Saturday, July 5, 2014

Civilians and US Troops Exposed to Toxic Chemicals in CamelBak's BPA-Free Hydration Packs

It took several years (see here and here), but the consumer demand for plastic containers that do not contain bisphenol-A (BPA) finally has resulted in shelves full of water bottles, food storage containers, and hydration packs (CamelBak being the industry leader) that do not contain this known carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, and neurotoxic susbstance.

Wonderful, right? Yeah, not so much.

An article being shared around Facebook identifies serious health issues with new BPA-free plastics, perhaps worse than those with BPA. Susanne Posel, Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent ran a story about the use of Camelbak's by the military and the exposure of U.S. troops to a substance in the BPA-free plastic liners of the water packs, something called Tritan.
The US Armed Forces have contracted CamelBak to provide their soldiers with technology to carry “3 liter hydration systems” like the CamelBak CBR X which is used in combat situations because of the reservoir tip that allows the solider to drink clean water – even while wearing a gas mask during a chemical agent attack.
Orig.src.Susanne.Posel.Daily.News- camelbak.soldiers.tritan.bpa.free_occupycorporatism
Tritan, the chemical substitute for BPA used in BPA-free products such as those sold by CamelBak, are assumed safe; however Tritan has a wide range of adverse effects such as:
• Severe dizziness
• Drowsiness
• Excitability
• Headaches
• Anxiety
• Vomiting
• Nervousness
• Sleep disorders
• Urinary dysfunction
• Heart palpitations
• Hallucinations
• Seizures
• Tremors
• Macular disorders
In a peer reviewed study from 2013, Tritan was shown to contain chemical compositions of BPA and was proven to migrate from the plastic to the liquid contained in bottles tested.
The authors of the study maintain that Tritan functions as an endocrine disruptor because of the presence of BBP and BPA.
It's unfortunate that Posel tried to make the jump that the symptoms associated with exposure to Tritan and similar chemicals (listed above) could somehow be related to Gulf War Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Known adverse effects of Tritan have striking similarities to clinical definitions of Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At this time, further research is needed to confirm a direct link between Tritan and PTSD or GWS.
These are two obviously separate issues. But her need to make a more sensational statement detracted from her message - several people discounted the article because of that simple act of sensationalism.

Gulf War Syndrome (1991 Gulf War Veterans suffer with this debilitating disease, which is more likely associated with exposure to organophosphate pesticides used to reduce pest-born illnesses) predates military use of Camelbaks (not founded until 1989 and not widely used until 2000), and PTSD predates plastics and even guns. People have been developing PTSD as long as there has been violence and accidents (always).

The information and evidence is damning enough without making illogical and unfounded claims. Her own data refute her attempt to link these chemicals to GWS (nine years ago was 2005, not 1991):
Nine years ago, CamelBak was awarded an $11.2 million contract for the DoD through the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) for hydration systems made with Tritan.

In 2009, CamelBak received a $5.9 million contract with the US Marine Corp.

Two years ago, CamelBak reported sales of $121.1 million; which was $6.4 million more over 2011.
Clearly, the people who own Camelbak and who developed these chemicals at Eastman Kodak have more concern for profits than they do for our military and our children.

Mother Jones has led the coverage of this issue in the lefty press, as demonstrated in this article from the March/April 2014 issue (the following quotes are from that article). A neurobiologist from the University of Texas-Austin, named George Bittner has led the research into these alternatives to BPA.
CertiChem and its founder, George Bittner, who is also a professor of neurobiology at the University of Texas-Austin, had recently coauthored a paper in the NIH journal Environmental Health Perspectives. It reported that "almost all" commercially available plastics that were tested leached synthetic estrogens—even when they weren't exposed to conditions known to unlock potentially harmful chemicals, such as the heat of a microwave, the steam of a dishwasher, or the sun's ultraviolet rays. According to Bittner's research, some BPA-free products actually released synthetic estrogens that were more potent than BPA.
Clearly, he has struck a nerve.
The American Chemistry Council, which lobbies for plastics makers and has sought to refute the science linking BPA to health problems, has teamed up with Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical—the maker of Tritan, a widely used plastic marketed as being free of estrogenic activity—in a campaign to discredit Bittner and his research. The company has gone so far as to tell corporate customers that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected Bittner's testing methods. (It hasn't.) Eastman also sued CertiChem and its sister company, PlastiPure, to prevent them from publicizing their findings that Tritan is estrogenic, convincing a jury that its product displayed no estrogenic activity. And it launched a PR blitz touting Tritan's safety, targeting the group most vulnerable to synthetic estrogens: families with young children.
The plastics industry is worth $375-billion-a-year so it's no wonder they are doing and will do everything they can to silence Bittner - but his is not the only research implicating them in suppressing the health risks of these chemicals.  

