BPA in Cans & Plastic #7 and #3
The FDA reversed their decision that Bisephenol-A (BPA) is safe. However, because the chemical is classified as an “indirect food additive” in the “generally recognized as safe” category, the FDA says they are powerless to regulate it! The chemical, used to line most food and beverage cans, has been found in the urine of 93% of Americans tested.
The agency now considers BPA to be of some concern for effects on the brain, behavior and prostate glands of fetuses and the very young. Scientific studies have raised concerns about the chemical’s link to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, reproductive failures and behavioral problems.
But because BPA was classified years ago as an indirect food additive, it is not subject to the kind of scrutiny that other chemicals are. Without critical data about BPA, it is impossible to regulate the chemical, officials said.
BPA, first manufactured in 1891, was later developed as a plasticizer in the early 1960s. It was classified in 1963 as an indirect food additive and is listed among some 3,000 chemicals that are “generally regarded as safe.” That designation exempts them from scrutiny.
According to the FDA’s regulations, a substance that is granted that status is not subject to FDA review. So, while the agency can broadcast its opinion that the chemical is not safe, it can’t compel companies to provide certain information about the chemical.
The BPA makers lobby the FDA to get their chemical classified in the “Generally Recognized As Safe” category, and now, decades later, when the FDA is presented with enough evidence to question that classification, they claim their hands are tied to do anything about it!
You can join others in the fight to pass legislation banning BPA. According to the Journal Sentinel, “Minnesota, Connecticut, the City of Chicago and two counties in New York have banned BPA in baby bottles. Other measures are being considered in 30 states and municipalities. A federal ban on BPA in all food contact has been proposed in Congress.”
And, you can use your voice as a consumer and choose to avoid BPA.
How to avoid BPA exposure:
* Because of the ubiquitous presence of BPA in the linings of canned foods, you should limit your consumption of industrialized canned goods (particularly if you’re pregnant or nursing).
* Avoid polycarbonate plastics, particularly those labeled as plastic #7 and #3. Don’t eat or drink out of these containers; don’t store foods in these containers; and don’t heat foods in these containers. As an alternative, use glass, stainless steel, or ceramic containers NOT lined with plastics.
Sadly, one commenter in a previous BPA related post pointed out that when having her pipes worked on earlier in the year, she discovered they were all #3 PVC plastic.
Jan. 30, 2008 issue of the journal Toxicology Letters.
The chemical is widely used in products such as reusable water bottles, food can linings, water pipes and dental sealants has been shown to affect reproduction and brain development in animal studies.
Plastic Bottles Release Potentially Harmful Chemicals (Bisphenol A) After Contact With Hot LiquidsScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2008) — When it comes to Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure from polycarbonate plastic bottles, it’s not whether the container is new or old but the liquid’s temperature that has the most impact on how much BPA is released, according to University of Cincinnati (UC) scientists.
Scott Belcher, PhD, and his team found when the same new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles were exposed to boiling hot water, BPA, an environmental estrogen, was released 55 times more rapidly than before exposure to hot water.
“Previous studies have shown that if you repeatedly scrub, dish-wash and boil polycarbonate baby bottles, they release BPA. That tells us that BPA can migrate from various polycarbonate plastics,” explains Belcher, UC associate professor of pharmacology and cell biophysics and corresponding study author. “But we wanted to know if ‘normal’ use caused increased release from something that we all use, and to identify what was the most important factor that impacts release.”
“Inspired by questions from the climbing community, we went directly to tests based on how consumers use these plastic water bottles and showed that the only big difference in exposure levels revolved around liquid temperature: Bottles used for up to nine years released the same amount of BPA as new bottles.”
BPA is one of many man-made chemicals classified as endocrine disruptors, which alter the function of the endocrine system by mimicking the role of the body’s natural hormones. Hormones are secreted through endocrine glands and serve different functions throughout the body.
The chemical–which is widely used in products such as reusable water bottles, food can linings, water pipes and dental sealants–has been shown to affect reproduction and brain development in animal studies. “There is a large body of scientific evidence demonstrating the harmful effects of very small amounts of BPA in laboratory and animal studies, but little clinical evidence related to humans,” explains Belcher. “There is a very strong suspicion in the scientific community, however, that this chemical has harmful effects on humans.”
Belcher’s team analyzed used polycarbonate water bottles from a local climbing gym and purchased new bottles of the same brand from an outdoor retail supplier. All bottles were subjected to seven days of testing designed to simulate normal usage during backpacking, mountaineering and other outdoor adventure activities. The UC researchers found that the amount of BPA released from new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles was the same — both in quantity and speed of release — into cool or temperate water. However, drastically higher levels of BPA were released once the bottles were briefly exposed to boiling water. “Compared to the rate of release from the same bottle, the speed of release was 15 to 55 times faster,” explains Belcher. Prior to boiling water exposure, the rate of release from individual bottles ranged from 0.2 to 0.8 nanograms per hour. After exposure, rates increased to 8 to 32 nanograms per hour.
The UC team reports its findings in the Jan. 30, 2008 issue of the journal Toxicology Letters. UC graduate student Hoa Le and summer undergraduate research fellows Emily Carlson and Jason Chua also participated in this study, which was funded by a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant.
While Canada became the first country to outlaw the use of BPA in baby bottles; Connecticut and Minnesota were the first US states to ban BPA in food and drink containers for children below 3 years; followed by a similar ban in Chicago and New York’s Suffolk County.