The Dangers of Plastic Food Packaging : Food Additives and Child Health Report

Chemicals in Food May Harm Children, Pediatricians’ Group Says

In their Policy Statement and Technical Report, the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging families to limit the use of plastic food containers, cut down on processed meat during pregnancy and consume more whole fruits and vegetables rather than processed food.

Such measures would lower children’s exposures to chemicals in food and food packaging that are tied to health problems such as obesity, Roni Caryn Rabin reports. Featured image credit Fancycrave.com from Pexels.

2018 Technical Report Abstract

Increasing scientific evidence suggests potential adverse effects on children’s health from synthetic chemicals used as food additives, both those deliberately added to food during processing (direct) and those used in materials that may contaminate food as part of packaging or manufacturing (indirect). Concern regarding food additives has increased in the past two decades in part because of studies that increasingly document endocrine disruption and other adverse health effects. In some cases, exposure to these chemicals is disproportionate among minority and low-income populations. This report focuses on those food additives with the strongest scientific evidence for concern. Further research is needed to study effects of exposure over various points in the life course, and toxicity testing must be advanced to be able to better identify health concerns prior to widespread population exposure. The accompanying policy statement describes approaches policy makers and pediatricians can take to prevent the disease and disability that are increasingly being identified in relation to chemicals used as food additives, among other uses.

The Dangers of Plastic Food Packaging : Food Additives and Child Health Statement

Chemicals in Food May Harm Children, Pediatricians’ Group Says

In their Policy Statement and Technical Report, the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging families to limit the use of plastic food containers, cut down on processed meat during pregnancy and consume more whole fruits and vegetables rather than processed food.

Such measures would lower children’s exposures to chemicals in food and food packaging that are tied to health problems such as obesity, Roni Caryn Rabin reports. Featured image credit Fernanda Rodríguez.

2018 Policy Statement Abstract

Our purposes with this policy statement and its accompanying technical report are to review and highlight emerging child health concerns related to the use of colorings, flavorings, and chemicals deliberately added to food during processing (direct food additives) as well as substances in food contact materials, including adhesives, dyes, coatings, paper, paperboard, plastic, and other polymers, which may contaminate food as part of packaging or manufacturing equipment (indirect food additives); to make reasonable recommendations that the pediatrician might be able to adopt into the guidance provided during pediatric visits; and to propose urgently needed reforms to the current regulatory process at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food additives. Concern regarding food additives has increased in the past two decades, in part because of studies in which authors document endocrine disruption and other adverse health effects. In some cases, exposure to these chemicals is disproportionate among minority and low-income populations. Regulation and oversight of many food additives is inadequate because of several key problems in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Current requirements for a “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designation are insufficient to ensure the safety of food additives and do not contain sufficient protections against conflict of interest. Additionally, the FDA does not have adequate authority to acquire data on chemicals on the market or reassess their safety for human health. These are critical weaknesses in the current regulatory system for food additives. Data about health effects of food additives on infants and children are limited or missing; however, in general, infants and children are more vulnerable to chemical exposures. Substantial improvements to the food additives regulatory system are urgently needed, including greatly strengthening or replacing the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) determination process, updating the scientific foundation of the FDA’s safety assessment program, retesting all previously approved chemicals, and labeling direct additives with limited or no toxicity data.

Environmental dioxins and endometriosis

Period activists want pads and tampon makers to disclose ingredients

Who knows what chemicals and other ingredients are in (your) tampons? Many sanitary pads don’t list any ingredients at all on the package…

One longtime concern about menstrual products has been whether the process of purifying or bleaching cotton and rayon with chlorine compounds may leave worrisome traces of toxic dioxins behind. Some research in nonhuman primates has linked exposure to dioxins to endometriosis.

Abstract

Endometriosis is a common gynecologic problem of unknown etiology. Estrogen dependence and immune modulation are established features of this disease, and environmental contaminants have been suggested to play a role in the pathobiology of this disease as well.

Previous work in nonhuman primates has shown that exposure to the dioxin 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is associated with an increased prevalence and severity of endometriosis. Further animal experiments have implicated dioxin and dioxin-like compounds in this disease. Rodent studies support the plausibility of a role of environmental contaminants in the pathophysiology of endometriosis, although a convincing mechanistic hypothesis has yet to be advanced.

Small hospital-based case-control studies have failed to provide compelling evidence for or against an association of environmental contaminants and endometriosis. Herein we review evidence that dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are potent modulators of immune and endocrine function critical to the pathobiology of endometriosis.

Furthermore, perspectives on the potential mechanism(s) of dioxin and dioxin-like compound-induced toxicity in endometriosis, important knowledge needs, potential animal models for endometriosis studies, and considerations integral to future human case-control studies are discussed.

Sources and Press Release
  • Environmental dioxins and endometriosis, Semin Reprod Med 2003; 21(2): 145-154, DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-41321.
  • Period Activists Want Tampon Makers to Disclose Ingredients, nytimes, MAY 24, 2017.
  • Image credit Al Drago/The New York Times – Representative Grace Meng, Democrat of New York, spoke Tuesday at a rally in Washington calling for makers of feminine hygiene products to disclose the ingredients used to make tampons and pads.

Top Doctors, Scientists, Health Advocates calling for Stronger Action on Toxic Chemicals

Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks : Project TENDR

A unique coalition of top doctors, scientists and health advocates is calling for more aggressive regulation on chemicals found in common household items. The goal is to protect expectant mothers, infants and children from neurotoxic chemicals by stepping up efforts to curb air pollution, remediate old lead pipes, phase out certain pesticides, ban endocrine-disrupting chemicals used in food packaging and plastics and come up with a plan for getting rid of furniture laden with fire retardants.

