August 22, 2008

Four For Friday - The Health Edition

Q1 - BPA: A chemical commonly found in baby bottles, can linings, and household products does not pose a health hazard when used in food containers, according to a draft assessment released by the Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. The FDA report stands in contrast to more than 100 studies performed by government scientists and university laboratories that have found health concerns associated with BPA. Some have linked the chemical to prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity, and even reproductive problems in lab 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 FDA said. Had you heard about the BPA issue before reading this question? If so, is it something you're concerned about?

Q2 - Rub it On: According to a new study by researchers at Rutgers University, several commonly used skin creams may cause skin tumors. Researchers stumbled across the findings after they exposed hairless mice to ultraviolet radiation to mimic sun exposure. Afterward, they applied four popular moisturizers to the mice. What they found was that all four -- Dermabase, Dermavan, Eucerin and Vanicream -- caused tumors to grow on the mice. The cancers were not melanomas, the researchers said in their report, but another type called squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer results when cells in the skin start to change, the National Institutes of Health said on its Web site. It's relatively slow-growing and can spread to other locations, including internal organs. Knowing about this research, will you now avoid using Dermabase, Dermavan, Eucerin and Vanicream? If you never use these products, would you take the time to alert your family and friends who do?

Q3 - Drinking: In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposed a penalty of 10% of a state's federal highway appropriation on any state setting its drinking age lower than 21. Today, nearly 100 chancellors and presidents from colleges and universities across the U.S. are asking lawmakers to consider lowering the federally mandated minimum drinking age to 18, saying the current law encourages dangerous binge drinking on campus. The movement called the Amethyst Initiative began quietly recruiting presidents more than a year ago to provoke national debate about the drinking age, and now includes the leaders of Johns Hopkins University, Syracuse University, University of the Incarnate Word, Tufts, Duke, Colgate, Maine Maritime Academy, Kenyon, Morehouse, Dartmouth, College of Idaho and Ohio State, just to name a few. Do you agree with the Amethyst Initiative? Should the drinking age be lowered to 18 or is the law okay as it current stands?

Q4 - You: Generally speaking, how concerned are you about your own health? Not concerned at all; somewhat/slightly concerned; about average; more than slightly concerned; very concerned; something else entirely?

Posted by Mikal at August 22, 2008 10:10 AM | TrackBack


Q1- I've heard very little about this and I'm not very concerned about it right now.

Q2- I've never used any of those products. But I would probably mention it if I knew friends or family were.

Q3- I think if you can be shipped off to a foreign country to fight in a war at 18, you should be able to buy a beer.

Q4- I'm averagely concerned about my health.

Posted by: Meagen at August 22, 2008 9:28 AM

Q1 - not too concerned about it. It seems like everything out there man creates is trying to kill us in some way or another.

Q2 - I'm not really a skin cream guy, but this does back my answer to the first question. I'll mention it to my girlfriend. She'll probably shrug or yawn.

Q3 - I think that if it was lowered, there would be an initial spike of drunk driving accidents and other drunken related violence/accidents. I also think there shouldn't be an age limit. The age limit just makes it so people 'can't wait' to turn that age, no matter if it's 18 or 21. If there's not a 'special' age to reach, alcohol doesn't become something 'special' for everyone to get. Other countries in Europe don't seem to have much of a problem with underage drinking because it's not as built up as it is here.

Oh and, Mmmmm... Beer...

Q4 - average. I take care of myself decently. everything in moderation. I could drop a few but I also don't let it run my life.

Posted by: Josh at August 22, 2008 9:33 AM

1. Yeah the BPA thing was pretty surprising. I don't microwave milk in plastic bottles anymore or hold liquid in them for long periods of time. I dunno, there is definitely a change in children, I hear of 9-year-old girls getting pregnant and kids just developing earlier these days. It's kind of a bummer that we are so into everything plastic. Try finding a shampoo bottle not plastic. And of course plastic is tied to our production of petroleum. So concerned - yeah.

2. I always thought any sort of sun block you use, if used all the time, would probably be a health risk. This just sort of confirms it. I would definitely tell someone of this. Anyone who actively tans really, they should just drop that whole process, that routine makes you look fine now but later the skin turns blotchy, freckly and leathery even if there is no cancer.

3. I don't know the whole logic to that really. Do they mean that if they start earlier they won't build up the urge to pour beers into a bong and chug it later in college? Sounds like they are just trying to help beverage companies get their target market legal again.

4. Concerned enough - I keep active and eat beets with my steak.

Posted by: Aaron V at August 22, 2008 9:44 AM

1- I am not concerned now, but I may be changing my mind if I decide to have children.
2- None of these studies seem to surprise me too much anymore. I don't use any of these products or any one beauty product enough to have it concern me.
3- I don't believe that there is a good argument behind what the presidents of these universities are saying. But I do think if you can fight a war for our country you deserve to have a beer. :)
4- I am concerned, but not enough to stop my candy.

