Federal Agency Launches New BPA Studies

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) just initiated 11 new animal studies into the possible effects from exposure to the industrial chemical <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">bisphenol A—BPA—NIEHS director Linda Birnbaum told Congress, reported Reuters.

“There are concerns about multiple possible health effects of BPA exposure,” Birnbaum told Congress at a House Energy and Commerce Energy and Environment Subcommittee hearing, quoted Reuters. “While much of the exposure to BPA in humans occurs through the diet, other sources of exposure include air, dust and, water,” she added. The hearing was convened to look at endocrine disruptors in drinking water.

BPA falls into a category described as endocrine disrupters by Reuters, which explained that these natural and man-made chemicals can either interfere or mimic those human hormones that regulate development and growth. BPA was developed in the 1930s as an estrogenic mimicker and is used in the industrial manufacture of plastics.

Countless established and emerging reports continue to confirm that the ubiquitous 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.

Representative Edward Markey, chairman of the Congressional panel, said chemicals found in America’s waterways and drinking water have been linked to deformities in aquatic life and wildlife, reported Reuters. Of note, BPA leaches into water supplies when containers made with BPA are tossed out, added Reuters. “There are serious concerns that the same chemicals that are responsible for these deformities in wildlife may also have similar effects in humans and may be the culprit for the widespread increase in human disorders such as infertility, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Markey, author of a bill to ban BPA food and beverage containers, reported Reuters.

Studies have overwhelmingly found BPA to have negative effects at doses lower than current U.S. Food & Drug Administration (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.

Recently, the FDA reversed its position that BPA was safe for all saying it has “some concern” about BPA’s effects on the brain; behavior; and prostates of fetuses, infants, and young children, said the Journal Sentinel previously. Regardless, on the heels of a meeting between chemical industry lobbyists and officials with the Obama administration, federal regulators are doing what seems to be a bit of a back track regarding the inclusion of BPA in its regulation of dangerous chemicals, said the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Now, states; counties; and other entities, including some manufacturers; Canada; and the European Union, are taking matters into their own hands by banning the estrogenic chemical in a variety of uses and for certain demographics.

According to Birnbaum, drinking water might be a “significant route of exposure” for BPA and other endocrine disruptors, said Reuters.

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