The case against BPAs in plastics is emerging as our worst nightmare.
A recent article by David Case in Fast Company magazine follows the BPA trail to determine how harmful it really is to humans, where you find it, and what is being done about it. His findings are terrifying to anyone unaware of how much in our environment and daily life is toxic to us. Even those among us who consider ourselves “aware” may be shocked at the levels at which we are exposed and the overall inescapability of this hazardous chemical.
According to Case, BPA is everywhere. “Some 7 billion pounds of it were produced in 2007. It’s in adhesives, dental fillings, and the linings of food and drink cans. It’s a building block for polycarbonate, a near-shatterproof plastic used in cell phones, computers, eyeglasses, drinking bottles, medical devices, and CDs and DVDs. It’s also in infant-formula cans and many clear plastic baby bottles. Studies have shown that it can leach into food and drink, especially when containers are heated or damaged. More than 90% of Americans have some in their bodies.”
Check out this illustration from the article that shows the alarming levels of BPAs in a 6-month old baby fed canned formula in a plastic bottle. Notice that even breast-fed babies get BPAs through breast milk from their mother’s exposure.
“The government is unlikely to start controlling the use of BPA. The United States has a long tradition of keeping harmful substances — lead, DDT, tobacco, PCBs — on the market for decades after scientists find adverse effects.
“The EPA could theoretically step in, but that’s unlikely too. The agency “has no real program to regulate industrial chemicals, as a result of deep flaws in the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act,” says Andy Igrejas, environmental-health campaign director for the Pew Charitable Trusts. Under the act, the EPA needs to show “substantial evidence” that a chemical is harmful, and must weigh the costs of restrictions against the economic benefits of keeping the chemical in commerce. That’s a byzantine chore and helps explain why the agency has managed to restrict only five chemicals in the law’s 33-year history. Under the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, Congress ordered the agency to screen industrial chemicals to determine if they interfere with the endocrine system, a program that might have flagged BPA. Nine years after the 1999 deadline, the agency has yet to screen a single chemical.”
Are you scared yet?