2. There’s no such thing as a safe plastic.

Plastics that contain the super toxic compound bisphenol A (BPA) have been in the news a lot lately. And for this reason, consumers have been duped into thinking that if a product is “BPA-free” it’s perfectly safe. But this is a lie. Lots of companies have caught on to the fact that they can sell more of a product if it’s labeled as “BPA-free.” But guess what? It may be BPA-free, but in its place, these companies are using BPS, a close cousin of BPA that may be equally as toxic! The bottom line is – you can’t 100% trust that any plastic doesn’t contain compounds that are toxic to your body.

3. Plastics can cause fertility and reproductive problems.

The ability to produce a healthy child is a wondrous miracle and an amazing event in one’s life. But toxic compounds found in plastic could be making this difficult, if not impossible, for millions of people. What was once speculation is now becoming fact as more and more research is proving that this is a very real problem. For example, almost all plastics contain toxic chemicals that have a negative effect on immunity and hormone regulation, both of which directly affect fertility. Specifically, BPA has been found to make it more difficult for women to conceive and to cause increased risk of miscarriages. New research is also showing that toxins found in plastic can cause birth defects and developmental problems in children.

4. Chemicals in plastic can make you fat.

There are lots of reasons why nearly two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese. But one of them may be the vast amounts of plastics our food and beverages come in contact with. After all, America is the world’s largest consumer of disposable plastic containers. Interesting new research published in Environmental Health Perspectives explains that a chemical widely used in plastics, called bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE), may actually cause stem cells to become fat cells. According to one of the study’s authors, “Exposure to these kinds of chemicals can reprogram your metabolism and make it more likely for you to store calories instead of passing them through.” Have you found that losing weight is next to impossible, despite eating less and exercising more? Perhaps it’s chemicals in plastics that make losing weight harder than it needs to be.

5. Plastics are just terrible for our planet.

Whether you are a hardcore environmentalist or if being “green” is low on your list of priorities, the fact of the matter is that you live on planet Earth, and so will your children and your children’s children. We all have a responsibility to keep the planet has livable as possible. Firstly, plastics are in most cases made from petrochemicals through an energy intensive process that itself creates lots of pollution and toxic discharge. The fact is, every plastic container you use is making the planet less habitable. Also, most plastic in the world is not recycled and usually ends up in landfills, where it degrades very slowly. According to Wikipedia, “Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.”

What Are Your Best Solutions?

Like I said earlier, plastics are a nearly unavoidable part of our everyday lives. But there is a big difference between the plastic on your computer and the plastic that may come into contact with your lunch. You don’t eat your computer. The best solution, which is affordable, convenient and really safe is glass and certain types of metal. Here are some great solutions I’ve found.

  • Break-proof glass water bottles: This glass water bottle has a rubber coating that prevents breakage. It makes water taste amazing! I take mine everywhere I go and it helps me avoid using plastic water bottles.
  • Stainless steel straws: My kids don’t use plastic straws anymore, and instead use these stainless steel straws.
  • Stainless steel containers: Dump your plastic Tupperware and instead go for stainless steel containers. Glass containers are great too, but most of them still have plastic lids.
  • Glass water coolers: If you have a water cooler at your home or office, more and more companies are offering glass containers instead of plastic ones.
  • Alternative to non-stick cookware: The coating on your non-stick cookware may be a type of plastic. Instead choose ceramic cookware or enamelled cast iron.

Sneaky Sources of BPA

Even if you remove all plastic from your food and water supply, there are still some sneaky ways that highly toxic BPA can find its way into your life. Here are the most common:

  1. Cash register receipts: This usually shocks most people. But if you handle a receipt with your hands, then eat your food with your hands, BPA is getting in your system. Avoid receipts or wash your hands immediately after touching one.
  2. The lining of most canned foods. Luckily, we’ve written a buyer’s guide that will help you find the brands that don’t use BPA.
  3. Some baby bottles and pacifiers
  4. Many toys and other children’s products
  5. Some aluminum water bottles (stainless steel is generally safe)
  6. Canned soda and beer

Sources:

environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/2012/05/2012-0605-bpa-brain-cancer-meningioma
anh-usa.org/is-bpa-free-a-lie
blogs.webmd.com/health-ehome/2012/04/pvc-unhealthy-for-our-childrens-health-and-schools
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride
cnbc.com
fastcoexist.com/1679908/chemicals-arent-why-youre-fat-but-theyre-making-you-fatter
natural-fertility-info.com/plastic-infertility
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic
1800recycling.com/2011/03/history-plastic-bottles-recycle

 


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12 ways to avoid hidden BPA

May 28, 2013

Bisphenol A is getting a lot of attention, with good reason. Health Canada recently reported that 95 per cent of Canadians have measurable levels of BPA in their blood or urine, with the highest levels found in children.

