FDA Questions Safety of Antibacterial Soaps

17soap cnd-popupThe Food and Drug Administration recently required soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the antibacterial substances in soap were safe or to take them out of the products altogether. Studies in animals have shown that the chemicals, triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in bar soaps, can disrupt the normal development of the reproductive system and metabolism, and health experts warn that their effects could be the same in humans. The chemicals were originally used by surgeons to wash their hands before operations, and their use exploded in recent years as manufacturers added them to a variety of products, including mouthwash, laundry detergent, fabrics and baby pacifiers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the chemicals in the urine of three-quarters of Americans.

Triclosan was measured in the urine of CYGNET girls at baseline.  You should have your individual results if you picked up your results package. In general, the average levels in CYGNET were much lower than in girls at our sister site in Ohio and slightly lower than girls in NY and the U.S. sample run by the same lab. We are planning to look at these levels in relation to age at puberty, but the investigator doing this has not finished the analysis yet as we have been waiting for most of the girls to reach puberty.

Read the full article from the New York Times.

Chemicals in Food Packaging Linked to Obesity in Girls

bpa-3A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that girls aged 9 to 12 that had high levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) in their blood had between two and five times the risk of being obese than girls with lower levels of BPA. BPA can be found in plastic bottles and metal canned foods that can alter the body's metabolism and contribute to weight gain in adolescent girls. You can reduce your risk of BPA exposure by limiting the use of foods packaged in plastics or metal cans to lower your exposure to BPA. You can read more about the study at USA Today.



Increased Levels of Arsenic Found in Chicken

hillco chicken girl

A recent study from John Hopkins University found an increased level of arsenic in chicken sold to consumers. The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and looked at almost 150 samples of chicken from grocery stores in 10 different American cities. Although the levels that they found were still well below what the US government classifies as a dangerous level but the higher levels could still lead to an increased risk of cancer later in life. Since Americans now eat three times as much chicken as they did in the 1960's, scientists estimate that this increased arsenic level could contribute to as many as 124 deaths a year from cancer associated with exposure. 

Read more about arsenic in chicken at the New York Times


Chemicals in Your Tuperware? 

plastic-containersResearchers at the NYU School of Medicine found that children and teens exposed to high levels of bisphenol A, or BPA, were more likely to be obese. BPA is a chemical that is found in some plastics and metal cans, which can leach out of plastics when heated. It has been found to disrupt hormones that play important roles in the breakdown of sugars and fats in the body. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, measured body mass and levels of BPA in urine in almost three thousand children and teens and found that subjects with high levels of BPA were more than 2.5 times more likely to be obese than those with lower levels, even after controlling for diet and exercise.

You can reduce your exposure to BPA by not buying plastic containers with the number 7 in the recycling triangle, reducing the use of canned foods and eat fresh or frozen foods whenever possible, and not putting plastic containers in the dishwasher or the microwave because heat can increase the risk of BPA leaching into food. Try using glass, porcelain, ceramic, or stainless steel containers instead!

Read more at ABCNews.com and The Journal of the American Medical Association.