How is Bisphenol A Harmful to Our Health?
According to The International Bottled Water Association, each year the U.S. consumes around 30 billion water bottles.
Plastic is used for many different things and it’s in everything we use today. From being in many different materials to preserving food, but now the question comes about, is plastic the new enemy? Many water bottles and Tupperware that we use today contain plastic and it could be harming us without us knowing. Plastic may be disguising the enemy that is possibly causing us harm. What Is Bisphenol A? Bisphenol A, often known as BPA, is an industrial chemical that has been used since the 1930s as a synthetic estrogen, but today it is used to make hard, shatter-proof plastics as well as the linings in food and drink cans. The chemical disrupts and interferes with the production, secretion, transportation, action, function and elimination of hormones in the body. BPA has also been known to imitate the hormones in the body, more so estrogen, and also cause many other health problems.
The biggest question that a lot of people have today is just how does BPA get into our bodies? BPA is leaked into the food and drinks that we consume from the plastic linings of the products. BPA is one of the main ingredients in the internal linings used for food and drinks and it is used to prevent having direct contact with the metal. Where is BPA Found? Bisphenol A is found in many polycarbonate plastics, such as water and baby bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and hospital medical technology. It has also been found in epoxy linings which are used to coat many food cans, bottle tops, and water pipes. According to the National Toxicology Program, many products are made with BPA but we just don’t realize it. Eyeglass lenses, dental fillings and sealants, dental devices, sports equipment and everyday household items contain tiny bits of bisphenol A.
According to Medical News Today, studies have shown that people that clean their water bottles, tupperware, baby bottles, or anything that is made from a polycarbonate plastic, with a harsh detergent or high-temperature liquid, increase the BPA count in those products. How Does BPA Get Into the Body? So, how exactly does BPA get into our body? There are many ways that BPA can get into our bodies, but the main way is through their diet. Anything people consume, increases their intake of BPA. Bisphenol A can transfer into our bodies through pretty much anything we are around. One way includes over washing and scrubbing containers or bottles that contain the chemical or even something as simple as dusting and cleaning. BPA has been found in the air, water and dust, but a lot of the time it’s transferred by handling products that have the chemical in them and then transferring it into the mouth.
According to the Environmental Working Group, BPA is found in 10 percent of all canned foods and in just a single serving, 30 percent of infant foods contain unsafe amounts of BPA. Other foods such as ravioli, pasta, soda, beans, chicken soup, fruits, infant formula, and milk products contain BPA in potentially dangerous levels when they are exposed to humans or animals. The FDA also found that bisphenol A comes from not only the liners of the food containers, but the food itself. In most products today BPA amounts are low, but if they are exposed over a long period of time it can become harmful. According to the Environmental Working Group, scientists state that people should refrain from using scratched plastic products and heating plastic containers in a microwave. Why Are People Concerned About BPA? Why is bisphenol A such a big concern to people today? As stated earlier, bisphenol A often imitates the hormone estrogen and interferes with how the endocrine system is supposed to function.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 93 percent of children (ages 6 and older) had urine samples taken and 95 percent of samples in adults contained BPA. Young children and fetuses have the highest risk of receiving bishpenol A damage because their bodies are still developing and they are not able to detoxify the chemicals as well as adults. In September of 2008, multiple baby bottles were found to contain BPA. BPA was linked for causing disease and birth defects in humans as well as animals. Bisphnol A also was causing both heart disease and diabetes.
In June of 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its perspective on BPA, stating that, “BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods and the use of BPA in food packaging and containers is safe.” What Are the Possible Health Effects of Bisphenol A? Some of the main health concerns involve how the brain will develop as the person continues to grow, what will happen with reproduction and conception development, will there be an increase of miscarriages and children with Down’s syndrome, along with many other concerns. One thing scientists are worried about is if BPA is affecting the brain from developing properly in younger children. There is a protein called KCC2, that helps decrease the amount of chloride in the cells, but they are concerned that BPA is making it so the amount of chloride in cells in unable to decrease, causing possible damage to the neural circuits and making it so the brain is unable to move and grow into its proper position. According to WebMD, there have been animal studies done to determine what some possible health risks of having high amounts of bisphenol A in your system can do to a person. Some animal studies showed there was a possible link between high BPA exposure and later an increased risk of cancer.
Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the exposure we have to BPA, there are many ways to reduce our daily exposure. Ways to Minimize Being Exposed to BPA There are many simple ways to reduce and keep our exposure to BPA as low as possible. Consider supporting the companies that are providing BPA-free products. Many companies, such as Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex, Evenflow, Rubbermaid, Nalgene, Eden Foods and Muir Glen, are listening to what the consumers want and making products that don’t contain BPA.
Instead of storing food and drinks in plastic containers, store them in glass storage containers. Even containers that are BPA-free can still leach chemicals into the food or drinks. Try and avoid most containers with a number 7 on the bottom. Plastics with the numbers 3 or 7 may be made with BPA. Although we cannot reduce our exposure to BPA completely, there are many simple steps that can be taken into consideration. Everybody can be aware of what bisphenol A really is and what it is commonly used for, along with having knowledge of where BPA can be found.
Plastic has been disguising the enemy that has been causing harm – Bisphenol A.