BPA Polluting Beaches, Seawater

We have long been reporting on the ubiquitous, estrogenic compound <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">bisphenol A—BPA—and the many adverse health effects connected to exposure and ingestion of the chemical. As we have written, BPA is commonly found in the lining of food and beverage cans and is also found in a wide array of plastic products because of its use as a plastic hardener in polycarbonate manufacturing. Now, USNews is reporting that other products, such as the resins used in nautical paint, contain BPA.

At least one expert, Katsuhiko Saido, a chemist at Nihon University’s College of Pharmacy (Chiba, Japan), who reported his findings at the spring national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), believes these nautical paints could be causing the high BPA levels found in “beach sand and coastal seawater” world-wide, said USNews.

Last year, Saido presented his findings concerning Styrofoam and related polystyrene materials and their degradation in seawater and their related contamination of coastal environments, said USNews, noting that styrene is a “toxic building block of the foams.” At that meeting, Saido was asked about BPA and its effects on the coastal environment. Unable to answer at the time, Saido went back and reanalyzed samples of sand and seawater collected for the polystyrene study, found significant amounts of BPA in many of the samples and amounts found in all 28 samples, said USNews.

Saido conducted a variety of tests to determine the effects of free BPA and heated BPA (to determine leeching temperatures) and concluded that, “This study shows that at 50 °C, under the sun, polycarbonate is not stable,” said Saido, speaking through an interpreter, quoted USNews. Because the BPA concentrations Saido discovered in coastal environments “concern him,” he is urging more research on BPA-based epoxy resins in nautical paints, said USNews and is looking into the development of technologies to change polycarbonate waste to liquid or gas-based fuels.

Industry has long argued that scientists and advocates exaggerate BPA’s adverse effects, continually citing two industry studies; however, at last count, over 900 peer-reviewed studies found links between BPA and such effects. Also, studies have overwhelmingly found BPA to have negative effects at doses lower than current FDA standards; retention in the body longer than was previously believed; leeching into liquids being held in containers regardless of the containers’ temperature; and longer lasting damage, which some feel can be passed to future generations.

Countless established and emerging reports continue to confirm that the chemical appears to cause significant disruption to the body’s endocrine system and has been linked to cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, and brain cell connection interference. BPA has also been connected to increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders; problems with liver function testing; interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; links with serious health problems; and erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in males. In urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 93 percent and, significantly, the chemical is found in 90 percent of all newborns. “British scientists have linked BPA to heart disease, diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities,” said Reuters.

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