Non-Toxic News Update (BPA, Obesity and Arsenic in Rice)

So much news to keep up with this week!  It seems everytime I listen to NPR, or read news articles online, there is a an environmental health news report– stories which have a direct impact on the choices we make and the chemical exposures our children experience. I had to share them with you sooner than later. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these issues as well. These stories can be a bit overwhelming– we need to stick together!

BPA and Obesity

A new national study by NYU shows that children with higher levels of the chemical BPA in their blood are more likely to be obese.  While researchers can’t definitively conclude that BPA caused the obesity, this latest study adds to the long list of studies indicating adverse health effects resulting from BPA (or bisphenol A). After all the factors were considered (hours watching TV, income, and calorie consumption to name a few) the link remained true only for white children. 
This USA Today article also includes a list of recent studies showing the health problems linked to BPA:
“– A study published in Pediatrics last year found that girls exposed before birth to high levels of BPA were more likely to be anxious, depressed and hyperactive at age 3.

— Men with higher levels of BPA were two to four times more likely than others to have problems with sperm quality and quantity, according to a 2010 study in Fertility and Sterility.

— A 2008 study in JAMA linked high BPA levels in adults to diabetes, heart disease and abnormal liver function.”

What to do? Avoid BPA!  Don’t buy canned goods and have your family use stainless steel or glass waterbottles. Read more ideas about how to avoid BPA here
Arsenic and Rice
There has been a growing concern about arsenic in food and drink. We’ve heard of arsenic in apple juice, and now Consumer Reports has tested rice products ranging from Rice Krispies and rice milk for arsenic.

The results are disturbing at best. Take a look at this article and video from ABC news.  The FDA is studying the issue, but we know how that goes. Remember how they have studied BPA for years? And we still have no meaningful legislation eliminating BPA in all food and drink containers.

It is not surprising that much of the arsenic showing up in apple juice and rice products is from industrial farm pesticide use. These chemicals just don’t go away– they move into our food, water, and products. This has been an issue for years. Both the industry and the FDA has known about this problem, as a known carcinogen persists unchecked and unregulated in our food and some drinks.

In the meantime, you can limit your family’s exposures by serving no more than one serving of rice a day. What is super concerning is that many babies are fed rice cereal several times a day, and in the article linked, one serving can raise one’s arsenic level by 44%. Everyone is quick to say that these are not harmful levels of exposure, but following the precautionary principle it makes sense to limit this exposure. Especially when low level exposures of arsenic are a growing concern of scientists and researchers. According to Jean Halloran of the Food Initiatives at Conumer’s Union:

“Much lower levels of arsenic, though, can cause health damage over long periods of time. Both animal and human studies have shown that what seem like tiny amounts of arsenic–exposures in the parts per billion range–can result in cancer years later. Just how carcinogenic arsenic may be is only now just coming to light. Arsenic is already considered to be one of the most potent carcinogens in our environment, but a new analysis still working its way through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that it may be even more potent than previously thought.

What can you do?

Take action and tell the FDA to regulate arsenic level in all food and drink— now. Let’s not waste more time and have more unnecessary exposures and stress on parents.

And follow these additional steps to limit your exposure and to learn more.

Now let’s all take a deep breath and go play Candyland with our little people!

image: Flickr under CC newspaper


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