Posted by: Ashley at August 22, 2008 11:12 AM

1 - Not too concerned. We find out everything we use can cause Cancer, it is usually 30 years later.

2 - I try to use a little crap as possible. It is safer that way.

3 - I don't think lower the age limit will make it better.

4 - I am concerned now that I'm not a spring chicken. Try to just have health habits that become part of life.

Posted by: Blaine at August 22, 2008 11:29 AM

1. Hadn't heard about it, but with a baby on the way, the bottle liners thing concerns me.
2. I don't use them or know anyone who does.
3. I don't understand how lowering the legal age would reduce the amount of binge drinking. What's the argument there? If it's legal it won't be as much fun? I don't think it should be changed.
4. Somewhat/slightly concerned.

Posted by: at August 22, 2008 12:18 PM

oops, I posted that last one but forgot to put my name.

Posted by: Clark Winegar at August 22, 2008 12:19 PM

Q1 - BPA: I have heard about BPA my youngest is seven and my children's pediatrician made me aware. I am concerned enough to start shopping at whole food markets, an entertaining the idea of a huge garden where I could can veggies to last throughout the winter. I try and think about all the things my grandmother did to live until 91 (healthy). Plastic was definitely not in her era.
Q2 - Rub it On: I was told to use Eucerin on my youngest daily to help with Eczema. I would put it on religiously, only to have my baby's skin get worse and more inflamed. I had no idea it could be causing cancer. I will never use the stuff again, and I will warn others.
Q3 - Drinking: It needs to be 18 period.
Q4 - You: Very concerned.
GREAT Questions!

Posted by: Michele at August 22, 2008 1:13 PM

Q1 - BPA: I have heard about this. Plastic is something I've never had much of a liking for (when it comes to my food), so to be honest the news that it "might" be bad for you did not surprise me at all. I generally try to keep my plastic and my food separate. But I also like to keep the hot side hot and the cool side cool. Why did you ever get rid of the McDLT McDonald's? Why?!

Q2 - Rub it On: Wow! I used to joke around that someday they would discover that the material used to encapsulate vitamin supplements would someday be discovered to cause cancer. Oh the irony! Even though I was joking, this whole cream thing is getting close. But to answer your question, I can't stand skin cream in general, so it is not a personal concern for me. However, if I happen to notice a friend or family member uses any of the mentioned nasty cancer creams, then I would bring up what I know about them. Then they can join me in a protest of the black-hole making proton destroyer machine!!!

Q3 - Drinking: I have to admit, I kind of like McCardell's idea of a drinking permit for 18-20 year olds. But overall, I don't think it matters much what the drinking age is. An 18 year old irresponsible punk is likely to "grow up" to be a 21 year old irresponsible punk. Amethyst's logic for wanting to lower the drinking age doesn't quite compute with me, but whatever. Unless we can show that statistics for drunk-driving accidents and deaths went down post 1984, then I don't see any reason not to lower the drinking age... except to say all those 21 year olds in nudie bars are gonna have to start putting up with a bunch of high school students joining them.

Q4 - You: Slightly concerned. Mostly I just don't want to turn into some huge fatso that wouldn't be able to run away from my cat when she gets pissed off at me.

Posted by: Stu the (not so) Wise at August 22, 2008 2:57 PM


1. I was aware of it. I have replaced my plastic water bottle with a Swiss-made aluminum one.

2. I had *not* heard this one! I don't use any of them, but I might mention it to my sister, who does use Eucerin for eczema.

3. I'm ok with lowering the drinking age. Ultimately, it's the same discussion as sex: kids are going to do it, some kids are going to be abysmally irresponsible, a few kids will pay dear consequences, but take a look at their older role models. Are they (we) doing any better, really?

By the way, I think pot should be legalized, too.

4. Average.

Posted by: Cat at August 22, 2008 4:44 PM

Q1- I have heard about the BPA issue and I'm moderately concerned. It seems as if they flip flop on if such things are bad for us or not. Of course, in the 50's they wouldn't say that smoking was bad for us either...

Q2- I don't use those products, but I've already had one run in with skin cancer and don't want another. I'd certainly mention it to my friends and family.

Q3- I personally don't understand the concept of a 'drinking age' that the U.S. has. We have such a taboo about it that it almost encourages kids to rebel and drink. I grew up in a very European family where tasting a drink wasn't forbidden and therefore I never went through that high school and college rebellious binge drinking.

Q4- I'm moderately concerned with my health. I eat well, exercise, see my doctor, etc.

Posted by: Lisa at August 22, 2008 5:07 PM

1. I'd heard about it, but haven't been too concerned. As Blaine said, nearly everything is eventually proven to cause cancer in some dosage or another.

