Test Confirms BPA Leeches into Liquids in Common Use

A recent study confirms what experts have long suspected. Containers made with the plastic hardening chemical <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">bisphenol A (BPA) leach BPA into the liquids being held, said the LA Times. BPA is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate and other hard plastic products, including water and baby bottles, sippy cups, dental sealants and composites, and the linings used for canned foods, among many other common items.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, BPA exposure has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in humans. Despite industry’s arguments that BPA is safe at current dosages, the ever-present chemical, an estrogenic, has also been linked to an increased risk of diseases or disorders of the brain, reproductive, and immune systems; problems with liver function testing; and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment. BPA is also associated with serious health problems based on 130 studies conducted in the past decade and newer research found BPA to have negative effects at “very low doses,” lower than the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) current safety standards.

Most recently, studies revealed BPA seems to stay in the body longer than previously believed. BPA can be found virtually everywhere and is present in detectable levels in just about every human body. The highest levels are seen, noted the Chicago Tribune in a prior report, in the youngest Americans. A concern since BPA is known to leach in increased doses when containers made of the dangerous chemical are heated, as is often the case with baby bottles.

Meanwhile, the FDA continues to maintain BPA is safe despite that it relied solely on two industry-funded studies for its draft review, something for which the agency has long been criticized.

The recent study, conducted by Harvard School of Public Health researchers, tested the link between containers composed of BPA and BPA concentrations in urine, said the LA Times. The team worked with 77 students who, during the so-called “washout phase,” did not drink from plastic bottles and, instead, used stainless steel bottles. In the polycarbonate phase, students only drank from polycarbonate bottles. Urine samples were analyzed before and after the polycarbonate phase and found BPA concentrations increased by 69 percent in the week following consumption with BPA-containing bottles.

Harvard noted that its study is the first to show that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increases urinary BPA levels, which suggests that drinking containers manufactured with BPA release the toxin into the liquid people drink in amounts that increase urinary BPA levels. “We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA’s endocrine-disrupting potential,” said Karin B. Michels, the study’s senior author and associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and Harvard Medical School.

The journal Environmental Health Perspectives reported that in 2003, the majority–three-quarters—of the nearly two billion pounds of BPA used in the United States was for manufacture of polycarbonate resin.

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