A new study published by the American Chemical Society on August 13, 2013, blows the lid off of BPA tin cans and plastic containers. As reported by Environmental Health News:
“All samples of umbilical cord blood obtained from pregnant women in California had detectable levels of bisphenol A, suggesting ‘universal fetal exposure,’ according to newly published research.
The study is the first to show that second-trimester fetuses are widely exposed to relatively high levels of BPA, an estrogen-like substance found in polycarbonate plastic, food can liners and other commonplace consumer products. …
These findings challenge the regulatory assumptions about BPA safety. It has been assumed that all consumed BPA passes into the liver. But a study published earlier this year suggested why this assumption may be false. It showed that significant amounts of active BPA can be absorbed in the mouth and then passed directly into the bloodstream. These new data are consistent with that finding.”
Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has been trying to turn the tide against BPA for years. His latest effort to eradicate use of this toxic compound is his sponsorship of the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2013. The bill was assigned to a congressional committee on June 4, 2013 for review. And if the wheels turn, it may be sent to the House or Senate.
As late as January 10, 2010 the FDA issued a report that took a counter position on its longstanding conviction that BPA is A-OK. Bisphenol-A, the FDA conceded, is more than questionable. In fact, it merits further study. The ubiquitous chemical shows up in all kinds of clear plastic containers, packaging, and bottles (often designated as #7), as well as in tin and soda cans in the form of epoxy resins. (According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2007 nationwide survey, the chemical was particularly prevalent in chicken soup and ravioli cans.)
By June 11, 2013, the FDA issued the following statement: “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is amending the food additive regulations to no longer provide for the use of Bisphenol A (BPA)-based epoxy resins as coatings in packaging for infant formula because these uses have been abandoned. We are taking this action in response to a petition dated March 16, 2012.”
That petition was submitted by Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) who drafted three separate petitions to ban BPA in infant formula and baby food packaging, reusable food and beverages, and canned food packaging.
While legislation is a critical step in eliminating BPA from the food chain, should we really wait for policymakers to steer us to the right products?
In 2009, the EWG found BPA in nine out of 10 umbilical cord blood samples, the first ever such detection in the U.S.
Unless you’re living on an organic farm harvesting your own produce, your urine, like that of nearly every American sampled for BPA, is probably positive for traces of the chemical, according to a CDC study from 2003-2004. A recent study reports the same findings among Canadians.
A hormone-disruptor suspected of causing breast cancer, obesity, infertility, diabetes, prostate cancer, early onset puberty, and hyperactivity in lab animals, BPA was banned in Canada in baby bottles in 2008, but defended by the FDA that same year.
But what if you’re not a baby? What about all those other containers?
Since the checklist for potential everyday hazards in our food supply seems to be growing at such a brisk rate, ubiquitous materials such as plastics and tin cans (and the underlying chemical compounds that go into producing them, good or bad), have tremendous staying power. Not only are there a number of questionable balls to chase, change happens slowly. In the meantime, consumers are on their own to decipher the newly published concerns issued by the American Chemical Society.
Currently, government scientists from the National Toxicoloy Program express “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.”
That concern has taken a long time, considering BPA has been around since at least 1891. BPA has been known to mimic estrogen for over half a century and has been the subject of controversy for at least the past decade. Is it possible that the rising autism stats forced the FDA to be more thorough about its recommendation?
But even with a forthcoming, comprehensive ban on BPA in food containers, we’d still be exposed. The alleged list of common items containing the chemical includes gasoline receipts at the pump, sunglasses, recycled paper, DVDs, Cds, and pizza cartons.
Unless we want to trade in our BPA for a case of OCD, we can forget about trying to avoid every single environmental hazard that’s out there. The best approach may be to purchase BPA-free products wherever possible, drink lots of water (from a glass or BPA-free container), sweat by way of exercise, juice plenty of fresh veggies, and do some healthy, natural detoxing whenever you can.