Space bag plasticizers

Have you noticed a continuing thread in the drugs-in-sport-issue is the testing procedures themselves? Is it scientifically valid? Has it been independently validated? Is it reliable? How much of a substance can be found, is it a reasonable measurement? And then what to do with that information the regulatory side. Is it a threshold substance? And what the hell does that mean anyway? Threshold substance is defined as:

Any material (e.g., glucose) that is excreted in the urine only when its plasma concentration exceeds a certain value, termed its threshold.
biology-online.org/dictionary/Threshold_substance.

Following that determination, should there be a baseline limit amount for that particular substance? Alternatively, is a certain amount considered tolerable, or at least within normal parameters? All these questions, and many more, apparently remain unanswered definitively. Of course, there is certainly a wide gulf between what are the reasonable inquires into the process and the red herrings trotted out to the press by the legions of accused as damage control of the accused athlete’s public image.

From what I understand at the present moment in time (which, arguably, isn’t much), clenbuterol is not a threshold substance. As such, there is no baseline acceptable limit. If it shows up in a urine analysis, guilt has been established.

The new wrinkle is the alleged presence of plasticizers in Alberto Contador’s blood sample from July 21st. If you’re asking what in the hell a “plasticizer” is, you are not alone. I had no idea. I’ll bet google knows. Very detailed (perhaps too detailed) write ups can be found at the following links:

- tciamerica.com/product/materials-chem/F018.shtml.
- www.carbohydrateeconomy.org/library/admin/uploadedfiles/Biochemical_Plasticizes.
- geocheminc.com/pvcfaqplasticizers1.htm.

In case you’re wondering, as I was, disposable blood bags are made of pvc. (See tradekey.com/ks-disposable-pvc-blood-bag.)

French sports paper L’Équipe has reported that tests undertaken on Alberto Contador’s urine sample from the Tour de France have revealed the presence of a plastic component that is found in blood transfusion bags. According to the paper, this could indicate that the three-time Tour winner underwent a blood transfusion before being undergoing a drug control on July 21 that revealed the presence of Clenbuterol.

The paper says that investigators working on Contador’s case at the laboratory in Cologne have tested the Spaniard’s urine using a method developed by Dr Jordi Segura at a laboratory in Barcelona. The method enables the detection of a plastic substance that derives from bags used to transport blood.

According to L’Équipe, this substance, known as di(2-ethylhexyl), has been found in Contador’s urine. This suggests that Contador could have received a transfusion of blood that he gave earlier in the season and which contained traces of Clenbuterol.

cyclingnews.com/news/lequipe-raises-new-doubts-over-contador.

More on the subject over at velonation.com/…Alberto-Contador-insists-hes-had-no-transfusions.

The crux of the matter is twofold. Firstly, this test has not been validated.

L’Équipe adds that Segura’s method, details of which were published in 2009, has not yet been validated by the anti-doping authorities and will require further testing before it can be ratified.
cyclingnews.com, supra.

Secondly, these pesky plasticers can find their way into the blood sample after the sample was drawn.

Frankly, what I know about this would fit on one side of a three by five card, written in purple crayon. I did find a few studies and their summations online. And, I want to be clear on this point, I have no idea if what I’m blockquoting below is representative of the current state of affairs in scientific thought on the subject. It only begs more questions and further inquiry.

In view of the many possible sources of there plasticers in the hospital and laboratory environment, we deemed it advisable to study in more detail blood samples from normal individuals, taking special care to prevent the introduction of such compounds from outside sources during sample workup.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1474922/?page=1.

From the conclusion of the article:

Several laboratory sources of contamination were finally identified. In one case, filter papers used to facilitate phase separation between chloroform and water were found to contain phthalate esters at rather high levels. In another case, phthalate esters were found in bulk quantities of alcohol used in early chloroform-ethanol extractions. In a third case, di-2-ethylhexyl adipate was observed to be present in the plastic wrappings at the top of solvent bottles.

While there seems to be no doubt whatsoever that plasticers are to be found in blood samples where the blood has been stored or in contact with plastic apparatus, such as blood bags, etc, we conclude on the basis of our experiments that indications of plasticizer in humans under normal conditions should be viewed with a great degree of caution.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1474922/?page=2.

Also, pvc products are used in a legal fashion in professional cycling. Does the use of a saline drip also introduce plasticers into the bloodstream? I think Art nailed it in the comment section earlier today:

I’m curious how they can differentiate between blood bag residuals and saline IV bag residuals. IV fluid replacement during stage races is common and legal. I would have guessed the bags were the same material.
drunkcyclist.com/2010/09/30/time-shifting/#comment-51572.

