Are the BPA-Free Alternatives Safe?

Are the BPA-Free Alternatives Safe?
4.52 (90.34%) 58 votes

Do BPA-free plastics, such as Tritan, have human hormone-disrupting effects? And what about BPS and BPF?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“Recent human studies indicate that…exposure [to the plastics chemical BPA] may be associated with…[infertility], miscarriage, premature delivery, reduced male sexual function,…[polycystic ovaries],…altered thyroid…and immune function,…diabetes,…heart disease,” and on down the list.

Yet, “[a]s recently as March 2012, FDA stated that low levels of BPA in food are considered safe.” But, months later, to their credit, “the agency banned the use of BPA [plastics] in baby bottles and sippy cups.” Wow, regulators standing up to industry! Maybe I shouldn’t be so cynical. Oh, wait, the ban was at the behest of the plastics industry. They had already stopped using BPA in baby bottles; so, ban away—it was their idea.

What they did is switch from BPA to similar compounds, like BPF and BPS. And so, now our diet contains everything from BPA to BPZ. So now, the majority of us have these new chemicals in our bodies, as well. Are they any safer?

Well, based on the similarities of their chemical structures, they are all predicted to affect testosterone production and estrogen-receptor activity. But, only recently were they put to the test.

We’ve known BPA significantly suppresses testosterone production. And now, we know so does BPS and BPF—”the first report describing…adverse effects on a physiologic function in humans…” Well, kinda. These were experiments performed on the testicles of aborted human fetuses. But, bottom line, BPS and BPF seemed to have similar “antiandrogenic”—meaning anti-male hormone—effects to BPA.

So, when you’re assured that, “Don’t worry, your sales slip is ‘BPA-free,’” it may be just BPS instead. And, BPS receipts “may contain up to 40% more” BPS than it would have had BPA. So, BPA-free could be even worse! In fact, all BPA-replacement products tested to date released chemicals “having reliably detectable [estrogenic activity].”

And, this includes Tritan™, which is specifically marketed as being estrogen-activity free. But, drip an extract on human breast cancer cells in a petri dish, and you can accelerate their growth—an effect that’s abolished by an estrogen blocker, as you can see in the red lines. Now, this was after exposing them to simulated sunlight. Only one out of three Tritan products showed estrogen activity in an unstressed state—not exposed to microwaving, heat, or UV rays.

“Because there would be no value in trading one health hazard for another, we should urgently focus on the human health risk assessment of [all these] BPA substitutes.”

In the meanwhile, there are steps we can take to limit our exposure. We can reduce our “use of polycarbonate plastics,” which are usually labeled with recycle codes 3 or 7, and opt for fresh and frozen food, over canned goods—especially tuna and condensed soups.

Canned fruit consumption didn’t seem to matter, but weekly canned vegetable consumption was associated with increased BPA exposure. If you do use plastics, don’t microwave them, don’t put them in the dishwasher, don’t leave them in the sun or a hot car, or don’t use once scratched. But, using glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers are probably best.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video credit: Daniel Black.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“Recent human studies indicate that…exposure [to the plastics chemical BPA] may be associated with…[infertility], miscarriage, premature delivery, reduced male sexual function,…[polycystic ovaries],…altered thyroid…and immune function,…diabetes,…heart disease,” and on down the list.

Yet, “[a]s recently as March 2012, FDA stated that low levels of BPA in food are considered safe.” But, months later, to their credit, “the agency banned the use of BPA [plastics] in baby bottles and sippy cups.” Wow, regulators standing up to industry! Maybe I shouldn’t be so cynical. Oh, wait, the ban was at the behest of the plastics industry. They had already stopped using BPA in baby bottles; so, ban away—it was their idea.

What they did is switch from BPA to similar compounds, like BPF and BPS. And so, now our diet contains everything from BPA to BPZ. So now, the majority of us have these new chemicals in our bodies, as well. Are they any safer?

Well, based on the similarities of their chemical structures, they are all predicted to affect testosterone production and estrogen-receptor activity. But, only recently were they put to the test.

We’ve known BPA significantly suppresses testosterone production. And now, we know so does BPS and BPF—”the first report describing…adverse effects on a physiologic function in humans…” Well, kinda. These were experiments performed on the testicles of aborted human fetuses. But, bottom line, BPS and BPF seemed to have similar “antiandrogenic”—meaning anti-male hormone—effects to BPA.

So, when you’re assured that, “Don’t worry, your sales slip is ‘BPA-free,’” it may be just BPS instead. And, BPS receipts “may contain up to 40% more” BPS than it would have had BPA. So, BPA-free could be even worse! In fact, all BPA-replacement products tested to date released chemicals “having reliably detectable [estrogenic activity].”

And, this includes Tritan™, which is specifically marketed as being estrogen-activity free. But, drip an extract on human breast cancer cells in a petri dish, and you can accelerate their growth—an effect that’s abolished by an estrogen blocker, as you can see in the red lines. Now, this was after exposing them to simulated sunlight. Only one out of three Tritan products showed estrogen activity in an unstressed state—not exposed to microwaving, heat, or UV rays.

“Because there would be no value in trading one health hazard for another, we should urgently focus on the human health risk assessment of [all these] BPA substitutes.”

In the meanwhile, there are steps we can take to limit our exposure. We can reduce our “use of polycarbonate plastics,” which are usually labeled with recycle codes 3 or 7, and opt for fresh and frozen food, over canned goods—especially tuna and condensed soups.

