Be Not Afraid
We’ve known for years something is wrong out there. There’s no hiding from the catalogue of health effects—sky-rocketing rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, infertility, ADHD, creepy physical deformities in reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and I’ll stop right there.
But why this stuff is happening, what’s behind it all, has been smothered under a blanket of censorship and misinformation for decades—a blackout most news outlets have happily gone along with. When Colburn et al. published the extraordinarily well written and carefully researched book that first laid out the case against low-dose endocrine disruptors, Our Stolen Future, in 1996, the newspaper of note (yes, that’s code for the New York Times) responded with a now-infamous review trashing their evidence and invoking “environmentalists” Al Gore and Robert Redford in the first sentence. The review was so blatantly close-minded that it has subsequently rated whole articles about it.
Now, at last, the truth about the poisonous drizzle of synthetic chemicals is breaking out into the open. And while we’ve all been dozing under the blanket, scientists have been uncovering the mechanisms by which these chemicals harm organisms; and they can now back up their theories with reams of gold-standard studies.
Most exciting to this writer is that some of the foremost scientists in this field have gotten fed up with PR hacks with B.A.s in communications trumping their painstaking scientific evidence. They’ve stopped mumbling, “oh, well, whatever,” and wandering back to the lab in their white coats. Instead they’re duking it out with the industry.
In the case of bisphenol-A, in particular, researchers are starting to speak loudly, plainly, and in language the public—and reporters—understand. Equally important is the fact that newspapers are finally covering the issue. No, not the New York Times, apart from on the op-ed page, but the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, the Washington Post, and USA Today, among others.
As a result of all of this lie-down-on-the-railroad-tracks-inducing news, change is going to be sweeping down on us like a (okay, very slow) freight train. Actual regulatory change, believe it or not. Washington State just two weeks ago passed legislation that will make the state the first to ban BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups, and other products intended for use by children. (Ahem, take that, greener-than-thou California.)
So get up off the tracks! It’s not like we didn’t know all this in our guts anyway. The fact that we’re hearing about this is good news; it means industry is losing its control over the issue. As Peter Ross puts it in the Audubon story, you can’t get the good news without first knowing the bad.!--/end tags-->