Bisphenol-A

by Hannah McLaughlin on February 20, 2014

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical that you have most likely heard of or have read about in the news lately, as it is a topic of much debate. BPA was created in the 1930s and has been widely used since to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. These are both used in a wide variety of everyday items such as plastic containers, plastic dinnerware, toys, food cans and dental sealants. We are exposed to BPA by eating food and drinking water that is kept in containers made with BPA (Nadakavukaren, 2011).

Until the 1990s, BPA was considered safe. It is only recently that BPA is the center of a controversy. This controversy is the result of a study done in the 1990s focusing on rats and exposure to BPA. In this study, lab rats were exposed to the equivalent low levels of BPA that humans are exposed to in every day life. These results showed that the rodents were at an increased risk of prostate cancer and cancer in the mammary glands with a low level exposure of BPA (Nadakavukaren, 2011). Many were disturbed by the findings of this study, causing a domino effect. Many other studies regarding BPA exposure were conducted to help solve the debate of safety. In 2003, the CDC measured the urine of 2,700 volunteers and found that 2,500 of them had BPA in their urine, “indicating widespread exposure to BPA in U.S. population”. These results however do not prove that BPA causes harm, only that it is indeed in our system. More studies were needed to prove that the chemical was unsafe so in response, the National Toxicology Program reviewed BPA in 2005. They reviewed their findings and found that there was only cause for “some concern” of the negative effects BPA has on the human body (FDA, 2012).

Even though there was only reason for “some concern”, many people were still worried, and the safety of BPA was still questioned. In hopes to put an end to the controversy, the FDA began to investigate BPA in 2009 and chose five expert scientists to review all the evidence that had been debated over the years. The FDA then stated that it still believes that “BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods”. Although currently, the FDA states that it “is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply” (FDA, 2012). These steps include stopping the production of infant bottles and infant food cans with BPA. Since then, however, even more studies have been done showing that the low levels we are exposed to, even though considered “safe”, can lead to liver cancer as well as fertility issues in both men and women (Science World Report, 2014).

As you can see, there is still much to be done to determine the safety of BPA exposure. The FDA needs to take more action to find the answer before it is too late and the effects have set in.

 

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/BisphenolA_FactSheet.html

http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm064437.htm

http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/12612/20140203/exposure-to-bpa-linked-to-development-of-liver-tumors-study-claims.htm

Nadakavukaren, Anne . Our Global Environment A Health Perspective. 7th. United States of America: Waveland Press Inc, 2011. Print.


{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie March 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Great article, Hannah! Very informative :)

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Sarah March 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Great job explaining the controversy!

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Lauren March 1, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Great article!

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Elana Schwartz March 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Very nice, Hannah! Thanks for sharing!

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Kelly March 1, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Great article! I had no idea what those were before reading

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Ella March 1, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Wow, I actually had no idea about any of this… knew BPA was bad, but no idea why! Thanks Hannah

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Kaitlyn M March 2, 2014 at 9:25 am

Really interesting article!

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Kirsten March 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I finally understand all this BPA nonsense now. So informative!

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