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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Bisephenol A (BPA)

Bisphenol A (BPA)

What is it? 

Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications.

Organic? Sounds harmless enough....  
Known to be estrogenic since the mid 1930s, concerns about the use of bisphenol A in consumer products were regularly reported in the news media in 2008 after several governments issued reports questioning its safety, thus prompting some retailers to remove products containing it from their shelves. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised further concerns regarding exposure of fetuses, infants and young children. Effective 23 September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA as a toxic substance.
Ok if you have never heard of this, alarm bells will be ringing. How is it that something being organic (which we are conditioned to believe is always good for us) be so bad for us? So bad that our totalitarian governments decide to ban it? Well not all seem to agree...
Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor, which can mimic the body's own hormones and may lead to negative health effects. Early development appears to be the period of greatest sensitivity to its effects. Regulatory bodies have determined safety levels for humans, but those safety levels are currently being questioned or under review as a result of new scientific studies.
In 2009 The Endocrine Society released a scientific statement expressing concern over current human exposure to BPA.
Now you are going to be finding lots of information out about what these so called ill effects are, but for now I will only summarise them as there are a lot of sources to get down.  

  • Obesity  
  • Neurological issues 
  • Disruption of the dopaminergic system
  • Thyroid function
  • Cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Prostate development and cancer
  • DNA methylation
  • Reproductive system and sexual behavior
  • Heart disease
  • Xenoestrogen
Just enough there to scare you into having a heart attack. Now, is this just fear mongering or are you actually exposed to these risks?

Bisphenol A is everywhere – is it safe?

Mounting evidence against a chemical we are exposed to daily is being ignored. What more do regulators need, ask David Melzer and Tamara Galloway

THREE letters lie at the heart of our modern world: BPA. Short for bisphenol A, a synthetic oestrogen, a staggering 3 billion kilograms of the stuff is produced annually, with an estimated value of $500,000 per hour to the global economy.

So straight away, it is bad for you but it is profitable?

BPA is used in the production of a hard and transparent form of polycarbonate plastic used to create food and drink containers and other consumer goods. It is also used in the epoxy resins that line metal food cans, and as an ingredient in dental sealants.

In fact, we are so consistently exposed to BPA that over 90 per cent of us excrete BPA metabolites in our urine at any given time. How exactly BPA enters the human body is not yet clear, although eating food kept in BPA-containing packaging, breathing household dust and handling plastics that contain BPA may all contribute to our daily exposure. Currently, BPA is not listed on food or drink labels so millions of people have no way of knowing their daily exposure.
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