"Bisphenol A" Officially Dangerous

In my own efforts to live a “greener” life, one of the changes I made was to buy a high end Nalgene bottle (the high quality plastic bottles that are not supposed to leach toxins into the water) so that my daughter could use it instead of individual bottles of water that are so wasteful and harmful to the environment. My child has been drinking water from this bottle for over a year. We’ve saved about $300 on buying bottled water and stopped about 300 bottles from going into the trash or recycling bins at school.

On Tuesday, Canadian journalist, MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT of The Globe and Mail, released an article on a Canadian ban of Bisphenol A (or BPA — “7” in the recycle arrow circle).

“…the designation as dangerous could pave the way for the hormonally active chemical to be listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which would allow Health Minister Tony Clement to issue specific measures to curb its use.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is one of the most widely used synthetic chemicals in modern industry. It is the basic building block for polycarbonate, the see-through, shatter-proof plastic that resembles glass, and is also used to make the epoxy resins lining the insides of most tin cans, along with some dental sealants, sports helmets, and compact discs.”

BPA has been looked at for quite some time, (NPR was reporting on this issue in August 2007) but assurances have always been that the small amount of BPA that gets into our bloodstream is harmless. That is no longer the determination.

On Tuesday, NPR again reported on this issue, as the US, (along with many other countries) has to figure out how to deal with this issue. According to MITTELSTAEDT, “U.S. tests have found that more than 90 per cent of the population carries in their bodies trace residues of the chemical, whose molecular shape allows it to mimic the female hormone estrogen. Small amounts of BPA can leach from food and beverage containers during use, such as when they are heated, exposed to harsh dishwashing chemicals, or contain acidic substances. Health Canada is testing Canadians’ BPA levels, but the results will not be available for several years.

In response to concerns over the safety of BPA, many specialty retailers, including Mountain Equipment Co-op, have pulled polycarbonate plastic containers from their stores, and BPA-free bottles are been flying off shelves, creating shortages. Hudson’s Bay Co. announced last month that it had “secured large quantities” BPA-free baby products, a sign of how quickly even the mass market has moved against the chemical.

Independent researchers in dozens of studies have linked trace BPA exposures in animal and test-tube experiments to conditions involving hormone imbalances, including breast and prostate cancer, early puberty and changes in brain structure, particularly for exposures during key points of fetal or early neonatal development. “

I’m more than concerned. I’m alarmed. My daughter and many of her friends show signs of early puberty. Hormonal imbalances are becoming more and more frequent in young women. Last night I wiped my house of as many items with BPA as I could find. That, unfortunately, will not wipe out the years of exposure that my daughter has already had to the substance. When I was a kid, before the advent of Tupperware, our milk came in glass bottles with cardboard caps. We kept food in glass dishes with a plate to cover it. There were no microwaves…we reheated on the stove top. TV dinners had just been developed and fully-prepared off the shelf meals were unheard of. We DID have to worry about lead in paint, asbestos in our walls, and a lot more second hand smoke than today.

As we move forward, we’ll have to move backwards in order to preserve the health of our children.

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