The Endocrine Society, a medical group representing the research of hormones, issued an intake warning at their annual meeting earlier this month.
The group is concerned over bisphenol-A and similar hormone-disrupting chemicals, found in plastics, pesticides, and other products. It said in a statement that bisphenol-A is a
‘significant concern for public health’ and that it’s important for consumers to take a ‘precautionary approach’ to limit their exposure.
This follows on the heels of a few more studies regarding BPA. First–and most worrisome–is the recent study that showed that human exposure to BPA is likely much higher than previously thought and much higher than deemed “safe” by the FDA. That study’s author, Dr. Frederick vom Saal, who presented his study’s findings at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, said of the chemical:
BPA is now known to be a potent estrogen.
Human and animal studies indicate it could be related to diabetes, heart disease, liver abnormalities, miscarriage and other reproductive abnormalities, as well as prostate and breast cancer
Other recent studies should have us all cutting out the polycarbonate plastic.
The next one of note is that BPA can permanantly alter genes, namely the HOXA10 (that narrows it down for you, doesn’t it?). This gene is important for the development of the uterus and plays a role in fertility. Meaning…our intake now can impact future generations.
Another recent study suggested that drinking cold beverages from polycarbonate bottles (read: plastic water bottles) for just one week raises the BPA level in subjects 60 percent! Which had that study’s author worrying about infants who drink from baby bottles. Hot liquids would certainly increase exposure, she said.
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.
The author of the gene-altering study, Hugh Taylor of Yale University School of Medicine, put it pretty succinctly with this quote:
I don’t think anybody is saying this is the most toxic stuff known to man. But are we doing something that could affect our children into the next generation?
I think even the possibility of such a change should have us all changing our buying habits.
For their part, the industry lackeys reps say BPA is of no concern. The American Chemistry Council said BPA is “safe” and more research is needed. And the president of American Council on Science and Health, which represents itself as a “a consumer education consortium” (but is funded by corporations such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association) just published an editorial in Forbes where she described the “irrational” BPA “hysteria” like this:
Mom and dad are not familiar with this chemical; they can hardly pronounce it; they cannot see it; thus they fear it.
We can detect minute levels of virtually any chemical in blood and urine, and the presence of such an amount is not synonymous with a hazard. BPA as a health hazard is best described as only a “phantom risk.”
Mmm…if you don’t like the taste of bisphenol-A, how about that condescending tone?
I can pronounce “bisphenol-A”, along with plenty of choice words for its defenders. But I’ll use my nice words.
Image: psyberartist on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.