In his 2010 report, The President’s Cancer Panel explicitly identifies Bisphenol-A (BPA) as a “chemical of concern,” and warns that “more than 130 studies have linked BPA to breast cancer, obesity, and other conditions.” The Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., calls attention to the issue.
A number of products, including polycarbonate baby bottles and cosmetics for adults, food can linings, microwave oven dishes, dental sealants, and medical devices contain bisphenol-A as a plasticizer. Cash registers and credit card receipts, which have microscopic powdered BPA coated on them, are also major sources recently recognized.
As a result of failing to consider all relevant scientific works, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety assessment of BPA was rejected by the Panel as incomplete and unreliable in March 2009. In March 2009, a consortium of independent experts from academia, government, and industry rejected FDA’s “safety assessment on BPA.” Dr. Epstein emphasizes that the scientific evidence on the toxic effects of BPA is extensive, and the FDA is unprepared to meet regulatory responsibilities, according to the Panel report. It was found in a 2007 review of about 700 studies on BPA published in Reproductive Toxicology that infants and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to the hormonal effects of this ingredient, which is technically known as “endocrine disruptor.” NIH researchers reported uterine damage in newborn rodents exposed to BPA levels comparable to those experienced by humans in an accompanying study. Women may be at risk for reproductive tract disorders after exposing themselves to BPA as fetuses or infants, according to this finding. The brain of female mice is masculinized by BPA, while the brain of male mice is feminized by BPA, according to previous studies published in Endocrinology, as well as elsewhere. The reducing distance between anus and genitals of newborn baby boys is evidence of the toxic effects of this hormone disrupter in pregnant women. Based on such evidence, Health Canada declared BPA to be a “toxic chemical” in early 2008 because it decreased anogenital distance, which decreased sperm production. As well as these toxic effects, pregnant rodents exposed to BPA, at levels 2,000 times lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s “safe dose,” developed sexual anomalies in their offspring. Breast tissue has an increased number of “terminal end buds”, which are associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer. BPA has also been found in human blood, placental and fetal tissue, and has been implicated as a predisposing factor for prostate cancer, according to Dr. Epstein, but the findings are only “hypothetical.” A spokesperson for the American Plastics Council claimed that these findings were only “hypothetical.” Additionally, the authors of this study linked the minimal levels of BPA exposed to pregnant women to endocrine-dependent human cancers, such as breast cancer. It was released on August 2, 2007 by a group of scientists that BPA, even at very low exposure levels, is likely to cause many reproductive disorders, according to a consensus statement signed by several dozen scientists.
We (Dr. Gail Prins) reviewed the substantial scientific evidence on BPA’s toxic hormonal effects on pregnant women in a September 2008 publication, Endocrine-Related Cancer. In her opinion, infants and children are highly vulnerable to the harmful effects of these chemicals, particularly prostate cancer risks.
As part of a special section on Environmental Research in Science Daily, Science Daily ran an article on BPA called “A Plastic World” in October 2008. A second article found that fetal exposure to BPA disrupted rats and mice’s normal brain development and behavior. BPA is also reported to be contaminating the oceans and harming aquatic life in other articles.
As a result of the Endocrine Disruption Act of June 2009, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science was authorized to coordinate hormone disruption research to prevent exposure to chemicals “that can adversely affect the development of children even before they are born and have a lasting impact on their health.”
California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein’s legislation banning BPA from food and beverage containers further strengthened this bill, which was supported by public health, consumer, and children’s advocacy groups.
According to the April 2010 President’s Cancer Panel Report, “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now,” babies are born pre-polluted to a disturbing extent, which is of major importance.
BPA can be replaced with safe alternatives, according to Dr. Epstein. According to the author’s 2009 book Toxic Beauty, the development of “green chemistry” has encouraged companies to phase out petrochemical plastic packaging, especially those containing BPA. Biodegradable alternatives to these containers, such as recycled paper, are now being used. As a result, “green” packaging uses less energy, emits fewer greenhouse gases, and uses less landfill-bound waste.
According to the FDA’s “Update on BPA,” which was released in January, it was important to avoid childhood exposure to BPA in food packaging, plastic baby bottles, feeding cups, and metal containers. FDA has, however, not taken any regulatory action in this regard. In its annual “safety assessments,” the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel does not even mention BPA.
A draft of the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 was released in March by Congressmen Bobby Rush and Henry Waxman. Under this Act, a program will be established to review and protect children from toxic exposures, including BPA, including BPA. It is crucial to passing this legislation urgently so that BPA does not remain in baby bottles, food packaging or other consumer products, especially to prevent further childhood exposure.
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 was introduced by Senator Lautenberg a month later, in an effort to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act, which had been in place for 34 years. It is intended to ensure that “those who make the chemicals–should be responsible for testing them before they are released to the public.” This should be the case for BPA, for example.
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