2. No and no. Nearly everything turns out to be bad for you in some way (see above) so what's the use. The alternative will no doubt be proven to cause liver or kidney damage next week. Besides, I've always harbored a distrust of people who, however well-intentioned, attempt to protect me from myself and try not to do it to others.

3. I tend to think that it's a bad law to start with for several reasons. For starters, it's unrealistic and more than a little unenforceable. Sure, some people get caught, but who among us waited until we were 21 to have our first drink? As such, it fosters a disrespect for laws in general, much like prohibition did. Also, the implementation of the law itself smacks of blackmail. Witholding highway funding until a state approves a law that has nothing to do with highway construction? To me, that proves that our congress knew that the law would never meet with public support on it's own. Personally I think that the drinking age issue should be determined by each state without the federal government acting like a parent witholding an allowance, if only because if you get down to it, the taxes we pay are essentially being used as a weapon against us.

4. About average, though the more I see the problems my parents and their sibs have encountered health-wise, I'm hoping for an early death.

Posted by: mike at August 22, 2008 8:52 PM

I love today's edition! Mine is up!!!

Posted by: pinaymama at August 23, 2008 10:51 AM

1. I have heard about BPA and would not use bottles or cans that have this chemical. There are a lot of things we use every day that are toxic to our health that we don't know about, but once you are aware, change what you use.

2. I never use any of those products, nor do I use any commercial cosmetics as most of them are full of chemicals. The skin is the largest organ and absorbs whatever is put on it into the bloodstream. All you need for good moisture is some organic cocoa butter or shea butter or any plant based oil. Coconut oil is great for the skin, sure you might smell a bit like coconuts, but it's better than using some chemical lotion with fake fragrances. Can you tell I am a little biased about this subject? :o)

Also, I've told family and friends about the use of commercial bodycare products, and honestly, most people don't want to hear it, because then they'd have to change it, and most people are averse to change.

3. Keep the drinking age where it is.

4. As I get older and have found some gray hairs creeping in, I am reminded that I need to take better care of myself, exercise and breathe deeper. Cardio is key.

Posted by: Vera at August 23, 2008 4:27 PM

1&2 - Given enough effort, labs can get cancer to grow in mice based on the overdosing of anything. Even a healthy human dose of carbohydrates will probably cause cancer in a lab rat. So, yes, I've heard, no, I don't really care, I won't change my relative use of those products, nor bother anyone else about them.

3 - I fail to see the point that these Amethyst guys are making. The only reasonable argument I've ever heard on the subject is one Meagan mentioned; why do we say you're an adult at 18 and then say, "Oh but there's this one decision you're not mature enough to make for yourself"?

4 - I'd bet I'm less concerned than average, I want to lose a couple pounds and try to behave accordingly, but I freak out a lot less than many people I know.

Posted by: Greg at August 25, 2008 12:10 PM

Q1: Hadn't heard about it, but it still concerns me. I haven't heard much about aluminum possibly contributing to Altzheimer's lately, either, but I think twice about wrapping anything in aluminum foil and storing it in the fridge. I usually wrap it first in wax paper and then wrap that in foil. I really think something's at work causing the meteoric rise in mental health and behavioral issues in kids. I believe it has to do with something in our food supply and/or something else (vaccinations, environmental toxins like BPA, etc.) entering our bodies.

Q2: That's certainly counterintuitive. You would think that those creams would protect the skin from damage. Heck, yes, I'll warn my peep's. My wife slathers on skin cream morning, noon, and night. I'll have to find out which cream she uses.

Q3: I'm no expert, but I think binge drinking will continue on college campuses despite any change to the legal age. College is a work-hard, play-hard environment, much like the workaday world of the entire U.S. I think what will occur if you lower the drinking age is that you'll make alcohol more readily available to even younger kids. Maybe we should lower the drinking age to 18 for students enrolled in and in good standing with a college, university, or other post-secondary educational program. Oh yeah, we should legalize it for 18 year-olds in the military, too.

Q4: Not very. I exercise regularly and feel pretty good, except for nagging allergies, which I'm going to see the doctor about (again) today. The only time I really get concerned about my health is when an illness keeps me from functioning at 100%, but I guess that's probably true for most folks. Of course, now I am deathly afraid of drinking out of plastic bottles and using skin cream. Thanks, Mikal! Thanks A LOT.

Posted by: Joe at August 27, 2008 4:32 AM

Actually when you turn 18 you also are not allowed to use tobacco in four states and 3 counties of New York, most car rental agencies won't rent to anyone under 25, you must be 21 to become a prostitute in Lander County, Nevada, in most states you must be 21 to gamble, must be 21 to own a handgun or receive a federal license to own fully-automatic weapons in most states (even though you are issued a fully automatic weapon in the military as young as 17), and you must be 35 to become President of the US... just to name a few things. Drinking isn't the only thing you're prohibited from at 18.

Posted by: Stu the Drunk at August 28, 2008 12:45 PM

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