Certain things are hard for me to wrap my brain around. Like bisphenol-A (BPA)–the industrial compound used in manufacturing polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, and contained in a wide variety of consumer products (baby bottles, plastic containers, the resin lining of cans for food and beverages, to name a few). People are exposed to BPA by using such products–one sampling in a CDC body burden study detected the chemical in 93 percent of those included.
Since at least 1936 it has been known that BPA mimics estrogens, binding to the same receptors throughout the human body as natural female hormones. Now does it really seem like a good idea to be using synthetic estrogen in commonly-used materials that allow it to leach into our bodies?
More than 100 peer-reviewed studies have found BPA to be toxic at low doses. Scientists have linked it to everything from breast cancer to obesity, heart disease to diabetes, attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike. The FDA is just beginning to mumble “maybe just maybe we should think about conducting some further studies.” I’m sure it has been hard to come to this conclusion, given the millions of dollars spent on pro-BPA lobbying by the chemical industry.
Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council notes that Americans absorb quantities of BPA at levels that government regulators have found to be safe. But, “the vast majority of independent scientists—those not working for industry—are concerned about early-life low-dose exposures to BPA,” said Janet Gray, a Vassar College professor who is science adviser to the Breast Cancer Fund.