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BPA Exposure May Affect Behaviors

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, November 03, 2008 11:53 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Protecting Your Family, BPA, Toxic Substances, Bisphenol-A, Environmental Health, Dangerous Products, Children's Health


IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons/ baby boy and bottle/ author: Matthias Sebulke

In October, a new study found that maternal exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) could decrease or eliminate the sex difference in certain behavioral responses.

The study adds to the mounting evidence that suggests BPA exposure affects behaviors of the brain among other health conditions.

Those paying attention to the debate over BPA safety have likely noticed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) offer differing opinions on the issue.

The NTP, in its detailed analysis says, they have some concern for the effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.

While the FDA, in August, claimed BPA poses no risk based on current evidence available and suggested more research was needed to disprove the notion that BPA is toxic.

But, on Wednesday, a scientific advisory panel concluded the FDA underestimated scientific evidence and employed flawed methods when deciding BPA, a chemical widely used in baby bottles and in the lining of cans, is not harmful.

The report found the FDA did not take into account a host of studies linking bisphenol-A (BPA) to diabetes, prostate cancer and other health problems when finalizing its first draft risk assessment in September.

In August, the agency chose to ignore studies that found harmful effects of bisphenol-A. The agency chose instead, to rely largely on industry-sponsored studies that found no associated risk with exposure to BPA.

Despite what the government says about the safety of BPA, evidence has been mounting and it is suggestive that BPA is indeed harmful.

“The FDA agrees that in light of concerns raised in several studies relating to potential effects of low doses of BPA, that additional research will prove valuable,” said July Leon, a spokeswoman for the FDA.

The agency is moving forward with planned research aimed at addressing the potential low-dose effects of BPA. They plan to carefully assess the findings of these studies, said the agency in a recent statement.

How to Avoid BPA

The National Toxicology Program of Health and Human Services issues the following warnings:

Do not microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. They may break down from overuse and release BPA. BPA containing containers have a #7 on the bottom within the recycle symbol, a triangle with arrows.

Reduce the use of canned foods especially acidic foods such s tomatoes that can cause BOPA to leach into the food. Opt instead for soups in the “brick” cardboard containers or safer layers of aluminum and polyethylene plastic (Labeled #2) in the recycle logo.

Switch to glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, especially for hot food or liquids.

Use baby bottles that are BPA free or glass.

BPA is found in the epoxy resin that coats the inside of most food and beverage cans. It is also found in dental fillings. BPA has been cited as a component of plastic baby bottles.

Over 2.2 million tons is produced each year and resides in the majority of people.

1 Comment

Anonymous User
Posted by George_Bittner
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 4:34 PM EST

Legislators, consumers, and regulatory agencies should have well-justified concerns about the estrogenic activity (EA) exhibited by BPA and phthalates in water bottles and other plastics like baby bottles. While estrogens (the female sex hormones) occur naturally in the body, many scientific studies have shown that significant health problems can occur when chemicals are ingested that mimic or block the actions of these female sex hormones; the fetus, newborn, or young child is especially vulnerable. These health-related problems include early puberty in females, reduced sperm counts in males, altered functions of reproductive organs, obesity, altered behaviors, and increased rates of some breast, ovarian, testicular, and prostate cancers.
However, BPA and phthalates are just two of several hundred chemicals that exhibit EA in plastics. These chemicals having EA leach from almost all plastics sold today, including polyethylene, polypropylene, PET, etc. That is, plastics advertised as BPA-free or phthalate-free are not EA-free; almost all these plastics still leach chemicals having EA – and often have more total EA than plastics that release BPA or phthalates. In fact, our data show that all the plastics commercially available currently release chemicals having easily detectable EA. The FDA, to my knowledge, has not yet examined this broader problem. the amount that leaches from any one item may be small; the cumulative effect of leaching from many items is significant and can be detected in the blood and tissues of almost all of us.
Current legislation is attempting to solve this problem by removing chemicals having EA (BPA, phthalates) one at a time. This approach, for legislators or the FDA, is not an appropriate solution for consumers because thousands of chemicals used in plastics exhibit EA, not just BPA and phthalates. This approach is a marketing-driven solution, not a health-driven solution. The appropriate health-driven solution is to manufacture safer plastics that are EA-free. This is not a pie-in-the-sky solution, as the technology already exists to produce EA-free plastics that also have the same advantageous physical properties, as do almost all existing EA-releasing plastics on the market today. In fact, some of these advanced-technology EA-free plastics are already in the marketplace. The cost of these safer EA-free plastics are just pennies more than EA-releasing plastics, when both are used to manufacture the same product in similar quantities.

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