Tag Archives: strange obsessions

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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