Studies continue to link the estrogenic polycarbonate plastics chemical, bisphenol A—BPA, to adverse health effects. Most recently, BPA was linked to chromosomal damage and egg development disruption in lab studies.
Experts describe the ubiquitous phenol-acetone chemical as an estrogenic mimicker and hormone disrupter that leeches from food/beverage containers into foods. Yet, BPA is U.S. Food & Drug Administration- (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.
As we’ve long said, 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. Significantly, 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. Despite this, the FDA said the information on BPA does not suggest that very low BPA exposure through diet is unsafe.
And, while the FDA refuses 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, noted FoodConsumer.
Meanwhile, studies continue to highlight BPA’s impact on the body’s endocrine system and hormonal functioning. Hormones are critical to much of the body’s functioning, notes FoodConsumer, pointing out that endocrine glands and the hormones these glands release, have impacts on nearly all the cells and organs of the body and are responsible for mood regulation, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual functioning, and reproductive processes. BPA has also been linked to strange changes in wildlife, including intersex fish and bears and frogs born with multiple testes or ovaries, among others. Continually emerging research also indicates that BPA and other hormone-mimicking chemicals are affecting humans, said FoodConsumer.
BPA was also recently linked to increased heart risks; behavior problems were linked to tooth fillings containing the chemical; and the chemical was linked to childhood and teenage obesity. Studies have also 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.
Washington State researcher Patricia Hunt said, “The concern is exposure to this chemical that we’re all exposed to could increase the risk of miscarriages and the risk of babies born with birth defects like Down (sic) Syndrome. The really stunning thing about the effect is we’re dosing grandma, it’s crossing the placenta and hitting her developing fetus, and if that fetus is a female, it’s changing the likelihood that that female is going to ovulate normal eggs. It’s a three-for-one hit,” according to FoodConsumer.
Although some manufacturers are touting BPA-free plastic products, a similar bisphenol chemical, bisphenol-S—BPS—is showing up in human urine concentrations at levels not unlike those being seen with BPA. This suggests, said FoodConsumer, that industry is quietly switching one BPA for another. Similar in its hormone-mimicking properties, BPS appears to be much less biodegradable, and more heat-stable and photo-resistant, which can lead to more significant health and environmental damages.