I keep hearing about BPA. So what is it?
Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications. ( from wikipedia)
Problems with BPAs
In 1997 scientist Fred Vom Saal discovered that even in exceedingly small intakes of BPA could affect infants in the womb. These amounts were about 25,000 times lower than the standards that were in place. In fact, the amounts were so low that ordinarily they would not have even been tested for. While the industry fought this (the revenue from BPAs was in the billions of dollars) this is generally accepted as true (especially outside of the industry).
It said that BPA could be released if a polycarbonate (PC) bottle was heated and could leach into its contents.
Obesity, nuerological issues, prostate problems and links to increased addictiveness (to drugs, etc) are all linked to BPAs. The risk seems to be greatest during develpoment. While levels have been set on 'safe' amounts, most of those are being called into question now. (new tests on BPA and obesity here)
China National Radio reported that the ministry had admitted at a press conference that BPA could disturb human metabolism, affect babies' immune systems and even induce cancer.
There are now studies which suggest that BPAs will not only stay in your system, but can be passed down to your kids through gene mutations. Now that is scary. (Link here).
Who is banning BPAs?
In Baby bottles and childrens eating ware: China. Europe. Canada.
Japan's canning industry changed voluntarily to using a new can lining and blood levels of BPA in people have declined dramatically (50% in one study).
In the US, certain states have banned BPA in childrens food and drink containers. Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut. Many other states are considering the ban, and the manufacturers are launching a huge public relations campaign against it.
Where else are these BPAs?
Vinyl (PVC) can also contain bisphenol A as an antioxidant in plasticizers. This is particularly true for "flexible PVC", but not true for PVC pipes.
You may consider keeping all vinyl binders away from the kids also (we all know they eat everything) and use non-BPA baby bottles or kids cups. Remember also, your kids need you healthy too, so look around and eliminate BPAs from your life too.
SO WHAT ARE DIOXINS?
Dioxins are a family of chemicals comprising 75 different types of dioxin compounds and 135 related compounds called furans. In addition, twelve of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) display a related chemical structure and share some of the biological properties of dioxins. For our purposes the term "dioxin" includes both dioxins and furans. They are unwanted by-products of industrial processes, usually involving combustion.
Accidental fires at landfills are believed to be among the largest sources of dioxin emissions, globally. However it seems that people are exposed to dioxin mainly through animal products such as meat, dairy and fish in their diet.
From the EPA:
Why Are We Concerned?
Because dioxins are widely distributed throughout the environment in low concentrations, are persistent and bioaccumulated, most people have detectable levels of dioxins in their tissues. These levels, in the low parts per trillion, have accumulated over a lifetime and will persist for years, even if no additional exposure were to occur. This background exposure is likely to result in an increased risk of cancer and is uncomfortably close to levels that can cause subtle adverse non-cancer effects in animals and humans.
What Harmful Effects Can Dioxin Produce?
Dioxins have been characterized by EPA as likely to be human carcinogens and are anticipated to increase the risk of cancer at background levels of exposure.
In 1997 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified 2,3,7,8, TCDD, the best studied member of the dioxin family, a known human carcinogen. 2,3,7,8 TCDD accounts for about 10% of our background dioxin risk.
At body burden levels 10 times or less above those attributed to average background exposure, adverse non-cancer health effects have been observed both in animals and, to a more limited extent, in humans. In animals these effects include changes in hormone systems, alterations in fetal development, reduced reproductive capacity, and immunosuppression. Effects specifically observed in humans include changes in markers of early development and hormone levels. At much higher doses, dioxins can cause a serious skin disease in humans called chloracne.
Where Can Dioxin Be Found?
Dioxins can be commonly detected in air, soil, sediments and food. Dioxins are transported primarily through the air and are deposited on the surfaces of soil, buildings and pavement, water bodies, and the leaves of plants. Most dioxins are introduced to the environment through the air as trace products of combustion. The principal route by which dioxins are introduced to most rivers, streams and lakes is soil erosion and storm water runoff from urban areas. Industrial discharges can significantly elevate water concentrations near the point of discharge to rivers and streams. Major contributors of dioxin to the environment include:
* Incineration of Municipal Solid Waste
* Incineration of Medical Waste
* Secondary Copper Smelting
* Forest Fires
* Land Application of Sewage Sludge
* Cement Kilns
* Coal Fired Power Plants
* Residential Wood Burning
* Chlorine Bleaching of Wood Pulp
* Backyard burning of household waste may also be an important source.
