Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bisphenol A: New Research & GMO Connection

 What you will find below: 
  1. New BPA research
  2. What BPA is
  3. What it does
  4. How to get it out of our lives
  5. GMO's being used to line cans in replacement of BPA?
Well, it appears we are getting rid of the baby bottles containing Bisphenol A, but what about all the other items we use in our daily lives? 

New research suggests an association between exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy and increased anxious, depressive, and hyperactive behaviors at age 3 years, particularly in girls.

The research was published online in Pediatrics. 2011;128:873-882. (This had been studied previously and found to be true in 2 year old girls.) The researcher (Dr. Braun) who completed this study said, "Going forward, we will continue to examine other behaviors including autistic-like behaviors and spatial abilities" in relation to BPA exposures. "We will also try to determine if BPA impacts fetal sex steroid production or action during gestation."

According to Trasande, no level of bisphenol A exposure is known to be truly safe. A government panel recently expressed 'some concern' that the ingredient causes neural and behavioral problems in children.

There is already prior human research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008 linking BPA to cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Additionally there is concern from animal studies that BPA may effect the prostate gland, the brain, fetal development, development of mammary glands, accelerate puberty in females,  and effect reproductive health in people who work with BPA.

What is BPA?

Bisphenol A is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It was originally made in 1891 and was investigated as a replacement for estrogen as it mimics estrogen in the body. It is plasticizer used in a variety of products. Virtually all people in industrialized nations are exposed to BPA. Research has shown that BPA can leach into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA or into your body when you handle products made with BPA. (The American Chemistry Council, an association that represents plastics manufacturers, contends that BPA poses no risk to human health.)

It is used in epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics (this plastic is usually identified with the recycling number 7). This is commonly used in food and drink packaging. (Examples are plastic food storage containers, aluminum food cans, baby bottles and water bottles.) You will see it inside water pipes, in dental composites/sealants, baby bottles, food storage containers, water coolers, medical devices, CDs, DVDs, bulletproof glass, construction glazing, and sports equipment and thermal receipts, such as those from ATM machines and cash register receipts. Heating up plastic with BPA will increase the likelihood of BPA migrating out and into your food. So if you warm up a baby bottle of milk in the microwave or put hot food into a plastic food container you are more likely to leach BPA into the contents of the plastic container. The effect appears to increase with repeated heating exposure.

You have to be living under a rock to not have heard about the problems with BPA. However, many people have not done much about it. Most of us seem to feel overwhelmed with how much of it is in our environment or in some cases inside of ourselves. So, let us look at where it exists and what we can do to make our personal environment a little safer. There are easy changes we can make in our lives that will be beneficial. In doing so, we will make the environment safer for each other also.

Avoiding BPA

Plastic food containers: Many people using these to save leftovers or freeze their food. Look for the number 7 on the container. If it has a 7, it has bisphenol A in it. We need to replace these and I will tell you how, but if you have a lot of them and decide to replace  them slowly, I can give you the following advise for using them. 

• Don't put hot food into them. The heat will release more BPA into your food. 

• Don't microwave plastic containers or otherwise heat them up with food in them as they break down over time and may leach BPA into your food. Use glass containers rather than plastic containers in the microwave. (Microwaves are not the best thing to heat food with, but we will save that for another blog.) Plastic baby bottles are usually made with BPA, so only use the glass ones. There are also BPA free plastic bottles. Soon, we will have only BPA free baby bottles sold. I would choose glass myself. If you are using the BPA plastic bottles, do not heat them in the microwave.

• Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers. 

• Discard/recycle all your plastic containers when they get old as chemicals leach into food more easily when the plastics break down. Replace them with the glass ones I mention below or other similar glass containers.
• Don't wash the plastic in the dishwasher. Washing them in the dishwasher (lots of heat) will cause the plastic to degrade and break down much faster.

• If you are out somewhere and choose to purchase water in a plastic bottle, be sure to keep it cool. Don't allow it to get warm. If it tastes like plastic, get rid of it. It probably has been heated somewhere along the way. I take my well water from home with me when I am out and about. I use a stainless steel container to carry the water. 

