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New Study Links Plastics To Heart Disease, Diabetes 266

fprintf writes "There have been a number of studies over the years, some of which have been debunked, linking plastics with human disease. Now British researchers have released a study again linking common plastics used in food/liquid storage with human disease."
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New Study Links Plastics To Heart Disease, Diabetes

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  • Relative risk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @01:14PM (#25027315)

    I wonder if they will compare the instances of disease to those from food poisoning from earlier methods of food storage?

    • Exactly, if it isn't natural.. we shouldn't store it man... It's all about nature man... Like, we need to start storing stuff in leather... or for you vegans, store it in paper, unless you are like one of those hippies man. Then maybe you should store it in like... water.
    • by Nursie ( 632944 )

      This is exactly why I use asbsetos food wrap and drink only out of cups made from coal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      This is why you should only use human bones as your utensils. There is no danger!(well, Kuru but....)

      Plus, nothing makes for great conversation around the coffee maker at the office quite like a human skull fashioned into a mug.
    • Re:Relative risk (Score:5, Insightful)

      by megamerican ( 1073936 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @01:35PM (#25027615)

      I wonder if they will compare the instances of disease to those from food poisoning from earlier methods of food storage?

      Using glass jars sure caused a lot of food poisoning!

      Or how about not using BPA in plastics used to store food? Is that so hard to ask? There are probably thousands of plastics that don't use BPA. Why even risk it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IgLou ( 732042 )
        Exactly! I think most people have no freaking clue... Oh wait, I know they have no freaking clue that not all plastics are created equal. Also, from the responses, that no one read TFA; mind you the summary is a bit inflamatory so that will lead quite a few to disregard the article.

        My wife is big on Tupperware and a quick check showed that some products contain BPA but not all. That's just one line of products. It's quite surprising how far spread these things are.
        Anyways, it's like Transfats we shou
        • by TheLink ( 130905 )
          "Here in Canada our Health system is stretched to the limit due to an aging population why allow something that further impacts health and strains that system?"

          Ah, you should switch to storing stuff in Thallium then, that should deal with the aging population problem.

          And while you're at it, encourage people to smoke more (while taxing it heavily). :)
          • by IgLou ( 732042 )
            Well, I had this great plan that consisted of selling tax free cigarettes made in China in prisons and then having convicts make money by testing cancer treating drugs. I thought it was ingenius but some folks get so worried by ethics.

            I say why start worrying about that now? :P
      • by treeves ( 963993 )
        Using glass jars never caused food poisoning. Improperly using glass jars caused food poisoning.
      • There is nothing inherently dangerous about glass jars (other than breakage etc.) while the problem with plastics appear to be fundamental to the material itself.
        • It's not all plastics; It's a simple subset. I did all the research earlier during the baby bottle scare, and it's not hard to get BPA free bottles, but it is hard to find canned goods (for example) that are BPA free.

          This is one of those situations where I think there is enough concern to warrant labeling (at least) and sensible exploration of alternatives. There is no way to confirm the relationship without a series of long term studies, and there is nothing so amazing about BPA to justify keeping it.

          • ok, just in case it wasn't clear - I should have said "the problem with these plastics"/p>

            I do agree that it's "better safe than sorry" and if there is some chance of a problem then things should be labelled.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by R2.0 ( 532027 )

        "Using glass jars sure caused a lot of food poisoning!"

        Actually, yes it did (and does). Improperly sealing glass containers used to cause many deaths from botulism, and is still a risk in home canning.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Using glass jars sure caused a lot of food poisoning!

        No, but crystal glas can cause other diseases [].

        After centuries of enjoying beautiful lead crystal at table, it has recently come under the scrutiny of health authorities, who were testing paint and other products as possible sources of lead poisoning. Preliminary tests have shown that, over time, significant amounts of lead can migrate from lead crystal containers into liquids stored in them.

        * One research team measured the amount of lead migration in Port wine that was stored in lead crystal deca

    • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @01:46PM (#25027759) Journal

      Don't malign plastic, you dirty hippies. They saved my life in WWII! Why, when I was a lad, we would have KILLED to have plastic food storage. You know what I hear when you say plastics are dangerous? "blah blah blah I hate America blah blah I hate progress blah blah blah." Real Americans can eat plastic like it was apple pie and not get sick.

      The same goes double for global warming & the ozone layer. In fact, let's just stop funding research into things that may be bad for us. Only sissies care. All you are doing with your sissy studies is holding back progress and making people worry over nothing.

      Admit it: you want us all to go back to living in caves. You hate the modern world and everything in it and you want to destroy it with your evil 'studies.' Elitist intellectual claptrap.

      America stands for progress. Except we're not progressive, the damn hippies stole that word and turned it into something dirty. Either you love progress and you know that everything new is better, or you hate America and want everyone to live in caves.

