Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bisphenol A (BPA)

Bisphenol A is used to package food and has been found to mimic the effects of estrogen, both in mice and human studies. It has been linked to obesity, causing the body to trigger fat cell activity and has be shown to have carcinogenic effects on developing fetuses, creating breast cancer precurser cells. Worldwide studies are underway to re evaluate the safety of using this product as it is still widely available although many companies including Nalgene, Mountain Equipment Coop and Patagonia are voluntarily ceasing to make products with Bisphenol A. In addition, Wal Mart (Canada) has discontinued sales of soothers, baby bottles, sippy cups, and food and water containers and has made a commitment to do away with Bisphenol A in U.S. stores by 2009. How do you know if your container is made from Bisphenol A? Look on the bottom for the recycling triangle. If it has a 7 or 3, it contains Bisphenol A.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been present in many hard plastic bottles and metal-based food and beverage cans since the 1960s. 
Studies employing standardized toxicity tests have thus far supported the safety of current low levels of human exposure to BPA.  However, on the basis of results from recent studies using novel approaches to test for subtle effects, both the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and FDA have some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.  In cooperation with the National Toxicology Program, FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research is carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the risks of BPA.
In the interim:
  • FDA is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply.  These steps include:
    • supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market;
    • facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and
    • supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.
  • FDA is supporting a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA.
  • FDA is seeking further public comment and external input on the science surrounding BPA.
FDA is also supporting recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services for infant feeding and food preparation to reduce exposure to BPA.
FDA is not recommending that families change the use of infant formula or foods, as the benefit of a stable source of good nutrition outweighs the potential risk from BPA exposure.

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