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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Dr. OZ

Get to know the ABCs of BPA


Published:

The latest Superman movie earned $44 million in box-office receipts the first Friday it opened. Considering how cash-register receipts are laced with bisphenol A, you might have to be a Man of Steel to dodge their often-reported health hazards.

News about the risks of this hormone-disrupting chemical is piling up. One new study found pre-pubescent girls with higher-than-average levels of BPA in their urine were twice as likely to be obese. And others suggest exposure - in utero and early in life - to BPA alters fetal stem cells, making males susceptible to infertility and prostate cancer. And be aware that BPA-free products may contain an even more risky relative called BPS.

But an extensive investigation of the potential dangers by the Food and Drug Administration concluded: "BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods." That makes it tough to know what to think or do about limiting BPA exposure found in the lining of food cans and everything from sunglasses to paper receipts.

Our advice: If you're pregnant or have young children, avoid foods packaged in plastics, and any container with the recycle code No. 7 on the bottom. Don't microwave hard, clear plastics. Store meats and veggies in wax paper or glass containers. Dodge receipts. If you touch one, wash your hands soon - and always before touching a child. If BPA from receipts goes from your hands to food, you get a dose 1,000 times greater than from BPA-lined cans. The rest of you? Be safe and follow the same steps.

v vCrash Test Dummies is a folk/alternative band from Winnipeg, Canada - and they're worth following, if only because their plastic namesakes have done a lot to improve bike (and car) safety. That's why, when the journal BMJ recently published a study that implied the use of bicycle helmets didn't really matter and it got lots of press, we wondered who the real dummies were.

The study reports: Canada's provinces that instituted bicycle helmet legislation saw a 54 percent reduction in hospital admissions for cycling-related head injuries, while provinces without legislation only saw a 33.2 percent reduction. But that difference in the number of injuries didn't convince the Toronto researchers (who came up with those statistics!) that helmets matter. They figured rates were headed down because of improved motorist awareness and better cycling lanes. HUH? We think there are more than a few Canadians who disagree with that assessment (such as the 21 percent fewer riders with head injuries), and we do too.

Safety-equipment laws have been proven to be effective. Every Canadian province and U.S. state with mandatory helmet laws has seen rates of serious head injuries drop significantly. Recent crash-test-dummy results in Australia confirm that bicycle helmets are protective and, says that report, "directly counter unsupported claims to the contrary by some anti-helmet cycling campaigners."

Remember, there were anti-seat-belt campaigners too, but the truth won out. So when it comes to bicycle helmets, stay in tune with the crash test dummies and avoid being an unintentional organ donor.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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