Lubricant Study

Anyone else read this today?

http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2010/05/25/use_of_lubricants_with_anal_sex_could_increase_risk_of_hiv.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+biologynews%2Fheadlines+(Biology+News+Net)

http://www.xbiz.com/news/121017

As you might have guessed, I have a few comments.

1) Lubricants cannot prevent the transmission of HIV or STDs. Not yet. And when they do, they will be presciption-available only. I know that there are a few existing studies that show that carrageenan MAY inhibit the HIV virus, but anybody marketing on that claim faces substantial wrath from the FDA when caught.

2) Yes, if people are going to engage in unprotected anal sex, it would be nice if lubricants do not facilitate the virus. This is another reason the FDA wants all personal lubricants to become registered medical devices. So that they can have more control. Should they have it?

3) Medical device registration and testing is very thorough. It is safety based and until now, no one had considered whether lubes could be preventative.* The FDA requires so much testing of toxicity that this study surprises me. I mean the FDA even requires that lubricants are injected into the bloodstream of mice as a safety test related to rectal claims.

4) Lubes don’t cause infection. Unprotected sex with unsafe partners causes infection.

* Actually, I have been reading about companies working on lubricants that would actually prevent the transmission of HIV for years. How I wish I had that R&D budget!

So how much protection do we as a society owe people who are hard of thinking? Do we pass more and more laws until every chemical, food or activity is illegal?

Where does personal responsibility come in to the picture? If someone engages in unprotected anal sex with multiple partners, do they deserve to die? I don’t think so.

Should you have to get a prescription from your doctor for personal lubricants and tell that person it is for anal sex? Doctors can tell if you have even been anally receptive, so would that be a big deal for you?

Should all products of every kind be pulled off the market until such a time that they are deemed safe by scientific study? And will people believe it? The fact that every scientific organization around the world has cleared phthalates for use in toys has not stopped the emotional banning of the substances. People want science to help them, but then refuse to believe its findings because some reporter or blogger thinks they know more than hundreds of scientists.

Personal lubricants are a necessity of life. We need them. But trusting your lubricant to protect you from your poor choice is like trusting your car to protect you while driving drunk.

Please think and act responsibly. I do not want to lose any more of you.

Interesting Question! (Caution, naughtiness ahead!)

“So Tim, is this too big for someone to get up their butt?”  

What an interesting question to start my day.  So let’s get ahead by getting a little behind…  

Anal sex.  Now that is one hotly contested topic.  You may remember that I briefly mentioned backdoor activities last month.  (https://quantumcogitation.com/2010/03/12/doors-what-is-behind-door-number-three/)  

Or you may remember my brief discourse about men on the receiving end of a strap-on.  (https://quantumcogitation.com/2008/08/29/strap-it-on/)  

Good memories, good times.  So let’s roll up our sleeves and really get into it now.  If this topic bothers you, here is something to keep you occupied.  

Look deeply into my eyes.

  For the rest of us, let’s take a close look at the anus, rectum and points north.  Here is a brief, unromantic diagram of said region.  

  To accomplish anal intercourse, we have to get past the exterior sphincter, through the anus, past the interior sphincter, through the anal canal, getting past the Dentate line and into the rectum!  Whew!  Anyone have a GPS ready?  OK, I know that everyone knows, or thinks they know what they are doing.  But honestly, a lot of you don’t.  (If I had a nickel for every woman nodding her head right now…)  

 The anus has quite a concentration of nerve endings and that can bring either great pain or great joy depending on your approach.  The anterior wall of the rectum leads to prostate massage in men and tickles the vaginal canal in women.  While the external sphincter is a voluntary muscle which we can contract or relax, the interior sphincter muscle is involuntary.  That means you really cannot control it.  So we need to spend some time on figuring out how to make it relax.  And as always, we have options:  

 1) Brute force, just ram it home.  DO NOT DO THIS!!!!  Who are you kidding?  That only plays in story books.  To force the anal sphincter complex open can cause a lot of damage.  It can cause tearing, bleeding, damage to the sphincters leaving you incontinent, if misguided potentially perforate the intestinal walls.  Which could lead a nasty little thing called death.  Let’s not go there, let’s keep this safe, sane and consensual (SSC).  

 2) Get them drunk!  Oh come on people!  DON”T DO THIS!!!  If one or the other partner is impaired by one substance or another, you can have the same injuries listed in item number one.  Either they won’t feel if something has gone wrong or you may not be attentive to their situation.  Either way, bad.  

 While there is nothing wrong with a glass of wine or a drink or two, stay alert if you are going to participate in risky types of sexual behaviour.  It needs to be fun, not traumatic.  No need to call those men in white jackets even if ambulance sirens turn you on.  They really aren’t interested in what you were doing anyway.  

3) Anal desensitizers.   Yep, they exist.  Heck we even sell them!  Usually they are a gel, cream or spray that contains lidocaine or benzocaine.  These are often used in anorectal drugs to ease the pain of hemorrhoids.  Now, these work very well, but they are not my first choice.  If over-used, you may not feel any “bad” pain if it occurs.  And I have always wondered, why engage in anal sex if you don’t want to feel it? So…  

 4) Warming lubes.  Yes, we sell those too!  Remember what it feels like when you get a hot oil massage?  You melt under that person’s hands.  Well, this is very similar.  Gentle caressing with the product warming your anus and your partner’s attention warming your heart.  You will probably open up like a blooming rose.  Hard, nasty anal sex is great if you are experienced and in the mood, but if you are just beginning your anal explorations, you need a lot of prep time, care and gentleness.  

 OK, lubricants.  Yes the anal tract is a mucosal membrane so there is a certain degree of lubrication available naturally.  But you should add some more.  Lots more!  So much so that you need a new bottle every time!  (Did I mention that my company sells lubricants?  Thought so.  Daddy needs to get paid!)  

 Seriously, use lots.  I prefer silicone lubes, but whatever floats your boat.  Anyone remember how Crisco sales jumped when fisting became all the rage?  

 5)  Oh yeah, rimming helps.  We can talk about that in a later post.

  So we are in!  Now with the anal canal and rectum, you have a comfortable six inches for penetration.  Stroke away to your heart’s content.  And hopefully to your partner’s orgasm!   Here are a couple of diagrams to show you where to find the anus on a male or female.  

 Now that we have covered that, how large of an item can you stick your butt?  From some videos that I have seen, really, really big!  I have seen baseball bats, arms up to the shoulder (not recommended), champagne bottles, fruit/vegetables of all kinds and a football.  I guess the real question is not how large of an item can I stick up my butt, but do I want to spend my life wearing diapers?  Yes, extreme anal stretching can lead to having an orifice that can no longer close or even prolapse.  Prolapse is when the insides come outside. 

If you keep your anal insertions limited to finger/penis/hand size, you can keep your stuff tight with kegel exercises.  Yes they work for the ass as well as the vagina!  Squeeze those muscles tight, count to ten, release and repeat.  A few sets of ten daily and you will be able to peel a banana!  Even though if you have anal sex even once, your doctor will know the next time he takes a look down there.  So, really, there are no secrets from your doctor.   

I talk too much, but when it comes to anal sex, the two or more of you had better talk everything out so you know what is going to happen.  And please, wash thoroughly, douche your tush, wash whatever was inserted up the butt before inserting it somewhere else and please do not engage in ATM or ATV activities.    

Leave that to the pros.

Parabens – Part II

Sparing you any pithy comments, here is an article from Cosmeticsdesign.com which can be found here:

http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Formulation-Science/New-data-on-parabens-suggests-no-adverse-hormonal-effect-on-the-body/

New data on parabens suggests no adverse hormonal effect on the body
By Katie Bird, 18-Nov-2009
Related topics: Formulation & Science

The industry awaits the judgement on parabens following the release of further data on skin absorption and the distribution of the chemicals in the body.

Florian Schellauf from industry trade body Colipa presented the findings from a recent study on rats at a conference organised by the Scandinavian Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCANCOS) in Sweden.

The study was performed at the request of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) (formerly the SCCP) for more data on the longer parabens, propyl- and butylparaben, following research that claimed the commonly used preservatives may affect the reproductive and hormonal systems of the body.

According to the study data presented at the SCANCOS conference, in rats, parabens are well absorbed after oral administration but only partially absorbed after dermal exposure.

In addition, the data suggests that the compounds are fully metabolised before they enter the blood stream.

Blood plasma tests highlighted only the presence of a paraben metabolite PHBA (p-hydroxybenzoic acid) and no concentrations of the parabens themselves, regardless of which paraben was used and how it was applied (oral, dermal or subcutaneous).

According to Schellauf, PHBA is not known to have any estrogenic effects and is found widely in plants and human food, so trace exposure in the human organism poses no health risk.

“The study confirms the results of a number of research studies, which concluded from their work that parabens are metabolised rapidly and to a large extent in living organisms and therefore cannot exhibit any adverse effects,” said industry trade body Colipa.

The study will be submitted shortly to the SCCS, which will have to come to a decision on whether this new data means the acceptance of methyl-, ethyl, propyl- and butyl-parabens as preservatives in cosmetics products, should remain unaltered.

According to Maria Lodén founder of Sweden-based consulting firm Eviderm and a member of SCANCOS, a decision from the SCCS can’t come soon enough.

Anti-paraben stance

A number of consumer groups, environmental organisations and some industry members have taken an anti-paraben stance which may not be based on respectable scientific evidence, she said.

For example, the Nordic Swan, an environmental label well known in Denmark and Sweden has said products aiming to gain its label cannot contain parabens. Following the release of this new data and the SCCS’s forthcoming opinion, Lodén believes the Swan label should change their criteria and allow the compounds.

“My interpretation of the current data is that, in addition to methyl- and ethylparaben, also propyl- and butylparaben will represent the safest option for preserving cosmetics in the future,” she said.

“The society anxiously await the final SCCS report on the issue to reduce dissemination of misleading information on parabens,” Lodén added.

Me again –

WOW! It looks like scientists may not have been lying to you!  Of course I blame the Media…

Eat it? I just want to lick it!

Here is a question I hear fairly often, “Hey Dr Tim!  Is that edible?”

Quick answer, “Does it have Nutrition or Supplement Facts?  If not, no!”

So what about flavored lubricants, gels or lotions?  If they have flavors, they must be edible!

Yes, we make these!

Yes, we make these!

No, not really.  But here is the thing.  Have you ever heard of incidental ingestion?  Let me explain, if you have ever used for example, lipstick or lip balm, you have accidentally eaten some of it.  If you have ever kissed someone wearing lipstick, lip balm or lip gloss, you have consumed some.  Who hasn’t kissed someone and licked their lips afterwards, especially if they are using that yummy new acai berry/pomegranate lip gloss (now with kiwi!)?

Kiss me now!

Kiss me now!

That is incidental ingestion.  With flavored lubes, haven’t you ever pounded it hard and long, then given it a quick kiss of gratitude afterwards?  Well, would you rather take away the slight taste of strawberry or the industrial taste of a high-functioning, chemical tasting lube?  Thought so.  me too.  Strawberries are just so much tastier than motor oil.

So why don’t flavored lubes have nutritional facts?  You are not supposed to eat them!  If we wanted you to put the anal jelly on your toast, we would have that cool box with the information about calories, trans fat, etc, etc on a label sans naked people with a grocery store friendly name.  The same goes for lotions, creams and such.  Remember Jessica Simpson?  Her line of “edible” cosmetic products were actually called “kissable” after the Regulatory Department got through with it.

Desert Beauty

And what about those throat numbing mints?  Well, those don’t have nutritional facts because they are drugs!  They need the drug facts box on the label.  Yeah, it gets complicated.  But if you want to play with the Government, you really do have to play by their rules.  (Unless you are a real gambler.  But when you get caught, you will wish you hadn’t!)

We make these too!

We make these too!

Supplements meant to be consumed have different rules too!  They need supplement facts about daily values and junk.  Confused yet?

So lubes aren’t food.  Drugs aren’t food.  Supplements aren’t food.  Only food is food!  Follow the directions!  If it does not have nutritional/supplement facts available, it is not supposed to be eaten, chugged, or swallowed in big mouthfuls. 

And if someone wants you to eat it, ask them to take the first swallow.  That’ll separate the wheat from the chaff.

Who’s Got Them? (Besides me…)

“If all of your friends jump off a bridge would you jump too?”

Sound familiar?  And not just from your Mother either.  I bet you hear that from your Regulatory Departments at least once a week.  And just like Mom, you sometimes ignore the advice and end up paying for it later.  And those particular lessons can be very costly indeed.

Ethics.  Some folks, particularly those in government, think our industry does not have them.  Well, we do, but like another thing Mom told us, “One rotten apple can spoil the barrel.” 

And so it goes for all of us.  All it takes is for one dishonest manufacturer to bring the FDA, FCC, and many other organizations down upon us.  And what could trigger such devestation?  Unsubstantiated claims for one.

Have you ever read the copy on a jar, a pamphlet or package and think, “Wow!  This is amazing!  Not only will it give me earth-shattering orgasms, but it will cure my STD’s too!”  If you did, there is a problem.  Anything that cures a condition is a drug.  Drugs require lots of safety testing, proof of efficacy, a special license and a boat-load of money.

I can pretty much guarantee that no adult novelty company is filing any New Drug Applications.

“But wait Dr. Tim!” you may say, “You make OTC Drugs!”  Yes we do, but there is a monograph that must be followed, specific language that must be used and other certain limitations which must be followed.

There is a big difference between “Delays the onset of premature ejaculation” and “Last ten times longer!”  Guess which one is correct.

Basically, if you claim it, you have to be able to prove it.  Phthalate-free is popular these days, but you need proof from your manufacturer that the product is indeed Phthalate-free.  It does no good to say it just because you believe it and then Greenpeace or someone tests it and calls you a liar in the media.  Unless you are a movie star or rock star, bad press is not good press.  And if you make drug claims, you better be able to back them up and have yourself and your product registered at the FDA. 

Yes, it does take time and it does cost money to do everything correctly.  But if you do, when the sweep comes, you may just be the last man standing.  Right next to me.

Ethics.  Got ’em?

FDA Approved????

I hear things.

And some of them can really be exasperating.  How many times has someone told you that they are an FDA approved lab or that all of their products are FDA approved?  Probably quite a few.  And probably a lie.  Maybe not intentional, sometimes non-technical people misinterpret the meaning of certain things.

Let’s set this issue to rest.  Brought to you directly from the FDA website (www.fda.gov) is the following list:

The FDA does NOT approve: Companies, compound drugs from pharmacies, cosmetics, medical foods, infant formula, dietary supplements, food labels including Nutrition Facts, structure-function claims on dietary supplements and other foods.

The FDA does approve: New drugs and biologics, medical devices (risk-based tier system we’ll discuss further down), additives in food for people, drugs and additives in food for animals, color additives used in FDA-regulated products.

That’s it!  There is no FDA-approved cosmetic.  We are not an FDA-approved laboratory or manufacturer.  We are an FDA registered facility.  That means that the FDA knows where we are, knows what we are manufacturing and can drop in to inspect us at any time.  (We are also registered with the State of California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch.  They inspect us too!)

Time to take a look at a couple of the items mentioned above:

1) Medical devices – OK, you may wonder how this category affects you.  But it is very relevant.  Condoms, personal lubricants, cock rings, clitoral engorgement items are all medical devices!  Cock rings are in the lowest risk category and the FDA allows their sale without pre-market approval providing that they have the same use and are of the same technology of what is already on the market.  They also need the appropriate instructions and warnings in the language provided by the FDA.

Personal lubricants and condoms are Class II medical devices.  They can be cleared for marketing based on an FDA determination that they are substantially equivalent to an already marketed device of the same type.  This requires a lot of testing and expense by the manufacturing company.  And upon that determination, the product is granted a 510(k) number.   In case you were going to ask, if your new product does not strongly resemble one already on the market, you have to complete a NDA (New Drug Application.)

High risk medical devices like a mechanical heart valve require FDA approval after what can be years of testing and review.

2) Color additives for FDA regulated products.  Those would be all Foods, drugs and cosmetics.  The US works on a positive list.  If the colorant is listed for your particular application, you can use it.  If it is not on the list, no way.

3) Dietary supplements.  If someone offers you a vitamin pill, energy shot, “enhancement” pill and claims they are FDA approved, run away!  The FDA requires the following statement: “This product has not been reviewed by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”  And if it did, that dietary supplement would be a prescription drug.

So what have we learned today?  The FDA does not approve companies or bunches of products.  Since they don’t approve them, do we have to follow their rules?  You betcha!  Our products are regulated, but not necessarily approved.  There are many things that I haven’t touched on here.  Ask me!

Ask questions!  Question authority!

Good Taste! (Really, lose the bleach!)

To paraphrase a famous commercial: She wants a man that tastes good!

Down to business.  If you were to ask a variety of women why they spit or dodge, they will reply, “His stuff tastes nasty!”  So how do we avoid this problem?

Well, if she is regularly providing oral relief, quit complaining!  But the point is to make the experience pleasurable for her so that she will enjoy it.  Let’s find out what you have been up to lately.

Your diet:  If you are subsisting on Mega-burgers, onion rings and soft drinks, you have a problem.  Junk food equals bad tasting junk.  Have a salad once in a while!  Eat some fruit and vegetables.  Choose leaner cuts of meat, chicken or fish.  Drink some water.  You see all of the materials, chemicals, that you consume have an effect on how you look, how you taste and how you smell.  Sodas are very acidic.  They make you acidic.  Fried fatty meats give you a distinctive smell as opposed to vegetarians.

Your exercise routine:  Yes, no pain – no gain.  Working out regularly flushes the toxins out of your body via sweat and your excretory glands.  If you are a couch potato, all those wonderful bad things are pooling inside of you, turning to fat.  Yes, fat guys can get laid.  Fairly often too!  But they really have to work at it.  They need to be damn charming and eloquent.  Climb every mountain indeed.  However, obesity can lead to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and stroke to name a few.  And those medications are not always erection-friendly.  Get off your ass and take a walk or something.

But if you eat right and exercise daily, you can make your life much easier.  Not only will you be healthier, more alert and ready for action, you will taste better too!  Have you ever heard the term “clean sweat?”  It exists.  That is the light sweat coming from a healthy man or woman who just participated in some light to medium impact exercise, like a sexual encounter.  Mmmmm, think of your favorite Lady with a light sheen of sweat covering Her body as you un-make the bed.  Nice?  You bet!  You don’t mind lying next to Her after that, do you?  She’s happy too.

Even then, genetics may have dealt you a bad hand and your semen still has that ammonia flavor to it.  You need to lose the bleach!  How can you do that?  Well, there is a lot of folklore on that question.  Most popular is to drink lots of pineapple juice for a couple days before sex.  That works for some.  Others say to eat spices like cinnamon to take the bitter edge off the taste.  But can you maintain that particular regime every day?  It is hard enough to eat right in this day and age, but to maintain yummy sperm too?  Brutal.

Too much to eat every day!

Too much to eat every day!

There are some supplements that claim to help make your semen sweeter and help make her taste sweeter as well.  (Yes, the same conditions apply to the ladies.)  We have all visited the Bakery from time to time…

The best supplement I have found is Semenex.  Yes my company manufactures and sells it, but I tested many of the commercially available products and after tweaking the patented formula a tiny bit found it to be very effective.  It is a combination of fruits and spices that goes down smooth when mixed in water or shakes.  And if your diet is at least quasi-healthy, one dose a day for a couple days really makes a difference.  While no true, scientific clinical studies have been done to verify the claim, there are many, many testimonials from happy couples to groups who did taste comparison testing.  (Now there is an interesting thought!)

Mmm... Tasty...

Mmm... Tasty...

In the end, you have to be a healthy individual.  Clean up your act and your Lady should be more than willing to provide some good loving.  Supplements do help, so don’t be afraid to try some and improve your game.

Oh yes, never forget to return the favor.  She deserves it!

Premature Ejaculation (What, too soon?)

I’ll try to keep this short.

Folks, have you ever been in a sexual situation where the game was over before the coin toss decided?  Then you may have had an experience with premature ejaculation.  What does that really mean?

Premature ejaculation is when a man has an orgasm sooner than he or his partner would like.  If it just happens once in a while, that is fairly normal and reciting baseball scores or thinking of Aunt Martha’s arm fat may slow you down just enough.  However, if it a regular occurance, you may want to look into the issue.

Folks used to think that premature ejaculation was purely a psychological problem, but modern medicine has determined that there are physical causes as well.  Let’s take a quick look at it.  First, there is no medical standard as to how long a man should last before orgasm.  The largest indicator is that orgasming too soon causes distress or concern between partners.  But remember, there doesn’t have to be a partner.  You can also experience premature ejaculation during masturbation.  The question is, “Does it bother you?”

There are many possible causes.  Psychologically, perhaps you have established a mental pattern which could include having to rush to orgasm to avoid being caught or feelings of guilt over sex.  Yes, you can train your body to respond through repeated actions or thoughts.  So please, be nice to yourselves.

Biologically, it could be caused by abnormal hormone levels, abnormal levels of neurotransmitters, abnormal reflex activity of the ejaculatory system, thyroid, inflammation or infection of the prostate or urethra or unspecified inherited traits.  So it could be a combination of problems, or a single source.  Current thought leans towards a single source if this has been a lifelong problem.  Of course this can all be complicated by impotence (we’ll talk about this later), stress, medication or health problems.

When should you seek help?  If you are unhappy, talk to your doctor!  I cannot stress enough that your doctor has heard it all before and can help.  Don’t fear the MD!  Are there some things you can try before going to the doctor?  Sure!

Try the Squeeze Technique.  Begin sexual contact as normal.  If it feels like you are going to ejaculate, have your partner squeeze your penis right where the head meets the shaft until the feeling goes away.  It should only be several seconds.  Then continue.  Don’t worry if you go a little soft.  Simba will be up for the challenge as soon as sexual activity resumes.  Repeat as necessary, soon you may be able to control the feelings without squeezing.

Squeeze 101

Squeeze 101

Or…

You could masturbate an hour or two before sex.  The second orgasm almost always take longer to reach.  (Which reminds me of a joke:  A man picks up a sex worker for a paid encounter.  After she disrobes she sees him in the corner masturbating furiously.  She asks him why and he replies, “For $100 you’re not getting the easy one!”)  Or as a couple, you can decide not to have intercourse every time and focus on other sexual activities which may relieve some of the performance anxiety.  It may also help you feel more comfortable in your sexuality as well.

My friend Karinna Kittles-Karsten (www.sacredlove.com) is a strong believer in Sexual Toning.  She is brilliant.  Check out her website, you’ll thank me for it someday.  But don’t forget to thank her too.  Here is how she describes Sexual Toning:  Note: if you have a urinary tract infection, consult a physician before attempting.  1. Come into a squat position with your heels turned in slightly.  Elbows between your knees, bring hands into a prayer position. 2. Inhale and contract the small muscular area between your anus and genitals. 3. Exhale and relax the muscles. Repeat nine times to start.  When you become comfortable, work up to 3-4 sets a day.

Work those PC Muscles!

Work those PC Muscles!

You can also work this area sitting at your desk.

Then we have topical medications.  There is a category of Over the Counter Drugs (OTC) called Male Genital Desensitizers.  These can be creams, gels or sprays usually containing benzocaine or lidocaine.  These are sprayed/massaged on the head of the penis, under the head in particular.  After a few moments, there will be a mild numbing effect.  This will theoretically delay the physical sensations that lead to premature ejaculation.  Be sure to use it five minutes or so before engaging in intercourse.  After all, we just want to slow ourselves down, not numb our partner, right?  These products can be found in drugstores, on-line and in high class adult emporiums.  Male Genital Desensitizers are recognised drugs that are regulated by the FDA.  Only FDA registered OTC manufacturers can produce them.  Your penis is serious business and believe it or not, the US Government wants to protect it!

This is a drug folks!

This is a drug folks!

(Say, Topco Sales and Basic Solutions are FDA registered OTC manufacturers!  What a lucky coincidence.)

So, if you suffer from premature ejaculation, you do not have to suffer alone.  Talk to your partner, talk to your doctor, get yourself in better physical shape, increase your sexual repertoire, use a topical product for those precious extra minutes.  You are a stallion.  Never forget that.

side-view-human-male-reproductive-system

Triclosan – Killing Germs or Killing Us?

Quick!  In what types of products do you find triclosan?

Oh, hand sanitizers, toy cleaners, deodorant, just about anywhere you would find a good cosmetic biocide.  (also used as a preservative or deodorant agent.)

And what has the media taught us?  That triclosan can be toxic when used at extremely large doses!  Deary, deary me!  Not another chemical that can kill?  Why is being beautiful so deadly?  And who created the phrase “drop dead gorgeous” anyway?

Triclosan – and organic chlorinated aromatic compound whose functional groups are representative of ethers and phenols.  It has been shown to be effective in reducing and controlling bacterial contamination on the skin.  Usually used at 0.1% to 0.3% w/w it can be used by physicians at much higher concentrations for specific purposes.

Now the world gets concerned with the multiple products that can be used daily sparking fears of overdosing.  The team at Ciba (major manufacturer of triclosan) says that extensive testing on animals and human volunteers has shown that while triclosan does circulate in the blood during use, it is 200 to 300 times less than the amount that showed any effects on the animals.  Also, when the human discontinues use of triclosan products, triclosan is no longer detectable in the system.

So, how do we call this one?  My personal opinion is that there shouldn’t be any problems with occasional usage.  I wouldn’t use it everyday, but then I’m not a surgeon or doctor dealing or touching sick people all day.  Plus, they are great for cleaning post-use sex toys!

Want to learn more?  Try these two sites.  They are lots of fun!

http://www.ciba.com/ind-pc-triclosan.htm

http://www.beyondpesticides.org/pesticides/factsheets/Triclosan%20cited.pdf

WTBPA? (or Bisphenol A, What’s that about?)

Bisphenol A. 

What is it?  Where is it?  Is the a risk?  Won’t somebody please think about the children?

This is a toughie.  You may have contact with Bisphenol A (BPA) every day and just not know it.

What is it?  It is a monomer used in many plastic items like; polycarbonates, epoxy, phenolic, ethoxylene, ion-exchange resins, corrosion-resistant unsaturated polyester-styrene resins, reinforced pipes, food packaging materials and vulcanizates intended for use in contact with food and drink.  It is also one of many stabilizer for polyvinyl chloride (PVC.)

That’s a whole lot of BPA going around.  Canada just banned its use in baby bottles back on October 20, 2008.  Which is strange because the FDA, the ECB, the EFSA and the ACC all claim it is harmless as used in humans.  (FDA – US Food and Drug Administration, ECB – European Chemicals Bureau, EFSA – European Food Safety Authority, ACC – American Chemical Council)

However, the NTP (US National Toxicology Program) thinks that there could be a risk.  And they have announced that they will review its decision and re-evaluate the evidence.  And while telling us not to worry, the FDA has formed a BPA Task Force for the review of current research and new information.

That kind of leaves us all in the air, huh?  Canada says it is bad for babies and some groups want to ban it completely.  Not as easy as it sounds.

Have you used anything from the grocery store that is in a can?  Vegetables, aerosol whipped cream, tuna, soda, beer?  Most metal food cans are lined with and epoxy resin.  Remember that long paragraph earlier in this column?  Yep.  They all have BPA in them.  Now can manufacturers are looking into replacements.  They have to, it is a matter of economic survival.  Whether or not BPA is harmless, if the consumers want it gone, it had better go away.  You would pay a nickel more for safe packaging, right?  So even if it is harmless, industry will make more money off your fear.  The practice is very common.  Ever watch the “news?”

So what does BPA allegedly do?  The usual litany of diseases: cancer, diabetes, obesity, lower sperm count, Downs Syndrome, alters development of babies.  Not one good thing in the bunch.

How can we avoid it?  I’m glad you asked.  Stay away from polycarbonate bottles.  BPA can leach out of the plastic if heated, exposed to acids or even just with age.  (By the way, plastic water and soda bottles in the store don’t have BPA in them.)  Don’t cook in plastics.  I use glass on the rare occasion that I use a microwave.  Watch your recycle codes.  The safer choices for use with food are 1 (PETE), 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE) and 5 (PP).  Try to avoid preparing, storing or eating/drinking from 3 (V), 6 (PS) and 7 (other, except new bio-based plastics that are labelled as such.)

Avoid using plastic containers in the microwave.  Beware of cling wraps for microwave use.  Use alternatives to plastic packaging whenever possible.  And always recycle everything you can!  If you want to know more, drop me a line and I will help as much as I can.

And to think people used to laugh at me when I drank out of a beaker…

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