Bayer leading producer of a toxic chemical

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Taking aspirin may do more harm tha`n good, according to a study by the Political Economy Research Institute.

The study sought to discover which companies produce the highest “toxic score,” a rating derived from a combination of what the Political Economy Research Institute deems to be a company’s toxic outputs.

The group’s findings were surprising. Bayer Group, makers of Aleve and Aspirin, topped their list of world’s worst polluters, even beating out oil giants Valero Energy Corp., ConocoPhillips and Exxonmobile.

In addition to popular pain medications, Bayer produces a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. This compound has been widely used to create clear, hard plastics. If consumed, BPA can lead to neurological defects, heart disease, diabetes, early onset of puberty in girls, infertility, obesity, breast cancer and prostate cancer, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It was this particular product that pushed Bayer’s toxic score to the top of the list.

Another group said aspirin isn’t the only product people should be wary of. According to a recent news release from the Harvard School of Public Health, eating canned foods can increase your personal BPA toxicity level by more than 1,000 percent.

“We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body,” said Jenny Carwile, a Harvard doctoral student involved in the research. “This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially give their wide use.”

The research team observed two groups for study. The first group consumed a 12-ounce serving of vegetarian canned soup each day for five days while another group consumed 12 ounces of vegetarian fresh soup (prepared without canned ingredients) daily for five days. After a two-day washout period, the groups reversed their assignments.

Urine samples of the 75 volunteers taken during the study showed consuming just one serving of canned soup daily produces a 1,221 percent increase in BPA compared to levels in urine collected after consumption of fresh, non-canned soup.

“The magnitude of the rise in urinary BPA we observed after just one serving of soup was unexpected and may be of concern among individuals who regularly consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages daily. It may be advisable for manufacturers to consider eliminating BPA from can linings,” said Karin Michels, senior author of the study.

David McLaughlin, a junior studying clinical laboratory science, said the findings should make people think twice about what they eat.

“It’s pretty scary to think we could potentially be consuming such high levels of BPA on a daily basis without realizing it,” McLaughlin said. “I didn’t really know much about BPA before today. It makes you wonder if the places where you eat out think about how their ingredients are stored.”

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