National: Could BPA Be The Next Lead Paint?

Wow, the news about plastics just keeps getting scarier. First it turns out they may give you brain damage. Now it seems you can get a host of diseases from the stuff as well. You doubtless picked it up from this morning’s FYI, but just to remind you, here’s what the Chicago Tribune had to say about the latest findings on Bisphenol A, a compound found in all sorts of plastic:

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is used extensively in the linings of food and drink containers, plus countless consumer products, including baby bottles and sippy cups. The chemical also has been found in drinking water, dental sealants and even household dust.

Adding to a growing sense of unease about the chemical’s potential effects was a study released before federal hearings Tuesday that linked exposure to bisphenol A with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities in adults.

The compound, which Wikipedia defines as, “an organic compound with two phenol functional groups,” is used to keep plastic products from shattering. Last week, scientists at Yale reported that the chemical had been found to cause brain damage in chimpanzees. Scary.

So what can you do to avoid getting sick, or going soft in the head? Well, as government regulators talk about whether or not to ban the stuff, you can start packing your lunch in a glass or metal container, and maybe pick up one of those metal water bottles. Meanwhile, according to the Tribune,

Some state and federal lawmakers have sought to ban BPA in children’s products, and some companies have decided not to produce or sell BPA products. Wal-Mart is phasing out sales of baby bottles containing BPA from its U.S. stores next year, and Nalgene is removing BPA from its popular water bottles.

But the FDA put out a draft assessment this week that declared the BPA-containing products it regulates are safe. It’s going to fight hard to not get caught with its pants down on this. Whatever the outcome, though, it can’t hurt you to be cautious, so use that porcelain, glass, and metal when you can. At the very worst, you’ll cut down on waste, and the feel-good factor there has got to be at least healthy enough to be worth it.

Common chemical BPA under scrutiny as study links it to diabetes, cardiovascular disease [Chicago Tribune]
Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults [Journal of the American Medical Association]
Draft Assesment of Bisphenol A For Use In Food Contact Applications [FDA]

[Image: Via Wikipedia]

National: Could BPA Be The Next Lead Paint?