Health Watch: All about bisphenol A

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Canadian report renews concern about plastic component

Bisphenol A is an organic compound that is a building block to several polymers and polymer additives.

It is a key molecule in production of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin. Polycarbonate plastic, which is clear and nearly shatterproof, is used to make a variety of common products including baby and water bottles, sports equipment, medical devices, CDs and household electronics. Epoxy resins are used as coatings on the inside of some food and drinks cans.

Recently, there has been increased concern that long-term, low-dose exposure to bisphenol A may induce chronic toxicity in humans.

A 2008 draft report by the U.S. National Toxicology Program concluded that “there is some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures,” and that there is “some concern for bisphenol A exposure in these populations based on effects in the prostate gland, mammary gland, and an earlier age for puberty in females.”

In April 2008, the Canadian government proposed classifying the chemical as “toxic to human health and the environment.”

Try Tai Chi on Saturday, April 24

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, also spelled World T'ai Chi and Ch'i Kung Day, is an annual event held the last Saturday of April to promote the two disciplines.

The event is open to the public, and begins in the earliest time zones of New Zealand at 10 a.m., and then participants across Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America take part, with celebrations in 60 nations and several hundred cities, ending with the final events in the last time zones of Hawaii almost an entire day later.

Celebrations include mass tai chi and qigong exhibitions in many cities, and free classes in most participating cities.

Tai chi is generally classified as a form of traditional Chinese martial arts of the Neijia (soft or internal) branch. The physical techniques of tai chi are characterized by the use of leverage through the joints based on coordination in relaxation, rather than muscular tension, in order to neutralize or initiate attacks. The slow, repetitive work involved in the process of learning how that leverage is generated gently and measurably increases and opens the internal circulation.

Qigong is a similar health maintenance exercise.

Health Tip

All sports have a risk of injury. In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury. Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to reduce the risk:

- Wear the right gear. Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads, helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear.

- Strengthen muscles. Conditioning exercises before games and during practice strengthens muscles used in play.

- Increase flexibility. Stretching exercises before and after games or practice can increase flexibility.

- Use the proper technique. This should be reinforced during the playing season.

- Take breaks. Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.

- Play safe. Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey) should be enforced. Stop the activity if there is pain.

- Avoid heat injury by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.

Number to Know: 200,000

There are 200,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year, according to Epilepsy Foundation estimates.

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. Males are slightly more likely to develop epilepsy than females, and its incidence is greater in African American and socially disadvantaged populations.

Children’s Health

The American Academy of Pediatrics has created guidelines for children regarding physical activity and screen time, which includes both watching television and playing video games.

- Boys should take at least 11,000 steps a day.

- Girls should take at least 13,000 steps a day.

- Children should limit total screen time to two hours a day.

Senior Health

Researchers in Belgium have discovered that increasing age affects the way breast cancer behaves.

As women approach the age of 70, they become less likely to be diagnosed with aggressive tumors that have spread to the lymph nodes. But after 70, the cancer is increasingly likely to spread, particularly if the tumors are small.

Researchers told the European Breast Cancer Conference they suspect women older than 70 have decreased immune defense mechanisms, which are less able to deal with tumors that are likely to metastasize to other sites in the body. – European Cancer Organisation

GateHouse News Service