Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to make plastics, plastic additives and epoxy resins, is found in a variety of products including baby and water bottles, food and beverage can linings, sports equipment, medical and dental devices, CDs and DVDs, and household electronics.
Tests indicate that the chemical leaches out of food and liquid containers, especially when exposed to heat.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor which mimics the body’s own hormones, causing adverse health effects. BPA can cause behavioral changes in infants and children, trigger the early onset of puberty in females and is associated with heart disease, diabetes and other ailments.
Several states, including California, Connecticut, Michigan, and New York are considering legislation to ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Minnesota is the first state to pass legislation banning BPA in products marked for use in babies, infants or children. The Food and Drug Administration is currently trying to estimate a safe exposure level to BPA.
Consumer pressure has resulted in some retailers and manufacturers eliminating BPA from their products.
According to a study published recently in Environmental Health Perspectives, Americans may be exposed to far more of the BPA chemical in plastic than researchers have suspected.
Previously, researchers have believed that individuals are exposed to BPA primarily through food containers, such as metal can linings and water bottles. Scientists have also previously surmised that BPA passes through the body quickly, within 24 hours.
The recent study data showed that fasting adults still had high levels of the chemical, even though they had eaten nothing for the previous 24 hours.
The study authors, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, suspect hat it’s possible that BPA remains in the body much longer than scientists had believed, perhaps stored in fat. Adults in the study may also have been re-exposed to BPA through sources other than food.
People seeking to minimize their exposure to BPA should avoid canned food and polycarbonate plastic containers unless the packaging indicates the product is bisphenol A-free. Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers and do not put plastics in the dishwasher or use harsh detergents to avoid leaching.
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