BPA: Should You Worry?
For 40 years we ate and drank from containers containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in producing polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Those substances are found in hundreds of products, from water bottles to compact discs and medical devices. Until recent years, the American public didn’t suspect that BPA could be harmful.
This week, BPA is in the news: the Breast Cancer Fund, a California-based organization working to identify and eliminate environmental causes of breast cancer, issued a report blasting the use of BPA in canned foods aimed at kids.
Why is BPA dangerous?
In 2010, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), collaborating with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, issued a statement expressing “some concern” regarding the effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children. BPA can leach from the materials in plastic tableware, baby cups, and the epoxy resin coatings inside cans, especially when those products are heated, releasing the harmful chemical into food and liquids we consume.
BPA leaches because the ingredients used in producing polycarbonates and epoxy resins are just loosely bound enough that they break down under heat or when damaged.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about BPA: In 2008, following news reports about possibly harmful effects of BPA in plastic water bottles, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that the amount of BPA exposure Americans receive from food-related materials on the shelves at that time was safe. However, more recent studies prompted the NTP to take another look. (Continue reading this story).