Potential health effects from BPA exposure include breast and prostate cancer, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a wide range of developmental problems. That’s why BPA was added to Canada`s toxic substances list in 2012 and banned from baby bottles.
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But that’s not enough! We need to take collective action to create a healthy, BPA-free environment.

Cut your BPA exposure now

In the meantime, reduce your exposure immediately:

1. Trade in kitchen plastic — dishes, containers and appliances — for glass, stainless steel or porcelain. 

2. Choose safer plastics #2, #4 and #5 — #3 and #7 often contain BPA. 

3. Swap out plastic wrap — Parchment paper, glass jars, beeswax cotton wraps or recycled aluminum foil are better options. 

4. Keep plastic out of the freezer, microwave and dishwasher. BPA and phthalates leach from plastics at a higher rate in hot or cold temperatures. 

5. Enjoy BPA-free coffee and tea at home. Use a glass French-press, stainless steel electric percolator or glass kettle to avoid piping hot water against plastic pieces. 

6. Bring your own mug. Disposable paper cups are often lined with plastic — and they’re wasteful! 

7. Can the canned goods. Many are lined with BPA. Even “BPA-free” cans may contain BPS (another estrogen mimic) or PET film (which may contain DEHA).

 


8. Skip aluminum soda cans — also lined with BPA! 

9. Breastfeed (or use powdered baby formula). BPA transfers through breast milk, so protecting you also protects baby. More BPA leaches into liquid than powdered formula. 

10. Request “no receipt”. Thermal paper (receipts, event and cinema tickets, airline tickets) contain BPA. It transfers to your fingers and, when recycled, can leach into new paper products (like toilet paper). 

11. Play it safe. Wood and cloth toys are excellent, toxin-free alternatives to plastics. 

12. Talk to your dentist. Dental sealants and composites can contain BPA.

BPA is readily eliminated from our bodies. So while we push for a regulatory framework that protects our health and environment, these changes will go a long ways towards reducing your exposure right away.

Sincerely,
Tovah Paglaro, Queen of Green


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7 Foods Experts Won’t Eat

1. GMO FOODS (Any of them)
The Situation: GMO foods encourage the massive spraying of herbicides on our topsoils, polluting the ground, waterways, animals and humans. Scientific studies have shown the RoundUp Ready genes in GMOfoods to transfer to our intestinal flora and the pesticide producing genes, called Bt-toxins, to be present in both unborn fetuses and their mothers. In short, GMO foods pollute our environment and out bodies. No long term health studies of GMO foods have been performed on humans. In addition to polluting our bodies with mutant DNA, eating RoundUp Ready GMO foods insures a hefty dose of herbicide given that GMO crops are even more heavily sprayed than conventional non-organic crops. The environmental, political, economic, and social damage by GMO foods is staggering. GMO foods include corn, soybeans, sugarbeets, potatoes, alfalfa, canola, potato, papaya, rice, honey, squash, rapeseed, tomatoes, sweet corn, tobacco, peas, and more in the pipeline.
The Solution: Check that all the food you purchase is non-GMO. Demand a halt to GMO foods any chance you get. Support mandatory labeling of GMO foods.  Buy ORGANIC. Plant a garden
For further insights and details on the disastrous company Monsanto ( the leading company of GMO seeds), please click here
GMO Foods written by WuW contributing writer Jack Adam Weber of PoeticHealing.com
2. CANNED TOMATOES
The Expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A.
The Situation: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. “You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young,” says vom Saal. “I won’t go near canned tomatoes.”
The Solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe’s and Pomi.
3. CORN-FED BEEF
The Expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming.
The Situation: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. More money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. “We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure,” says Salatin.
The Solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It’s usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don’t see it, ask your butcher.

4. MICROWAVE POPCORN

The Expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group.

The Situation: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. “They stay in your body for years and accumulate there,” says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.
The Solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.
5. FARMED SALMON
The Expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.
The Situation: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. “You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. “It’s that bad.” Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.
The Solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

6. MILK PRODUCED WITH ARTIFICIAL HORMONES
The Expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.
The Situation: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. “When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract,” says North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it, according to several independent studies. “There’s not 100% proof that this is increasing cancer in humans,” admits North. “However, it’s banned in most industrialized countries.”
The Solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products.
7. CONVENTIONAL APPLES
The Expert: Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods
The Situation: If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it’s just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers,” he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson’s disease.
The Solution: Buy organic apples. If you can’t afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them first.

