The government of Canada formally declared bisphenol A (BPA) to be a toxic substance on Wednesday. Go Canada! The chemical commonly used to strengthen clear, hard plastics, and food can liners has been shown of to disrupt the hormone systems of animals, and had been found to be highly prevalent in humans. The compound was formally listed as being toxic to both the environment and human health in an official notice published online by the government.
Known as an endocrine disruptor (chemicals that can act like hormones), studies show that BPA can mimic the female hormone estrogen. In 2009 the scientific group, the Endocrine Society, published a 34-page report stating strong evidence of ill health effects from endocrine disruptors, including harm to the reproductive system, causing malformations, infertility and cancer.
In the United States, a handful of states have banned BPA in children’s products–but on the federal level there has been no action. There has been an exceedingly rigorous lobbying effort on behalf of the chemical industry, both in Canada and the U.S., so it is no surprise that the Canadian decision was condemned by the American Chemical Council. “Environment Canada’s announcement is contrary to the weight of worldwide scientific evidence, unwarranted and will unnecessarily confuse and alarm the public,” Steven G. Hentges, who leads the polycarbonate and BPA group at the council, said in a statement. And lord knows we wouldn’t want to be alarmed by a commonly-used, highly-suspicious toxin found present in nearly every human blood sample tested!
Hats off to Canada for bucking the industry and following a principle of caution in the name of human and environmental health. Seems like such a simple direction…maybe someday other countries will follow suit.