The way Food is Processed
So many cans, so much Bisphenol A
I would venture to say that most Americans eat or drink something out of a can almost every day. I was listening to my favorite Sunday radio show this morning, The People's Pharmacy with Joe and Terry Graedon, and they featured a most interesting topic about endocrine disruption.
"A common compound found in the lining of cans, plastic water bottles and even baby bottles can mimic the hormone estrogen. Environmental contamination is widespread and most Americans have measurable levels of the compound, bisphenol A, in our bodies. Will these hormone disruptors affect our health and our children’s health?"
This was the question posed to the two guests:
Randy Jirtle, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Duke University Medical Center http://www.geneimprint.com/lab/ and Frederick Vom Saal, PhD, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri. http://endocrinedisruptors.missouri.edu/vomsaal/vomsaal.html
I'm aware of many of the problems plastics pose to our environment, the least of which is its refusal to biodegrade in a timely fashion. Yes, there are newer, less resistant forms of bio-polymer plastics on the market, but the standard petroleum-based synthetic polymers still hold the lion's share of industrial usage. Our landfills increasingly boast millions of tons of styrofoam, plastic bags, bottles and packaging. Why we don't recycle more of this stuff is constantly a pet-peeve of mine. We throw away our "trash" as if it magically disappears someplace far far away.
Maybe tomorrow the topic will be "trash," but I have digressed. What I am exposing now is the use of bisphenol A (BPA), the monomer used to manufacture polycarbonate plastic, the resin lining of cans, and other products, with global capacity in excess of 6.4 billion lb/year. The two guests on People's Pharmacy this morning were passionate about the possible ill-effects this widely used binding agent in plastics produces.
Especially troubling is its use in canned foods. All cans are lined with this resin to give a longer shelf life. So we are getting daily doses of this substance which has proven to disrupt the endocrine/hormone systems in lab rats. Baby bottles, beer cans, tomato juice, canned soups, vegetables, plastic water bottles; the list goes on and on. It is everywhere!
The two doctors who spoke about Bisphenol A are both avid avoiders of anything sold in a can. They warn against heating anything in plastic in a microwave oven, also, as that leaches the unwanted molecules into the food. it's remarkable to me that more studies aren't conducted to really discover what modern ailments are associated to these modern conveniences. Certainly cancer kills more people now than ever before. And the obese population has increased 10-fold the last decade.
Our children suffer from ADD, diabetes, autism, asthma, and allergies more than any other time in history. I'm convinced our use of so much packaged, canned foods and the fast food phenonema has greatly impacted these statistics.
There is a renaissance of Healthy Eating combining organic, naturally raised foods with raw fruits and vegetables to achieve better health. Most of us drink some form of purified water to avoid all the heavy metals and chlorine found in community water systems now. I've cooked natural foods all my life, and eat lots of nuts and dried fruits. But, I also consume lots of food and beverage items packed in cans - beer, juices, tuna, tomato sauce -- oh dear, there are so many items.
Can we reverse this effect? I'm not sure. Certainly we can avoid this suspicious monomer, bisphenol A, like we avoid aspartame and other not-so-nice synthetics. Perhaps some of us can process it better, only slightly disturbing our cellular activity. But the children - they are bombarded by our fast life style full of plastics, high cholesterol hamburgers and fries, Big Gulps, pop tarts for breakfast and pizza for dinner.
Only time will tell. In the 50's thalidomide was used to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. DDT was sprayed universally to kill unwanted plants and insects. These harsh chemicals have proven to be deadly and have been restricted for half a century. What we might find out about the development of our children in the early 21st century will be complicated. There are so many contributing factors - it's getting harder to pinpoint causes.
The best strategy is to follow a very simple plan. Get back to basics. Eat wholesome, fresh foods. Stay away from canned and fast foods. Get plenty of exercise and drink lots of "purified" water. Daily vitamins will enhance the lack of nutrition in foods grown in overused soil. And Bless Your Food! YES - that's what I said. A sincere prayer blessing one's meal can change the molecular structure and make it more nutritious. It's the same concept with water. Dr Masaru Emoto has written extensively about his experiments with water crystals and how they change depending on messages sent to them. Read about that HERE. This is something everyone can practice, and make subtle, even big changes in their health and well being.