Canned fruit consumption didn’t seem to matter, but weekly canned vegetable consumption was associated with increased BPA exposure. If you do use plastics, don’t microwave them, don’t put them in the dishwasher, don’t leave them in the sun or a hot car, or don’t use once scratched. But, using glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers are probably best.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video credit: Daniel Black.

Doctor's Note

If BPS is so bad, Why BPA Hasn’t Been Banned? Such a good question I made a video about it!

What was that about grocery store receipts? See Getting Under Our Skin – BPA on Receipts.

Even though canned fruits may not be as BPA contaminated, unfortunately they may not be as healthy as fresh or frozen. See Is Canned Fruit as Healthy?

This is part of an extended series on the chemical. I think my last video on the topic was How to Avoid the Obesity-Related Plastic Chemical BPA.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only plastics chemical that may have adverse health effects. See also Avoiding Adult Exposure to Phthalates and What Diet Best Lowers Phthalate Exposure?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

93 responses to “Are the BPA-Free Alternatives Safe?

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  1. The audio was full of “blank spaces” that don’t seem natural to the normal narration style of Dr. G. I’ve heard this before.

    I do suppose listening more than looking increases my focus on the audio and here it kept sounding like the video was over-at each dead spot.

    Wonder how this information applies to my ice trays or to the practice of freezing water in used plastic containers for camping or other use in the cooler (which is also plastic).

    Seems we need to be rid of BPx where “x” denotes every derivative of the “BP”. What are the Euro-folks doing? Some of those countries aren’t totally controlled by industry.




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    1. Dangit, I’m yet needing an EDIT function. Sometimes I need to fix the words/phrases/ideas such that they flow better and also there can be misspellings and grammar issues. The comment world seems rather FLAT without the ability to EDIT comments after they’ve left my hand.

      Could someone investigate this please? Am I missing something obvious or extant?




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      1. Right here with you! Yesterday’s transcript was embarrassing! I can’t share this with others and expect them to think it was “professionally” written. So sorry, I don’t mean to be critical since this is an all volunteer site, but more time should go into proofing.




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        1. Anna, all of our content goes through several levels of proofing, though some errors still make it through. Luckily, readers are usually quick to find them and we can make the changes. If you notice errors in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact me through the Meet the Team page (just click on the envelop to get my email address).




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          1. MET THE TEAM
            Invited to visit the page at “Meet the NutritionFacts.org Team”, I was surprised to find only a single male on the staff, something of a ratio of one-to-six. Dr. Greger surely has no problem working with men, but the decided distaff drift is a bit puzzling.

            The next time I find an article complaining about the over-representation of a gender, I’ll make a point to remember equality of opportunity is not even usually a uniformity of result.




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      2. Hi Wade, it’s coming! (Not totally sure of the timing, but it will appear soon). We are also filtering through and tracking all of the feedback we’ve received and will continue to make improvements. Thank you for all of your input.




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    1. Thanks for your comment.

      It is best to check or ask how the can is produced, because as you can see from the information provided on this video, if a company is using other forms of bisphenol, then the negative effect may be similar. It is best to cook beans from scratch.

      You can find an interesting video related to the topic below, I highly recommend you to watch it:

      Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?

      Hope this answer helps.




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  2. I’ve seen similar warnings about not microwaving plastic containers – or just plain don’t use them at all.

    I believe most Tupperware type containers are either polyethylene or polypropylene which don’t contain any of those nasty chemicals.




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    1. Richard, the problem with phthalates is they are only a subset of many hormone-disrupting chemicals in plastics manufacture. Dropping BPA does not assure us other, perhaps more potent and damaging chemicals will not be quietly substituted.

      Here is an excellent site on the topic, whose author has tracked the problem of hormone disruption as almost a second career– https://myplasticfreelife.com/2011/04/bpa-free-does-not-mean-safe-most-plastics-leach-hormone-disrupting-chemicals/




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  3. This is a very irritating video to watch, so I left it. A note to aspiring videographers… highlighting text, lifting it ‘out’ of the page by 1/4 inch and NOT increasing its size does nothing to help viewing. I find I’m squinting more because the dang screen is nonstop motion. Come on! It’s common sense (you’d think).




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  4. I have some Rubbermaid plastic food containers that are labeled with a recycle code of “5”. Does anyone know if they would be BPx free? In the video, Dr G says to avoid plastics with a code of “3” or “7”.. Would a code of 5 indicate that it would be safe?




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    1. We comment as we were requested to do by Dr. G, his happy healthy self, with particular respect to the not-improved style videos as well as the new format of the site.

      Which is nice color-wise, but too spread out.




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      1. NEW STYLES COME AND NEW STYLES GO
        Wade, I must agree– the latest “flat” visual style is all the rage with website developers and has afflicted even WordPress sites, such as this one. The problem with the new flat style is it offers fewer points of visual orientation– everything, as you put it, is “spread out”.

        Yes– admittedly– a flat style provides a stunning opening page panorama for travel agencies, but it is markedly less helpful for ideas and biology on the Nutrition Facts site. Visually, a flat style makes the viewer work harder to find points of reference, and leaves many viewers “gasping for breath” after scanning the page for guidepoints.

        In contrast to flat, the previous style of clustering functional points (search, login, comment, etc.) and marking them by color (even ancient “3-D” shading effects) was popular because such measures are visual language for the brain, and quickly orient the eye for page navigation. Clustering also respects user convenience, without demanding users “mouse around” the screen as much for repetitive tasks.

        A similar fascination with “flat” color palette went through the designer ranks about two decades ago, replacing loud, vibrant reds, blues and greens with subdued, earthy overtones. The color teal replaced bright green or electric blue because teal was not as “loud” as the purer hues.