Abstract

SUMMARY:
Children in America today are at an unacceptably high risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders that affect the brain and nervous system including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities, and other learning and behavioral disabilities. These are complex disorders with multiple causes—genetic, social, and environmental. The contribution of toxic chemicals to these disorders can be prevented.

Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks. The TENDR Consensus Statement, Environtal Health Perspectives, DOI:10.1289/EHP358, July 2016.

APPROACH:
Leading scientific and medical experts, along with children’s health advocates, came together in 2015 under the auspices of Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks to issue a call to action to reduce widespread exposures to chemicals that interfere with fetal and children’s brain development. Based on the available scientific evidence, the TENDR authors have identified prime examples of toxic chemicals and pollutants that increase children’s risks for neurodevelopmental disorders. These include chemicals that are used extensively in consumer products and that have become widespread in the environment. Some are chemicals to which children and pregnant women are regularly exposed, and they are detected in the bodies of virtually all Americans in national surveys conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vast majority of chemicals in industrial and consumer products undergo almost no testing for developmental neurotoxicity or other health effects.

A Call for Action on Toxic Chemicals, The NY Times, 2016/07/01.

Perfume, scented lotions and shower gels little bottles by Jen R.

CONCLUSION:
Based on these findings, we assert that the current system in the United States for evaluating scientific evidence and making health-based decisions about environmental chemicals is fundamentally broken. To help reduce the unacceptably high prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders in our children, we must eliminate or significantly reduce exposures to chemicals that contribute to these conditions. We must adopt a new framework for assessing chemicals that have the potential to disrupt brain development and prevent the use of those that may pose a risk. This consensus statement lays the foundation for developing recommendations to monitor, assess, and reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals. These measures are urgently needed if we are to protect healthy brain development so that current and future generations can reach their fullest potential.

How Period Trackers have changed Girl Culture

Our Bodies, Our Apps: For the Love of Period-Trackers

image of girl-and-phone
Period-tracking apps are exactly what they sound like — simple menstrual calendars that help you keep track of monthly cycles as well as symptoms like mood fluctuations or headaches. Summer Skyes 11

My 18-year-old daughter knows exactly when it will be that time of the month. Since June, she’s been plugging the dates of her menstrual cycle into a popular period tracking app, and has it programmed to send her an alert every month, two days before her next period is due.

There are over 200 different period tracker apps to choose from, and they are immensely popular.

Continue reading:

  • How Period Trackers Have Changed Girl Culture,
    nytimes, NOVEMBER 12, 2015
  • Our Bodies, Our Apps: For the Love of Period-Trackers,
    nytimes, JANUARY 23, 2014.
Some suggestions…

Increasing Number of Studies linking SSRIs Prenatal Exposure to multiple Side-Effects in Newborns

Up to 14 percent of pregnant women take antidepressants

well logo image
Up to 14 percent of pregnant women take antidepressants. Some experts think it’s time to reconsider widespread use of these drugs in pregnant women altogether.

Pregnant women often go to great lengths to give their babies a healthy start in life. They quit smoking, skip the chardonnay, switch to decaf, forgo aspirin. They say no to swordfish and politely decline Brie.

Yet they rarely wean themselves from popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants like Prozac, Celexa and Zoloft despite an increasing number of studies linking prenatal exposure to birth defects, complications after birth and even developmental delays and autism… ”

Continue reading Are Antidepressants Safe During Pregnancy?, Well.Blogs.NYtimes, by Roni Caryn Rabin, Sept 1, 2014.

Could well taught Clinical Breast Self-Exams be effective substitute for Mammography?

A Canadian study that produced negative results for mammography may give renewed momentum to clinical and self-exams

Roni Caryn Rabin image
Roni Caryn Rabin, Independent Health Writer at New York Times and other.

In a recent Canadian study, that produced negative results for mammography, women who did not receive regular mammograms were instead monitored with physical breast exams that proved effective. All of the participants were taught to examine their own breasts once a month, and specially trained nurses examined women who were in their 50s.
This low-tech approach, the researchers found, appeared to be as good as or better than regular mammograms at locating the serious cancers that needed treatment.

Read A Fresh Case for Breast Self-Exams
by Roni Caryn Rabin, 17 Feb 2014

More information and related posts:

Doctors’ Lucrative Industry Ties

Are doctors really immune to gifts and marketing?

Doctors’ Lucrative Industry Ties
Big Pharma and Doctors

New reporting laws show how widespread gifts and payments, sometimes running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, from drug and device firms are to physicians.

Read Doctors’ Lucrative Industry Ties, by Roni Caryn Rabin, TheNewYorkTimes,
13 May 2013

Related posts:

The Shower Self-Exam

Simple and low-Tech Way for Women to check for Breast Cancer

Our Bodies, Our Breast Exams
Woman in shower palpating her left breast for signs of tumors

A woman should feel her breast when she’s taking a shower, and notice if there’s anything different from normal, and she should go see a doctor about it as soon as she suspects something is wrong

Read Our Bodies, Our Breast Exams, by Roni Caryn Rabin, TheNewYorkTimes,
09 Nov 2009.

Exposed to DES?

More Questions about Robotic Hysterectomy, Robot-assisted Hysterectomies

It is not clear how to identify which women would benefit from robotic surgery

More Questions about Robotic Hysterectomy
It is not clear how to identify which women would benefit from robotic surgery

With robotic hysterectomy, the surgeon has a greater degree of movement and control of the instruments and the visualization is better but does this change outcomes for patients? Doctors promise that robot-assisted surgeries reduce complications and speed up recovery, but new studies show the differences with laparoscopic hysterectomy to be minimal, while the cost is significantly higher.

Read Questions About Robotic Hysterectomy
by Roni Caryn RabinTheNewYorkTimes, 25 Feb 2013

Related posts: