Soy, BPA, Acrylamide, Vaccine Rumors, and a Smoker's Epitaph

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Mice Soy Bomb

A study published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology concluded that soy-rich diets can lead to infertility in mice.

You will not see any legislators, activists, or politicians calling for a ban or restriction of soy products based on this, says ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross, but if you were to substitute BPA for soy, or any other synthetic chemical for that matter, you d have people marching in the streets saying, Here s another piece of evidence that these chemicals are toxic!

ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan agrees: If this were about BPA, it would be getting headlines. In fact, if we began testing all the natural chemicals around us the way we re testing BPA on mice, we d be overwhelmed by bad news. And it s not just rodent studies. If we somehow tested high doses of these things in humans, we might also find some kind of effect. That doesn t mean they re dangerous at current levels of exposure.

BPA Causes Something Like Asthma in (Mouse) Kids

Apropos of mice and BPA, research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests that mice who were exposed to large doses of BPA gave birth to pups that had increased susceptibility to asthma.

Dr. Ross is skeptical: The headline says BPA May Raise Risk of Asthma in Kids, but this is a study on mice, not kids, and the study doesn t even say anything about asthma. All it talks about are inflammatory mediators that these researchers hypothesize might be associated with asthma. But try to tell that to the headline writers.

California and Acrylamide

The animal carcinogen acrylamide is under consideration for inclusion on a list of allegedly harmful chemicals as a reproductive toxicant under California s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65.

Acrylamide is a chemical that s formed very often when you cook high-starch food at high temps, but it s not just that, explains Dr. Whelan. If you go to the FDA s website, you ll find that acrylamide shows up naturally in a full spectrum of foods, including olives. The only evidence against it is that it causes cancer in rodents. It is an animal carcinogen, no different from anything on our Holiday Dinner Menu, and we will never be able to purge our foods of all animal carcinogens.

Dr. Ross adds, Human observational studies -- dietary studies, in other words, which are the only kind you can do with a suspected toxicant -- have not found any link between acrylamide and cancer or any other human disease.

Unfounded Fears Are Still Fears

According to U.S. News, a new survey published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that 54% of parents are still concerned about the adverse effects of vaccines, and 25% think some vaccines cause autism in healthy children.

The message here is that, despite the retraction by The Lancet and all the negative publicity about Dr. Wakefield, there s still a residual amount of fear and concern among parents, says Dr. Whelan. Even though we think we re beyond the autism-vaccine rumors, we re not.

Parting Words

The UK s Telegraph reports, A life-long smoker had his dying wish honoured today when he had the words Smoking Killed Me placed on signs in his hearse.

Curtis Porter is a research intern at the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH.org).