Chemicals to Avoid, Part I – Bisphenol A (BPA)

31 May

By: Tisha Casida

They are everywhere.  The water you drink, the bed where you sleep, the clothing you wear, and in all parts of a modern household.  They are toxic.  Seeping into one’s skin, lungs, blood, and vital organs.  They are making people sick.  Cancer, sexual problems, and behavioral issues are a part of that list of sicknesses.

Five chemicals have been researched and evaluated for their effect on a human being.  These chemicals include:

–       Bisphenol A (BPA)

–       Phthalates

–       PFOA

–       Formaldehyde

–       Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs)

David S. Martin, a senior medical producer at CNN, summarized these in an article (Martin, 2010).  Since learning about the dangers of many chemicals in our food supply and general environment, I have been relatively aware of the potential dangers of these to the human body.  What is exciting, and equally frustrating, is that there is finally some body of research to back what should have been understood about these chemicals in the first place – before they became so rampant in our daily lives.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

This chemical is a component of a plastic called polycarbonate, and would be found in products like: water bottles, food storage containers (reusable plastic), and electronics.  Naturally, if we are consuming foods or handling these plastics, then we are being exposed to them.  This is especially important to remember for infants and toddlers, who put everything into their mouth.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found, when testing the urine of people for exposure, that 93% of those tested had some level of BPA in their system (Bucher & Shelby, 2010).  The folks at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) warranted “some concern” for adverse effects from BPA.  If you would like to see what “some concern” equates to, I encourage you to look at the actual report (see references below).

Potential adverse health risks that have been expressed but not proven (and will likely never will be because of the ties between industry and politics) include: reduced male sexual function, potential cancer risk (by mimicking estrogen and causing chemical reactions in the endocrine system), and negatively affecting the development of fetuses, infants, and young children.

Let me point out a small link here – BABY BOTTLES AND INFANT FEEDING CUPS – made out of plastic, will likely have BPA in them.

The Food and Drug Administration allows BPA in flexible food packaging (Martin, 2010).  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called for more rigorous testing of BPA and finds it a “chemical of concern” (EPA, 2010).

Tisha’s suggestions, which are not proven, peer-reviewed, or tested (except on myself of course) include:

  1. Do not drink water bottled in plastic, ESPECIALLY if that plastic has gotten hot – use glass bottles, or stainless steel bottles.
  2. Do not use reusable plastic containers – use glass.
  3. Do not EVER heat up food or water in plastic containers in the microwave
  4. DO NOT heat up baby bottles or ANY of baby’s food in plastic containers in the microwave.

You are what you eat.  Don’t make one of those things BPA, which is obviously having negative impacts on the health of our country and kids.

Next time, we will look at: Phthalates

References:

Bucher, J., Shelby, M. (2010). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/media/questions/sya-bpa.cfm

Martin, D.S. (2010, May 21). 5 toxics that are everywhere: protect yourself. CNN Health.  Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/05/31/chemical.dangers/index.html?hpt=Sbin

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). EPA to Scrutinize Environmental Impact of Bisphenol A. Retrieved on May 31, 2010 from http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/eeffe922a687433c85257359003f5340/78110048d7f696d1852576f50054241a!OpenDocument

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