Posted by: Ticktock | August 2, 2008

Toxins in the News: August 1st Edition

I’ve given up and decided to give “toxins” their own special recurring segment here at Skeptic Dad.  There seems to be no end to the debate on different toxic ingredients, so I might as well succumb and highlight such news as it begins to aggregate.

PhthalatesRule #1 of toxins is that if you can’t pronounce it, then it is probably a toxin.  Who comes up with these names anyway?  Phthalates are used as a way to turn a hard plastic into a soft plastic, like the kind of plastic in your kid’s rubber duck or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, in your average dildo.  Though not a human carcinogen, phthalates are like many toxins in that they mess with hormones and, I kid you not, may cause undescended testicles and a smaller taint size.  BWAHAHAHAHA!

I’m sorry, it’s very hard to take this toxin seriously if those are the primary complaints.  Moving on…

It should come as no surprise that congress is moving to ban the use of pthalates in children’s toys and products.  It should also not be a shocker that our president may veto any phthalate law that reaches him.  This toxin is so hard to weasel into a political talking point that they’re actually trying to argue that banning the ingredient will only cause more harmful ingredients.  The stupid is sizzling hot in the white house lately.  While I do understand that the jury is still out on phthalates, I can’t see a good reason to continue to include the ingredient in toys that routinely go into the mouths of children.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – These extremely toxic carcinogens have not been produced since 1977, and yet, they persist in the environment to this day as one of those “oops, my bad!” chemistry debacles that perpetually screw things up ad infinitum.  Not only is this multi-use chemical fluid contaminating our rivers, lakes, and soil, but you can also find it abundantly floating around in our atmosphere.  You may suspect that you have PCB poisoning if you develop a strange skin problems, compromised immunity, liver damage, and a disrupted endocrine gland.  And what will happen with a dirupted endocrine?  Glad you asked… it means that PCB-poisoned offspring could have gender issues, such as a possible increase in… hermaphrodites, or in the case of the indigenous population of Greenland, female offspring at the rate of 2:1.  I don’t think anyone can argue with a toxin that produces more ladies.  Yowza!

LeadAccording to recent tests, we can safely send our kids back onto football and soccer fields with artificial turf.  The Consumer Products Safety Commission has been testing whether artificial turf is contaminated with high amounts of lead, as previously declared by environmental watchdog group, The Center for Environmental Health.  There is truth that lead is in artificial turf, but extensive testing of multiple fields has shown that the toxin is in no danger of being absorbed at dangerous levels into the athlete’s body.

Good grief!  I think parents of football players have more serious dangers to worry about than lead-filled turf.  Although I think CEH is blowing this issue way out of proportion, they make a good case that the government study had multiple flaws.


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