Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Posts Tagged ‘BPA’

Urge Senator Snowe and Senator Collins to Co-Sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Mainers, we need your help. Senator Snowe and Senator Collins have the opportunity to make real progress in the field of chemical reform. As you probably already know, there are more than 80,000 chemicals in the United States -- but only about 200 of them have ever been tested for safety. This lack of government regulation has let things like lead in lipstick, formaldehyde in baby shampoo, and BPA in our canned goods just slip by. And our health is suffering.

Sign your name below and ask Senator Snowe and Senator Collins to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 -- an act that would repair our broken chemical system, so that chemicals are proven safe before being added to our homes, schools, and places of work.
Senators Snowe and Collins - Please build on Maine's progress toward safer chemicals, healthy families, and a stronger economy by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 and helping advance it through Congress.
(* Required)


Posted by on October 25th, 2011 1 Comment

Marketing BPA to Kids

My nephew absolutely adores the movie Toy Story, and is particularly infatuated with the character Woody. He owns the Woody doll, loves to scream out “Howdy, Partner!,” and would probably watch Toy Story on repeat for HOURS if we let him.

I also know if my nephew saw some canned Campbell’s soup with his buddy Woody on the cover, he would beg his mom to purchase it. She most likely would, thinking, “It’s soup. It’s gotta be better for him than most of the other junk food out there, right?”


As Seventh Generation pointed out in a recent blog post, BPA is showing up in many canned products, specifically targeted to kids. The endocrine disrupting chemical was found in soups, juices, and veggies at disturbing levels. Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes was no exception.

Posted by on September 24th, 2011 1 Comment

Ana Soto to Speak at UVM (2011)

Update: This event occurred in 2011. For more information about Ana Soto, please visit the Tufts website


Ana Soto to Speak at UVM
Thursday March, 31st,  2011 @ 4pm
Carpenter Auditorium, UVM Campus
Given Building E131

We’ve been sharing a lot of information with you on environmental health recently. Well here is your opportunity to hear it FIRST hand, from one of the leading researchers in the field, Dr. Ana Soto, an amazing woman and a pioneer in the field.

Ana Soto, M.D., is Professor of Cell Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine and Professor of Cancer Development at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, U.K. Dr. Soto was one of the earliest investigators of endocrine disruption and its role in the development of cancer, and was one of twenty scientists at the 1991 Wingspread Conference who developed the term "endocrine disruptors.” Her research interests include the mechanisms of steroid hormone action, control of cell proliferation, breast and prostate neoplasias, and endocrine disruptors, including Bisphenol-A (BPA). She is now using animal models, 3D tissue cultures, and mathematical modeling to study the role of stroma-epithelium interactions in carcinogenesis and in tumor regression


Posted by on March 30th, 2011 No Comments

Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Nonylphenols Named Maine Priority Chemicals

Maine's Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) has named bisphenol-A (BPA) and nonylphenols (NPs) as Maine's first Priority Chemicals under the 2008 Kid-Safe Products Law. In addition, they provisionally adopted a phase out of BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, which will be reviewed by the Maine Legislature before finalization.

Dr. Jeff Peterson, a pediatrician from Yarmouth, was pleased with the Board's action and stated, "No parent would willingly expose their child to dangerous chemicals - chemicals that could affect their ability to grow, learn, be healthy, and bear children. Designating them as Priority Chemicals and collecting more information on which products they are used in is just common sense."

Today's ruling caps a six-month public process in which the BEP heard testimony in support of the proposals from over 400 parents, scientists, doctors, nurses, business owners, public health professionals, and environmental health advocates from across the state and the region.

Testimony included vast scientific data and detailed how the proposed ban could improve the health of Maine children, how it could reduce the health and economic costs that result from exposure to toxic chemicals, and howMaine's many small businesses could benefit by having better information about the products they sell or use.