Are plasticers to be a threshold substance? Should they be? Is it reasonable that they could be introduced into a blood sample via the legal and tolerated use of IV drips, or post-sample through manner of storage?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmailby feather

About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

39 thoughts on “Space bag plasticizers

  1. Damn.

    We’ve gone from drunkcyclist to lawyerNoNcyclist.

    Ain’t that a bitch ?

    But…..that’s how life works.

    Good on you BJ.

    Fight the good fight.

  2. Our problem with chemicals in blood/urine samples is our increasing ability to detect down to increasingly small amounts. What used to be parts per 100K became PPM now parts per billion.

    To make sense of the plasticizers issue we will need a base line for normal people. We will need an amount based on expected amounts from saline drips, if any. Is there an amount from our water bottles?

    We also need to know at what level an agent has an effect. The dose does make the poison. And we need length of time it takes to break down or excreted from the body. This will be the only way we can come to grips with the efficacy of any drug regimen or testing result.

    There are a lot of questions about Contador’s test results. As of right now it is hard to say what is the exact truth.

  3. Liter bottle of coke: Plasticizers.
    EJ Gallo in a box: Plasticizers.
    Capri sun: Plasticizers.
    Nalgene in the sun: Plasticizers. And Bisphenyl A.
    Live around new carpet: Plasticizers. Through the lungs.

    This is a fucking witch hunt. Could it be any clearer?

  4. “This is a fucking witch hunt. Could it be any clearer?”

    …ahhh, well no, to be honest, littlejar…& i’m not being contrary for the sake of an argument…

    …for every factor involved, of which there are plenty, there is a variable & that’s why there is nothing clear cut about this case…

    …we may never know the real truth because those variables may clear the spaniard or convict him & mores the shame…

    …if, beyond admission as with someone like margarita fullana or finally, floyd landis, there were a definitive answer or conclusion, we could all feel better about how these situations turn out…

    …just sayin’…

  5. Yeah, you’re right – nothings ever completely clear in that realm. You just gotta be contrary to every fucking thing I say, though, dude. EVERY time. Hey, whatever makes you happy, dude.

  6. …why is it that you’re the one who always has to feel that way ???…

    …you, little jar, need to pay attention…i’ve given you props countless times when i see something positive or something i agree with but you’re god damn straight i’m gonna contradict you if i personally think you’re wrong…

    …why do you think it’s always a personal attack ???…

    …name one thing in these doping situations that ever is perfectly clear unless someone has the stones to stand up & admit that “yes, i really did dope”…& that doesn’t happen often…

  7. …okay, littlejar…these questions are so you can see that i’m trying to be objective about this…there is not one thing ‘aimed’ at you or defined to insult or contradict you…

    …please…read ‘em & lemme know what you think…no reason to get emotionally involved…keep it on an intellectual level…thanks…

    …(1) – biggest race of the year, you are the race leader so why would you allow yourself to eat something that you weren’t sure was certifiably clean ???…

    …(2) – clenbuterol has been outlawed in europe for over 5 years…you think some lone little farmer is going out of his way to purchase it & is feeding it to his cattle ‘for his friends’

    …(3) – why would the team cook, as all team members are instructed about the need to be careful not suggest that using your friends beef might not be prudent considering the issue of contamination in particular in this the most important race of the year ???…

    …(4) – why did no other team member test positive for the same traces when as i’ve mentioned before, teams, especially the winning teams, eat together for morale purposes ???…

    …(5) – why has there been so much waffling by contador & the lawyers about how it actually came about that the ‘tainted meat’ was ingested ???…

    …(6) – what about the issues regarding the length of time clenbuterol stays in the body of animals, human or otherwise ???…half life, as i was informed was 30 to 36 hours…talk to a butcher…good meat is slaughtered & hung for a period of time before use…

    …(7) – i did agree that the ‘plasticizers’ may or may not be an issue but why there are there so many “why’s” regarding the whole fucking situation…

    …just askin’ littlejar, not to contradict you but because i fucking want to know the fucking truth, got it ???…

  8. There is almost one thing in common with almost every single doping case we’ve seen over the last, oh, 10 years or more.

    They always deny, and they almost always end up being guilty. Every. Single. Time.

