As scientists get better at detecting the chemicals in our bodies, they're discovering that even tiny quantities of toxins can have a potentially serious impact on our health -- and our children's future. Chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates -- key ingredients in modern plastics -- may disrupt the delicate endocrine system, leading to developmental problems. A host of modern ills that have been rising unchecked for a generation -- obesity, diabetes, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder -- could have chemical connections. "We don't give environmental exposure the attention it deserves," says Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at New York City's Mount Sinai Medical Center. "But there's an emerging understanding that kids are uniquely susceptible to environmental hazards."The story then sets up the coming Washington debates about BPA safety and the Toxic Substances Control Act. Now that health care reform has passed, Congress will have time to focus attention on TSCA and chemical safety. Time magazine is right to frame the debate for its readers and give them the background necessary to understand the issue. However, the story could have used some more details to help readers understand exactly which materials they're talking about -- rather than painting plastics with a broad brush. And the sub-headline that equates plastics and toxins seems more like something from Greenpeace than from a news magazine.
Time magazine laments 'Perils of plastic'
Time magazine posted a long special report on its Web site today about environmental toxins, headlined "The Perils of Plastic." The story focuses on government regulation of the chemical industry, with an Earth Day spin.
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