Source : First section on GMO food is written by WuW contributing writer Jack Adam Weber of poetichealing.com
All other points were sourced from Shine on Yahoo


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Are You Watering Your Garden With BPA and Toxic Chemicals?

by Jill Richardson, via AlterNet.org
What says summer like running through the sprinkler, eating a homegrown tomato off the vine, or drinking right from the garden hose? Unfortunately, those summer experiences might come with toxic chemicals like lead, bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and even flame retardants. That’s what the Ecology Center found out when it tested a number of different common garden products recently.
The finding that your hose might be the most dangerous tool in your garden was not necessarily what the Ecology Center expected to find.
“We’ve been looking at a wide range of products where there is a credible connection to having human exposure and we know that consumer products are a very significant source of exposure to many of these chemicals,” explained John Gearhart, the Ecology Center’s research director. “We’ve looked at everything from baby products to toys to things as big as vehicles and building materials.”
They had not yet examined garden products, and a few people had asked about them. “We started off trying to do a broader assessment and we did screen a range of products, but overwhelmingly we found that the garden hoses were of most concern.”
What is so dangerous about an innocent-looking hose? To start, one in three of the hoses tested had levels of lead that exceeded drinking water standards. And water sampled from one hose was 18 times the levels allowed in drinking water! Only there is nothing illegal about this, because hoses are not regulated by the same laws that limit lead leached by plumbing fixtures into drinking water. (Since, you know, no one is ever going to drink out of a hose or use it to water plants they might eat.) Brass, often used in plumbing fixtures, is an alloy that can contain up to 8 percent lead. In addition to its uses in brass fixtures, lead is also sometimes used as stabilizers or pigments, particularly in yellow or green hoses. Lead is a neurotoxin and children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults.

The good news is that the state of California took action against three major manufacturers of water hoses over lead content in their products in 2003 and settled in 2004. Under the settlement, the companies Teckni-Plex, Inc.; Plastic Specialties and Technologies, Inc. Teknor Apex Company; and Flexon Industries Corporation were to limit the lead content in their products.

While the Ecology Center did not test any of these brands for lead leaching, presumably gardeners who purchased their hoses since 2007, when the settlement terms fully took effect, can skip worrying about lead – and instead only worry about other chemicals like BPA and phthalates.
For anyone familiar with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nicknamed “poison plastic,” it should come as no surprise that PVC hoses contain phthalates and leach them into the hose water. According to Gearhart “most vinyl hoses are going to have phthalate plasticizers in them.” Phthalates, used as plasticizers, are endocrine disruptors, and some studies link them to liver cancer. Levels of one phthalate, DEHP, was found in the hose water at a rate of four times the amount permitted in drinking water. Several phthalates have been banned in children’s toys, but they are still used in garden hoses and garden gloves.
Another concern found was BPA, an endocrine disruptor that has gotten a lot of publicity recently due to campaigns to ban it from use in baby bottles and sippy cups. Nowadays, consumers have wised up, and many plastic water bottles are marketed as “BPA-free.” The hose industry has faced no such scrutiny, it seems. This endocrine-disrupting chemical was found at a level 20 times higher than what is considered a safe amount in drinking water by the National Science Foundation.


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Study links BPA to behaviour problems in young girls

October 24, 2011 By Dr. Marla Shapiro

BPA, the plastic component bisphenol A has been a growing health concern. It is considered a synthetic estrogen and it has made its way into our bodies by leaching from plastic bottles with the number 7, canned foods and beverages and thermal cash register receipts. These are products we handle daily or eat our food from.

Most of us living in industrialized nations are exposed to BPA, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In 2009, it was shown that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of urinary BPA.

A study published today in Pediatrics looked at gestational exposure to BPA — in other words exposure to the fetus in utero.

The researchers followed 244 mothers during pregnancy measuring urinary BPA while pregnant and then at birth. The children were then tested every year from ages 1 to 3. The mothers completed surveys on their children’s behaviour.

The researchers found that BPA was present in over 85% of the mom’s urine samples abd over 96% of the children’s urine samples. While the children’s BPA concentration decreased from 1 to 3 they still were higher than the mother’s.

The researchers found that increasing gestational BPA concentrations in the mother’s were associated with more hyperactive, aggressive, anxious and depressed behaviour as well as poorer emotional control in the girl children but not the boys. It showed that exposures to BPA in the uterus are more important than exposures in childhood. Girls were more sensitive than boys.

In correspondence with the lead author, Joseph Braun, he pointed out that the sex difference seen may be due to the role of sex steroids in brain development and BPA’s impact on endocrinological or hormone activity.

Testosterone and estradiol- hormones may be responsible for the development of “male-typical” behaviors, like aggression and hyperactivity. In rodents and primates, estrogens impact the development of male-typical behaviors. BPA may interfere with sex steroid processes in the brain in females but not males.

Pregnant women can avoid BPA by reducing their exposure to canned and packaged foods, but should still maintain a balanced and nutritious diet to ensure adequate fetal nutrition. They can also reduce their handling of receipts, like the ones they get from the bank or grocery store. Some receipts have BPA in them.

Finally (and this is something they should do already), women can avoid tobacco smoke and quit smoking if they are a smoker. The authors have previously published data suggesting that cigarettes may be a source of BPA exposure since it is used to manufacture the filters.

source: CTV News