May 8, 2010

Plastic Monkey On Our Backs

Finally, even our slow-churning government is coming around to recognizing what the Anti-Plastics have worried about for years:  that we can't afford to let so many plastics into so many areas of our lives, when the effects of the chemicals that they contain are competely unknown.  

This new study from the President's Cancer Panel makes alarming revelations about the dangers lurking in the plastics that are found in all our homes.   

It focuses on bisphenol-A ("BPA"), the toxic stuff found in polycarbonate plastic (labeled #7), that is used as lining material for canned food and infant formula, used in making some plastic wraps (apparently) and in molding plastics as a hardener.  You've probably heard of it in connection with hard plastic water bottles -- when they get scratched or cracked, they are likely leaching toxic BPA into your drinking water.  Exposure is particularly dangerous to infants and fetuses, fostering brain, behavioral and reproductive problems.  Not good for adults either, based on the terrible things it does to mice.

Although the evidence that BPA is toxic started to mount years ago, the Bush administration went out of its way to declare it safe -- relying on self-serving "industry reports," generated by the very companies who make and sell BPA.

The new report from the Obama administration, though, is heartening in its understanding:  it recognizes the absurdity of the old regulatory approach:  instead of requiring the chemical industry to prove the safety of the substances they use in manufacturing consumer, it has put the burden on the public of proving that a given environmental exposure is harmful.

How frightening is the statement that of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States, only a few hundred have been tested for safety?!  What are we thinking??!!

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