Harmful Effects from Exposure to BPA

By: Allison Lane

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a controversial, industrial chemical that has been present in many baby bottles, plastic bottles, food and drink containers, and many other household items since the 1960s.  BPA is a plastic hardener and an ingredient in epoxy resin, commonly used in can linings.  In January 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revisited new studies and found that there were not immediate restrictions on its use.  However, in October 2009, NIH announced an approximately $30 million grant to study the health effects of BPA for the next two years, to hopefully have more defined results.

The concern is primarily focused on the effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children. BPA is believed to mimic the hormone estrogen, which may tie it to
reproductive abnormalities and increased risks of cancer and diabetes. Infants and young children appear to be the most vulnerable because their reproductive organs are not completely formed.

It appears that humans are generally exposed to unsafe levels of BPA. The FDA is taking steps to reduce human exposure to BPA by either replacing BPA or by minimizing the levels of BPA in food can linings and
baby bottles and infant feeding cups.  Pregnant women and young children are encouraged to limit the amount of drinking from hard water bottles and from eating out of cans.

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