Are plastic bottles killing upborn children ????

28 Sep

In teaching students to be discerning consumers of information I’m always looking for ways to show them that they need to look beyond ‘headlines’, and that sometimes just reading a whole story can allow them to be ‘rational’. I can across a great story in the Daily Mail this week that’s perfect for illustrating this point. The story was headlined ”Gender bending’ chemicals from household goods like plastic packaging and make-up ‘raise risk of miscarriages and Down’s syndrome’. What I particularly like about this story is that just by reading to the end of it students can begin to see ‘problems’.

The story begins with the ‘shocking’ news that a chemical ,Bisphenol A, that is found in many everyday products can cause miscarriages and Down’s syndrome. The story goes on to give details of  an interesting study exposing pregnant rhesus monkey to this chemical. All seems well until you get 80% through the story, when you discover a ‘world expert’ from our own Medical Research Council saying that the dose of Bisphenol A given to the monkeys in the study was ‘many 100-fold’ that of usual human exposure. Suddening I was a little less ‘shocked’ by the story

This alone is a nice illustration that somethimes the story itself doesn’t entirely fit the headline, but things got more interesting when I typed ‘Bisphenol A’ into the Mail’s own online search engine I discovered that Bisphenol A is also supposed to cause breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, beard growth in women, bad behaviour in children, fatal clogging of the arteries, low sperm count, birth defects, prostate cancer and breathing probels in babies !! This may either be the worse health scandal in world history, or possibly another of the Mail’s strange obsessions.

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2 Responses to “Are plastic bottles killing upborn children ????”

  1. Collin Middleton February 4, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    A miscarriage is one of the worst things that can happen to a woman especially if it is a subsequent one and you had duly and urgently needed to have a baby since menopause might be knocking at the door. It is not only those kind of women who are hurt but any woman who wishes to be a mother would also feel hurt for having a miscarriage. In addition to this emotional pain women feel, it also causes a lot of physical pain from the cramps to the sight of a lot of blood. Now, what does one have to look out to make sure that it is showing its signs and not anything else like the first trimester bleeding?^

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    • Teaching Rational Thinking February 4, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      I’d agree with everything you’ve said. My fear is that medical ‘scare’ stories like that I was commenting on could result in a woman blaming herself for a miscarriage if she has used allegedly ‘contaminated’ products. This would seem to add an entirely unnecessary level of psychological suffering to what is already a dreadful experience.

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