Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Debunking myths...can we always trust the rebuttals?

A bronze statue at Millersville University in Pennsylvania was unveiled the last weekend of May 2009. Designed and sculpted by my sister, Christina Haatainen-Jones, it was commissioned by Dr. Dennis Denenberg, author of ­50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet. Dr. Denenberg’s sister struggled with various forms of cancer throughout her adult life. The statue sits gracefully in the Diana Lin Durand Spirit Garden, created in her memory by her brother. With a desire to remind students at Millersville that life is wonderful and that we all need to strive to maintain it, Dr. Denenberg’s wish is for students to stop and think about life. Additionally, his goal is to raise awareness of breast cancer to college-aged women.

Ironically, there was a woman mingling among the crowd the day of the unveiling who was unaware that the insidious seed of cancer was sprouting within one of her own breasts. Fortunately, due to yearly mammograms, the cancer was caught in its early stages and the prognosis is good. If she were not able to have annual testing, which may soon be the case depending on what happens with the health care reform, who knows what kind of outcome she’d be looking at. But, of course, that’s a discussion that belongs on someone else’s blog.

Other than skin cancers (don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your little ones’ delicate skin), breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. This year alone, there will be an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in the U.S. That’s a startling statistic.

Equally startling is the evidence that BPA has been linked to breast cancer. In fact, in over 200 studies researchers have found that even in low doses, exposure to the synthetic hormone bisphenol A increases the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, early-onset puberty, and a variety of developmental delays.

So why are some people still ignoring the risks? Apparently an organization called the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) released a report stating that there is no health hazard associated with BPA…and some people have actually bought into their spin on things.

But if you look closer at the ACSH, you’ll see why I, personally, don’t trust their opinion. The ACSH is an organization funded by corporations…corporations with a stake in this issue. Remember, corporations are largely about the bottom line. If a baby product manufacturer suddenly has to change its materials and equipment, the bottom line is affected. Safety versus the bottom line. Hmmm. I wonder what many companies choose when faced with this dilemma? If they can garner up support to nullify the claims of the danger of a product, wouldn’t it be to their advantage to fund a research organization to do just that?

Now I’m not saying that is what is done. You can draw your own conclusions. I’m just suspect of the ACSH because I’ve looked at their list of corporate sponsors and some well-known names are on there; well-known names of companies whose bottom line would certainly be affected by a ban on BPA. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Before you hand your baby his or her next bottle, or your toddler a sippy cup, think about Diana Lin Durand and the Spirit Garden at Millersville University. Find a BPA-free alternative (like a glass bottle or a metal sippy cup, just to be safe). And then, when you get a free minute or two, pick up the phone and schedule a mammogram. After all, your kids need you.

Keeping it green and healthy,


P.S. A friend recommended two stainless steel sippy cups you may want to try: the FOOGO® by THERMOS® and SAFE SIPPY™ drink cups. Wares for parents who care. Thanks Dani!

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