Monday, January 11, 2010

Loony bisphenol phobia still not dead

Scare claim: Bisphenol A in plastic bottles 'harms babies'. Like most things, BPA can be harmful. So can common salt. The toxicity is in the dose. Any release of BPA from baby bottles would be at the rate of something like one molecule at a time and there is neither probability nor evidence of toxicity at that rate. And we all in fact have BPA in us with no apparent ill effects. Anti-business alarmists have been trying for years to demonize this stuff. There is some evidence that industrial exposure to BPA is harmful, but that shows only that many things (even water) can be harmful if you ingest huge amounts of them. It does not follow that something ingested in huge amounts is harmful in tiny amounts. The opposite can be true. Check hormesis. The report below is from Australia but there is an article debunking similar scares in the USA here

FEDERAL health authorities are to come under increasing pressure to ban the sale of baby bottles made with Bisphenol A (BPA) after new evidence it can harm health. Widely used in plastics, particularly food and drink containers, BPA leaches when heated, leading it to being withdrawn elsewhere in the world.

It had been thought the chemical posed no real health threat in tiny doses, but scientists in the UK now say they have found compelling evidence the chemical is linked to breast cancer and sex hormone imbalances, and is particularly linked to adverse health risks to babies. [Reference?]

A team of European scientists will this month begin a campaign to lobby their governments to remove baby bottles containing BPA from shelves. Last year, baby bottle manufacturers in the US removed BPA from their products, reacting to widespread consumer concern.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said yesterday it was the responsibility of the Therapeutic Goods Administration to declare BPA unsafe or otherwise. The TGA in turn said it was an issue for the federal Health Department, which passed the buck and declared it an issue for Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). FSANZ confirmed it had no regulatory authority over baby bottles and had never commissioned its own study on the issue, though it was monitoring the overseas BPA debate and that the most up-to-date science indicated there was a maximum daily safe limit.

Queensland-based anti-BPA campaigner Nadia Duensing has written to the Health Minister in light of the new research. "I can't understand why the Australian Government is not following the lead from elsewhere," she said. Ms Duensing, a grandmother, was so concerned about the possible health effects of BPA she launched a website campaigning against the chemical and selling BPA-free baby products.

Some of the biggest-selling baby bottle brands in Australia still sell bottles with BPA in them, including Avent, which is owned by Philips. A Philips spokeswoman said yesterday that the company was acting responsibly and within guidelines set out by FSANZ, which concluded that levels of exposure (in infants) were very low and did not pose a significant health risk.

Ms Duensing said most mums did not realise the differences between different types of plastic bottles. "Mothers go into a shop and see a polycarbonate bottle for about $10 and a BPA-free one for $18 and they don't know the difference – they just get the cheaper one thinking plastic is plastic," she said.


Having sex twice a week can reduce heart disease in men by half, study reveals

The usual epidemiological nonsense that "intuits" the direction of the cause. The findings show shows that healthier men have more sex, which is no surprise for a variety of reasons

Men don't usually need an excuse to indulge in a spot of passion. But if they did, here's one that sounds more convincing than most - making love is good for their hearts, it seems. Men who have sex at least twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart disease, according to research. Those who make love regularly are apparently up to 45 per cent less likely to develop life-threatening heart conditions than men whose sexual encounters are limited to just once a month or less.

The study, of more than 1,000 men, shows sex appears to have a protective effect on the male heart but did not examine whether women benefit too. Now the American researchers are calling for doctors to 'screen' men for sexual activity when assessing their risk of heart disease. The benefits of love-making could be due to both the physical and emotional effects on the body, they said. 'Men with the desire for frequent sexual activity and who are able to engage in it are likely to be healthier,' the scientists told the American Journal of Cardiology.

'But sex in some forms has a physical activity component that might directly serve to protect cardiovascular health. 'Also, men who have frequent sex might be more likely to be in a supportive intimate relationship. 'This might improve health through stress reduction and social support.'

The scientists at the New England Research Institute, based in Massachusetts, spent 16 years tracking the sexual activity of men aged between 40 and 70. Each of the volunteers was quizzed at regular intervals about how often they had sex. They were then checked for signs of heart disease. Other risk factors, such as age, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, were also taken into account.

Although sex has long been regarded as good for both physical and mental health, there has been little scientific evidence of benefits on major illnesses such as heart disease until now. An earlier study at the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. showed men who ejaculated through sex or masturbation at least five times a week are much less likely to develop prostate cancer.

And having sex once or twice a week during the winter months can boost the immune system and reduce the chances of catching colds and flu, according to scientists at Wilkes University, Pennsylvania. It boosts levels of a chemical called immunoglobulin A 6, which binds to organisms that invade the body and then activates the immune system to destroy them.

Regular intercourse can even boost a woman's sense of smell by triggering the release of a hormone called prolactin, researchers at Canada's Calgary University found. This may be a mechanism to help mothers bond with their new babies.

Every year, around 270,000 people in Britain suffer a heart attack, and coronary disease remains the nation's biggest killer.


No comments: