StarShipSofa’s Aural Delights podcast features terrific fiction, funny poems and fantastic scholarly research in nearly every episode. Once a month the podcast features a segment by James J. Campanella. Besides being an excellent audiobook narrator, he’s a university professor (of Biology and Molecular Biology) and a genuine Ph’D scientist. His segment is called “Science News Update.” In each episode Campanella talks about the latest research that’s hitting the journals, explains the cool implications of each, and he answers listeners questions. In a recent show, for example, Campanella discussed a cool experiment that demonstrates a previously unknown taste receptor – we can taste the flavour of carbonation! More on that later.
But, it’s something else in the most recent two segments (the October and November 2009 shows) that I really want to draw your attention to. See Jim answered one of my questions. I’d been wondering about the ‘BPA and plastics threat’ that I’d be hearing about (from my mom).
In his answer to my query Campanella discussed the endocrine disruptor Bisphenol A (BPA), and its distribution in the human ecosystem.
It seems that BPA does pose a threat, a kind of bodily pollution that threatens to ‘impurify our precious bodily fluids!’ Or as Jim put it in his email to me:
“This stuff just scares the hell out of me– all I can think of is that book and movie The Children Of Men.”
Yikes! Is it truly possible that in all the H1N1 hysteria that a more insidious threat can be found in the likes of household plastics and store receipts?
Campanella thinks so. He refers, in the November show, to some research conducted by Bruce Lanphear, a Health Sciences Professor at Simon Fraser University (my old school).
Because of this research Canada has banned plastics containing BPA from use in baby products. But there’s not yet been a ban imposed on BPA lined cash register receipts or number 7 (and some number 3) recyclable plastics. Other plastics, containing other non-Bishpenol A plastics may or may not pose a risk. But given the known leech-rate of glass containers (virtually nil) I’d be willing to stick with glass were it available for reasonable prices (which it mostly isn’t, damn it).
Campanella also reports that not only are some plastics embedded with this dangerous endocrine disruptor but that a larger threat may be looming in the form of the receipt I got when I bought all that plastic crap! Sez Campanella:
‘carbonless copy paper credit card and store receipts have a reported average of 50-100mg of free BPA. That is receipts using this bisphenol A technology have a loose coating of unbound BPA ready for uptake on the fingers or even possibly through direct skin absorption!’
So, mom, I guess you were right? Except that it’s not so much the plastics now that I’m worried about!
My solutions BTW:
-Avoid plastics (especially number 7 and number 3)
-And given the news about carbonation and plastics, I’ll try to be more like this guy…
Posted by Jesse Willis