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June 17, 2008     Cape Gazette
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26 TUESDAY, JUNE 17- THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2008 HEALTH & FITNESS cape Qtlt Do compounds in plastics pose health peril? or decades, Americans F have embraced plastic. Its popularity is reflect- ed in this famous dia- logne from the 1967 movie, "The Graduate": Mr. McGuire: "I just want to say one word to you - just one word." Ben: "Yes sir." Mr. McGuire: "Are you listen- ingF' Ben: ''Yes I am." Mr. McGuire: "Plastics."' Ben: "Exactly how do you mean?" Mr. McGuire: "There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about itF' Ben: "Yes I will." Dustin Hoffman's character had things on his mind beside plastics, but Mr. McGuire cor- rectly predicted the future. Plas- tic containers are now used for just about everything in the su- permarket, including water, milk, juice, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce and most oth- er products. It's hard to fred liq- uids that are not in plastic. Despite its widespread utility, our love affair with plastic may be winding down. A recent re- port from the National Toxicolo- gy Program acknowledged bisphenol A (BPA), an important component in many clear hard , plastics, may pose health haz- ards. The comprehensive review of research triggered concern that exposure to BPA might result in neural and behavioral effects on the rapidly developing nervous systems of babies, young chil- dren and fetuses. Changes in prostate and breast tissue among young ani- mals exposed to BPA, which can mimic estrogen, raises the possi- bility that human exposure at vulnerable ages might increase the risk of breast or prostate cancer. After this report came out, the Canadian government an-i nounced it would likely ban ba- by bottles containing BPA. In this country, consumer concern has prompted manufacturers to take it out of certain products such as Nalgene water bottles and Playtex baby bottles. BPA is also used in the plastic coating found in many cans that hold food or beverages. Soft drinks, beer and baby formula may contain BPA that has leached out of the lining. The plastics industry main- tains BPA levels are too low to pose a hazard. The Food and Drug Administration has sided with the industry but reportedly may review the data. Consumers who would like to avoid bisphenol A should look for containers that are not poly- carbonate plastic or that are la- beled "BPA free" Experts we have consulted tell us to avoid using any plastic containers in the microwave. BPA may not be the only problem with plastic. A whole class of chemicals called phtha- lates may also have estrogenic activity. Unlike BPA, which is fre- quently found in hard clear plas- tic, phthalates help make plastic flexible. This class of chemicals can be found in teethers, toys, cosmetics and many plastic con- tainers. Plastics are useful, but per- haps in the future we need to be more cautious about how we use them. Editor's note: Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Greedon is a medical anthropologist. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, N.Y. 10019, or via their website at www.peoplespharmacy.com. Down? Coping Problems? Psychotherapy can help! Process: Explore & understand ourselves/others Develop ne,' vakes and behaviors Lea, n new, more effedive coping skills Go,ls: Functioning more effeclively Beilg more productive Bei% mote satisfied with life Shore View Medical, Richard L.Todd, PtD.MD, Dr. Janrs office on Rt. 9- Licensed psychologist with over 30 yrs. experience, call 302-853-0559 Students Continued from page 25 increase physical activity when students had to remain inside. "The CATCH training gave us ideas for indoor games in limited spaces and gave teachers ideas for integrating movement in les- sons like math and spelling. This has allowed for differentiated in- struction, especially geared to the kinesthetic learner," she said. l00nm sdtoa The home-school connection is essential in the battle of the bulge, so Milton staff included physical activity at home as a homework assignment. "Each day our children are assigned .15 minutes of physical activity," said Capozzoli. "The students have to record what they have done and for how long, and they get their parents' signatures. With funding from the grant, we were able to purchase incentives and rewards for students who were active four out of five days a week." The cafeteria switched from white to wheat or whole-grain breads and provided healthier al- ternatives such as fresh fruit or boiled eggs. Food for the class celebrations also took a healthier slant when teachers asked par- ents to send in water, fruit, veg- etables and cheese rather than sugary foods for class parties. Bailey also followed up by giv- ing each student a fitnessgram during the spring. The fitness- gram is an easy way for physical education teachers to report to parents on their children's fit- ness levels. Students were as- sessed in five areas of health-re- lated fitness: cardiovascular fit- ness, muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. The student's scores were then evaluated against objective criterion-based , standards,calll .healthy ffitno. - zones. Milton Elementary School second-grader Sarah Hunsicker poses as an Egyptian next to the food pyramid, in a song that emphasized the importance of using the new food pyramid guidelines for healthy eating.