A newly released study is heightening awareness about how long Bisphenol A (BPA), used in making plastics and a suspected carcinogen, lingers in the body.
Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers from the University of Rochester in New York find the chemical may stay in the body longer than previously suspected and comes from more sources than previously known.
"The study reinforces the urgent need for stricter government oversight and regulation of this extremely toxic chemical,” said Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund, a health advocacy group to the Detroit Free Press.
The researchers looked at urine samples of 1,469 adults and compared levels of BPA based on how long the subjects had fasted. Previously it was thought that BPA passed through urine and was eliminated by the body in a short time. Those who fasted an entire day still had significant levels of the chemical.
"If it leaves the body quickly, then it reduces the amount of time when it can cause problems. If it does cause problems, obviously if it stays around much longer, then that changes the game," Dr. Richard Stahlhut, whose study appears in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, said in a telephone interview to Reuters.
Stahlhut and Shanna Swan, of the University of Rochester, found levels dropped off then leveled off after eight hours, never disappearing.
BPA was found in 93 percent of Americans tested.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had 10 household products tested and found toxic levels of BPA leaching from all of them.
Researcher found that BPA may get into the body and stay in fat cells from numerous sources such as plastic water pipes, or dust from carbonless paper such as receipts. Plastic containers used to heat food are another source. BPA is also used to make baby bottles, dental sealants, food storage containers, and to line aluminum cans.
BPA has been linked to spikes in breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and may interfere with chemotherapy, according to the Detroit Free Press. It is known to mimic the hormone estrogen.
Canada has declared BPA to be a toxin and banned it in baby bottles last year. U.S manufacturers are slowly turning away from using the product in baby items because of consumer demand and 14 states are considering a ban.
The National Institutes of Health has expressed concern BPA may be linked to behavior changes in fetuses, infants, and children.
The American Chemistry Council and the Food and Drug Administration believe BPA is safe, though the FDA’s own science advisory board asked the agency to reconsider its ruling. #