Steve Taylor, Coordinator of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine, remarked, "Maine's Kid-Safe Products Law was passed nearly unanimously by the Maine Legislature in 2008 because protecting kids' health, reducing health costs, and giving retail businesses more information is good for everyone. Today's ruling is another step along the careful path ourlawmakers created. Maine scientists have identified two of the worst toxic chemicals and put them on the road to being replaced with safer alternatives. Maine families and small businesses are really the winners today."

As Priority Chemicals, information on the use of BPA and NPs in everyday products, as well as possible safer alternatives, will be compiled. For BPA, information will be collected on infant formula containers, baby food jars, toys, tableware, and child care articles. For NPs, information will be collected on household and commercial cleaners, cosmetics and personal care items, and home maintenance products. This information will give Maine businesses and families an opportunity to learn significantly more about the products they sell and use every day.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is one of the most pervasive chemicals in modern life. It was synthesized as an estrogen replacement therapy in the 1930's and is now a chemical building block for polycarbonate plastic. It has been widely used in baby bottles, food storage containers, and in the epoxy resins that coat the lining of metal food cans, including some infant formula cans.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 93% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. BPA exposure has been linked to a significant number of health problems, including learning disabilities, behavior problems, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive damage, diabetes, and obesity.

Safer alternatives to Priority Chemicals can be required when research shows convincing evidence of harm and the availability of safer and affordable chemicals. Because the scientific evidence against BPA is considered by most to be overwhelming, and safer alternatives are readily available, the BEP has also decided that BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups be replaced.

Nonylphenols are used in detergents, personal care products, paints, and pesticides. Because they are endocrine (hormone) disruptors, exposure to nonylphenols can result in serious health effects, including reproductive damage. Because the dangers are widely recognized and safer alternatives are readily available, many manufacturers, retailers, and cleaning professionals have voluntarily stopped making or using products that contain NP or NPE. But because all efforts to date have been voluntary, NP and NPE can still be found in school, commercial, and industrial settings.

Despite the public outcry, the mounting scientific evidence of harm, and the actions of more and more states, the chemical industry continues to resist efforts to replace BPA with safer alternatives. Steve Taylor added, "Of the 80,000 chemicals in use today, Maine scientists have identified over 1700 as already proven harmful to children. Yet the chemical industry opposes doing anything about just two of the very worst. This flies in the face of common sense and suggests they just don't get it. Parents, consumers, and retail businesses are all demanding safe products. The chemical industry needs to wake up and spend their energy developing safer chemicals instead of defending toxic ones."

If the Maine Legislature affirms the Board's decision to phase out the use of BPA in baby bottle and sippy cups, Maine will become the 9th state to do so, following the action of Massachusetts just this week.

Posted by on December 17th, 2010 No Comments

Recipe for BPA: Cigarettes + Canned Vegetables + Cashier Job

As a broke college student, and an avid-canned bean eater, I found a recent article on BPA especially troubling. The study revealed the recipe for high BPA exposure is cigarettes, a job as a cashier, and you guessed it, canned vegetables.

According to the article by Environmental Health News, more than 90 percent of pregnant women had detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. Pregnant women who ate canned vegetables, exposed themselves to tobacco smoke, or worked as cashiers also had above-average concentrations. BPA can be found in cash-register receipts, so it’s no wonder women working behind a counter had higher levels in their bodies.

BPA is a nasty chemical that has been linked to heart disease and diabetes in humans, cancer of the prostate and mammary glands, obesity and reproductive problems in lab animals exposed in the womb.

Not long ago pregnant women pressured retailers and manufacturers to offer BPA-free baby bottles. While this is a step in the right direction, women are still unknowingly exposing their infants during fetal development and babies are being born pre-polluted.  

The study also showed that those who eat canned vegetables once a day had 44 percent more BPA in their urine than those who didn’t. Once I read that, I decided to make my beans the old-fashioned way—by soaking and cooking them. Although this process did take roughly 24 hours, I can rest peacefully knowing my BPA intake decreased sufficiently.

