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.
Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - laradoves