Double Dose: FDA Finds No Risk From BPA; "I Do" For Health Insurance; Female Condoms Needs Funding, Support; APA Report on Abortion and Mental Health; What's in a Midwife's Black Bag? ...

By Christine Cupaiuolo — August 16, 2008

FDA Report Says No Risk From BPA: I’ve written before about the dangers associated with bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used in hard, clear plastics, such as Nalgene and baby bottles, as well as in the linings of food cans and baby formula.

The chemical, which mimics a human hormone, has been linked to hormonal changes in animal studies. Canada recently banned polycarbonate infant bottles, and the U.S. National Toxicology Program earlier this year acknowledged “some concern” that BPA may affect neural and behavioral development “in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures.”

But according to a draft assessment released by the Food and Drug Administration yesterday, BPA does not pose a health hazard when used in food containers. From the Washington Post:

The report stands in contrast to more than 100 studies performed by government scientists and university laboratories that have found health concerns associated with bisphenol A (BPA). Some studies have linked the chemical to prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity and reproductive problems in laboratory animals.

Exposure to the small amounts of BPA that migrate from the containers into the food they hold are not dangerous to infants or adults, the draft said.

Here’s the kicker:

The chemical industry and the agencies that regulate the use of BPA, the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency, have deemed the chemical safe, largely on the strength of two industry-funded studies that found no problems. The American Chemistry Council welcomed the findings of the new report.

“Clearly, their effort was to minimize people being concerned about this,” Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families, told the Post. “It just seems that whenever there is an opportunity to look at a new, important issue, they just seem to be siding with industry’s point of view.”

Wal-Mart and Toys R Us aren’t waiting around for the government to take action — as of January, both businesses will stop selling any childrens’ products made with BPA.

Marrying, or Divorcing, for Health Insurance: “In a country where insurance is out of reach for many, it is not uncommon for couples to marry, or even to divorce, at least partly so one spouse can obtain or maintain health coverage,” reports The New York Times. “There is no way to know how often it happens, but lawyers and patient advocacy groups say they see cases regularly.”

Here’s more on the Kaiser Family Foundation study mentioned in the story.

Report: “Failing Women, Withholding Protection”: The female condom first made its debut 15 years ago, but a lack of investment and marketing on the part of policymakers has limited the condom’s availability and marginalized its role in protecting women from HIV-infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to a new report issued by Oxfam International and the World Population Foundation. The report was presented at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. The full text is available here.

“This is a 15-year scandal born of ignorance and inertia. It has been made doubly worse as the HIV epidemic is now affecting women at a higher rate than men, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. We now know that millions of women might have been spared HIV, unwanted pregnancies, and empowered themselves in the process, if they had access to this simple method,” said Oxfam spokeswoman Farah Karimi.

“The female condom is the only method that women have to protect themselves. It has been embraced in many countries and cultures, it works and it is cost-effective,” added Karimi. “Political leadership and funding are needed now. No more excuses.”

Plus: Here are some facts about the female condom from “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” and our previous coverage on the condom’s redesign and how U.S. global policy affects condom promotion.

APA Report: Abortion Not a Threat to Mental Health: “The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.”

That’s one of the conclusions put forth by the American Psychological Association Task Force on Abortion and Mental Health, which just issued this comprehensive report (PDF), an evaluation of all English-language studies published in peer-reviewed journals post-1989 comparing the mental health of women who had an induced abortion to the mental health of comparison groups of women.

Plus: For a closer look, read Lynn Harris’ good analysis at Broadsheet.

Coming Out as an Abortion Provider: Nell, who also blogs at Abortion Clinic Days, writes at the new Feministing Community site about her experience meeting her partner’s Republican grandparents and explaining what she does. Yes, there’s a happy ending.

Obesity Study Looks Thin: That’s the word from “The Numbers Guy,” aka Carl Bialik, who has a different take on a recently published study that projects 100 percent of American adults could be overweight by 2048.

What’s in a Midwife’s Bag?: Writing at Offsprung, Diane Dawson, a homebirth midwife, opens up her big black bag to reveal what she brings with her to deliver a baby. “I think that most people still think I show up with a smile and rabbit’s foot for luck. And maybe an herb or two in my purse. For the vast majority of pregnancies, this may well be enough, but I like to be a bit more prepared. …”

New State Law Calls for GPS Tracking on Abusers: “Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a measure to create a new early warning system by allowing satellite tracking of people who violate orders of protection,” reports the Chicago Tribune. “Opponents of domestic violence and prosecutors say the Cindy Bischof Law will add teeth to the orders, which some deride as mere pieces of paper ineffective in protecting people from stalkers or abusers. Bischof was among at least four women in the Chicago area killed this year by men with orders of protection against them.”

One response to “Double Dose: FDA Finds No Risk From BPA; “I Do” For Health Insurance; Female Condoms Needs Funding, Support; APA Report on Abortion and Mental Health; What’s in a Midwife’s Black Bag? …”

  1. There were so many interesting posts in this section. Thank you. I enjoy so much of the information. I especially liked the post by Nell and her partner’s grandparents. I have met many pro-choice elderly people because they were around when abortion was illegal, and saw the horrific results.

    I love Nell’s comments about magical motherhood. I often get shocked looks when I tell people that nothing about motherhood appeals to me, and that I celebrate Margaret Sanger’s Birthday.

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