Good News and Bad News

First two pieces of good news.

As of July 2013 in California, baby bottles and sippy cups will no longer contain Bisphenol-A (BPA). Governor Brown signed the Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act. A new generation of children will no longer have to grow up without these common exposures to the BPA hormone disruptor.

From the corporate world there is astounding news: Bayer CropScience announced that it is withdrawing its most hazardous pesticides from the global market. (Perhaps this should not be surprising because most of the pesticides have been, or are being banned in many countries around the world.) They are stopping production of about one hundred and thirty pesticides labeled as “extremely hazardous and highly hazardous.” This action includes phaseout of the notorious carbofuran and endosulfan.

Carbofuran has been the greatest chemical threat to wild birds since the pesticides DDT and dieldrin were banned in the early 1970s. In its 2005 ecological risk assessment for carbofuran, EPA stated that there were no legal uses of carbofuran that did not kill wild birds. If a flock of mallards were to feed in a carbofuran treated alfalfa field, EPA predicted that 92% of the birds in the flock would quickly die.

Now the bad news. Companies are adding a new type of antimicrobial material to a host of clothing products. The material is “nano-silver,” which is extremely small silver particles (less than one-hundredth the diameter of a human hair). It is being added to socks, shoe inserts and sports clothing to kill the bacteria that cause odor. (The image above shows silver nano particles coated on Nylon fibers.) Scientists have said that the widespread use of nano-silver particles in clothing is no more necessary than the widespread use of triclosan in soaps and cosmetic products. There is a Darth Vader aspect of nano-silver: because of its extremely small size, the particles can cross membrane barriers at the cellular level, including the blood-brain barrier. Moreover, nano particles of silver come out during laundering and ultimately enter waterways where they have the potential to poison fish and aquatic organisms.

Then there “AgION silver “antimicrobial products hitting the market – with reverberations at EPA. Logitech corporation introduced computer keyboards  that incorporates AgION silver, and has claimed that it protects users from bacteria and microbes. EPA has fined Logitech for unsubstantiated claims. Other companies have claimed antimicrobial properties for AgION silver treated footware and plastics products. (For more information see Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2011.)

If you don’t want to run the risk of errant silver particles coursing through your body, carefully avoid clothing products that contain anti-odor or anti-microbial nano-silver or AgION silver.


About donlouis

The author has long had a keen interest in staying healthy and fit, and in doing whatever I can to keep the natural environment unpolluted and a healthy space for people and all animals. As a former Board Member of a municipal water district, I regularly had to deal with the issue of water quality. I first became aware of radiation hazards from toxic materials while working on uranium for nuclear reactors. During the 1960s I was tuned into the global hazard from Strontium 90 raining down from atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs. While working in the chemical industry in later years I became aware of the many forms of chemical contaminants entering the environment every day, and resolved to do something about it. I am able to make sense out of the voluminous descriptions of common toxic chemical because of my training in chemistry, with a Ph.D. degree and several decades of research and development work in the chemical industry. My training and experience enables me to present to readers reliable and current information on the topic of chemical hazards in the environment, and their threats to human health. All my life I have loved hiking and camping in nature. Skiing, river kayaking, and tennis have been my favorite physical activities. Nature photography is my artistic passion.
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