by Marion Nestle
Aug 27 2009

Hormones in the food supply

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) in Minneapolis has a new report out that summarizes research on hormones in the food supply, of which there are many: arsenic growth promoters, recombinant bovine growth hormone, synthetic hormones in packaging (plasticizers, bisphenol A), and industrial contaminants (dioxins, PCBs, etc).  Never has the statement “more research needed” made more sense.  Plenty of uncertainties still remain about how much, if any, harm is caused by these substances, but while waiting for that research, IATP advises: avoid.  How?  Eat low-fat meat and dairy foods (these chemicals are stored in fatty tissues) and organics (these should be free of hormone-like substances or have much less), don’t use plastic containers made with bisphenol A, and get busy on changing policy!

  • That’s the one thing that really is a hole in the logic for the people who don’t like hormones. What exactly does it do to me that’s so bad? I feel fine eating whatever the hell I eat.

  • Cathy Richards

    It affects your sperm — not very noticeable without a microscope or DNA analyzer, but maybe you care about them anyway. And if your baby is gestating in a woman exposed to BPA there’s a risk that a male fetus will be feminized both behaviourly and genitally, and all babies born with in-utero BPA exposure will be at risk for behaviour problems.

    Then there’s cancer risk. If you are careful when you interact with other risk factors (like wearing a mask when you sand your drywall, or wearing a seat belt), it makes sense you should be careful with BPA and other contaminants that act like hormones.

    You can’t see asbestos fibres either, and feel when when you’re first exposed to them, and 2nd, and 3rd exposures etc. Doesn’t mean it’s harmless.

    If they can make plastics without BPA (and they can) then they should. Here’s one change you can make: buy your beer in bottles, not in cans (which are lined with BPA plastic).