Posted by on November 16th, 2010 No Comments

Victory! Vermont Bans BPA!

Bill S.247, An Act Relating to Bisphenol A, has passed in Vermont!  This new bill will phase out BPA in reusable food and beverage containers and in the plastic containers, jars or cans that store infant formula or baby food, in favor of safer alternatives.

We thank all of you who helped pass this bill by contacting your legislator, writing a letter to the editor, or educating your friends and family on the harmful effects of BPA.  Because of you, the Vermont House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported the bill and passed it quickly.

As you know, we believe it is our responsibility as a health care organization to help our patients make the link between our health and the products we put in our bodies, on our bodies, and in our homes. S.247 is an important step in providing the much needed information about what products these harmful chemicals are in so that men and women who are planning their families can ensure that the products they use on a daily basis do not hinder their ability to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and family.

Posted by on May 4th, 2010 No Comments

VT BPA Update: Bill Passes Senate, Headed for House Human Services Committee

Great news! Last week the Vermont Senate passed S.247, An Act Relating to Bisphenol A (BPA)--a  bill that would phase out BPA in reusable food and beverage containers and in infant formula or baby food that is stored in a plastic container, jar or can in favor of safer alternatives.

S.247 is an important step in providing much needed information about which products contain the harmful chemical BPA, so that all men and women have the ability to plan a safe and healthy pregnancy and family.

Chamber of the Vermont Senate. Photographed by Jim Hood, August 2007.

Chamber of the Vermont Senate. Photographed by Jim Hood, August 2007.

An amendment that would have weakened S.247 was proposed, but luckily it was defeated by a bipartisan vote of 16-14.  Here’s the list of Senators who voted against weakening the bill: Ashe of Chittenden, Ayer of Addison, Brock of Franklin, Carris of Rutland, Choate of Caledonia, Cummings of Washington, Doyle of Washington, Flanagan of Chittenden, Giard of Addison, Illuzzi of Essex-Orleans, Kitchel of Caledonia, Lyons of Chittenden, MacDonald of Orange, McCormack of Windsor, Racine of Chittenden, and Snelling of Chittenden. Special shout out to Senator Ginny Lyons who is the lead sponsor of this bill and has been working really hard to keep the momentum going.

The next stop for the S.247 is the House Human Services Committee.  PPNNE will be working hard to keep this bill moving along with our coalition partner the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont. If you want to learn more or get involved, email

Posted by on April 12th, 2010 No Comments

UPDATE: Bisphenol A (BPA) Bill in VT Legislature

The Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee is currently hearing testimony on S.247, a bill that bans the manufacture, sale, and distribution of reusable food or beverage containers, and infant formula or baby food, that is stored in a plastic container, jar, or can that contains Bisphenol A (BPA).

PPNNE’s Medical Director, Dr. Cheryl Gibson, testified in support of this legislation, strongly urging the committee to vote in support of the bill. 

Statehouse in the winterDr. Gibson’s testimony really dove into the science and health implications of BPA.  Here’s an excerpt of her testimony:

"BPA is found in the lining of metal food cans and in some plastic food containers, including some baby bottles, water bottles, microwave ovenware and eating utensils.  Because BPA is an unstable polymer and is fat-seeking, it can leach into infant formula and other food products, especially when heated.  Once in food, BPA can move quickly into people - a real concern for women of childbearing age and for young children."

"At PPNNE’s fall conference on women’s environmental health, Janet Gray, editor of the Breast Cancer Fund's State of the Evidence, illustrated how BPA in food containers can affect our health. Please take a moment and picture three petri dishes in a laboratory.  When estrogen was added to breast cancer tumor cells in a petri dish, the tumor cells divided and grew.  When BPA was added to breast cancer tumor cells in a petri dish, the tumor cells divided and grew.  When liquid from a BPA-lined can of string beans was added to breast cancer tumor cells in a petri dish, the tumor cells divided and grew." To read all of Dr. Gibson’s testimony, click here.