  9. …Thor Hushovd !!!…
    …Matti Breschel…
    …Allan Davis…
    …Fillipo Pozzato…

    …guess what this refers too…

  10. …okay…this is a little more complete…

    1 Thor Hushovd (Norway)
    2 Matti Breschel (Denmark)
    3 Allan Davis (Australia)
    4 Filippo Pozzato (Italy)
    5 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
    6 Oscar Freire (Spain)
    7 Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia)
    8 Assan Bazayev (Kazakhstan)
    9 Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)
    10 Romain Feillu (France)

  11. Great post bj.
    Why don’t we just accept that doping is a fact and leave them to it? I suspect a lot of people actually love all the “did they/didn’t they?” stuff as much or more than the cycling.
    We all know it’s about media and money, the cycling side has been hijacked for other purposes. If tiddly-winks had the same mass appeal, (which, thankfully it doesn’t) there’d be doping there too.
    Next year’s tdf? Steel, singlespeed on wine, water, bread and nicotine. That’d sort the sheep from the shit;

  12. I call for a world wide dope test for all . Thats correct , you race , you piss ! Also , every athelete with Athsma inhalers TUE or not , be publicly announced and post the racer and the meds on the TUE . I know personally at least 10 clembuteral addicts who win the biggest races and its so fucking obvious that they are gilled . They breathe just fine at the pub but its time to hit the inhaler before and during comps . 100% transparentcy on the Athsma exemptions ! That is one of the biggest problems in cycling period .With the latest positives , we need to clean house in every drug detection sector on the planet . Its been ten years of cover ups , preferential treatment ,
    bad tests ect. They have proven to me that they are not capable of running their programs with the efficiency we all expect . I do not inhale ! Can you hear me know ?

  13. …the dude is a smug little prick…mcquaid & the uci has had his back on this issue so far, so now he’s gonna force their hand ‘cuz he sees himself as ‘money in the bank’ ???…

    …fuck ‘im, let him go…

    …despite the excuses, the fact is he had both clenbuterol & plasticizers in his blood…

    …he lied about his team tactics in the tour 2 years ago, he lied about his actions regarding his ‘friend’, andy schleck at this years tour so why wouldn’t he lie through his teeth when he’s been found to have jeopardized his livelihood…

    …he got a pass on ‘operacion puerto’…okay, fine but is any one of you willing to stand up & contribute to the “clentador ‘tainted meat’ defense fund” ???…

    …i thought not…

  14. backing up a bit for a clarification, the Nalgene bottles made of HDPE are BPA free. These are the opaque white or brown ones. The Lexan clear ones available in all sorts of bright colors are the ones that might have BPA. That’s not to say there aren’t other substances that could come off of HDPE, there probably are. Whether they are similar to the compounds that can leach out of PVC, I have no idea. I think LDPE bottles (including standard cycling waterbottles) are BPA free as well, but I’m not sure… I haven’t heard either way.

  15. …dammit, el jefe…you’re not revealing that information in the name of truth, reality & better understanding for your fellow man, you’re doing that to contradict littlejar, just like everyone else here, aren’t you ???…

    “Could it be any clearer?”

  16. “clarification” is a code word for “attack lj”, isn’t it? I’m just waiting for the response… even though I meant nothing of the sort. Face. Palm.

  17. …certainly seems to be taken that way by littlejar @ every turn no matter how much any of us have intentionally sided w/ him if only to let him know that when he approaches subjects intellectually rather than emotionally, we are able to back him…

    …i’m also waiting for a response to my above #9 post where i’ve asked littlejar a series of reasonable questions regarding the contador affair…

    …i ain’t, however, holding my breath…

  18. When did cyclingnews become a fucking tabloid?

    I’m with LJ, shit’s a fucking which(sic) hunt. The blind are leading, and all this chatter over placticizers is stupid.

    beleaguered, bitches. Fa reel.

  19. …sorry…it is a “which (theory is correct) hunt” but it’s definitely far from a ‘witch hunt’

    …just sayin’…

  20. It may well be a witch hunt, but you can’t have it both ways. If other people were suspended for the same exact substance in nearly identical concentrations, this year, then either Contador gets suspended or Li’s case gets re-opened. You can’t blow off the witch hunt around Contator, and then continue the one around Armstrong (even though there are those of us on this board that know a certain mechanic formerly on the inside of his empire…)

  21. Armstrong’s shit isn’t related to the absurdity of space-bag-plasticizers, so yes, there can be due process and logical lab-work all while having no whitch hunt.

    Shit’s like a retarded dog chasing another retarded dog.

  22. @ Gome: If WADA had a vertical tasting of my blood on ice for potential retrospective testing, I’d be shitting bricks at the prospect of detectable plasticizer residue. It will take about a year to get the protocol independently validated, after which it will not be a witch hunt. It will be a barbecue.

  23. It’s not about horny Nalgene bottles, just as it’s not about bad beef. If these blood bag residuals are not statistically significant within the population of other TdF tested rider, I’m cool with letting it go.

    Otherwise, these data are relevant and just more application of math, science, and facts. Three tools never employed by witch hunters.

    Great writing, BJ. Serious good stuff.