Another BPA substitute, bisphenol-S (BPS), turns out to be just as toxic to the development of the fetal endocrine system as BPA (June 23, 2014 press release), and more than likely would have similar endocrine-disruptive effects in adults, as well.
A chemical found in many "BPA free" consumer products, known as bisphenol S (BPS), is just as potent as bisphenol A (BPA) in altering brain development and causing hyperactive behavior, an animal study finds. The results will be presented Sunday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

BPA has been linked to a wide range of hormone disorders, such as obesity, reproductive cancers and, recently, hyperactivity in children born to women exposed to high levels of this substance during the second trimester of pregnancy. Now, this research in fish found that exposure to BPS, a bisphenol compound, led to hyperactive offspring, just as BPA did.

"BPS, termed the safe alternative to BPA, may be equally as harmful to developing brains," said the study's senior investigator, Deborah Kurrasch, PhD, from Canada's University of Calgary. "Society must place increased pressure on decision makers to remove all bisphenol compounds from manufacturing processes."
A 2011 paper published in Environmental Health Perspectives (a publication of the National Institutes of Health [NIH]) showed that nearly ALL of the plastic tested leached estrogenic chemicals (xenoestrogens, the class of chemicals to which belongs BPA, BPS, Tritan and other similar substances).

The article is freely available online - here is the abstract and publication data.

Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved

Chun Z. Yang [1], Stuart I. Yaniger [2], V. Craig Jordan [3], Daniel J. Klein [2], George D. Bittner [1,2,4]
1. CertiChem Inc., Austin, Texas, USA
2. PlastiPure Inc., Austin, Texas, USA
3. Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA
4. Neurobiology Section, School of Biology, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA
Environmental Health Perspectives; 119:989-996 (2011). doi: 10.1289/ehp.1003220 [online 02 March 2011]


Background: Chemicals having estrogenic activity (EA) reportedly cause many adverse health effects, especially at low (picomolar to nanomolar) doses in fetal and juvenile mammals.

Objectives: We sought to determine whether commercially available plastic resins and products, including baby bottles and other products advertised as bisphenol A (BPA) free, release chemicals having EA.

Methods: We used a roboticized MCF-7 cell proliferation assay, which is very sensitive, accurate, and repeatable, to quantify the EA of chemicals leached into saline or ethanol extracts of many types of commercially available plastic materials, some exposed to common-use stresses (microwaving, ultraviolet radiation, and/or autoclaving).

Results: Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled—independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source—leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products.

Conclusions: Many plastic products are mischaracterized as being EA free if extracted with only one solvent and not exposed to common-use stresses. However, we can identify existing compounds, or have developed, monomers, additives, or processing agents that have no detectable EA and have similar costs. Hence, our data suggest that EA-free plastic products exposed to common-use stresses and extracted by saline and ethanol solvents could be cost-effectively made on a commercial scale and thereby eliminate a potential health risk posed by most currently available plastic products that leach chemicals having EA into food products.
Another paper (Guart et al, 2013) in Food Chemistry, also found that Titan contains BPA-like substances and other xenoestrogens, and this one was conducted by researchers not associated with George Bittner.

So why is this being posted on The Masculine Heart?

Xenoestrogens are a men's issue - our bodies are more impacted by these toxic plastics than are women's, partly because we are more sensitive to estrogens of any kind. They lead to cancer (prostate cancer has been linked to xenoestrogen exposure) and they are making us sterile and less virile in general.

Male fetuses exposed to these chemicals in the womb are especially at risk, with resulting endocrine system damage, and neurotoxic effects (likely including ADHD, and I would think autism might also turn out to be linked to these chemicals at some point, not vaccines).

And this is an issue for the men who go to battle to serve their country. We do not send women into combat zones, so only our male soldiers are using these Camelbaks daily (likely several times a day) and being so frequently exposed to these chemicals.

When the results of Bittner's research are confirmed by other independent labs, Camelbak and Eastman Kodak should be held liable for all the healthcare costs, and possibly charged with treason.

Worth looking at:

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