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Bisphenol A - A Chemical That Should Be Banned

Thursday, July 11, 2013By Richard Alexander
Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been used in plastic products since the 1960s. This industrial chemical mimics estrogen. The Food and Drug Administration declared its use safe in 2008 and refused to prohibit it until backlash from consumers and manufacturing trends forced their hand.

The FDA finally banned BPA in 2012, but only in the manufacturing of baby bottles and children’s cups. They still claim that there is not enough evidence to prove toxic effects on the brain and nervous system. However, more than ten states already have prohibitions in place and consumers pushed for more.

France banned BPA in children’s products in 2012 but with the additional goal of eliminating the chemical from all food containers by 2015. Canada and the European Union have similar bans in place for baby bottles.

When BPA plastics are heated the chemical leaches into food and drinks.  Afraid to regulate our own powerful chemical corporations, business-friendly United States has ignored animal studies that early exposure to BPA is linked to pre-cancerous changes in the prostate and mammary glands, early onset of puberty, lowered sperm counts and obesity.

A 2012 NYU School of Medicine study of more than 2800 American children and teenagers found that 92 percent of the subjects had BPA in their urine. The study correlated body mass to levels of BPA detected and found that obesity was 2.6 times more likely in those with higher levels.

Other research has detected BPA in breast milk and umbilical cord blood, proving that, if nothing else, the chemical is reaching children at their most vulnerable stages of development.

The FDA is slow to take action against this toxin and its use, but why? The 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act is supposed to provide a safety net for consumers but the sloppily-written law does very little.

Companies are not required to give the Environmental Protection Agency any safety data yet the government agency must prove a chemical is harmful before products can be pulled. It seems this act is more of a regulation of government than a government regulation.

Since the inception of this act in 1976, approximately 85,000 chemicals have come into use but the EPA has only regulated five, according to the New York Times.

There is a push for reform of the act that would require manufacturers to prove safety of chemical products before releasing them to consumers. This makes sense. But while the EPA has their hands tied, expect to see the FDA drag their feet and kowtow to big food and chemical corporations when it comes to BPA—all at the expense of America’s health. Taking BPA out of children’s products is a good step but big companies such as Coca-Cola say they will continue to use the chemical as a can liner.

Lack of regulation comes with a hefty price to consumers while lining the pockets of corporations.

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