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News flash: Coffee is probably not a carcinogen. Now, can we get BPA taken off California’s Prop 65 list?

Coffee and ECG
It’s mind-boggling to see the hundreds of hazardous chemicals that are on California’s Prop 65 list, including numerous plastic-related chemicals, notably BPA, which has consistently received a clean bill of health from scientists.

The People’s Republic of California, regulator of all things dangerous and hazardous, has decreed that the link between coffee and cancer is “not significant.” Consequently, businesses can take down those ominous 10-x-10-inch warning signs they were forced to post under Prop 65.

Coffee has been deemed safe to drink! Starbucks, Dutch Brothers, Dunkin’ and many more purveyors of America’s favorite beverage are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Not that anyone with a lick of common sense actually paid any attention to those signs in the first place.

It’s mind-boggling to see the hundreds of hazardous chemicals that are on the Prop 65 list that came out of the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Of course, plastic hasn’t escaped scrutiny, including BPA, which has been deemed safe in the minute quantities it appears in various consumer products.

Since regulators are now woke enough to smell the coffee, we can only hope they attain scientific enlightenment and look at some of the plastic substances on that list, in particular BPA. For almost two decades, BPA has been tagged as the evil additive that harms human health, in spite of the fact that no definitive links have been found between BPA and the harmful effects to humans it is supposed to cause. Finally, last summer, the FDA answered the question—is BPA safe?—with a one-word answer—yes. 

Steven Hentges, PhD, took a look at a BPA alternative, BPF, on the Facts About BPA blog. There is a belief in place that if a substance is “natural,” it is safe, “if not actually beneficial to our health,” said Hentges. “So what are we to think, then, about recent reports that bisphenols F (BPF) are naturally present in certain foods and traditional medicines?"

BPF is present in mustard “at significant levels,” and “very recently, a group of scientists from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported that BPF also is naturally present in a variety of edible plants that are used as food supplements or traditional Chinese medicines,” said Hentges. “For example, some of the highest levels of BPF were reported in tian ma (biological name, Gastrodia elata), which is readily available via e-commerce sources and is suggested for treatment of seizure, tetanus, headache, dizziness, numbness in limbs and pain due to rheumatism.”

What is most remarkable about BPF is that it is a close chemical cousin to BPA, which is a synthetic chemical that may be present at trace levels in some foods, Hentges explains. “The EFSA scientists also estimated how much BPF one would be exposed to from the use of food supplements and traditional medicines that contain BPF. Based on available information, they concluded that ‘exposure to BPF from these sources is expected to be limited and, therefore, probably of low concern for human health for the general population.’” (The italics are Hentges’.)

Instead of looking around for BPA alternatives, which BPF is supposed to be, we need to stick to the scientifically and proven safe chemical, whether it’s a natural substance like BPF or its synthetic, nearly identical counterpart, BPA.

Speaking of natural foods that can be harmful, a recent article told of a man who presented himself at the emergency room with extremely high blood pressure and other symptoms. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him, until they began questioning his food intake. They discovered the man had been drinking copious amounts of a licorice liquor cocktail. Licorice can be harmful to your health. Is licorice on the Prop 65 list?

I heard on the news that the city of Oakland in the People’s Republic of California has legalized magic mushrooms and peyote. I think that is ideal for a state that’s so uptight about all the harmful chemicals its citizens might ingest. This should calm them down and keep them from being too stressed out about the homeless problems in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the “medieval diseases” that are cropping up, such as bubonic plague, among that population.

Image: Sasajo/Adobe Stock

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