        All to say, how information is presented is a major factor, and can make or break a page (or site). The military has a heavy interest in improving the flow of important information, and for a pilot’s “heads up” display, clustering of important information is a matter of life or death, especially without outside visual cues while flying by instruments, only.

        So, your comments are not only important, but actually add to the value of NutritionFacts.org. As Dr. Greger made clear years ago, volunteer effort is what makes the site run (well). I still recall the appreciative, personal response I got from Dr. Greger after submitting my transcription of an interesting video– a volunteer effort made with some doubt, when I was unaware volunteers were welcomed. Thankfully, transcripters have proliferated, and now, almost every video has a decent transcript.

        Almost always, a little experimentation helps develop the technology, but making each stylistic new wave into a “take it or leave it” standard is not good policy.* After all, content must be presented in a manner most useful to the viewer, not simply a technical or stylistic wrinkle. So, mine is a supporting vote for eclecticism– deciding what works best, and basing that evaluation on what readers suggest, who (after all) are its reason for being. Thanks for your comments.

        * My strong support goes to site staff for their frenzied efforts on a continual basis– the equivalent of building an airplane as it flies (hoping to avoid fatal design errors, in the process).




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    1. In 2001 Hienz Food company had this to say about their canned beans;
      ” Although UK and European Food authorities have stated that a minute levels of BPA in can coatings are safe , Hienz remains committed to moving to safer alternatives ”
      This was their statement after it was found out that their canned beans were some of the highest levels of BPA in those countries.




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    1. Thanks for your question Nancy.

      According to one of the studies mentioned by Dr Greger and I quote:

      BPA concentrations in canned vegetable products were relatively low in general; about 60% of the products had BPA concentrations of less than 10 ng/g. The mean BPA concentration was 20 ng/g, and the highest concentration (92 ng/g) was detected in a cream-style corn product.

      Another study, has also found that:

      The average BPA concentrations for foodstuffs in glass jar whose lid covered with plastic film were determined to be between ‘‘not detected’’ and 399.21 ± 3.26 lg kg 1. The high concentrations of BPA were averagely found in bean (650.15 ± 10.42 lg kg 1) and tuna (287.97 ± 5.22 lg kg 1) for canned foodstuffs (…) However, only in bean samples, BPA concentrations were found at levels greater than the European Union migration limit of 0.6 mg of BPA/kg of food. In other analysed samples, the determined BPA concentrations were less than this limiting value.

      Hope this answer helps.




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  5. The new website is great, and there are no problems with the formatting of the videos. All the different styles are just fine. There really isn’t one that is better than another. The content is what matters most, and Dr. Greger’s method of presenting the science–with the actual medical research papers available to view, along with the transcript for those who want to be sure they didn’t miss anything in the video–is perfect. Also perfect is the reference that follows, to other videos or blogs on the site for viewers to find additional information. None of this has changed. I’m starting to think that the many critics of the new website format are trolls from the legions of anti-vegan, anti-plant based folks, trying to disrupt the site. Enough already!




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    1. Vivian,

      I’m glad you’re happy with the new website and videos. You are probably younger than many of us, perhaps brought up on video games and fast moving cartoons, etc. Many of us are older, and some find the fast movement distracting to the point of being unable to watch. Even if you are older, perhaps movement like that doesn’t distract you as it does many. We are all different in may ways.

      Please be assured that some of those who are complaining the most have been making intelligent, cogent, informed comments on this forum for years. They definitely are NOT paleo trolls. It is troubling to see something that has worked well for us for many years suddenly change and become difficult to watch.

      It’s not always easy to put ourselves in others’ places, but it often helps understanding when we try to.




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      1. Well said Rebecca! It’s so true that some very dedicated NutritionFacts followers do not have a learning style that easily absorbs quick moving and shifting presentations. Hopefully ther can come up with a way to capture the greatest audience without turning off too many of us!




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    2. Vivian:

      I’ve been whole-food, plant-based for years and have been following Dr. Greger since around the time of the founding of NutritionFacts.org. While I love the new website, Dr. Greger, and his work, I do agree with most of the criticisms of the new videos.

      For me it just seems like an odd allocation of resources. Dr. Greger mentioned not too long ago that the site’s bounce rate is too high, which I guess was an explanation for the website redesign and maybe also the video format change. (I’ll get back to the bounce rate later, which is not that high in my opinion.) As far as the site changes are concerned, I agree wholeheartedly with the switch to WordPress and find it so much better than the old site. WordPress is more scalable, reactive, and easily customizable than pretty much anything else out there. Maintenance is so streamlined that once the hard part is over (i.e. setup), it’s pretty much smooth sailing. Major updates to the platform are generally not too disruptive, and even older versions of WordPress can be locked down pretty tightly if you don’t want to be bothered right away with updates and the pain they can cause. Also, since WordPress experts are a dime a dozen, there will never be a shortage of volunteers who will be able to help maintain the site. If it comes to it, paid support from consulting firms is generally pretty cheap, too, since there is so much competition out there. To put it briefly, I will say the site updates were the best idea they’ve had in a long time. Also the site changes are in the end pretty minor, so it is something that people will probably get used to over time.

      The videos, however, are an entirely different issue, and I have to say I still simply don’t understand why the changes were made. I’m not old, but I also don’t watch television or play video games, so my brain just can’t handle the new formats. I don’t know exactly how to articulate it, but watching the new videos is just a very unpleasant experience, so I listen instead. Just like the others, I think the old format was perfect and am still sitting here scratching my head over the change, especially after getting the ostensible reason for the change (as I understood it, at least), i.e. concern over catching more people due to the “high” bounce rate.

