Cancer Update

The Claims

Cancer Update from John Hopkins

This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well.

Please circulate to all you know; Cancer update

John Hopkins – Cancer News from John Hopkins

No plastic containers in micro.

No water bottles in freezer.

No plastic wrap in microwave.

A dioxin chemical causes cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don’t freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic.

Recently, Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital, was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else.

Paper isn’t bad but you don’t know what is in the paper. It’s just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons. Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

This is an article that should be sent to anyone important in your life!

The Rational Response

I would like to start off with the villain in this story, the dioxins. Dioxins are one of the most toxic chemicals know to science and in 2001 the most toxic compound, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or PCDD, was classified by the US National Toxicology Program as a compound “known to be a human carcinogen”. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives volume 110, number 7, July 2002 entitled Serum Dioxin Concentrations and Breast Cancer Risk in the Seveso Women’s Health Study examined the incidence of breast cancer in the region of Seveso, Italy, the site of an industrial explosion in 1976 which resulted in the highest know population exposure to PCDD. The researchers who conducted this study showed strong evidence for the carcinogenic effect of PCDD.

According to the most recent US EPA data, the major sources of dioxins are:

· Coal fired utilities

· Municipal waste incinerators

· Metal smelting

· Diesel trucks

· Land application of sewage sludge

· Burning treated wood

· Trash burn barrels

These sources together account for nearly 80% of dioxin emissions. Dioxins are also generated in reactions that do not involve burning — such as bleaching fibers for paper or textiles, and in the manufacture of chlorinated phenols, particularly when reaction temperature is not well controlled.

Exposure to dioxins can have numerous side effects including birth and developmental defects and damage to the immune and hormone systems. For a detailed discussion of dioxins please see the entries on Wikipedia.

Alright, now that we have a basic grasp of what a dioxin is, how it is produced and the potential effects dioxins may have on your health, we are ready to take a second look at the “John Hopkins Cancer Update”.

Can freezing plastic bottles with water in them release dioxins into the water? NO! We have established how dioxins are released into our environment and freezing is not going to release dioxin into your water, or any other product contained in the bottle.

The argument from authority is the logical fallacy whereby a claim is accepted as true because a person of authority says it is true. We more easily accept a claim made by a person with the correct education and background, when the claim should be able to stand on the strength of its logic and evidence.

The “doctor” in this piece is Edward Fujimoto. I can find no evidence of anyone with that name working at Castle Hospital.

The “doctor’s” first warning is that we should not be heating food in the microwave in plastic containers, more especially “foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food”.

Why are foods that contain fat supposedly more dangerous? Dioxin is lipophilic, that is, it accumulates in the fat cells in the body. That is the only fact in the whole sentence. Microwaves do not cook food by burning at high temperatures. Microwaves actually cause the water molecules in our food to boil. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level. This is not nearly hot enough to release PCDD from a compound. Furthermore, there is no substantial evidence that plastic food containers even contain dioxin at all!

A major contradiction follows as the author points out that paper products are not entirely safe, because we don’t know what is in them. This may be a tenuous reference to the bleaching of paper which does release PCDD into the environment. Although it may at first appear that the author has hit on the only link between dioxin and your dinner, he contradicts himself superbly by telling us in the final paragraph that fast food chains have moved away from using foam packaging and are using paper instead. He then finishes off by advising that we cover our food with a paper towel when microwaving.

The next time you see something like this in your inbox, just delete it before sending it on to your friends and family. You will be doing the international community a huge favor by removing one more piece of junk from the internet.

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2 responses to “Cancer Update

  1. Dear Angela,

    Last year I worked intensely with the plastics federation. They also have information on what to do and not to do with plastics. I cannot remember the details (science), but I do recall that they warned against:
    a) reusing plastic bottles TOO MUCH
    b) using CERTAIN plastic containers in microwaves. It seemed like Tupperware and some other products that are clearly marked as microwave-safe is OK. Polystyrenes are out!
    c) storing CERTAIN kinds of food in plastic containers.

    But not all these reasons had to do with poisons. Some had to do with fertility, while others had to do with the effect of repeated temperature changes on plastic composition. Currently they are running research into the effects of too much exposure to plastics to people.

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