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Could plastic give you type 1 diabetes? Doctor claims toxic BPA exposure gave him and his coworkers the disease

BPA exposure

(NaturalNews) Bisphenol-A (BPA) – the hormone-disrupting chemical most notorious for its presence in plastic water bottles and food cans – may also cause autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, warns Nathan Ravi, a physician and former chemical engineer.

Studies have found BPA in the bodies of 90 percent of people tested. The chemical is known to mimic the effects of estrogen, at least one male sex hormone, and thyroid hormones, thereby disrupting nearly every bodily system. It has been linked with reproductive problems, developmental problems, brain and behavioral damage, and cancer.

And alarmingly, many of the products now marketed as "BPA free," contain chemicals that are just as bad, or even more dangerous.

The FDA continues to uphold the safety of BPA.

Hormone-disrupting chemical damages immune system?

In the 1970s, before scientists became aware of the health risks of BPA, Ravi was a chemical engineer working for a biotech company in Virginia. He worked regularly with chemicals in the bisphenol family, including BPA, researching consumer and industrial uses for them. When he was 28 years old he developed Type 1 diabetes, though he had previously been in excellent health.

Type 1 diabetes normally strikes children, typically due to defects present at birth. It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the pancreas, the organ in the body that produces insulin.

In 1988, Ravi switched careers, becoming a doctor. His career change was largely driven by the mystery of his adult-onset Type 1 diabetes. He learned that two of his former coworkers from the biotech factory had also developed Type 1 diabetes later in life. Like him, they had worked with many endocrine-disruption chemicals, including bisphenols. There was no other seeming similarity between their three cases.

When news started to emerge about the health risks of BPA, Ravi felt certain that the chemical was behind his and his coworkers' conditions.

Why you should avoid all plastic

Ravi now gives public talks warning about the dangers of BPA and advising people on how to limit their exposure. He has given talks as far afield as India and the United Arab Emirates.

The main behavior change Ravi encourages is the avoidance of all flexible plastics, in particular for food and drink consumption. In particular, food should never be heated up or microwaved in plastic, because this can accelerate the leaching of BPA into the food.

"Use glass or ceramic whenever possible," he said. "Every flexible plastic has an endocrine disruptor."

Ravi warns that the effects of small exposures add up over time.

"I'm trying to come up with a movement to get plastic out of day-to-day activities," he said.

Although Canada and the European Union have banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, and the U.S. industry has voluntarily ended such uses, the chemical is still found in a wide variety of consumer and industrial products, including food and beverage cans, fragrances and cosmetics.

And while Ravi says he finds the prevalence of "BPA free" products encouraging, many such products continue to be made with other bisphenols. In fact, as many as 12 different bisphenol chemicals are still used in flexible consumer plastics.

At least one of these chemicals – bisphenol S (BPS), the most common BPA substitute used in "BPA-free" products – has been shown to be just as dangerous as BPA, if not more so. Like BPA, it has been linked with endocrine disruption, hyperactivity and cardiac arrhythmia.

"BPS, termed the safe alternative to BPA, may be equally as harmful to developing brains," said Deborah Kurrasch of the University of Calgary. Kurrasch was lead researcher on a study into the dangers of BPS, presented at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in 2014.

"Society must place increased pressure on decision makers to remove all bisphenol compounds from manufacturing processes."

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