      If you hate plastics, you hate the whole human race!

      • Damn Right!!!

        The American way is the best way. And the American way to deal with environmental problems is to make fun of environmentalists.
      • I see right through your scam! Anyone writing to Slashdot is a America hating commie...wait a minute...

        BTW, to whoever labeled the parent flamebait; that wooshing sound you just heard is sarcasm going over your head.

        • by spun ( 1352 )

          Oh, I think they understood the sarcasm all too well, and thus the flamebait mod.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by CodeBuster ( 516420 )

          that wooshing sound you just heard is sarcasm going over your head.

          Damn, I thought it was the giant sucking sound [] of American jobs rushing overseas. Phew, what a relief that it was only sarcasm.

      • If you hate plastics, you hate the whole human race!

        And species, too!!! You misanthrope!!

  • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @01:17PM (#25027347) Homepage

    Every week there will be a new study that reveals some common chemical in our daily lives, will be harmful or good for your health.
    Often it will be both harmful and good on consecutive weeks.

    Soon I'll be releasing my own study that shows excessive worrying about common foods causes diabetes, cancer and spontaneous combustion.

    • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @01:28PM (#25027517) Journal

      Actually, you're on to something:

      constant worrying about common foods = stress
      stress = heart health problems

      Cancer is more destructive in those persons who are less able to defend against it.
      Stress = weakened immune response

      Spontaneous combustion? you're on your own with that one

    • It has recently been revealed that a common thread has been found among all human ailments and syndromes.

      Everyone that has been afflicted with a disease or syndrome has consumed large amounts of DHMO!

    • When it comes to common chemicals causing cancer, Carlin had a good line:


      Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time.
      --George Carlin

    • Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It's just not really widely reported.

  • []

    Didn't you realize that the snopes article in the summary talks about a completely different chemical?

    tag: badsummary

  • Junk food? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @01:36PM (#25027627)
    It's time to play the what-is-the-causation game again. Most obvious to me is that junk food, prepared food (microwave meals etc.), and soft drinks are sold in plastic containers, and these foodstuffs are generally associated with heart disease and diabetes one way or another. It'll be interesting to see what the more rigorous studies find, although I'm sure this fine pilot study will be presented as Unarguable Proof That Plastic Makes You Die And We're Not Changing Our Minds On This by the world media before the day is out.
    • by Dmala ( 752610 )
      It'll be interesting to see what the more rigorous studies find, although I'm sure this fine pilot study will be presented as Unarguable Proof That Plastic Makes You Die And We're Not Changing Our Minds On This by the world media before the day is out.

      While I agree there is no reason to panic, it seems to me that we go about this sort of thing a little backwards. A study shows a correlation between a particular chemical and certain diseases. Scientists quickly state that further study will be needed t
      • I wouldn't say that ironclad proof of danger is needed, but this study certainly isn't enough evidence on its won. On a case-by-case basis it seems simple enough to phase out a particular reagent, additive, contaminant etc. on the precautionary principle, but there are dozens of studies like these every year, and we'd be obliged to act on all of them. Nothing would get done. And the costs involved are huge. Phasing out soy products until safety could be proven, for example (soy is associated with things lik
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by trongey ( 21550 )

      But wait. What if it's not the junk food that's killing us? What if it's really been the containers all along.

      OK. I'm going with this model, because I would much rather have junk food than platics.

  • Its inside (Score:3, Interesting)

    by randomErr ( 172078 ) <> on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @02:16PM (#25028243) Journal

    Maybe its not the plastic, but rather the junk food inside the plastic?

  • Bad Snopes, Bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @02:23PM (#25028341) Journal

    "some of which have been debunked"

    Snopes is good at debunking (urban) myths. They are not, however, good at evaluating science. Debunking is not even an appropriate term or activity to apply to science (as stated by the poster, and as performed by Snopes). Their FAQ lists other forms of common fiction which are not urban myth, but fail to list badly researched statements by or about science among them.

    Snopes reports the "debunking" coming from the International Bottled Water Association. Nobody conversant with science would accept a statement from such as biased source as authoritative. Their major hint should have come from the statement that the master's thesis was "not peer reviewed". A thesis is conducted by a student under a committee of professionals, at least one of which (the thesis supervisor) is an expert in that field. Peer review is conducted by the committee. A thesis is intended to be material suitable for rewriting into a publishable paper. It will have the committee members' names on it, in reference if not in the by-line. As professionals they will at least see to it that the result is worthy of carrying their names.

    As for the quote in Snopes supposedly from Rolf Halden of Johns Hopkins that there are no dioxins in plastic, do your own research, as Snopes should have done to follow up, and as the Johns Hopkins people should have done before making the statement. Go to: [] and put in the search terms "plastic" and "dioxin".