So what can you use to keep leftovers in and you can heat it in the oven? Glass storage containers are best and here are the ones I use.
Kleen Kanteens are what I use for safe transport of water:

Canned food: When food is canned, it is heated to high temperatures to kill bacteria. This is when the BPA can migrate from the lining into the food. Aluminum and tin cans have linings that contain BPA often. This was done to protect people from metals seeping into their food and causing bad tastes or poor health effects. The unintended consequence was BPA seeping into food unfortunately. Glass and steel containers do not have this problem. Look for food canned in glass. Some companies specifically can in glass (Just like I do and like many of your mothers use to do.) Look for these companies in the store.
Eden Foods has some items in glass jars. Sweet Creek Foods cans all their organic foods in glass jars.

I found some companies are using a can liner that contains a PBA free liner that is listed as an "enamel made from vegetable resins." These companies include but are not limited to Eden Foods, Native Forest, Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics, Wild Planet Foods and Oregon's Choice Gourmet. Most of these foods can be found in your organic grocery store or on-line. Although this sounds good at first glance, I had to ask myself what is this plant based enamel made from and is this not the same thing I paint with? I started looking patents up and here is what I found: It appears a professor Mike Jaffe was awarded a patent in 2009 for  a corn byproduct that can be used to replace bisphenol A (BPA) in epoxy resins  Jaffe said the new product would help create a less toxic epoxy resin, to be used as adhesives, paints and coatings to protect food in cans. Jaffe has been developing sugar-based materials in conjunction with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) in an effort to promote and create new, commercially attractive, sustainable chemistries from wider uses of corn.  EEEEEKKKK!!! I suddenly realized these well meaning manufacturers who took the BPA out of their cans are probably using a vegetable based resin made from GMO corn!  I do not want to support GMO corn in any way shape or form and do not want it leaching into my food! I will not buy their canned food unless they put it in glass!!!! I am going to investigate this more and will report soon.
I would like to add: Fresh food is always best. If not fresh, use frozen or dried. If you must use canned food, please look for foods in glass. Go to  your local health food store and identify how much canned food you can purchase in glass and what is missing. Tell your store what you would  like them to carry. Give your friends the list and tell them to go in and tell the store the same thing.

Dental composites and sealants: We now have a dilemma. Do we use mercury amalgams and have toxic mercury in our mouth or composites that have BPA or use gold which is now very expensive and you can't have it in your mouth with other metals as mixed metals in an acid or alkaline solution will create a battery effect. I myself after having severe mercury toxicity went for the composites before we knew the problems with BPA. So far, I am much better off for it. I would like to see research on the composites that looks at their reaction in our warm but not hot mouth as well as how the constant chewing may or may not effect release of BPA. If I can find this information, I will share it with you.

Cash receipts and ATM receipts: Try not to handle them much. Anything they rub on can pick up the BPA. Samples of our money supply have been tested and found to always contain traces of BPA which is thought to be due to these receipts being put into our purses and wallets with the money. So the money also has BPA on it. Remember it can be absorbed through the skin. So handle these items as little as possible. Washing your hands afterwards will help but don't get obsessive about it.

Medical devices: The FDA initiated two studies in 2009 to determine whether plastic components might be leaching BPA into patients during cardiopulmonary bypass and hemodialysis. This is being undertaken at the Children's National Medical Center and does not appear to be finished yet.

We can protect ourselves and others.
We can make a big dent in the amount of BPA in our environment by refusing to purchase items with BPA in them. The manufacturers will simply use something else. Something like cash receipts and ATM receipts will need some type of state or federal law that does not allow BPA receipts to be used. This is a matter of contacting our representatives.

In my opinion you can effect your health the most by making sure you do not purchase food in cans or boxes (broth, soy milk etc) that has a plastic lining inside. If there are no replacements call the company and complain. Tell them you are going to make your own broth or almond/soy/oat milk and then do it. Making these milks is easy and much tastier than what you can purchase. Finding companies who can with glass is getting easier. Look at the organic foods as this is where you often find manufacturers who care enough to can in glass. It is harder for them and the distributor to move glass objects around. Cans are more forgiving when they break. However, I think we would all agree that a little breakage and even a slightly higher cost if necessary is better than BPA lined cans or GMO lined cans taking up residence in our bodies.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dietary Supplement Study Siting Increased Mortality in Older Women Was Flawed

