Bisphenol A has been used in plastics for 50 years. It is pervasively found in breast milk, saliva, urine, amniotic fluid, and/or blood of 95% of Americans. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has failed to regulate BPA in consumer products, yet advises consumers to be cautious about exposure:
At this interim stage, FDA shares the perspective of the National Toxicology Program that recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. FDA also recognizes substantial uncertainties with respect to the overall interpretation of these studies and their potential implications for human health effects of BPA exposure. These uncertainties relate to issues such as the routes of exposure employed, the lack of consistency among some of the measured endpoints or results between studies, the relevance of some animal models to human health, differences in the metabolism (and detoxification) of and responses to BPA both at different ages and in different species, and limited or absent dose response information for some studies…
In addition, FDA is supporting reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA, including actions by industry and recommendations to consumers on food preparation. At this time, FDA is not recommending that families change the use of infant formula or foods, as the benefit of a stable source of good nutrition outweighs the potential risk of BPA exposure.
BPA is a hormone disrupting chemical that has been attributed to breast and prostrate cancer. Now Chinese researchers have discovered rather damning evidence BPA is linked to brain tumors.
Environmental Health News reports:
Exposure to bisphenol A may be a risk factor for a common type of brain tumor called meningioma, reports a study from China. This is the first study to suggest a link between brain cancer and the chemical, which is widely used in consumer products.
Those with the highest urine BPA levels were about 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with meningioma compared to those with lower concentrations.
Published in the International Journal of Clinical Oncology , researchers used brain scan or biopsy to confirm the presence of brain cancer. Other influential factors, such as BMI, hormone replacement therapy, and family history were considered.
The patients with higher concentrations of BPA in their urine – the three groups with greater than 0.53 ng/ml – were more likely to have the brain cancer compared to those with the lower concentrations – less than 0.53 ng/mL. Specifically, those with higher concentrations were 1.4 to 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed than patients in the group with the lowest urine concentrations.
The results also support what other studies have shown. The personal factors of gender, BMI and use of HRT influence the risk of the disease. However, when considering the link with BPA, the personal factors did not alter the results.
This positive association is certainly scary.
Although companies are responding to the publics concern about BPA by removing it from their cans and plastic bottles, the replacement chemicals may be just as dangerous to our health. Rodale explains:
According to the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, a trade group of can manufacturers, the most common replacement for BPA right now is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), otherwise known as vinyl, the same material used to make your bathroom shower curtain. PVC contains hormone-disrupting chemicals of its own, and it’s been linked to breast and liver cancers; the Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a known human carcinogen.
Another alternative being studied is bisphenol S, or BPS, which is similar in structure to BPA and just as likely to interfere with your hormones.
And both chemicals are being used in cans advertised as “BPA free.” “‘BPA free’ doesn’t necessarily mean safe, any more than ‘natural’ means anything,” says Kelly.
Crickets Chirping at Food Company HQ
Kelly’s group led a campaign to get Campbell Soup to remove BPA from its cans, and after they collected 20,000 signatures on a petition, the company ultimately announced that it would. Similarly, Kroger, the country’s largest grocery store chain, announced that it would require canned-food manufacturers selling products in its stores to phase out BPA, and other large agribusinesses, including ConAgra, General Mills, and Heinz, have all announced that they’re either phasing out BPA or researching alternatives for use in their cans. But no one is saying what they’ll use instead, whether it will be cancer-causing vinyl, hormone-disrupting BPS, or yet another unknown, untested chemical.
It’s best to avoid canned food and plastic containers all together. If you can’t go fresh, turn to frozen food or those preserved in glass.
In my home, I admit to buying/using canned beans. I need to get back into the practice of soaking dried beans and give up the convenience of the can. I do only buy Eden Foods, since they are BPA free, but now I wonder what they are using as a replacement chemical.