The real answer to eliminating BPA lies in chemical reform and policy change. That is why it's so important to contact your elected officials and ask them to support this bill.

In the meantime, here are a few ways to reduce your exposure to BPA.

Posted by on March 12th, 2010 No Comments

Energizing the Chemical Reform Debate

CB002069The more we learn about the 80,000-100,000 unregulated chemicals out there, the more we realize how dangerous some are to our health.  There is growing evidence linking chemical exposure to infertility, pregnancy loss, adverse birth outcomes, various cancers and other health issues. Can you believe that the steepest rise in infertility in past 13 years—an increase of 41%—has been for women 25 and under? It’s time to clean up these chemicals.

State by state, environmental health advocates are pushing for chemical reform and now Vermont has joined that effort. Representative Willem Jewett is sponsoring bill H.484, an act relating to the regulation of toxic substances.  This bill is a common-sense first step to removing toxic chemicals from everyday products, getting important chemical information into the hands of consumers and retailers, and engaging market forces to encourage innovation and safer technology.

PPNNE’s Senior Public Affairs Director, Chris Quint, testified in support of this bill today.  Here’s an excerpt from his testimony:

“It is becoming increasingly clear to those of us who work for reproductive justice — who have long fought for a woman’s right to control her reproductive destiny — that we must begin to turn our attention to the environmental toxins that are affecting the ability of couples to become pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy, and give birth to a healthy child.  PPNNE believes that it is our responsibility as a health care organization to help our patients make the link between human health and the products we put in our bodies, on our bodies, and in our homes.  We also believe that it is appropriate and responsible for our government to do its part as well by working to prioritize the worst of the worst chemicals and require manufacturers to disclose the use of those chemicals in the products that Vermont women and families use every day.  For these reasons, PPNNE is proud to support H.484 and would urge the committee to join us.
This bill establishes a common-sense framework based on credible scientific evidence for promoting safer alternatives to known harmful chemicals that place kids’ health at risk from contact with everyday products.  The bill takes a first step toward fixing our broken chemical safety system.  It establishes a workable process, market incentives and new state policy tools.  Implementation of the bill can begin with existing state resources.  Vermont has already cost-effectively replaced toxics like mercury, arsenic and deca with safer alternatives.”
In order to pass this critical legislation though, we all need to voice our concern. I bet you are going to ask what you can do to help, right?  Call your local represenative and let them know you support Representative Jewett’s bill for comprehensive chemical reform and they should, too! You can also follow our live tweets from the testimony.

Posted by on January 27th, 2010 1 Comment

“Secret Ingredient”….BPA???

CB005663Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and people everywhere are busily preparing their shopping lists and menus.  You may want to reconsider any canned items on your list,  in light of this startling news.

A new test by Consumer Reports has found a wide range of chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) in 19 name-brand canned foods, including soups, vegetables, juices and more. (As an aside, the Vermont legislature will be introducing a bill that bans BPA from certain products...we'll keep you posted.)

BPA, which has been used for years in clear plastic bottles, PVC water pipes, medical equipment, electronics, cash-register receipts and food-can liners, has been linked to reproductive abnormalities and a heightened risk for breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and most recently, sexual function in males.

The study revealed canned green beans and canned soups were among foods with the highest amounts of BPA.  Canned Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans Blue Lake for example, averaged a BPA level of 123.5 parts per billion, or about 80 times more than what experts recommend you ingest each day.

Organic canned foods aren’t off the hook either—according to the study, organic canned foods did not always have lower BPA levels than their non-organic counterparts.  BPA was even found in cans claiming to “BPA-Free".

What you can do this Thanksgiving and throughout the rest of the year to reduce BPA exposure: (more…)

Posted by on November 23rd, 2009 No Comments