The recent study "Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women," published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011, Volume 171(18):1625-1633, was fatally flawed and in my opinion can not be considered good research. They claim there is a slightly higher risk of all-cause mortality associated with the use of multivitamins, iron and copper in these women. I think it is interesting that this has been put fourth during a period of time that many countries (Phamaceutical companies are always behind this.) including ours is trying to make herbs and nutrients prescription only items.
The  study was data extracted from the on-going Iowas Women's Health Study. The information in this study is based on self administered questionnaires distributed in 1986, 1997 and 2004. The study asked about supplement intake but did not get specific and ask how much of any specific nutrients was consumed. They also did not ask about the chemical form of the supplement or quality. When the women were asked about taking a multivitamin, the study did not have them specify if it was a mineral multi-vitamin or had herbs in it. 
The study made no attempt to verify accuracy of the answers, or ask why the women were taking supplements or how those supplements might effect the health of that individual.
The most glaring error to me is that the health condition of the person was not taken into account. Many people with cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other health conditions will start taking supplements when they get the diagnosis. If that person subsequently dies of a serious ailment they began taking the supplements for, this study is blaming it on the supplements rather than on the disease. This glaring error should have been accounted for.
You can get a detailed analysis of this poorly executed study by clicking here:  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Raw Food – Is it really raw?

We all want our food to be as healthy and vital as possible. To this end many of us eat a lot of “raw” food. We do this to get all the enzymes and vitamins in our bodies that would otherwise be destroyed by cooking. The enzymes which are destroyed at low temperatures are necessary for our body to process and assimilate the food. Without them our body has trouble digesting the food and we can end up with a variety of chronic diseases. 

For some eating raw food is as simple as eating salads with meals, while for others it is eating all their food in raw form. However, is the “raw” food we buy really raw. A distributor can call their food raw even if it has been processed. Some of these so  called raw foods are being pasteurized with the use of heat or chemicals to kill unwanted bacteria and fungus that may be lurking on the foods. For instance, all almond growers in the United States were ordered to either pasteurize their almonds with propylene oxide or steam them to over 200 degrees before they can be sold to American consumers. If you want true organic raw almonds you need to grow them yourself or get them from outside of the United States. (They do allow non-treated almonds to be sold on the market if from other countries. Tell me how that is logical.)

Another example is oat groats. I tried to purchase raw, organic oat groats recently and found that most of them are heat treated to kill bacteria and fungus. The only place I could find unheated organic oat groats was from companies selling oat seed and a company selling animal feed. The distributors simply had too many of the oats “going bad” so the growers/distributors decided to heat treat the organic oats to make sure they had a longer shelf life. They will tell you this is necessary for safety. However, if a grain is grown and collected properly, dried properly and stored properly it will keep well. All grains must be handled carefully to keep them in vital shape. If they get moist, and warm they can grow bacteria or mold which may be lurking there due to bad farming/harvesting practices. Using good growing practices and keeping them as clean, dry and cool as is necessary is not something all growers and distributors want to deal with. Therefore it is easier for them to simply nuke them with chemicals or heat. Many distributors don't even know if their grains have been heated or not. In our community there are farmers growing grains and legumes on a smaller scale than the factory farms. They are being careful with their food and not using chemicals or heat on their raw grains.

The use of heat to kill hazardous organisms in our organic food will also destroy enzymes and vitamins in the food. If you want to find out if the grain you are eating has been treated and you can’t get the information from the company, try sprouting it. If it does not germinate well, it is most likely treated or it may just be old. If it is old it will often have a rancid smell also.

There are also foods that are called raw even though they have been processed. An example is agave nectar. It is being used a lot by people eating “raw” food. The core of the plant is processed by steaming it and pressing (or chopping it) so that juice emerges. The juice is collected and filtered through enzymes and then it is heated. This does not sound raw to me. Yet many people who eat only raw food use a lot of agave nectar in their food preparation.

