There's so much stuff out there. It's like a buzzing in my head all the time and I want to swat at it, make it fly away like some bothersome bug on a damp summer's day. It drones on and on and on and I find myself taken over by it. What is it? Why do we bother?
"IT" is the warning that "X causes Y." We are bombarded with it; IT is ubiquitous. So how do we know what to listen to and what is total whooey?
I am pondering these things as my youngest child reaches that magical time in her young life when people start demanding that I feed her solid foods. They will atoll that breastmilk is either deplete of nutrients or just plain weird after six months and insist that they all fed their four-month-olds bacon and eggs for breakfast and they turned out fine.
But did they? What have we done to ourselves by eating what we eat? And what has been done to us?
The worry (and possible hysteria) that drives me is the fact that baby food comes in plastic containers. I don't know if any of you have watched the news or listened to NPR or caught glimpses of the warnings via yahoo mail, but I am personally concerned about a little molecule commonly referred to as BPA. Bisphenol-A is a molecule in some plastics that leaches out when said plastic is heated. Baby foods in plastic containers have microwave instructions printed on the labels, so you can begin to see where I'm going with my panic.
To steal a phrase (from my 14 year old daughter), I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, so I'll give you a link to information on BPA and let you decide which information you'd like to believe. BPA is controversial, as are most things that our government decides to study and put out recommendations on. It seems that our government feels that small amounts of BPA as an individual contaminant are "okay" and we really shouldn't worry about something that is so tiny and insignificant.
So why am I worried?
I came online to resolve my panic when I found that at WIC we are going to receive baby foods for our six month old. Upon checking into their program, I then discovered that the foods they gave were of only one brand and were packaged in plastic containers. After doing a small amount of looking online, I contacted the manufacturer of the baby food (a VERY popular brand I'll refer to as "G") about the possibility of BPA contamination from the plastic baby food containers. I received no response.
So I went looking and you know what I found? A press release, dated November 2008 about how the government had looked into BPA leaching into things like baby foods and their recommendations that a little wouldn't hurt. Seems that, at least obscurely, brand G wasn't too concerned about the leaching of BPA because the government wasn't concerned. Oh, they would be making their bottles BPA free to follow current market trends, but they were confident that the food containers they were using were bisphenol free.
If that's the case, why didn't I receive a response from the folks at brand G? I did get put on their spam mail list. Guess that's my answer?
After more looking around, I found some articles about BPA-free bottles leaching BPA. Sure, it's PPB (parts per billion) but how much is too much? When does the BPA molecule start binding instead of passing through our body? How many days, months, years of exposure to PPB does it take to start affecting our immune systems or our fertility?
So now I pose to you this question: What do we worry about? I'm having a difficult time figuring out whether I should worry (okay, obsess) over the possibility that my children are being exposed to BPA, in minute amounts, in plastics, aluminum cans, and on cash register receipts (?). We worry about EMF's and over-exposure to violence on television. I don't let them stand too close to the microwave or drink too much juice. I do worry about the big stuff, without question, but how much of the parts per billion or trillion do we even know about and which ones are worth our time and energy to be concerned about?
I have decided to take a deep breath and just go with the flow. Sort of defeatist, I realize, but what else can I do? I just hope that our bodies can evolve into processing some of the mutitudes of things that are around us that are impossible to worry about or that we stay ignorant about all of the junk and just plug in and plug along.