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New evidence arises that bisphenol A can be harmful

Harold Mandel's picture
A baby drinking milke out of a plastic bottle

Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics appears to be associated with serious health problems. There has been a great deal of concern over the years about the potential health hazards from bisphenol A in products which we eat and drink from. These fears have not been exaggerated.

It has been observed by researchers from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the University of Wuppertal that bisphenol A impairs the function of proteins which are essential for growth processes in cells, reports the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. BPA is present in many plastic products and is suspected of being hazardous to health. It has been generally thought that bisphenol A produces a harmful effect by binding to hormone receptors. Researchers have now discovered that BPA also affects what are called small GTPases.

There has been growing evidence of the harmful effects of bisphenol A-based plastics by the scientists at Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. The researchers have confirmed that BPA impairs the function of proteins which are essential for growth processes in cells. The mechanism of action for this is complex. Prof Dr Raphael Stoll, head of Biomolecular Spectroscopy at the Ruhr-Universität, has said, “Our research provides further evidence that the physiological effects of bisphenol A may be even more complex than previously assumed.”

There have been concerns raised about suspected health hazards of BPA by various organizations internationally, including:

1: Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikoforschung)

2: European Food Safety Authority

3: US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

4: US National Institutes of Health (NIH)

5: US-American Breast Cancer Foundation

But, as of this time these organizations have not provided a final assessment of the substance’s hazardous potential. Nevertheless, in 2011 the European Commission banned the use of bisphenol A in the manufacture of baby bottles. Studies have indicated BPA may increase the risk of various serious illnesses, including:

1: Cardiovascular diseases

2: Breast cancer

3: Prostate cancer

4: Neuronal diseases

The researchers have therefore recommended that there be a restriction on the use of bisphenol A-based plastic containers for food products.

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BPA has been produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, reports the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. There have been many applications for polycarbonate plastics, including:

1: Some food and drink packaging such as water and infant bottles

2: Compact discs

3: Impact-resistant safety equipment

4: Medical devices.

Epoxy resins are used in many ways which contributes to human exposure, including:

1: Lacquers to coat metal products in food cans

2: Lacquers to coat metal products in bottle tops

3: Lacquers to coat metal products in water supply pipes

4: Some dental sealants and composites

The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is from their diet. BPA which is present in food and beverages accounts for most of daily human exposure. Human exposure to BPA has been found to be widespread. Animal studies have suggested that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the hazaradous effects of BPA. Suggestions to reduce exposures to BPA include:

1: Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers

2: Take note that plastic containers have recycle codes on the bottom. Some plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA

3: Reduce your use of canned foods

4: When possible, use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids

5: Use baby bottles that are BPA free

It has been my observation that there has been a growing awareness of the potential for the harmful effects of exposure to BPA. Continued aggressive efforts at informing the public about this problem are warranted. It appears that the United States should follow the European Commission's ban on the use of bisphenol A in the manufacture of baby bottles. It is also worth considering that the ban should go much further than this worldwide. In the meantime, I advise everyone to be as careful about exposure to BPA as possible. The bottom line is what scientists know about BPA and your health is pretty scary, reports EmaxHealth reporter Kathleen Blanchard.