Risk = concentration + frequency.
Radiation, Ebola, lice, bedbugs ticks and Bisphenol A (and other plastic chemicals) have a fair amount in common.
Fortunately, you can choose to avoid five of those six, but the third gets forced upon you every minute of every day.
First, they are all alike because the damage they can do comes in ridiculously tiny packages: parts per billion and trillion — just like your body’s hormones.
Second, they are all alike because your likelihood of being harmed by depends a lot on how frequently you are exposed to them and whether the exposure is constant or occasional.
But unlike Radiation and Ebola, you can’t avoid exposures from Bisphenol A (BPA) and other environmental chemicals.
No avoiding BPA and other plastic chemicals
Exposure to BPA can’t be avoided because a 2018 study of U.S. Centers for Disease Control data found BPA in 95.7% of U.S. adults. That data comes from the CDC’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (NHANES)
This article explains how mighty the very tiny can be: “The Amounts Are Too Small To Matter (A Deadly Misconception)”.
Clearly, the greater the concentration of harmful substances, the more likely that harm results. Equally significant, the cumulative effect of frequent or constant exposures from tiny amounts raises the risk of serious illness or death.
Lice, bedbugs, and ticks cause no pain when they bite and begin to suck your blood. You don’t notice BPA either when you consume it. And lice, bedbugs, and ticks don’t suck enough blood to cause direct damage. But — like BPA — they cause inflammation. Unlike useful inflammation that helps ease a cut or other traumatic injury, constant systemic inflammation (such as caused by BPA) can cause or promote cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and other serious health problems.
Lice, bedbugs, and ticks have a secondary threat which is the opportunity to pass along disease. Likewise, BPA and other plastic chemicals can alter your hormones and cause chromosome damage. Plastic chemicals can also sabotage the way your genes function without actually altering your genetic code. That method is called “epigenetic.” (a more technical dive into epigenetics at this link.)
This ad-free article is made possible by the financial support of the
Center for Research on Environmental Chemicals in Humans: a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation for continued biomedical research.
Like BPA, lice, bedbugs, and ticks each exposure is tiny, but the damage is cumulative. If you drill enough one-inch holes in a battleship, it will sink.
- Cancer rates are higher in flight attendants.
- X-rays and other from medical imaging increase cancer risk.
However, one airplane trip will not kill you … Or one x-ray.
X-rays and airplane flights expose you to “ionizing radiation.” Ionizing means they’re capable of knocking an electrons from various atoms. If they change to hit the right atom in one of your cells, there’s a chance that a the genetic makeup could result in a cancer-causing mutation.
The chances are very small. A cell may die. Or DNA repair processes could correct the danage. Or your immune system might remove the a cell that turns cancerous.
This is because your body has many ways to take care of threats including DNA damage. In most cases, those mechanisms solve the problem.
Unless the damage keeps on coming. The more times you get exposed to radiation, the greater the odds that your body can’t repair the damage fast enough. Your risks increase (a tiny amount) with every flight exposure.
The same holds for X-rays and CT scans. The risk, while tiny, increases not only with the strength of the X-rays, but the exposure frequency.
Ebola and other viruses, as well as bacteria.
However, the odds of contracting Ebola, hepatitis, influenza or a cold from a single virus is very small. As with radiation, your body has ways of fighting infection.
Regardless, frequent exposure remains a threat.
Frequenting movie theaters or other crowded places during flu season (or visiting a city with an Ebola epidemic) increase your changes of contracting the disease.
Harmful Environmental Chemicals
U.S. government regulators, chemical companies and old-school toxicologists who have not kept up with molecular biology ridicule the risk of environmental chemicals that are present in parts per million, or parts per trillion. They assert (incorrectly) that those amounts are too small to matter. That’s a deadly misconception based on old science and newer excuses for science done badly.
In fact there are literally thousands of recent, published, peer-reviewed, university and NIH-sponsored studies that demonstrate the serious harms from tiny amounts of environmental chemicals. This link — that looks at very bad science — lists more than of hundred studies showing harms at ridiculously small concentrations.
The scandal: lack of choice.
You can choose not to take an airline flight.
You can choose to forego some types of medical imaging, or opt for those with less X-ray exposure.
But you cannot choose to forego BPA, phthalates and other hazardous environmental chemicals because faulty, outmoded, and outright faked science have allowed those to thoroughly contaminate your environment so that the best you can do is try and minimize the harm.
Synergy: A final complication.
Finally, the chemicals in your environment don’t visit one at a time. They are constantly an angry mob that invade constantly and as a group.
More than 84,000 chemicals are approved for use in the United States today1, and at least 4,000 of those are present in food contact materials2,3,4. The health effects of most of those chemicals is unknown and/or incomplete5.
Those footnotes, above, can be found at the bottom of this post. along with other information from The Stealth Syndromes Human Study as approved by the Committee on Human Research at the University of California San Francisco Medical School.
- This is why you need to be concerned about tiny doses of environmental chemicals like BPA
- Ebola Virus Shedding and Transmission: Review of Current Evidence
- MOI, pfu, and TCID50
- Multiplicity of infection
- Dose is the poison — is only half an idea and incorrect without the other half
- Radiation Dose in X-Ray and CT Exams
- Harvard: Should I worry about x-rays?
- Air travel exposes you to radiation – how much health risk comes with it?
- Radiation Exposure During Commercial Airline Flights
- What is a gene mutation and how do mutations occur?
- SNPs as Windows on Evolution
- An Evolutionary Perspective on Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism Screening in Molecular Cancer Epidemiology
- What are single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)?
- Defining “mutation” and “polymorphism” in the era of personal genomics