      The bounce rate at NutritionFacts.org is pretty respectable. If you compare it to other plant-based sites out there, using publicly available information, it is either on par with everyone else or significantly better than everyone else. For example, the bounce rate is 15% better at NutritionFacts.org than PCRM.org, NF has 50% more page views per visitor per day than PCRM, and visitors on NF spend about twice as much time on the site as PCRM. But here is the most striking difference between NutritionFacts.org and all the other high-profile plant-based sites: NF is one of the top 9000 websites in the entire US. That may seem low, but compare it to the top 30,000 to 300,000, which is where other popular plant-based sites fall. NutritionFacts.org is already one of the most popular sites on plant-based nutrition.

      What I’m getting at is this: NutritionFacts was already doing very well with respect to numbers, in my opinion at least. I’m not an expert (and I’m not affiliated with NutritionFacts.org or any competitor), but it seems to me that there was already a pretty good audience who presumably already liked the work that was being produced. With that in mind, I would have focused on some other things that clearly need fixing. Web design was a good place to start.

      But the biggest problem is downtime. In my experience, NutritionFacts.org regularly goes down for up to 15 minutes at a time. For such a high-profile organization this probably shouldn’t be happening. Every time it goes down, I check it at downforeveryoneorjustme.com, and every time it is confirmed to be down for everyone and not just me. I’ve never seen this happen with the other big names in plant-based nutrition. This is an obvious problem, a problem that will likely require money to solve. “Fixing” the videos probably cost money, too, but what good are the new videos if someone goes to the site, sees that it’s down, and just never comes back? That’s a much bigger problem than fixing a bounce rate that isn’t too high in the first place.

      This comment is getting to be a little long, and while there are several other things I would like to mention, I will simply add two more brief items. First, the comments system is a mess. A long time ago I had heard there was eventually going to be some sort of proper forum on the site which would help people to connect and offer some kind of practical support that for now is nonexistent, but it appears I was misinformed. I should add that this feature exists at all the other high-profile plant-based sites. NutritionFacts already has a huge audience, by comparison, so just think how much more good they could do if they got people to stay on the site once they’re already here and keep them coming back day after day with properly threaded conversations. As it is, the comments section doesn’t work well because it’s impossible to have any kind of discussion. Once the videos are a day old, everyone disappears.

      Just one more thing. If I ran this site, I would ask myself this, and I believe this is the most important question: How do I most effectively reach people who were sent to NutritionFacts by a loved one? The reason I ask is because every time I forward a friend, colleague, or family member a link to a video or blog post on NutritionFacts.org, their response is always the same: “That’s great, but what do I do about it?” There isn’t a whole lot of practical information on the site, just high-level research data. And if that’s the way it’s always going to be, then so be it. NutritionFacts is largely an enthusiast site for people who are already very curious or knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition. In other words, it’s just not very friendly for absolute beginners who have no idea where to start making changes. It seems to me that this is the kind of problem that could be very cheaply fixed through something like web design changes, for example by just adding some more prominent beginner-oriented links on video pages or setting up a separate landing page with similar links for people arriving on an individual video page as opposed to the main page. I’m sure someone could come up with something helpful with just a little brainstorming.

      Anyway, apologies for the long post, but quite frankly I think the vast majority of complaints about the videos are coming from committed plant-eaters who care about Dr. Greger and his mission. Especially in view of the impressive numbers that NutritionFacts already pulls in, I think the focus should be less on how to make the numbers even better and more on how to leverage the numbers that are already good.




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      1. “Just one more thing. If I ran this site, I would ask myself this, and I believe this is the most important question: How do I most effectively reach people who were sent to NutritionFacts by a loved one? The reason I ask is because every time I forward a friend, colleague, or family member a link to a video or blog post on NutritionFacts.org, their response is always the same: “That’s great, but what do I do about it?” There isn’t a whole lot of practical information on the site, just high-level research data. And if that’s the way it’s always going to be, then so be it. NutritionFacts is largely an enthusiast site for people who are already very curious or knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition. In other words, it’s just not very friendly for absolute beginners who have no idea where to start making changes. It seems to me that this is the kind of problem that could be very cheaply fixed through something like web design changes, for example by just adding some more prominent beginner-oriented links on video pages or setting up a separate landing page with similar links for people arriving on an individual video page as opposed to the main page. I’m sure someone could come up with something helpful with just a little brainstorming.”

        My experience with lifestyle/nutrition changes tells me that understanding and knowledge comes first…i.e….the WHY to change. Then comes the hard part actually changing.

        Back when I was younger and starting out…I was probably one of the first customers of “fast food…BurgerChef. I ate one meal per day. Fridge was empty. Then I went to rice/soups..mac and cheese mixes…spagetti mixes…and that was it…PERIOD. I did take “one a day” vitamins.

        What’s the point? When one is young and reasonably healthy…diet might be pretty far from any major concerns…especially these days where food is advertised everywhere. And when you are young…you are going to live forever…don’t you know.

        What would motivate younger people to be mindful of their diet? Usually some health issue? Start there….




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        1. Hi Fred.

          Thanks for the response.

          For many people the first sign of illness is sudden death. Waiting for people to get sick would indeed help change their diets, since dead people generally eat a lot fewer unhealthy foods. If our goal is to help the living change their diets, though, we should maybe start a little earlier.