How Are We Exposed to Dioxins?
Most of us receive almost all of our dioxin exposure from the food we eat: specifically from the animal fats associated with eating beef, pork, poultry, fish, milk, dairy products. Most of us get these foods through the commercial food supply. Since most of the meats and dairy products we consume are not produced locally but have been transported hundreds or thousands of miles, the majority of our dioxin exposure does not come from dioxin sources within our own community. Additionally, because we are all being exposed from the same national food supply, we are all receiving a similar exposure with the main difference between individuals being individual food preferences.
Important exceptions to this pattern of general population exposure are individuals who, over an extended period of time, eat primarily locally grown meat, fish or dairy products that have significantly greater dioxin levels than those found in the commercial food supply. Individuals in this situation receive greater exposure and are at greater risk than the general population. These elevated dioxin food levels can be the result of nearby local sources or from past contamination of soil or sediments. Another example of elevated exposure is nursing infants; however, health experts generally agree the overall benefits to infants of nursing far out weigh potential risks.
Some more Info (from Wikipedia):
The term dioxin is used in chemistry to describe a heterocyclic 6-membered ring where 2 carbon atoms have been substituted by oxygen atoms. Whilst this moiety can appear in a wide range of compounds the most important and widely known group are the polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, a group of highly toxic environmental toxins commonly referred to as simply "dioxins".
In fact Dioxin can also be commonly used to refer to a diverse range of chemical compounds which are known to exhibit "dioxin-like" toxicity. Information on these compounds and their importance can be found at a number of sources.
There has been a controversy about the health and environmental effects of dioxins for more than 27 years.
Dioxins are by-products of many industrial processes including waste incineration, chemical manufacturing, chlorine bleaching of pulp and paper, and smelting. Any process "in which chlorine and organic matter are brought together at high temperatures can create dioxin". Greenpeace and some other environmental groups have called for the chlorine industry to be phased out. However, chlorine industry supporters say that "banning chlorine would mean that millions of people in the third world would die from want of disinfected water".
One of the key players in the dioxin controversy has been the Dow Chemical Company. Dow is a large manufacturer of chlorine, producing an estimated 40 million tons of chlorine each year, much of which is used to make plastics, solvents, pesticides and other chemicals. In 1965 "a Dow researcher warned in an internal company document that dioxin 'is extremely toxic' but Dow has always publicly claimed it is not".
sources For Wikipedia articles:
1. Sharon Beder. 'The dioxin controversy: spilling over into schools', Australian Science Teachers' Journal, November 1998, pp. 28-34.
2. Dioxin controversy: What are dioxins?
3. Sharon Beder (2000). Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism, Scribe Publications, chapters 9 and 13.
4. Sharon Beder (2000). Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism, Scribe Publications, p. 153.
5. Ronald Christaldi. Book Review: Dying From Dioxin by Lois Marie Gibbs Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, 1996.
6. Sharon Beder (2000). Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism, Scribe Publications, p. 154.
What is a Flush Cut Binder?
Naked Binder's New Project Binder is a flush cut binder, so what does that mean to you?
A flush cut binder is covered in paper on the front and back, but it is finished by trimming the board down leaving the bare board edges open.
As you can see, the edges are bare board.
Perhaps you have questions. We wrote some of the questions we have been asked down for you.
1. Does the paper peel off/ separate?
A. Nope. Well to be fair, if you work really really hard at it you can separate the bare board itself and peel things off of the binder. We assume most people have better things to do with their time. People have used these for years without problems.
2. Doesn't that look odd/ weird/ oddly weird?
A. We don't think so, but then aesthetics are a personal thing. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been using a flush cut binder for years, as do a bunch of fancy and large companies.
3. Does being flush cut make it more susceptible to water issues.
A. Not really. The Classic Binder was a turned edge binder (so the edges were covered), but it was covered with paper. If it got wet, the paper would also get wet, so any issues would have happened anyway.
As for the bare board and water. It will absorb water, but it won't hurt it. We ran the Naked Binder - a bare board binder - through a dishwasher (with soap and a dry cycle) and it was fine. If you happen to do this or something like it, lay it out flat to dry it. The next day, you can pick it up and use it again.