BPA or Bisphenol A is Everywhere

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					BPA or Bisphenol A is Everywhere - Are We Safe?
BPA otherwise known as Bisphenol A is a compound widely used in the manufacture of plastics and epoxy resins. This industrial chemical has created
quite a stir since 2007 and is still a subject of intense controversy. BPA can be found in plastics around us and is in the products that we use every
day, from DVDs to eyeglasses to mobile phones. Normally, BPA is harmless, that is, until it gets in contact with food and drinks and leaches out.
According to a report of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), "the primary source of exposure to BPA
for most people is through the diet...BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure."However, not all plastics contain
BPA. Plastics are categorized into 7 types according to the recycling process and the classification codes are located at the bottom of plastic
containers. According to NTP, only plastic no. 7, designated as "other" contains BPA. Incidentally there are other organizations which report that BPA
is also found in plastic no. 3.Some of the adverse effects that BPA may cause include the following:BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC)
that mimics the neurotoxic properties of the hormone estrogen. According to the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) of the
Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC). "BPA has been associated with increases in developmental disorders of the brain and
nervous system in animals. These developmental disorders in animals are like problems such as ADHD (attention deficit hyper-reactivity disorder) in
humans."PEHSU reports that "BPA may cause changes in cells in breasts, the uterus, and the prostate which can increase risk of cancers." The
September 2008 report of NTP suggests that BPA exposure may be linked to prostate and brain cancer.The NTP report also says that BPA can cause
behavioral problems in fetuses, infants and children. It can induce early onset of puberty in girls and can cause reproductive disorders.High BPA levels
have been linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.It comes as no surprise that these findings have generated a strong
anti-BPA movement worldwide. To understand the controversy behind BPA, let's look at some of the events that have occurred in the last two years.
March 2007. A class action lawsuit was filed against baby bottle manufacturers on behalf of Californian babies who may have been adversely affected
by BPA.November 2007. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati published an article in Toxicology Letters (online edition) reporting that BPA is
leaching out of the polycarbonate bottles popularly used as drinking bottles. This report led to Nalgene plastic bottles taken off the shelves in Canada.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested infant formulas for BPA and detected BPA in some of the most popular brands. When questioned, 4
out of the top 5 companies admitted using BPA in their packaging.January 2008. The National Center for Environmental Health of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a paper which reported that BPA was detected in the urine of 92.6% of 2,517 participants during the
2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHNES).April 2008. Canada announced its plans to ban BPA-containing bottles. The
US FDA established an agency-wide BPA task force to facilitate cross-agency review of current research and new information on BPA for all FDA
regulated products.May 2008. In a health call, "leaders of the Committee on Energy and Commerce threatened to subpoena the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) for records the agency used in determining that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) was safe for use in making infant formula liners
and other products intended for infants and children", according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).July 2008. The
European Food Safety Authority's AFC Panel declared that human exposure to BPA is too low to cause any real harm. According to the panel's report,
the human body rapidly metabolises and eliminates BPA out of the body. September 3, 2008The National Toxicology Program (NTP) issued a report
on BPA, expressing the following concerns: - "some concern" for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at
current human exposures to BPA. - "minimal concern" for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty for females, in fetuses, infants,
and children at current human exposures to BPA. - "negligible concern" that exposure of pregnant women to BPA will result in fetal or neonatal
mortality, birth defects, or reduced birth weight and growth in their offspring. - "negligible concern" that exposure to BPA will cause reproductive effects
in non-occupationally exposed adults and "minimal concern" for workers exposed to higher levels - in occupational settings. "Some concern"
represents a midpoint in a 5-point scale of concern, with "serious concern" as the highest and "negligible concern" as the lowest.September 2008.
Researchers at the University of Exeter (UK) re-examined the previously mentioned NHNES BPA urine data. They found that high levels of BPA in the
urine were associated with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and kidney problems. The BPA Subcommittee of the Science
Board to the US FDA met on September 16, 2008 to discuss BPA assessment.October 2008. Two studies reported research results in mice exposed
to BPA. One study reported that pregnant mice exposed to BPA suffered from altered the cellular structure of the breasts. A second study showed that
female mice's exposure to low-dose BPA during fetal life or adulthood caused alterations in maternal behaviour.Researchers at University of Cincinnati
report that BPA is linked to chemotherapy resistance. The study demonstrated that "BPA does not increase cancer cell proliferation like DES
[cancer-promoting compound called diethylstilbestrol] does. It's actually acting by protecting existing cancer cells from dying in response to anti-cancer
drugs, making chemotherapy significantly less effective."The Canadian government announced the drafting of regulations that will prohibit the import,
sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles that contain BPA.Based on a review by a subcommittee, the US Food and Drug Administration (US
FDA) stated that "consumers should know that, based on all available evidence, the present consensus among regulatory agencies in the United
States, Canada, Europe, and Japan is that current levels of exposure to BPA through food packaging do not pose an immediate health risk to the
general population, including infants and babies." In addition, the US FDA thinks the Canadian restrictions on BPA are "out of an abundance of
caution."January 2009. The US FDA and Health Canada's Health Products and Food Branch hosted a meeting of representatives of U.S and
Canadian manufacturers and users of food packaging materials containing BPA. They discussed what is to be done to help minimize the levels of BPA
in food. The meeting was also part of FDA's efforts to assist the manufacturing industry in its voluntary BPA reduction efforts.So what can we do to
protect ourselves from BPA?Recommendations from PEHSU - Avoid plastics with symbol # 3 (PVC or polyvinyl), symbol # 6 (PS or polystyrene foam)
and symbol #. Do not microwave food/beverages in plastic. Do not microwave or heat plastic cling wraps. Do not place plastics in the dishwasher. If
using hard polycarbonate plastics (water bottles/baby bottles/sippy cups), do not use for warm/hot liquids. Use safe alternatives such as glass or
polyethylene plastic (symbol #1). Avoid canned foods when possible (BPA may be used in can linings). Look for labels on products that say
"phthalate-free" or "BPA-free".Recommendations from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI): Avoid plastic containers made of
polycarbonate. Any bottle or container made of polycarbonate has the recycling No. 7 on the bottom. When possible, prepare or store
food—especially hot foods and liquids—in glass, porcelain, or stainless steel dishes or containers. If you have polycarbonate plastic food
containers, don't microwave them. The plastic is more likely to break down and release BPA when it's repeatedly heated to high temperatures. Don't
wash polycarbonate plastic containers in the dishwasher. The detergent may break down the plastic, which could release BPA. Use infant formula
bottles that are made of glass or BPA-free plastic. BornFree ( is one of many companies that make them. When you can, replace
canned foods with foods that are fresh, frozen, or packaged in aseptic (shelf-stable) boxes. At least one manufacturer—Eden
Foods—lines its cans with a BPA alternative made from plant extracts. A good alternative to polycarbonate is polyethylene terephthalate
(PETE), which has the recycling No. 1 on the bottom. Avoid older versions of Delton dental sealant...Most dental sealants are free of BPA. However,
older Delton sealants contain a compound that breaks down into BPA, mostly during the first day after it comes into contact with saliva.

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