Susan McGrath's blog
Some might call it a baby step, but any step in the right direction is a cause for celebration in a country whose lawmakers and regulators are generally rolling out the red carpet for the chemical industry.
So here's the news:
The EPA plans to add bisphenol-A--the now notorious endocrine-disrupting chemical that leaches from certain plastics, including baby bottles and medical tubing; food-and-drink-can linings; and the coating on most credit-card receipt paper--to its list of "chemicals of concern."
High time considering the compound has now been implicated in a slew of modern maladies including but not limited to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, neurological deficits, and certain kinds of cancer none of us are keen to get. (Don't take my word for this; just search BPA online and you'll come up with articles in most of the more impressive research and medical journals.)!--/end tags-->
Having written about environmental issues for lo, these many years I’m used to the odd muttering about gloom and doom. But with the endocrine disruptor story “Pandora’s Water Bottle” in the March issue of Audubon I’ve hit a new high.
“Read your piece. Now I’m going to go out and lie down on the railroad tracks,” is a representative sample from my email inbox. Bridges are mentioned, too, and for once no one is suggesting I jump off one.
So okay. The rising tide of information about the dangers and ubiquity of endocrine disruptors in the environment is really scary. But let’s look at the flip side:!--/end tags-->
The Newspaper of Record broke new ground last Sunday. No, I’m not referring to the nearly life-sized picture of Michael Jackson emblazoned above the fold; that was Friday. I mean Sunday’s astonishingly frank and accurate essay about endocrine disruptors—synthetic chemicals that behave like artificial hormones, now widespread in the environment and causing serious impacts on the health of wildlife and humans.
Naturally the piece didn’t appear in Tuesday’s Science Times. The last thing I read about endocrine disruptors there was a squib reiterating the chemical industry’s mantra that Dose Makes the Poison and assuring readers that the amounts of endocrine-disrupting bisphenol-A leaching from plastic water bottles is nothing to worry about. Yes, that would be the very same bisphenol-A now banned from use in baby products in Canada and the European Union.
No, the New York Times’ piece about endocrine disruptors appeared on the Op-Ed page. Nicholas Kristof wrote it, and he didn’t hold back.