Q. How can you tell if a can has BPA in its lining? I have been eating canned salmon after reading that it is wild-caught and preferable to farm-raised salmon. Now I wonder if I am getting too much BPA.
A. BPA (bisphenol A) is tasteless and odorless. It is a component of the plastic resin that lines many metal food and beverage cans. It also is found in hard clear plastic such as that in polycarbonate water bottles.
There has been much controversy about the health hazards of BPA because it acts like estrogen and might disrupt hormones. In December, Consumer Reports published research showing that many canned foods contain surprisingly high levels of BPA. Most labels don’t disclose this.
According to the article, “The StarKist Chunk Light canned tuna we tested averaged 3 ppb (parts per billion) of BPA, but BPA levels in the same brand in a plastic pouch weren’t measurable.” You might want to look for salmon in a pouch.
Q. I suffer from heart disease and take aspirin and Plavix as blood thinners, as well as Lipitor and fish oil to lower cholesterol. The medical literature suggests that ibuprofen interferes with the heart benefits of aspirin and may cause an increase in heart attacks. I need an anti-inflammatory drug for muscle aches and joint pain. What can I take safely?
A. Low-dose aspirin appears to protect against heart attacks, but NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren) might counteract this benefit. NSAIDs raise blood pressure, cause fluid retention and can worsen heart failure. Such drugs can be hard on the digestive tract and kidneys. They also can interact with Plavix to increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Acetaminophen may be a safer option, or you might want to consider food remedies. Many readers have found gin-soaked raisins, tart cherry juice, pineapple juice or grape juice mixed with vinegar or with Certo helpful.
For more details on such home remedies, anti-inflammatory herbs and topical NSAIDs, we are sending you our brand-new Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. AA-2, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. You often have questions on nosebleeds, particularly on whether using certain products in the nose would cause lung problems. I have had many nosebleeds through the years and not long ago had to go to the emergency room to get one stopped.
Some doctors have told me to use Neosporin or Bacitracin in my nostrils. Others say these products could cause lung problems. The only product I’ve found that works and is safe is Ayr Saline Nasal Gel.
I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP mask that tends to dry out my nose. I got this tip from a doctor, and Ayr says on the box it is good for people who use CPAP.
A. A CPAP mask is a respiratory device that helps people breathe properly while sleeping and prevents snoring. Because it pushes air into the nose, the nostrils may become dry.
Pulmonologists have warned us that regular use of petroleum jelly or similar products in the nose could lead to lung inflammation. Water-based saline gels or sprays (like Ayr) are safe and effective.
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