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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Big, Bad BPA: Now It’s Killing the Lobsters

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, bisphenol A, BPA, health, food, air and water, wildlife, oceans, seafood, science, molecular biology, U Conn Today, Treehugger, Environmental Working Group,

BPA lobsterThe chemical bisphenol A is seemingly everywhere—it’s in our receipts, our toys, our food containers, even our bodies—and it’s increasingly suspected as a factor in many health problems. Now the nasty stuff is even in lobsters, and it may be killing them off.

Treehugger tipped us to a story in U Conn Today on the research of Hans Laufer, a molecular biologist who believes that waterborne chemicals including BPA is contributing to the shell disease that is killing off lobsters in Long Island Sound. Laufer, reports U Conn Today, has

found that by interfering with hormones crucial to young lobster growth, chemicals such as bisphenol A can slow the lobsters’ molting patterns and interfere with regular development, leading to body deformations, susceptibility to disease, and potential death.

As for those BPA-laden receipts, Treehugger has some promising news, reporting that three large European grocery chains are planning to phase out BPA in their receipts. The move may add to the momentum to do the same in the United States. In the meantime, wash your hands very well after handling receipts from CVS, Whole Foods, Safeway, the U.S. Postal Service, Walmart, Chevron, McDonalds, KFC, and—get this—the U.S. House of Representatives cafeteria. See the Environmental Working Group’s website for a full breakdown of which receipts are the most, and least, toxic.

Source: U Conn Today, Treehugger, Environmental Working Group

Image by tuppus, licensed under Creative Commons.

elizabeth
11/1/2010 1:12:45 AM

Thanks for posting this. I've made a point to avoid BPA for years now, but had no idea about the receipts. Recently, a store offered to email me my receipt, which I gladly accepted. And, even if the research is not peer-reviewed, it makes sense that the public be aware of plausible information that affects our health.


keith goetzman
8/20/2010 3:42:00 PM

Carl, I don't consider peer review to be the absolute mark of scientific credibility, let alone the standard for meriting coverage in my blog. The peer review process sometimes has its own conflicts of interest and other pressures. I simply found Laufer's research to be interesting and, frankly, plausible. Plenty of credible (and peer-reviewed) research has shown harmful environmental and health effects from BPA. That's why the FDA is undertaking a big reassessment of the chemical. Keith Goetzman


carl
8/20/2010 12:25:33 PM

...but this research isn't even published in a peer-reviewed journal yet. It's just preliminary findings gathered for the purpose of soliciting a funding source. Actually, it's more like a hypothesis. Why would the paper, Treehugger, and Utne choose to publish unpublished findings? When its proven to be wrong will you all publish a rebuttal? If you're going to disseminate the data as fact already, why even bother to get the money and do the studies?