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What scientists just learned about BPA and your health is pretty scary

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
BPA Household Items

Health conscious consumers have been rallying against the plasticizer Bisphenol-A that has been linked to ill health effects New research shows, contrary to what we thought we knew, that even tiny amounts of BPA poses significant health risks to humans and wildlife alike. The finding is frightening, considering we’ve all been exposed to the chemical daily.

Just last month scientists published findings that BPA is a concern for raising breast cancer risk in women. Bisphenol-A is an endocrine (hormone) disruptor that has been linked to miscarriage, heart rhythm problems, behavior problems, obesity, tooth decay and other serious diseases.

Rat studies have shown the chemical that is in plastics, dental sealants, the lining of food cans and more and is also used as a coating on grocery store receipts can interfere with male testosterone levels that could lead to male infertility. Rat fetuses exposed to the chemical have shown reproductive abnormalities.

Even in the wild BPA and other environmental toxins, perhaps combined even, have been suspected to be the cause of some pretty bizarre anomalies - for instance, frogs with both male and female characteristics.

The newest BPA finding

According to the newest finding, typical toxicology reports have found only very high levels of BPA disrupt the hormone response in the body.

For decades scientists have studied the effect of BPA but they haven’t been matching the endpoints of their studies with the toxicology reports.

Researchers who study endocrine disruption collected new data then scrutinized its effect on cells, animals and humans, to find BPA can cause health harm even in tiny doses.

What exactly is BPA?

Bisphenol-A is an epoxy resin that has been identified as an endocrine disruptor since the 1930’s. Its biggest use is to make polycarbonate plastics.

But it’s also used to make eyeglasses, dental fillings, sealants, electronic devices in the home and media like DVDs and CDs.

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You can identify plastics made with BPA by the recycling codes 3 and 7.

The study

The results showed doses of BPA ten to forty times lower than those found in traditional toxicology studies can lead to significant health issues including polycystic ovarian syndrome, allergic reactions and behavioral and fertility problems. The effect on wildlife is also widespread, the researchers found.

Typical toxicology studies have found 50 mg/kg/day of BPA – very high doses only – affect animals in research that have been conducted in the past.

The group of researchers for the current study added hundreds of other reports to a 2007 review; scrutinizing all of the effects of BPA.

They discovered 450 low dose studies showing BPA had effects in animals that were reproducible at doses that humans encounter every day. Studies conducted by the BPA industry failed to replicate findings uncovered in this new study.

The new findings highlights just how important it is to avoid BPA by minimizing eating packaged foods (eat fresh), ditching canned foods, not hanging on to register receipts, minimizing time spent using electronicsm checking your plastic bottles, using glass instead of plastics when possible and by simply being aware of how we are surrounds by the chemical.

Some all pervasive sources of BPA include:

  • The lining of aluminum drinking bottles
  • Shiny coated cash receipts
  • Plastic containers that are microwaved
  • Bike helmets
  • Bullet proof glass
  • Flat screen TVs
  • Smart phones
  • LED lights
  • Manufacturing and repair of boats
  • Adhesives to make almost everything you enjoy – snowboards, golf clubs, bicycles and home-building materials
  • Circuit boards
  • Laptops
  • Auto window glazing
  • Packaged foods
  • Garden hoses and gloves
  • Some toilet paper
  • Many drugs, but how many no one knows

Needless to say the manufacturing industry thinks BPA is pretty important.

The suggestion from the researchers is tighter regulation of BPA, given the new and very significant finding that even tiny amounts of BPA can harm our health. This is not the first suggestion from the scientific community that Bisphenol-A should be tightly regulated. Sadly, it will be decades before the plasticizer is removed from the environment just like so many other toxins that linger for years causing harm to wildlife and humans; especially children who are vulnerable during development. This new study should raise some dander. What do you think?

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons