Bisphenol A (BPA) is a plastics chemical invented nearly 120 years ago and currently used in enormous amounts to manufacture hard plastic water bottles and to make epoxy linings of metal food cans, like those for canned infant formula. Although its long-time use in consumer products has come with assurances of its safety from industry, studies conducted over the past 20 years now show it to be not only a ubiquitous pollutant in the human body – it contaminates nearly 93% of the population – but also a potent developmental toxin at very low doses.
In September 2008 the National Toxicology Program of NIH determined that BPA may pose risks to human development, raising concerns for early puberty, prostate effects, breast cancer, and behavioral impacts from early-life exposures. Pregnant women, infants and young children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of BPA. A recent study linked BPA exposures to risk of heart disease, diabetes, and liver toxicity.
Although, the FDA has yet to act to tighten safety standards, two Congressional investigations have been launched to shed light on industry influence of government science evaluations. It’s significant that Wal-Mart and other retailers are pulling BPA-containing products off of store shelves. A series of major events have transformed our understanding of BPA, shown its potential role in human health problems, and revealed industry’s inside fight to keep it on the market despite the significant health risks.
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