Chemicals Inside and Out, Part 1

I was ordering replacement cartridges the other night for our mega-water filter at 4 AM, post feeding, and found my way onto the site’s page of water filters for the shower. I said to myself: “The shower?!” Yes, the shower. During the course of the average shower, our skin absorbs approximately 8 cups of chlorinated water. 8 cups!! That’s bigger than my enormous measuring cup. Chlorine is so nasty that it can be used forterrorism. I do not want that on my skin! I realize that the chlorine in our drinking water is far from that chlorine, but it is still really bad for you.

Chlorine in drinking water has been linked to many kinds of cancer, specifically of the bladder and colon, by epidemiologists. Even more concerning than the chlorine itself are the compounds created by the chlorine during its reaction with other things in our water. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as taking the chlorine out of our water. The chlorine is an effective disinfectant, so it stays for now.

However, there are chemicals we don’t have to expose ourselves to. Bisphenol A (BPA) – a compound believed to cause early onset puberty in boys and girls and myriad cancers in lab rats – is a great example. In the past couple of days, we’ve been hearing some rumbling from domestic agencies about the potential harm caused by BPA.

The draft report by the National Toxicology Program signaled a turning point in the government’s position on bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical so ubiquitous in the United States that it has been detected in the urine of 93 percent of the population over 6 years of age.

1
Hopefully, this NIH-sponsored program’s report will get the ball rolling towards a ban on BPA. The report alone won’t be enough because its official stance is that there is “some concern,” but nothing more serious than that. Check out the L.A. Time’s article for more on the report and BPA’s detrimental health effects, click here. (thanks to Z Recommends for this one).

The Canadians feel differently, though. (Why don’t we live there? Gay marriage, social medicine, a potential BPA ban). As the Globe and Mail pointed out, Canada is the first country to label BPA as “dangerous.” If Canada goes on to ban the substance after the (somewhat lengthy) review process, those of us in the U.S. will reap the benefits due to our participation in NAFTA. We shall see… in the meantime, get yourself some BPA-free stuff. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid BPA altogether because it is in the lining of formula cans… for now at least.

For a quick guide to safe and unsafe plastics, click here.