Canadian? Watch your BPA Intake
In a recent study by Statistics Canada, 91% of all Canadians had BPA in their bodies. Now this is not a growing issue specific to Canada though, so consider your own Country’s products and your personal rate of BPA exposure and intake.
So just how bad is this and what can we do about it in our own locations across the globe? First, the study provides an important baseline for understanding BPA exposure. But is BPA really bad for you? And since it is so prevalent in consumer products, is this number of concern? Let’s take a quick look.
What and Where is BPA?
BPA, or Bisphenol A, is most commonly used in plastics and to coat things like shopping receipts and food cans. For the scientifically minded out there, it is most commonly used in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. It is a synthetically-made chemical that does not naturally occur in nature, but due to its persistent use in consumer products, can be found in water, aquatic animals, and humans mainly. The 2002 BPA market saw 2.8 million tons produced globally, and the numbers have only increased until recently. Some of the most common products can be found in our food plastics including baby bottles.
Should I Be Concerned?
According to the American Chemistry Council and industry trade groups, No.
According to health officials worldwide including the FDA and health scientists, Yes.
Take a minute to reflect on the different sources of information.
So, Why the Controversy?
Mainly, different mindsets. The chemical industry and chemical trade groups are taking the approach that until it has not been proven to cause immediate harm to human health. Resulting with the approach that there is little need to address the situation, so business continues as usual. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally deemed low rates of BPA exposure as safe. The chemical industry is first to tell you that BPA is highly regulated and tested and has been studied for over 40 years.
Unfortunately, there is a growing body of evidence that is proving that BPA exposure is not safe. Its effects on the brain, diabetes, prostate gland, and in particular the reproductive system and children is of great concern. In February of this year, the FDA made a public announcement encouraging households to limit their exposure to BPA. Now the FDA has not made a formal announcement that BPA should be publicly banned, but countries like Canada have decided to review whether this should be done until we learn can be certain there is absolutely no health risk.
The real health concerns arise when BPA levels increase, and since manufacturers have no control over what their consumers eat and are exposed to in conjunction with their product, the responsibility lays with each of us to decide which approach we will take.
CBS News Video on the 2010 FDA Announcement to Limit BPA Exposure
Tips for BPA-Free Living
The Mayo Clinic offers these tips for reducing your potential exposure to BPA:
- Choose glass or BPA-free plastic baby bottles.
- Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids.
- Avoid plastic containers with the No. 7 and No. 3 recycling label — they’re made with BPA.
- Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Instead, use glass containers designed for microwaving.
- Reduce your use of canned foods — many cans are lined with a BPA-containing resins
Please note that BPA is not required to be listed on food products or consumer goods, so it may be hard to find and eliminate all together. BPA can be flushed out of the body within 6 hours according to current research, so cleansing your body of BPA quickly is an option.
So it is up to you to decide which approach is best for your lifestyle. Either the wait and see method or the precautionary principle. Best of luck with your decision.
Sources include: Reuters, Chemical Market Associates, Inc (CMAI), Mayo Clinic, American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division Business Group