  24. …interesting information, el-sid…very much so…

    …begs the question, did senor contador have medical dispensation from the race doctor, as it would have to be through his authority, to receive ANY type of intravenous injection from his soigneur during the course of the race ???…

    …the recent talk on this site that the ‘plasticizer’ business is bullshit obviously doesn’t hold water with wada or they wouldn’t be expressing concern…

  25. Oops, I misspoke a little. I think “prohibited” is more appropriate than “NOT legal.” I’m not sure what the legal ramifications would be in France.

    If Contador had an approved infusion of something like saline, you’d think he’d be all over it, waving his permission slip from the TdF doctors.

    I’d also like to know if Contador (or anyone) is actually investigating the source of this tainted meat. It is illegal in Spain to use Clenbuterol to buff-up the cattle before slaughter.

    http://bvs.isciii.es/mono/pdf/bes0101.pdf .

  26. Actually, LJ’s post #3 is fairly on point along with Ralph’s. These chemicals really are everywhere – not just in the plastic in the water bottles. This ubiquity, along with the extremely low detection limits (ppbs and lower), and the subjectivity inherent the analytical methods, argues strongly for establishing baseline (what we in the environmental chemistry business call background) levels in athletes (or other humans) based on some fairly rigorous data.

    Now, who’s gonna put the bell on that cat?

  27. …desalivation…being as knowledgeable as you are on the subject i’m wondering if you might answer the question now popping up in my mind…

    …under analysis, could the chemical combination utilized in various plastics be easily identified in a blood sample wherein it could be defined as to what actual type of plastic was predominant in the sample ???…

    …i have no background whatsoever in that field, so i defer to you…

    …thanks…

  28. let’s see. Frank Schleck admitted payments to Fuentes but said no doping occured. Frank is Andy’s brother and cannot take a shit with out lil bro so i believe Andy is on the juice. Cuntador is one the juice, he was Saiz’s boy before the Liberty Seguros implosion,and there ain’t no fuggin question about Armstrong.
    they are all doped. pass the beer nuts.

  29. Apparently the plasticiser test was something new for this year. It’s not WADA certified yet, so it can’t be used alone to sanction someone. He threw a positive result the day before his positive for Clenbuterol. I still want to see data showing that it’s even possible to get a negative with all of the plastics in our lives, but supposedly his levels were 8 times the proposed threshold standard for doping.

    Sorry Gnome, this isn’t an unreasonable witch hunt. This is the result of them trying out a new test to catch cheaters. I’ll bet this is standard practice in a year or two.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/plasticisers-in-contadors-urine-could-indicate-blood-transfusion

  30. bgw – short answer is not likely. the mixtures are too complex and non-unique, and the compounds degrade at different rates via a variety of chemical processes. the info in some of the links floating around in the articles hints at some of the difficulty that even the experts in the case are acknowledging.

    look, i’m all for a level playing field and i know way less about competitive cycling than pretty much everyone else here, but the fact of the matter is that there are so damn many natural and anthropogenic chemicals in our environment (and just because they are “chemicals” doesn’t imply any value judgement). the presence of minute quantities of certain chemicals in the sample is interesting, but to posit that the presence of a plasticizer in the sample *could only be the result of a transfusion* is ridiculous, illogical, and not even 3rd grade science.

    we are hydrocarbon-dominated organisms living in a hydrocarbon-based society, which includes lots and lots and lots of plastic. it’s bound to show up in our blood.

  31. …desalvination…thanks for the knowledgeable reply to my query…

    …something that has come to light since the initial revelation about the ‘plasticizers’ has to do w/ the quantity involved…to quote, “a urine sample taken by the UCI on July 20th revealed levels of plasticizers eight times higher than the minimum amount thought to point towards doping.”

    …it was a day later, on the 21st that the ‘clenbuterol’ was discovered so in theory, he may have been receiving transfusions of his own clean, stored blood throughout “le tour” & it was not until the later date that there was a transfusion of blood also thought to be clean when drawn but “tainted” with traces of clenbuterol from an earlier training date…

    …this whole practice of doping in cycling is a black art involving science & medicine & while someone might “know” when a drug’s ‘life’ is supposedly spent in the bloodstream, it’s still an arcane practice run by mistake-prone human beings…

    …any blood being drawn for this practice would have been done so at a training point which would have precluded the ‘life’ of the clenbuterol yet was still “optimal’ as clean healthy blood & i’m betting dollars to donuts that somebody in contadors very private little circle fucked up…

  32. Thank you for give very good informations. Your website is goodI am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and just couldn’t find. What a perfect site. Like this website your website is one of my new favs.I like this site shown and it has given me some sort of desire to succeed for some reason, so thank you