          I don’t mean to be too glib about it. A friend of mine had a massive stroke at the age of 27. He was extremely fit, trim, active, rode his bike everywhere, the outward picture of good health. But one day out of nowhere he suddenly lost the ability to speak. So his girlfriend took him to the ER. He then spent three weeks in ICU (three weeks!). It seemed like a miracle when he got out, because the day-to-day news was generally not good. Then he was in rehab for months after that, relearning how to walk, speak, dress and feed himself. Shortly after getting out, he started developing kidney disease.

          He’s not alone. The figures for teenage strokes used to be around 1000 per year. I have no idea what they are now. And that’s teenagers that are almost ten years younger than this guy was when he had his stroke.

          It’s been a couple years, and my friend is better than before, but he’s still not himself. He has trouble holding down a job and just isn’t quite the same person as before.

          Anyway, the “wait for people to get sick” approach might have some flaws.




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          1. Hi Josh, It is said when we hear stories like that people taking care of themselves and then some ill health strikes them. However, I think we have to keep on being conscious of our eating habits and activity and life style and do the things that we can to help ourselves. It is good that your friend is recovering from the stroke and I hope he gets better every day. Who knows may be because he was fit is recovery faster than someone who was not as fit as him or her.

            Also, thank you Dr Greger for all your great work and this interesting video regarding BPA. I am trying to make my young adult son interested in these important videos.




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          2. I’ve noticed that most people have difficulty believing that they will get older and eventually die….despite some pretty clear evidence that it is so. At my age the statistical evidence is clear…on avg I might have 15 years left. That’s MIGHT…cause there is always the “hit by a bus” theory. Also a lot of the concerns that many people have are no longer that important to me…like what career path I will take…and on and on.

            As I said…most younger people are healthy…I assume…and really don’t want to worry that much about what they see as the far future.

            Since I’m older…being healthy has become a hobby. Or maybe a vocation. LOL. Considering your example…I’d say luck or whatever might have a lot to do with outcomes.

            I’d guess the best bet is to try to be positive and move towards the light…much like a plant? But seriously…that is probably the key. Move towards the light…and avoid the noid. Plenty of losers waiting to drag you in for sure.




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      2. Thank you for the feedback. Along with the site redesign, there were also measures taken to prevent the site from going down. Since I’m not the tech person around here, I don’t have the specifics but that was an issue of high importance to us and it should very rarely (if ever) happen again. We also did a great deal of surveying and user testing that led to this redesign, and are continuing to following the feedback from users to make further changes.




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        1. Before all the changes I used to get the email with a link to the videos and blog entries early in the morning. I’m on the West Coast, so if it comes at, say, 8:30 or 9, that’s 11:30 or noon back east. Now it comes much later, so I often have to go to the site to watch. What happened?




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      3. Josh,
        Ease of administration is the major selling point for WordPress, and passable expertise (to its credit) is not that hard to acquire. But if ease of administration is the main advantage, numerous demerits also come attached. Although WordPress can be set for automatic updates, that requires certain published settings with which The Usual Suspects are already familiar, and are working on “solutions”. The problem becomes only worse with the need to vet plug-ins and themes, and security quickly becomes a parallel job in itself. Hackers are always attracted by high volume sites, especially when they can run a captive site of their own to develop better attack methods.

        You are right about the messaging / forum issue– again, WordPress demonstrates its origin with strong exposition / publication features, but with less thought and flexibility to messaging, comments and conversations. That is important, as you point out, because the forum community seems a strong factor in visitor retention. If visitors find it easy to communicate, and get response in a reasonable period, they are likely to add the site to their usual favorites and begin to visit regularly. Although even WordPress sends reminders a visitor question was addressed, no one else does it quite as well as Disqus.

        Your example of the need to provide urgently-needed nutritional information could not have been more pointed– a 27-year-old with high stroke risk, and no inkling of his own danger. Or any idea the proper diet might prevent / lower that risk. Yet, even the best-planned site requires visitors invest in the learning curve, and imposes some grade of effort to move past personal bias and presumption, aka “What Everyone Already Knows about the Vegetarian Approach”. While a beginner track or level of content is a very promising idea, sometimes only a crisis generates and sustains desire to learn.

        As always, the key to connecting with visitors is to address the actual questions they ask. Dr. Greger’s approach seems ideal in capturing that naive, initial interest– but in answering the question, he wisely focuses on the research itself, as the most convincing of all dialogues. Through a running narrative, whose signature line has become, “We needed such a study, but did not have one until…. now”, Dr. Greger avoids the trap of so many health articles and websites which turn the contact into a one-way lecture. By focusing on the research questions, he lets visitors review their own beliefs vs. the latest (sound) research. About two years ago, when I had no intention of adopting a vegetarian diet (did not even care what a vegan diet was), that approach answered specific questions well enough for me to return to this site with increasing frequency– the more I learned, the more information I wanted, with no conversion experience required.

        Videos always have been a debatable topic at NutritionFacts.org, although a strong case could be made Dr. Greger designed the site from the beginning for clear content– simply the best, most compelling research on any given WFPBD topic. On that much, he never has wavered from his original mission. For that reason, quite a number of visitors may come to the site, find the answer they need, and go away happy– to return later. If retention is a problem, some sites try to validate that presumption with a suggestion box exit question, equivalent to, “What information did you hope to find today?” A surprising number of visitors will answer.




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    3. I’m a 35 year old web designer, I’ve been following this site since the beginning, and I also can not watch the videos any longer. The movement makes me queasy and I can’t concentrate on what the good doctor is saying.