Although I am not on a raw food diet, I do enjoy much of my food in the raw state or in a semi-raw state. Even my cooked food I want to be as healthy as possible.  I find myself on a farm growing my own nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy goats for milk and cheese as well as chickens/ducks for eggs. I do this as I like the lifestyle and it allows me to know exactly where my food is from. What I grow can not be purchased in a store. As time goes by more and more, it can be purchased at the farmers market, but not always. It is hard to purchase an egg that looks like my chickens eggs with their dark orange colored yolks. My chickens are really free range. They are not pretend free range like many of the indoor free range birds. All ten of my chickens roam a few acres. They could go farther but don’t wish to. They get plenty of bugs and vegetation in the three acres they roam. In the winter when they want to hide indoors and they eat more organic food that I supply to them, their eggs start to look like the “organic, free range” eggs sold in the store. It does not matter that they are eating the best organic food I can buy or grow for them. It is still not their usual free-range food they get spring through fall. The eggs seem a bit on the anemic side, but never looking as bad as the store eggs. I have been eating these eggs raw in a variety of ways for 12 years now. I cook them also but the raw ones are definitely more vibrant than a cooked egg. I would be scared to eat a raw egg from the store. Luckily there are people like me who are selling their eggs if you look around your community for them. Many cities allow hens in your back yard. If yours does not, start a movement to allow hens. Don't ask for roosters as they are too noisy for your neighbors. Look at laws in other cities that allow them and learn from how that law was created. Use it as a guide to create a law in your city.

We have to fight for our right to purchase raw food if we do not grow it and want to consume it. If we don’t all want to be gardeners or farmers, support your farmers who provide organic raw milk, organic free range chicken eggs, raw nuts etc. These farmers we depend on are fighting a battle with large factory farms that wish to pasteurized everything to make it easier to store the food long term. These factory farms band together and have a lot of money. They use that money to hire lobbyists and to persuade the government their way is the best way. Let your representative know you have a different point of view. Tell them what it is. Get your friends and family to contact your representative too.  Without your assistance, raw food could become a thing of the past as all foods become pasteurized through the whim of factory farms and government laws deciding that is how it should be done.  The only ones who will benefit from pasteurizing all the food in America is Big Pharma. The less organic, raw food eaten by Americans, the more chronic disease Americans will have and the more money Big Pharma will make on the drugs sold to these poor people. That is not the path I choose and I hope you will choose the healthy path along with me. Stand up for our rights to eat organic, raw milk, raw fruit, grains, nuts etc. Know where your food comes from. Know what has happened to it before you received it.  Financially support only those who are growing your food the way you want it to be grown. Tell your government representatives what laws you want them to support and which laws should be overturned. We must be active and participate in our health. Support representatives such as Ron Paul who are trying to get laws passed to allow raw milk to be sold across state lines.

Additionally, if you do want to garden or farm, and you do not have land, you can still do it. Many cities have community gardens with garden plots available to it's citizens for a small rental fee. If your city does not have such an offering, you can create a community garden. Go to this website to see how it is done in Eugene Oregon.
Another website you can check out to see how they do it in Portland Oregon is at
See how these communities set theirs up and it will give you the framework to create community gardens in your city.

If you live near an organic farm, check and see if the farmer would like to trade you for help. Perhaps you can go out and help in their gardens or farm one day a week in exchange for a weeks worth of groceries. (You will need some sort of skills usually to have them agree to this.) Some farmers or gardeners take on apprentices who want to learn how to farm or garden. There are many ways you can get healthy food  even if you do not have a garden. Just start coming up with ideas. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. 

If you have space to garden but don't know how to do it, look for classes on gardening. You will find them offered at extension offices or sometimes farms such as my own will offer classes on gardening. Perhaps a neighbor has space in their yard to garden and they are not using it. They may allow you to use the space in exchange for your keeping up their yard work. Get creative, have fun and feed your body well.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Non-GMO Month

It's Non-GMO month - help by signing the petition to require the FDA to label our food. We have a right to know what is in our food.

The FDA undertakes no GMO safety testing on its own. Instead, they allow companies like Monsanto, who told us that their DDT, PCBs, and Agent Orange was safe, to determine if their GMOs are safe. Internal FDA documents revealed that the agency's own scientists warned of serious health risks, and urged long-term testing--but were denied.

There are many reasons why Americans want labeling of genetically engineered foods. Whatever the reason is that brought you here, what unites us all is that we all want to make informed choices about the food we eat and feed our families. We have a right to know if what we are eating has been genetically engineered.

Watch the New "Dining in the Dark" video and sign the Petition by clicking on this link.

Having trouble with the link above? Copy and paste the above link into your web browser:

Monday, October 3, 2011

The "Scoffed At" Solution that Can Prevent and Treat Most Diseases

This movie is free for you to watch for one week and is well worth watching. Click on the link below.