U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists were in attendance at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston earlier this year to discuss a collaboration with the National Toxicology Program on bisphenol A (BPA).
As we’ve long written, BPA is an estrogenic polycarbonate plastics chemical most recently linked to chromosomal damage and egg development disruption in lab studies. A ubiquitous phenol-acetone chemical and estrogenic mimicker and hormone disrupter, BPA leeches from food/beverage containers into foods; yet, BPA is FDA-approved for use in shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic and durable epoxy resins, which are used in food/beverage container linings. BPA leaches into the skin and into products—hot or cold—from common items (paper money, toilet paper, receipts).
An anti-androgen, BPA blocks hormone activity; mimics the powerful female hormone, estrogen; and can interrupt sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, children, and teens. In fact, BPA’s links to reproductive system diseases are staggering and span to fetal development, likely due to its hormone-mimicking and -blocking properties. Issues include effects on uterine health and mammalian reproduction; a deadly uterine infection; premature puberty; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues; and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems.
Studies highlight BPA’s impact on the body’s endocrine system and hormonal functioning. Hormones are critical to much of the body’s functioning and endocrine glands and the hormones these glands release, which affect nearly every cell and bodily organ and are responsible for mood regulation, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual functioning, and reproductive processes.
BPA has been linked to strange changes in wildlife, including intersex fish and bears and frogs born with multiple testes or ovaries. BPA was recently linked to increased heart risks; behavior problems were linked to tooth fillings containing the chemical; and BPA was linked to childhood and teenage obesity. Studies have linked BPA to a wide and growing range of health effects that seem to affect nearly every bodily system: Brain tumors, hormone-sensitive cancers, brain and social behaviors, increased anxiety and depression, brain cell connection interference, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, increased risks of immune system diseases and disorders, liver function and intestinal problems, and cardiac issues and fat cell confusion and pancreatic issues relating to diabetes.
Regulatory agencies worldwide assert that evidence does not reveal that BPA presents harm to humans; however, environmental activists and academic scientists disagree, sparking a long and intense debate, noted Forbes.
Meanwhile, at February’s meeting, following a presentation by Daniel Doerge of the FDA, Ruthann Rudel, an endocrine disruption specialist announced, “I actually just want to thank you for the work that you’ve done, because I’ve found your studies to be some of the most clarifying and helpful pieces of information in making my way through the bisphenol A woods,” according to Forbes. Even environmentalists are praising the FDA’s work in BPA as groundbreaking and world-class science in the areas of BPA and toxicological research.
Doerge leads a team studying the pharmacokinetics (PK) of BPA, which means the way in which BPA passes through and interacts with the body and its tissues. The team is using state-of-the-art science and has researched BPA in mice, rats, and monkeys up to when they gave birth, said Forbes. Among other studies, the FDA is testing BPA though all life stages and is conducting these studies in conjunction with the National Toxicology Program (NTP) under Good Laboratory Practices.
BPA’s effects have been found to be immediate, long lasting, and trans-generational, meaning effects could carry years into the future and effects on past generations could harm future generations.
Although the FDA has been praised for its current research, the agency has long said that the information on BPA does not suggest that very low BPA exposure through diet is unsafe. And, while the FDA has refused to ban BPA from food packaging in the United States, the dangerous hormone-mimicking chemical will, as has long been the case, see continued growth. An estimated 4.7 million tons of BPA are scheduled for production in 2012, which will lead to a massive $8 million profit in production for industry this year, alone.