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U.S. Government Launches Major BPA Investigation, But Is It Too Late?

U.S. Government Launches Major BPA Investigation, But Is It Too Late?

Parents and environmentalists all over the United States breathed a sigh of relief today as the Environmental Protection Agency released a statement saying they would finally be taking a long, hard look at the health and environmental impacts of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the manufacture of a wide range of consumer and industrial products.

Because food packaging represents the most obvious source of BPA exposure to people, it is (supposedly) regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, a new study by researchers at Nihon University’s College of Pharmacy, in Chiba, Japan, may show that leaching plastics are not the primary source of BPA contamination.

Science News, the magazine for the Society for Science and the Public, recently reported that peeling nautical paint containing certain toxic resins may be to blame for explain the high concentrations of BPA that has just been found in beach sand and coastal seawater around the world.

Of the 28 sites sampled during the study, BPA was found at all, often at values in seawater at or near 100 parts per billion in Puerto Rico, Guam, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Concentrations of BPA were orders of magnitude higher in sand. For instance, they exceeded 50 parts per million on a French beach and ranged closer to 100 ppm on sandy shores in East Asia, Florida and Costa Rica.

The EPA reported that releases of BPA to the environment exceed 1 million pounds per year. BPA has caused reproductive and developmental effects in animal studies and may also affect the endocrine system.

Thankfully, the agency’s new BPA Action Plan will require new studies of concentrations of the plastic in surface water, groundwater and drinking water to determine where it exists in levels requiring action. But in light of these new findings, cleaning up current BPA contamination in ocean waters, which ultimately becomes a part of the country’s fresh water supply, could prove to be a monumental task.

If you think that there’s already enough evidence to show that BPA is dangerous to humans and the environment, sign the petition to Ban BPA In all Consumer Products.

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Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - laradoves

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43 comments

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7:24AM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

One more thing - don't expect the government to do anything to protect you - they are completely under the control of corporate interests. The original finding of BPA as "safe" (I believe by FDA) was based on 2 studies - by industry. Many other independent researchers were sounding the alarm.

The only way I can see to have a safer world is through the choices we make as educated consumers.

7:18AM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

You can't avoid all toxins, but you can greatly reduce your exposure to them. Here are some tips:

Choose #2,4,5 plastic. AVOID #3,6,7 and #1 if chipped.

Most food can liners have BPA in them. Buy fresh or frozen foods as much as possible, along with food in glass containers.

Although many products come wrapped in plastic, you can limit its use in your home. DO NOT MICROWAVE IN PLASTIC. It actually saves you washing an extra dish, and works just as well, to heat your food in/on the plate or bowl from which you will be eating.

I save glass jars and bottles in all sizes and shapes for storage - and for bringing food and water with me. Second best - wrap sandwiches in plain waxed paper (not oily plastic film) and throw it in an empty bread bag.

By the way, metal in pots and pans is the best option - WITHOUT TEFLON, WHICH IS TOXIC! Casseroles are best as either ceramic or glass.

4:12AM PDT on May 27, 2011

a bit slow

4:16PM PDT on May 21, 2011

Just like the EPA to allow something they know is dangerous into our bodies. The mighty, & powerful $$$ takes the lead over citizens when it comes to safety vs profit. The only reason their "investigating" now is someone has proved them inept.

9:29AM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

It is a step in the right direction

4:22AM PDT on Apr 3, 2010

Gee we all knew the dangers long ago, these guys must have been asleep. Does not make one feel safe knowing the driver is asleep at the wheel.

4:51AM PDT on Apr 1, 2010

Should we assume that all plastic has BPA unless it especially says that it doesn't? I got a box of Rubbermaid containers-one size is really handy for taking lunch, and everybody else bought these too. These were widely sold last fall with no indication what they are made of. It does make me a little nervous, especially microwaving them.

4:01AM PDT on Apr 1, 2010

Better late than never...

1:46AM PDT on Apr 1, 2010

Thanks for the information.

1:27PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

Aargh, my comments keep disappearing, again... so sorry for the (possible) double-post. Orginal post: Well, at least they´re doing something...

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