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A World Of Plastic- BPA

We sure have been hearing a lot about BPA over the last few years. Questioning every plastic bottle or toy we think of buying. It is a very real fear. Many governments have called it a true threat to our health. Let’s take a look at BPA, where it is and what it’s really doing.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely produced chemical used primarily for the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic is a lightweight, high-performance plastic that possesses a unique balance of toughness, optical clarity, high heat resistance, and excellent electrical resistance. Because of these attributes, polycarbonate is used in a wide variety of common products including digital media, electrical and electronic equipment, automobiles, sports safety equipment, the linings of metal cans and reusable food containers. Mainly you hear about BPA being used to line PET and polycarbonate plastic water bottles as well as some stainless steel and aluminum water bottles. It can also be found in most Type 7 plastics.

So what’s all the fuss about. Websites and articles as recent as 2005 say there is no fuss. “Safety assessments of bisphenol A (BPA) conclude that the potential human exposure to BPA from polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins is more than 400 times lower than the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This minimal level of exposure to BPA poses no known risk to human health.” But you take a look around today and you’ll get a different story.

BPA is controversial because it exerts detectable hormone-like properties, raising concerns about its presence in consumer products and foods contained in such products. Starting in 2008, several governments questioned its safety, prompting some retailers to withdraw polycarbonate products. A 2010 report from the US FDA raised further concerns regarding exposure to fetuses, infants, and young children. In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance. The European Union, Canada, and recently the United States have banned BPA use in baby bottles. Sounds to me there may be a slight risk.

Another place you will be exposed to BPA is at the dentist. “Materials used in white fillings or as sealants — which prevent future decay — can break down into BPA after coming in contact with saliva,” says Abby Fleisch, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston. “BPA levels in saliva can spike to 88 times higher than normal immediately after a dental sealing,” Fleisch says. “Tests can detect BPA in saliva for up to three hours after the procedures, although levels quickly drop off after that.” Fleisch continues, “Doctors don’t know how much BPA is absorbed into the body, however, or what its effects might be. But dental materials probably cause far less BPA exposure than other consumer goods, such as plastic bottles and the linings of metal cans.” However, you should remember back in 2005, there was no risk.

MedicineNet.com gives us this statement, “The use of this chemical is so profound that it was detected in the urine in 93% of the population over 6 years of age.” I don’t know about you but this scares the wits out of me. 93%!!! In my urine!!! BPA is said to be a endocrine disruptor which can mimic estrogen and may lead to negative health effects. BPA can be linked to cancer, diabetes and obesity. It has also been determined that there was “some concern” about BPA’s effects on fetal and infant brain development and behavior.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that limiting your intake of BPA can be nothing but good. Since it has been declared “toxic”, and it is still being used, you are going to have to make some tough choices on where your intake will be. And even if an item says it’s ‘BPA Free’, do your research, many are skating by. Until something is done to eliminate BPA altogether, we must protect our families all on our own.

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