And, of course to the gents out there, what would you ask your lady friends to change?
I gave a little talk with two of my favorite women in green beauty (precisely because they couldn’t look less green!): Anya Sarre, who told her hilarious a-ha story and gave great tips for looking and feeling good while knocked up, and Bethany Wojteck from Arcona (a great line, especially for anyone with problem skin!). Anya is about 7 months pregnant, and Bethany has a 9 month old (though you’d never know by looking at her) and while both women have been super conscious and careful for some time it was interesting to hear the additional sacrifices they made during pregnancy.
Now, it’s not like I’m planning a pregnancy right this second, but I’m well aware that the time before one gets pregnant is very important, and while the baby is cooking it’s downright critical to be careful of chemical exposure—especially given the new science emerging around endocrine disruptors.
BPA has now been shown to permanently change gene expression, a subject I made Siobhan explain to me in extremely explicit laymen’s terms over gchat yesterday (she’s so good at this stuff!). Basically this means, and correct me if I’m wrong S, that if a fetus is exposed to BPA in utero there is the potential for it to change the signal a given gene is supposed to send. A gene that was meant to do X, may now do Y (pun intended on this one), and it won’t change back again. While this research is still very new and we can’t say for sure how these fetuses will be affected as adults, we know that BPA—which is mildly estrogenic—has been linked to things like obesity, early puberty in women, infertility in men and so on.
Ugh. Which takes me to what I would change in the months prior to trying, and in the event that I got pregnant. I would definitely avoid all canned things (which is really tough for me) because the liners almost always contain BPA, including my favorite sardines (sad face) and the ”natural” soda Zevia that I love, who at least address the issue on their site. I’d also probably avoid any salon treatments—nails and hair—even though I know it’s really important to feel pretty and pulled together during those pregnancy months! Some women just go once or twice for a little pick-me-up, and I totally get it.
Oh, and I’d probably get really annoying about fragrance and ask people I work with not to wear any. And I’d throw out the last few cleaning products I have that are totally toxic (hello Ajax). I would also try to drive our old Jeep more, because I think (though I’m not sure) that older cars have less chemical crap in them.
What am I missing? Surely something! What did you change during your pregnancy, or would you give up if you were planning to get knocked up?
Happy Friday! Big news: Scientific groups representing more than 40,000 researchers and clinicians have come together in the pages of the super-influential journal Science to insist that federal regulators do more—and do more, more quickly—to assess the human safety of the 12,000 new substances registered every day at the American Chemical Society.
“The need for swifter and sounder testing and review procedures cannot be overstated,” the letter says.
The letter’s corresponding author Patricia Hunt, a professor in the Washington State University School of Molecular Biosciences, said:
“As things stand now,” she added, “things get rapidly into the marketplace and the testing of them is tending to lag behind.”
Hunt told ScienceDaily that the letter was inspired by growing concerns about BPA, which more than 300 studies have found to cause adverse health effects in animals. Hormone disruptors more broadly, were also of concern. She says:
“Hormones control everything—our basic metabolism, our reproduction. We call them endocrine disruptors. They’re like endocrine bombs to a certain extent because they can disrupt all these normal functions.”
Boom. She also said one of the problems is that the methods used to assess safety—primarily toxicology—are insufficient. “The FDA and EPA need to look beyond the toxicology of substances to the other ways chemicals can affect us. … One of the problems they have is they look at some of the science and don’t know how to interpret it because it’s not done using the traditional toxicology testing paradigm,” she said. “We need geneticists, we need developmental and reproductive biologists and we need the clinical people on board to actually help interpret and evaluate some of the science.”
I think this qualifies as a sign that things are changing, no?
Turns out it’s not just canned food and bottled water we have to worry about—which we kind of new anyway, but this is no less easier to hear. In addition to customer receipts at chain store, a new study shows that:
“Higher exposure was correlated with exposure to cashier receipts, cigarette smoke and the family of chemicals known as pthalates, which are used in plastics, fragrances and many other common household products.”
BPA, in case you don’t know, is an estrogen-mimicking chemical found in some plastics and can linings, as well as a whole host of other things we come into contact with on a regular basis. It’s virtually impossible not to have some exposure to it, which is why some legistlators—and Canada—is moving to ban the stuff outright.
A few other highlights from the study, according the The Daily Green:
—Choice of organic produce made no difference in BPA levels.
—Women who were cashiers had the highest concentrations.
—Elevated levels also were seen in women who smoked cigarettes and women exposed to phthalates.
Another reason to not wear synthetic perfumes, smoke cigarettes, or buy bottled water.
Well, probably not all on their own—generally weight is influenced by a variety of factors including diet, exercise, sleep and genetics. But a new study has linked the ever-controversial BPA (found in cans, among other things), along with certain phthalates commonly used in your beauty products, to obesity. From Environmental Health News:
Researchers identified two common environmental chemicals – bisphenol A and benzyl butyl phthalate – that can modulate the signals controlling the number of fat cells produced and the uptake and storage of fats in those cells.
Cute right? Especially since these hormone disruptors are already tied to a host of other terrible things. Canada is looking to ban BPA, and Europe has already eliminated the phthalates in question from their beauty products. So what gives America? Would you support a ban?
Super cool can image via National Geographic
We’ve invented a word because Canada is having a great week on toxics regulation. According to Environment Canada, BPA has been added to the agency’s toxic substances list—a big, big deal, especially after the disturbing revelation last week that 90% of the people tested had the hormone disruptor in their urine. (A similar study in the United States found it in 93% of those sampled.)
The American Chemistry Council is predictably miffed, and last year said that classifying it as a toxic is “pander[ing] to emotional zealots.” Well, color us emotional zealots because we are thrilled.
BPA, in case you have been living under a rock, has been linked to obesity, neurological issues, impaired thyroid function and other hormonal issues. Humans are exposed to it from soda cans, canned foods, baby bottles, school lunches, in plastics and more.
This is pretty game-changey. We’re excited to see what happens next, and we hope Environment Canada is ready to duck, because we imagine there’s going to be some mudslinging.
Luca with a BPA-free bottle (and Siobhan)