1. Plastics chemical is making kids fat

    BPA in new obesity link

    The best thing I can say about bisphenol-A is that it's getting easier than ever to avoid as manufacturers make an increasing number of BPA-free products in response to consumer demand.

    And the best advice I can give you is to demand BPA-free products yourself -- because this hormone-like chemical found in food and drink containers can wreak havoc on your body.

    It's bad news for people of all ages, but new research shows how this junk is particularly dangerous to kids and may even be playing a role in the child obesity epidemic.

    The study of 2,838 kids between the ages of 6 and 19 finds that children with the highest levels of BPA also have the highest numbers on the scale -- with white kids facing the biggest risk.

    For them, high levels of BPA in the urine made them four times more likely to be obese than children with low levels of the chemical, according to the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    It's not just because BPA is found in the packaging of unhealthy processed foods, although that's certainly part of it. It's also because BPA has been shown to interfere with your metabolism, making it more likely for the empty calories in those packaged foods to do the maximum damage.

    The new study was on kids, but you don't have to be a child yourself to face these risks since other studies have found that BPA can make adults big and fat, too.

    Along with increasing the risk of obesity, BPA can also cause developmental problems in children and heart disease in adults. And because it mimics estrogen inside the human body, it's been tied to sexual dysfunction and other hormone-related problems.

    The feds say there's not enough evidence of any of these risks, but I have yet to see a legitimate study that proves this stuff is safe. Your best bet is to eliminate all sources of BPA from your diet.

    Start by ditching microwaved meals, packaged and processed foods, as well as canned food and drinks -- and don't store any of your leftovers in plastic unless you know it's BPA-free.

  2. New risks linked to common chemicals

    'Everywhere' chemicals in new disease links

    You can't see them, feel them, smell them or even taste them -- but there's a good chance you're rubbing toxic chemicals onto your skin and even putting them in your mouth every single day.

    They're the "everywhere chemicals" used in everything from soaps to cosmetics to food containers, and new research shows new dangers for two of the most common ones.

    Let me start with the one you haven't heard too much about.

    It's called triclosan, and it's a pesticide used to make products resistant to bacteria. You'll find it in antibacterial soap, of course, but you'll also find it in many of the products with the word "antibacterial" or "antiseptic" on the package -- and that includes everything from bedding and clothing to toys and toothpaste.

    Sounds convenient, right? Of course it is -- but all that convenience comes at a terrible price, as new research finds that triclosan could prevent the brain from communicating with muscle, including the crucial muscles that power your heart.

    In one set of experiments on mice, researchers found that exposure to triclosan reduced heart function by 25 percent and grip strength by 18 percent. In another set of experiments, fish in water laced with triclosan swam slower.

    By itself, the study is worrisome. But when you consider the rest of research on triclosan, it's positively alarming -- because other studies have found it can mimic the thyroid hormone and alter thyroid function as a result.

    That's bad news when you consider that up to 75 percent of us have measurable levels of triclosan pumping through our bodies right now, according to CDC estimates.

    But of course, that's not the only dangerous "everywhere chemical." Bisphenol-A is the one that usually gets most of the press, and for good reason: It's the most dangerous of the lot.

    We're learning of new risks linked to BPA almost every day, and the risk du jour is a narrowing of the arteries -- a condition that could cause serious heart problems and even death.

    British researchers examined close to 600 men and women and found that those with the most clogged-up arteries had 20 percent more BPA in their urine than those with healthy arteries, according to the study in PLoS One.

    BPA is of course used in the packaging of the worst processed foods and canned goods, including soda, so it's quite likely that a lousy diet high in packaged foods is also playing a big role here.

    But since other studies have consistently linked BPA exposure to heart disease, I think it's also very likely that the chemical itself is also damaging those arteries. Throw in the fact that BPA has been linked to obesity, developmental problems, sexual dysfunction, and more, and I say it's time to stop waiting to see what tomorrow's risk will be.

    Take action today to limit exposure.

    One study last year found that switching to a diet of natural fresh foods and using only metal and glass for food storage cut BPA levels by 60 percent over three days.

    That's not 100 percent, but it's a good start. And while you're at it, don't forget to ditch the antibacterial soap.

  3. FDA refuses to take action on BPA

    If the FDA can't see why it's a bad idea to feed everyone -- even babies -- chemical versions of hormones, then they should get out of regulation business altogether.
  4. BPA in new disease link

    One of the worst things in your food and drink isn't an ingredient at all -- not in the usual sense, anyway. It's a hormone-like chemical used in the packaging.
  5. BPA in everything

    By now, you've heard of bisphenol-A -- the dangerous estrogen-like chemical used in plastics and can linings that's been linked to diabetes, sexual dysfunction and more. But eating packaged and canned goods isn't the only way to get exposed to this junk and boost your risk.

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