Toxic BPA Sales Skyrocket Despite Link to Cancer, Obesity, More
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a building block for polycarbonate plastic (think hard plastic water bottles) and epoxy resins (think the lining of soup cans and aluminum soda cans). When it is heated or exposed to an alkaline environment, the molecular bonds holding BPA together break down to form xenoestrogens that disrupt the body’s hormonal balance, and has been linked to obesity, cancer, infertility, immune imbalances, and a host of other health problems.
A recent study from Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal Environmental Health found that commonly-found toxins in plastics are linked to both general obesity and abdominal obesity.
Despite consumer pressures and many studies linking BPA to disease, the chemical industry will claim record sales of this toxic substance, according to a new study by Transparency Market Research. Based on the current growth of BPA sales to $13.1 Billion in 2012, it is expected to reach a record $18.8 Billion by 2019—a 44% increase.
While the Asia-Pacific region is driving some of the increasing demand, the report indicates that North America is the globe’s “third largest regional market for BPA,” behind Asia and Europe.
Tom Philpott, journalist for Mother Jones magazine, claims that critical information outlining which companies hold the largest share of the global BPA market had been blacked out by Transparency Market Research in the sample report sent to him. According to the US Department of Agriculture Report, two companies, “produce the bulk of BPA in the world”—Bayer (Germany) and Dow (US). Philpott also indicates that Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC), a company 70% owned by the Saudi government is another major BPA producer.
In study after study BPA is linked to an increasing list of health problems and diseases. It damages the reproductive system in women and causes low sperm count and prostate cancer in men. It has been linked to early puberty, obesity, breast cancer, and other conditions.
Governments are still relying on chemical industry-funded studies to set policy and law on BPA, essentially making it self-regulated. The US FDA argues that BPA is a “grandfathered” chemical which limits the FDA’s ability to regulate or ban it.
The packaging industry uses BPA to make plastics flexible and delay canned goods spoilage.
To reduce your exposure to BPA:
Choose only BPA-free plastics if using plastic products
Use metal or BPA-free plastic water bottles
Avoid heating or microwaving food in plastic containers
Choose BPA-free canned goods when using them
Limit your purchases of plastics
Avoid giving children toys, bottles, and canned foods unless the products are clearly labelled “BPA-free.”
Stop using plastic cooking utensils. Choose renewable bamboo instead.
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