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    4. Hi Vivian. I will generally agree with Rebecca on the Troll issue. (I sometimes wish we had more trolls on this site as they can really spark some great responses.) However I agree with you about the format. I like it. However, I have learned something totally unexpected in the discussion on this issue. That is; I probably spend too much time on my computer and that might be why I follow it as well as I do since, at 67 I’m part of the less young crowd.

      So something else. I must say that I have an intense appreciation for the effort going into the viewing improvements here. Unsuccessful attempts not withstanding, it takes a great deal of effort and that is appreciated. In particular, the greater ease of topical focus is something that has already benefited me.




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    5. Vivian*,
      Along with you, critics of the “new” site also highly value standard, legacy features like–

      1. article transcript
      2. referenced research study links
      3. article cross-links.

      Beyond these highly popular features, however, critics have addressed other issues related to navigation, ease-of-use, and forum software, which are major functional points with any website. If you take the trouble to read through their comments, you will find their concerns in abundant detail.

      * I post this again, because when I selected “Reply” beneath your message, the published response was not placed / formatted so it had any apparent relation to your message, but was placed far down the page. That is yet another reminder of WordPress limitations with forum activity and messaging.




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  6. Please go back to the original format. The new format is so irritating I can not follow it. If it stays like this I probably will stop watching altogether.




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    1. Hang in there Richard (as I’m doing-Endeavor to persevere). Thea had to tell me twice (at least) that these videos are made in big sets or series that cover many weeks (when strung out three-per).

      I hope each slightly-too-fast-paced, bouncy/slidy/peely/swelling/shrinking/shifting/swirling episode of texts is the LAST one I must endure here.

      I so much enjoyed going back through the previous years of videos after I first got here, and things continued in that “fashion” for a good while.

      And sometimes I just dig around to see what I can pull up that I’ve not seen before–provided it wasn’t made in the last several months. I like to see the old ones to remember WHY I started here at NF.O. Why I was able to watch dozens of videos each day as I was getting familiar with latest nutritional information.

      I could never do that now.

      I stay because I have hope that all this will blow over soon and they’ll find something else to “improve” the bounce rate. I (and my kind) likely screw up whatever rates they’re looking at because I have to RE-watch these videos so many times because of tuning out/away so frequently.

      I won’t share them either, not that any of my SAD pals ever watch anyway. I’d hate for them to tune in that FIRST time and get so bumfuzzled by the “razzle dazzle” videos that they indeed BOUNCE and never return.

      I probably would.




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      1. Hi Wade
        I wonder if Dr. Greger wasn’t thinking something like “people generally don’t have the ability to read the entire research articles so NF.O should highlight and pull out ALL the appropriate text.” This makes the video really busy. There must be a reason for this change that makes sense. Obviously he is trying to improve the website but I can’t say I have found the changes helpful. And the comment section doesn’t flow as well as it once did.
        But I have faith in the good doctor.




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        1. Very good point Wade about the number of videos that come out at once. Probably best to release a few and get the feedback.

          It is an interesting problem this group tries to solve-updating the website. If you think about how far Dr. Greger has come it’s truly amazing. When this videos first started I would try and forward them to someone and inevitably they would respond that they can’t handle the video. The voice, the speed in which Dr. Greger spoke etc. I would say “just read the transcript!” Irritated that the message was being lost. Now Dr. Greger is so good at this voice over stuff. So that box checked.

          Now they are trying to produce the best video. And Dr. Greger gets the message. He is a lecturer, a brilliant doctor and he has a passion for nutritional science. He really wants to change the way we all eat. Compare these videos to the old stop light videos. Oh my what a difference.

          The comment section has to change. There is so much value from someone new to the sight asking a question and having someone post an old video with the answer. It just isn’t user friendly in its current state. It’s just all wrong.

          And I am sure Dr. Greger doesn’t have the time to answer the questions as he did when he first started posting videos. So he really needs the people who have watched the videos to help answer questions. It worked so well……..




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        2. We readers miss the Disqus format a great deal. There were problems, we are told, but Disqus problems have been managed well (enough) on other sites, so we continue to campaign for a return to Disqus.

          1. We miss the option to edit our mis-typed text, discovered inevitably after publication.
          2. We miss the option to add or modify text, as needed, for clarity, after publication.
          3. We miss the sheer utility of finding all our conversations collected on the Disqus site, for quick updates.
          4. We miss the eye appeal of native Disqus text formatting, and closer arrangement of all text.
          5. We miss the user options for effective text formatting, not only bold and italic, but other options, including bulleted points.
          6. We miss the option to search for particular conversations with important links and data.

          WordPress is enriched by particular WordPress themes and plugins, but it has notable weaknesses. WordPress has become a security hazard– far more of a ransomware hazard than the old regime (with trolled links, spam, etc.) ever was.

          WordPress never was designed to be a forum engine, but only a content (management) system– to publish a blog or point of view, with token allowance for reader comment. Anything and everything else must come from its developers and contributors.

          WordPress offers the superficial appeal of a turn-key, single application solution, but one whose design does not lend itself to the vigorous user activity (user-launched searches, forum exchanges, linking, etc.) for which NutritionFacts.org once was famous. WordPress is an under-powered framework that “solves” some problems, while creating others of equal or greater burden.

          Elsewhere on this video comment section, NutritionFacts.org staffers have been praised for their efforts to provide the best product possible, and I sincerely believe they make a strong effort. So, my comments are an emphatic suggestion they reconsider their efforts and investment (so far), and take another, more eclectic approach, based on the experience of NutritionFacts.org users with Disqus and its strong user appeal.




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  7. I disagreed with Dr. Greger when he told us that canned beans were OK (Canned Beans or Cooked Beans? November 1st, 2013 Volume 15). I’m wondering now if he is going to redo his video on canned beans after this new information. As much as I enjoy the convenience of canned beans, I dislike the image of how they are cooked inside the can: Beans in the factory are hydrated, blanched, then sealed in cans, then cooked in a retort, a huge pressure cooker. Heating the beans with whatever lining material it has, whether it be BPA or other material, just seems to me to guarantee that the consumer get a hefty dose of EA (estrogen active) material.




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    1. I understand your concern and only used to eat beans that I cooked myself. Over time, though, as I got busier and busier, I just couldn’t keep up. So I had to switch back to eating canned beans again.

      I still try to cook my own as much as I can, which is easier with an InstantPot by the way. Just don’t cook them for as long as the InstantPot instructions tell you to, otherwise your beans will be tasteless and mushy. It takes some experimentation to get the time right for each bean type, but it’s generally a lot less than the instructions. And it will vary for every bean type, even if only by a minute.

      For canned beans I generally follow the same rule that Dr. Greger suggests we apply to produce. For produce, organic is best, but if all you can get is conventional, it’s better to eat it than not to eat it. So that’s what I do with beans. If I have to eat canned, I eat canned. It’s not ideal, but I have only so much time during the week and my freezer can only hold so many frozen beans that I’ve prepared myself.

      Like most things in life, it’s about compromise. Personally I believe it is better to eat canned beans than not to eat beans at all.




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    2. Nothing like a freshly-filled can of pressure-cooker heated beans to bring out the worst in BPA (and BPS and BPF)-lined cans. Like other readers, my vote goes to making beans from scratch (whenever humanly possible).

      The cooking time required for such preparation can be alleviated somewhat by preparing larger quantities. The excess food is room-cooled, and later, stored in the refrigerator (or freezer). Reheating in a covered glass casserole dish in a longer microwave session under low power avoids the common mistake of “nuking” the food with an overpowered haste.




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  8. Change is difficult for most people including me. So I decided to use the pause the button to focus on what I wanted to take the time to study the images myself and low and behold, my learning curve increased. I love the now dimensions and highlighting and I am so grateful for the text screen as I have a little hearing loss.

    There is supreme power in the PAUSE button ;)




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  9. Hi Dr. Greger, Thank you for your great work. As raised in many Q&A sessions, many of us are eager to view videos you indicated you were preparing on intermittent fasting (IF). When will these be available? Really looking forward to those. Thank you!




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    1. I would love to hear the good doctor’s views on fasting. I’ve been fasting (black coffee and green tea only) one day a week (usually Mondays), for over 30 years. If I’m to take a test or give a public presentation, fasting on those days serves to give more focus and greater mental acuity to the tasks at hand. On those fast days, my crossword puzzles seem to almost solve themselves. I never cheat and never want to. My body thanks me, and food always tastes better on the following day. So, what am I doing wrong, doc?




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      1. (Sorry this was in reply to another commenter) I’m Joan-NurseEducator a volunteer with NutritionFacts.org and your question is an interesting one that has received attention lately. Here’s what Dr. Greger found: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-caloric-restriction-good-for-you/ Apparently calorie restriction, which could include one day a week, can boost memory. You may want to check out this study as well:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28106818 titled: Potential Benefits and Harms of Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Amongst Obese, Overweight and Normal Weight Subjects-A Narrative Review of Human and Animal Evidence. Hope this helps




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    2. I’m Joan-NurseEducator a volunteer with NutritionFacts.org and your question is an interesting one that has received attention lately. Here’s what Dr. Greger found: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-caloric-restriction-good-for-you/ Apparently calorie restriction, which could include one day a week, can boost memory. You may want to check out this study as well:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28106818 titled: Potential Benefits and Harms of Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Amongst Obese, Overweight and Normal Weight Subjects-A Narrative Review of Human and Animal Evidence. Hope this helps




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      1. Thanks for that, Joan. Human physiology suggests we ate as opportunity presented itself through our evolution, so that means whoever managed through a harsh winter had to adapt to (seasonal) periods of enforced fasting and energy conservation. There is an abundance of literature for the benefits of particular diets and/or fasting, but the eyes glaze over at lack of solid research on key points usually made by diet/fast regime fans.

        Their major points include–
        1. longer lifespan through calorie restriction (but is it a more disease-resistant lifespan?)
        2. reduced burden on metabolic systems (analogous to machine downtime for repair and maintenance)
        3. the alleged function of clearing toxic substances
        4. the alleged function of clearing all fat buildup, by reversion to fat-burning (myth, or method?)
        5. role of fasting / diet in energy management (for strength and mental clarity)

        This is an opportunity for us. Dr. Greger’s rosetta stone of a medical education is our means to sort out the value of fasting, just as he has offered better research corroborating the whole food, plant-based diet.




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    1. Wondering this as well, what do we freeze in if not wanting to use glass canning jars. I’ve re-used plastic #5 containers but now am wondering if I need to find an alternative. I batch cook and freeze beans for future use, many of them. Really would like to hear what others have to say about this specifically.




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  10. What about the new(ish) VitaMix blender carafe? The company touts the product as “BPA Free”. We use ours daily (sometimes twice a day) and it’s definitely scratched. The plastic gets very hot when making their hot soup recipes.




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    1. Blend-tec too. Grinding flaxseed in it has worked on the plastic. Well okay I ground some coffee in it too a few times.

      But I don’t do much else with it anymore (I used to smoothie constantly).




