BPA has been making the news quite a bit lately. BPA is the common name for Bisphenol-A, an organic compound used to make plastics. BPA is among the many compounds found in baby bottles, water bottles, sports equipment, and in many medical and dental devices including fillings and sealants. BPA is found in the linings of canned foods and can break down and leach into the food itself.
The main route for absorption of BPA into the body is through diet. As the container breaks down, BPA leaches into the food and water from the container itself. BPA liners were first designed to protect consumers from metals poisoning due to direct contact of the food with a container. BPA lined food cans were designed with good intentions in mind, only the plan went awry.
BPA acts as an endocrine disruptor that can mimic estrogen. BPA closely mimics the function and structure of estradiol in the body. Prenatal exposure is of greatest concern because this. Current safety levels are under investigation. However, at this time, the EPA does not consider BPA to be a health concern. The reason for this is that BPA is rapidly absorbed and eliminated from the body.
Manufacturers who wish to continue to utilize BPA are quick to point out that much of the data used to explore the toxicity of BPA is based on animal studies. However, animal studies are used to establish “safe” levels of toxins in the human body. Animal studies and the effects on the human body are not completely disconnected in terms of policy and regulation.
Studies concerning exposure limits have found a positive connection between exposure to various levels of BPA and cellular changes that predispose people to the development of cancers. The most prominent types of cancers were those involving the reproductive organs in both males and females. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set exposure limits of BPA to 50 micrograms (µg) per day. There are no exact estimates as to how much BPA leaches from a single can of canned food or a single bottle of water. However, several different sources indicate that higher levels of BPA in the urine were associated with populations of childrne who ate school lunches and more meals prepared outside the home.
Numerous Clinical studies support the connection between BPA and various types of reproductive cancers. Regulations have been developed in several European countries banning the use of BPA in products that will be used to contain food. Yet, U.S. government agencies in the United States fail to take any real action to protect the public from exposure. It has been suggested that avoiding eating food stored in cans lined with BPA, avoiding plastic water bottles, and not microwaving food in plastic and styrofoam containers can help to reduce levels of BPA in the body.
Can you imagine what your life would be like if you eliminated everything in your life that contains BPA? What do you think you would have to do without? What would you miss the most?