Take Action to Eliminate BPA from Canned Foods

As Green America senior writer Sarah Tarver-Wahlquist reported in her “Plastic(-free) Monday” blog post last week, there’s a problem with toxic chemicals in our canned food. The problem is bisphenol-A (BPA), a common additive in plastic products, including the plastic inner linings of food cans. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that has been linked to an array of frightening health problems, including heart disease, reproductive problems, and cancer. Now, our allies at the Breast Cancer Fund have published the results of a new study that found BPA lurking in a number of the staples of a Thanksgiving table, having leached from the can-linings into the food itself. The Breast Cancer Fund tested canned foods like turkey gravy, creamed corn, cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, green beans, and cream of mushroom soup. They found that single servings of nearly half of the tested products showed BPA levels linked to adverse health effects. The study also found high variability in BPA levels even among cans of the same product. Their conclusion: Until BPA is phased out entirely from can linings, consumers can never be sure if their canned food contains BPA or not. Some good news: Eden Foods has recently developed promising alternatives to the BPA epoxy resin that lines most canned foods. These alternatives must also still be subjected to rigorous testing for safety, however. In the meantime, join with us and the Breast Cancer Fund to send a holiday “wish […]

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No Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer? Riiiiiiiight.

A new Danish study released on October 20 claims that to have found no link between radio-frequency radiation emitted by cell phones and cancer of the brain or central nervous system. What a surprise. I wish I could tell you that this is the last word on cell phone safety, and you’re just fine carrying your phone in your pocket or putting it next to your head for hours on end, but I can’t. Dr. Devra Davis, director of Environmental Health Trust and author of Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family, mustered a counter-response from colleagues from around the world who are concerned about cell phone safety. Many of you will remember that Dr. Davis was the subject of an in-depth interview on cell phone safety in our January/February 2011 issue of the Green American. The new Danish study looked at 358,403 mostly male cell phone subscribers over the age of 30 during the period 1990-2007.  The report is a follow-up to an earlier Danish analysis of the same group when the average use of cellphones was less than a decade that also reported no cell phone-cancer link. As she did with the original Danish study, Davis calls the new study “deeply flawed.” Davis and her colleagues criticize the study on the following grounds: The study excluded 300,000 business users, who would have been among the […]

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Plastic Monday: Say No to “Stupid Plastic”

We just sent our latest issue of the Green American to the printer, so in about three weeks, you’ll be getting “Take the Plastic Challenge” in your mailboxes—or e-mail inboxes, if you’ve signed up to get our publications in digital format. In honor of the editorial team hitting our latest deadline, I thought I’d offer a small sneak peek at our upcoming plastics-centered theme. When my fellow editors and I started looking into the social and environmental impacts of plastic, we expected to find plenty of things to be concerned about. What we didn’t expect was to be freaking out as much as we are about plastic. Because once you really start thinking about it, you notice that plastic is EVERYWHERE. As author Susan Freinkel points out in her book Plastic: A Love Story, you probably can’t go five minutes after waking up in the morning without touching something plastic (i.e. alarm clock, glasses, toothbrush, soap dispenser, towel rack, and oh-my-gosh … toilet seat). There are two big reasons to flip out over how pervasive plastic has become worldwide since Leo Hendrik Baekeland invented Bakelite (the first commercially successful plastic) in 1907:

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