BPA Exposure ‘Much Higher’ Than Believed & Proposed BPA Ban

Bisphenol-A or BPA — a chemical used primarily to make plastics — has been under scrutiny in the United States since 2008 when its safety was called into question. Most recently, a study published Sept. 20 in the online NIH journal Environmental Health Perspectives “suggests exposure to BPA is actually much greater than previously thought and its authors urge the federal government to act quickly to regulate the chemical that is found in baby bottles, food-storage containers and many household products.”

One of the researchers, Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri, said in a news release that the study “provides convincing evidence” that BPA is dangerous and that “further evidence of human harm should not be required for regulatory action to reduce human exposure to BPA.”

According to a New York Times article, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says “it is OK for humans to take in up to 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight each day. The new study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that we are exposed to at least eight times that amount every day.”

In August, Canada placed BPA on a toxic-substance list under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The country first banned BPA-containing plastic baby bottles in 2008, “but the new move will see BPA removed from all products on store shelves. As a result, Canada will become the first country in the world to declare BPA as a toxic substance.”

Five states in the USA – Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, New York and Oregon - have limits on BPA, particularly in children’s products, but California state legislature recently failed to pass a bill that would have eliminated BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula cans.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) believes BPA should be legislated on a national level and wants to amend the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act currently under consideration in the Senate to ban BPA from children’s food and beverage containers. However, Republicans and industry representatives are pushing back, saying that research hasn’t conclusively proven that the chemical is harmful. Sen. Feinstein said, “In America today, millions of infants and children are needlessly exposed to BPA. This is unacceptable. If this isn’t a good enough reason to offer an amendment, I don’t know what is.”

What is BPA and Why Should You Care?

Bisphenol-A is “a synthetic estrogen used to harden polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resin.” It is found in many plastic containers as well as in the lining of canned goods. According to the Environmental Working Group:

Over 200 studies have linked BPA to health effects such as reproductive disorders, prostate and breast cancer, birth defects, low sperm count, early puberty and effects on brain development and behavior. BPA leaches from containers like sippy cups, baby bottles, baby food and infant formula canisters into the food and drink inside where it is then ingested by babies and children. The CDC found BPA in 93 percent of all Americans. Just last year EWG research revealed BPA in umbilical cord blood of newborns, which demonstrates that babies are exposed to this toxic chemical before they are born.

The Environmental Working Group has some tips to avoid exposure to BPA. Raise Healthy Eaters also has a post about How to Become a BPA-Free Family. Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, a registered dietician, recommends things such as:

  • Switching from plastic food storage containers to glass
  • Reducing your canned goods use
  • Using stainless steel water bottles and more.

Take Action:

If you’d like to urge your Senators to support the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and Senator Feinstein’s amendment to ban BPA in baby bottles and other children’s products, you may send them an email.

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Photo via nerissa’s ring on Flickr

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16 thoughts on “BPA Exposure ‘Much Higher’ Than Believed & Proposed BPA Ban

  1. i started canning my own food partly to avoid BPA, only to find that home caning lids are also lined with BPA. I’m hoping that because the food won’t touch the lids the exposure will be minimal, but i’m planning on stocking up on the new BPA free (albeit, more expensive) lids next year.

  2. Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t plastic invented by some crafty scientists tinkering in the lab with estrogen?

    Back when I was pregnant with my first son Moose, I eliminated all of our plasticware to glassware.

    I just wish I could find shatterproof glassware for toddlers. Ain’t that a million dollar idea.

    Plastic, BPA included, is the devil. I think the movement against BPS is well-overdue, but plastics in general should also be questioned.

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  5. Thank you for this very important post. BPA is everywhere-there needs to be more regulation-and fast. Many of us can try to minimize our exposure through education and avoidance. But what about all the people out there who are not aware of the risks and continue to use plastics and other items laden with BPA. Someone needs to step up to the plate. Articles like this are crucial to spread the word. Thanks!

  6. It’s horrifying that the lobbyists and some politicians put money ahead of health. Completely typical and expected, but horrifying.

    We’ve made the switch to glass for most things, but what’s so hard for me is getting rid of canned foods. Do you know if there are BPA-free varieties, or is that not possible? Otherwise, I really need to step up my game to make my own frozen varieties of my favorite canned concoctions.

  7. Lauren – I’ve started buying Eden Organics beans. They are BPA-free. I’m trying to start cooking dried beans and freezing them, but that hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know of any canned tomatoes that are BPA-free, but I have started buying Pomi Tomatoes in Tetrapak. It’s BPA-free, but the tomatoes aren’t organic, so it’s a toss-up. I don’t really do any other canned goods except beans and tomatoes, so I’m not sure about veggies.

  8. Thanks, that’s really helpful. I’ll check out Eden Organics. I have a lot of frozen tomatoes from my garden this summer (and they’re organic!), so it’s mostly the beans that get me. I have learned how to crock pot dried beans, but not how to flavor them the way they are in my favorite canned chili or baked beans. I guess I just need to get off my duff and research some recipes and then start freezing my own concoctions. Cans are just so easy, aren’t they?

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  11. Crunchy Domestic Goddess, Pomi is considered organic because it is pesticide, herbicide and GMO free. The product is 100% all natural. Check out pomi.us.com

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