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  11. This new site format is worse than the previous version in a few ways. First, there’s an annoying screen we have to click past to get to content, even if we come to this site every day and are logged in as members. Lame. Second, because of said screen, search on mobile is now literally impossible.




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  12. I have a brilliant idea! Instead of worrying about which plastic number is acceptable do as Dr. Greger suggests in the video.

    “But, using glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers are probably best.”

    Many years ago I went through and threw away (recycled) all of our plastic containers. That way I don’t have to worry. I love glass. I take water and smoothies in a stainless steel container.




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    1. Thanks for that– it was thoroughly enjoyed. Predatory (parasitic?) journals pretending peer-review process are inevitable, so long as no one checks them.

      Which doubly emphasizes the importance of NutritionFacts.org, presenting only the better studies, based on close scrutiny of methodology and possible researcher incentives to present with bias.

      Originally, the dreaded “publish or perish” sanction was designed to flush out research professionals whose contributions had fallen to an occasional study. As a critically intensive, peer-based process, it was supposed to crowd-source the work of many (professional) reviewers, but even the reviewers must be reviewed.




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  13. I wonder when someone will look at what happens between the COOKWARE we use and our food. I seem to remember that heat INCREASES chemical reactions. If I am not mistaken, the good Doctor is discussing the effect that cold or room temperature has, but not what HEAT has. Yet the recommendation is to NOT use plastics in the Microwave or of course not on the stove (but what about what cookware is coated with?? Doesn’t that get warm??)

    Many people walk by and put their nose up at the cookware… how can it possibly affect us??? Well, just stop and think about it just a little more closely…. the cookware in the home is the TROJAN HORSE… no one pays it much attention and it touches our food how often?

    It always made sense to me to avoid increasing the chemicals into our lives, let alone in our bottles… but what about what happens between the food and the materials our cookware is made of? Are we eating our pots and pans??
    They sure don’t taste good no matter what it is that is seeping into our soup! Bitter and Flat tastes require… salt, sugar and spices. Whatever it is… just HIDE IT! No one will know… cause no one is looking!




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    1. I’m also wondering about the utensils we use to cook with and go into the heated food. I’m made the decision to dispose of all the plastic utensils but have some silicone ones that I wonder about. Is wood best and is it treated also. I want to be as good to my body as I can without going off the deep end.




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      1. Hi Dianne, I agree, one simply cannot see the ‘melting’ that may be taking place. Spatulas certainly seem to change in shape however.

        I use metal or wood as I’m not so convinced about silicone.

        I have Saladmaster Cookware so the metal utensils do not damage. Some people prefer the muffled sound of wood spoons however.

        Warm regards, Sandy

        Give the Gift of Wow!
        Share the Saladmaster Dinner experience . It can be that little extra bit of MAGIC everyone needs to know exists to take their daily meals to the next level!




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  14. THANKS FOR THE AUDIO
    After sustained complaints about the resounding BOOOOOOOOMMMM ! of the opening, title sequence, some kind souls on staff have fixed the problem.

    With this video, I was pleasantly surprised– no, amazed– to find both the title sequence audio and the following content audio levels in balance. And that is not easy with Dr. Greger’s voice, which goes from a breathless squeak through an impatient, slurred flurry of words, with an occasional, resonant boom (depending on how he feels).

    Presented with the choice between a studio-quality, “presenter” voice delivering canned content, and Dr. Greger’s highly original exegesis of rich study data, I vote for Dr. Greger.




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  15. this news just makes me frightened. So many things might be not as safe as we think. Now that consumers should limit their exposure to BPA-free alternatives




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  16. So I am now wondering about the safety of silicone baking pans. My personal research has not found any problems, but Dr Greger reads material I don’t find.




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  17. I would like to note that even though Stainless steel should be a better alternative, there are many steels that are not food approved so are lined with plastic. Avoid these.

    I would also point out that there are cans lined with other substances. Trader Joe’s actually lists many on their website.

    I hope more people complain and get the can industry to change to truly inert linings.




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  18. Is Eden Organic Black Beans safe?

    I want the convenience of canned black turtle beans and in an older video, Dr. Greger suggested Eden was the first and only BPA free can available at that time but that was back in 2012. Eden now claims that their organic beans are BPA, BPS, and PVC free, (http://www.edenfoods.com/store/catalog/product/view/id/11303/s/black-beans-organic-bpa-free-lined-can/category/34/ – Scroll down the page and click on “Additional Information”).

    In “Details” above this information they state:” EDEN Beans are in custom-made steel cans, lined with baked on oleo resinous c-enamel that does not contain the endocrine disrupter chemical biphenyl-A (BPA). Oleoresin is a natural mixture of oil and a resin extracted from plants such as pine or balsam fir.” Am I correct in assuming since oleoresin is a plant extract that Eden organic black beans are free of endocrine disruptors?




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    1. Hi Martin,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks for your question. This is an excellent and interesting one.

      Although I do not know the research surrounding use of the material with which Eden uses for their canned beans, it would be very likely that the material is not more harmful than typical BPA-containing cans. Because Eden is typically a relatively trustworthy brand, I see no reason not to consume their beans, especially as it compares to other brands.

      I could not find any research on the topic, so we will have to wait until some good research on this canning material is done.




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  19. I called Eden and spoke to a customer service agent and she said that the Organic Black Bean cans are free of endocrine disruptors. However, she mentioned that the company changed the lining sometime in March from the oleoresin-based coating to a polyester based coating system. My ignorance about this with a newly vegan gut reaction makes me nervous. I like the convenience of canned beans over soaking dry beans for half a day. However, does anyone have any information if this new less expensive coating is safe?




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