    Snopes should also have done their research on the link they provide to the Johns Hopkins PR release (not a scientific publication of any sort, and certainly not peer reviewed) making the "hoax" claim. It is not from Halden, it is from Kellog Schwab. In addition to misattribution, they fail to note that the statement is made in the context of J.H. distancing themselves from misattribution in the emails titled "John Hopkins Cancer Update" and such, not in the context of research conducted or reviewed. There is a similar J.H. missive listed among the 150 results from PubMed. It is in a J.H. publication (peer review?) and has no authors credited.

    Snopes appears to have found a way to become a subject of their own scrutiny, as they have delved into science and come up as debunkable urban science myth. Stick to urban mythology, Sponesites. Science can and does take care of itself, if you dig for it in science rather than press releases. Evaluating science requires taking the specific hypothetical statements and applying scientific expertise, not merely quoting vested interests (!) who happen to disagree for reasons other than replicable evidence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Just Some Guy ( 3352 )

      Snopes is good at debunking (urban) myths.

      Not really. They suck at accepting corrections. For example, there's an article on whether Marilyn Monroe had six toes []. Now, I have no reason to believe that they reached the wrong conclusion, but I know for a fact that at least one of their reasons is fundamentally wrong:

      • There is no record of Marilyn's having had an operation at that point in her life, and no contemporary references to anyone's noticing her walking with a bandaged foot or a limp for a period of time. (One doesn't simply get up and st
  • Use Glass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by llZENll ( 545605 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @02:27PM (#25028411)

    There is a reason all chemistry beakers, bottles, and flasks are made from glass, its the only cheap inert material that doesn't on some level mix with what you are containing. Metal and plastic eventually leech out.

    Rather than going overboard with the results I would follow some common sense guidelines:
    1) If you are a baby or preggers then use glass containers.
    2) Use glass containers for heating things in the microwave or for long term liquid storage.

    Given that the vast majority of everything we drink and eat these days is either stored in plastic or touches plastic at some point I think its almost impossible to go plastic free, and I doubt it matters much.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually, what got us into this bisphenol A mess was that polycarbonate laboratory bottles became popular among regular consumers- chemists who enjoyed outdoor pursuits started taking Nalgene bottles (which are light, stable over a wide range of conditions, and nearly shatterproof) out of the lab and into the woods.

      While I am not the sort to get caught up in scares about chemicals , I will admit the bisphenol A thing is a concern. This is Bisphenol A [], and this is diethylstilbestrol []. A nonsteroidal estro

  • A Chemical Research in Toxicology article here [] stated that rats and humans handle bisphenol A in very different ways so I'd be careful drawing lines between rat and human results.

    "Enterohepatic circulation of bisphenol A glucuronide in rats results in a slow rate of excretion, whereas bisphenol A is rapidly conjugated and excreted by humans due to the absence of enterohepatic circulation. The efficient glucuronidation of bisphenol A and the rapid excretion of the formed glucuronide result in a low body burd

    • Sorry, but Bisphenol A is NOT a ppm level anti-oxidant - it's the main chemical building block in both epoxy-resins and polycarbonates. The problem is that no polymerization reaction proceeds to 100%, so you will always have unbound BPA in any "plastic" of these types. And yes, IAAPC
      In regards to the article, it states that 90% of the population showed BPA in their bodies, and that the top 25% BPA correlated with increased disease. Since the BPA accumulates in fat tissue, this might also correlate with "t
  • by msormune ( 808119 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @03:01PM (#25028987)
    Damn those plasmids.
  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <(ku.oc.draregdivad) (ta) (todhsals)> on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @03:14PM (#25029169) Homepage

    Everything causes cancer, and cures it [].

    A lot of this "new study" stuff is horrendously [] lazy [] journalism [] caused by having too much space to fill [].

  • To parrot an industry-trade-group TV commercial, "imagine a world without plastics." No single-use hypodermic needles and other medical devices, fewer artificial body parts and almost certainly no pacemakers, etc. etc. etc.

    Yes, certain plastics are harmful to certain parts of our bodies. Any decision to take them off the market or restrict their use must be made holistically, and not based on a single narrow "save the fill-in-the-blank" criterion.

    • >must be made holistically, and not based on a single narrow "save the fill-in-the-blank" criterion.

      I agree.
      So I'm asking, out of curiosity: how does a society which has basically decided that it doesn't consider any level of risk acceptable, continue? Any advance that has the potential of hurting people gets attacked and legislated or lawyerized out of existence. People in regulatory or law-making roles actively participate in this because they stand to lose their jobs and careers if they've been show

  •, as it is the disease that always leads to death.

  • Do Not Eat! (Score:3, Funny)

    by supernova_hq ( 1014429 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @04:17PM (#25030269)
    When will people learn not to eat the containers their food comes in?!?

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe