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Environmental Health Threats

Date: 08-23-08
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Nena Baker, Captain Kelly Sweeney

Nena Baker, author of The Body Toxic, discussed how chemicals in the environment and the foods we eat threaten our health and well-being.

Researchers have found a link between obesity and perfluorinated compounds found in Teflon surfaces and microwavable popcorn bags, Baker said. These chemicals once released into the environment never breakdown, she added, noting that banned substances DDT (Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) and PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) are still detectable.

Baker said 38 world experts have written a consensus statement regarding the adverse affects of Bisphenol A, a compound found in baby and sports bottles. According to her research, exposure to Bisphenol A and similar chemicals may have led to an increase in breast and prostate cancers, urogenital abnormalities in male babies, a decline of semen quality in men, and early puberty in young girls.

Children and pets may be at risk from polybrominated flame retardants used in television sets and other electronics. A preliminary study by the EPA shows a correlation between hyperthyroidism in household cats and polybrominated flame retardants, Baker explained. She also spoke about Phthalate Syndrome and the cumulative effect environmental chemicals may be having on us, as well as fielded questions from callers for the last 90 minutes of the program.

Polar Shipping Lanes

In the first hour, Captain Kelly Sweeney talked about Arctic shipping lanes that have opened up as a result of melting polar ice. Sweeney said the new northern lanes cut the distance from Asia to Europe in half. Sweeney discussed Russia's claim to a vast chunk of the North Pole and to the oil, diamonds, and other natural resources located there. He also speculated that Russia may one day use their presence on the Bering Strait to restrict access into the polar shipping lanes.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Saturday August 23, 2008

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