BPA is in the news again! This time it seems as though the FDA is going to acknowledge BPAs and start regulating them. On Friday January 15th the FDA stated "it was concerned about the chemical's effect on fetuses, infants and children."
According to the article in the Journal Sentinel, "more than 6 billion pounds of the chemical are manufactured each year, accounting for nearly $7 billion in sales." BPA is used to line food and beverage cans, including infant formula cans. The chemical is also used in the production of plastic bottles (baby bottle, water bottle), tableware, dental sealants, DVDs and other household objects that we use every day.
BPA was first introduced in 1891 and by the early 1930s there was thought that it might be dangerous to humans. In 2008, the news media brought BPA to the consumer's attention and as a result some companies have stopped using BPA in their products.
Health concerns of BPA include prostate and breast cancer, reproductive failure, obesity, heart disease, abnormal thyroid function, diabetes and behavioral problems. From the National Toxicology Program Expert Panel Report, an estimate of 0.008-1.5 μg/kg/day is how much BPA an adult intakes, while an infant (0-6 month formula feed) is getting 1-11 μg/kg/day.
The FDA announced 3 steps to help limit BPA in our food supply. They include:
- "Supporting the industry's actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market;
- Facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and
- Supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings."
BPA in baby bottles has been banned in several US states, including Minnesota, Connecticut, the city of Chicago and two counties in New York. A federal bill to ban BPA from all food containers has been introduced by U.S. Rep Edward Markey of Massachusetts. He responded to the FDA's change by saying "it is clear that BPA poses serious health risks, and this finding is a major step toward eliminating exposure to this toxic substance."
How can you limit your exposure to BPA as the FDA figures out to what extent the chemical plays in health or disease?
- Remove as much plastic from your kitchen as possible, use Pyrex like glass containers instead.
- Remove plastic water bottles - try a Klean Kanteen or other stainless steel or glass bottle.
- Be a smart consumer - look for BPA free packaging when buying canned items.
References: FDA does about-face on exposure to BPA