I don't know how many of you may have heard about the debate over Bisphenol-A (BPA) that's currently in the news. Essentially, BPA is a chemical found in certain types of plastics (5 & 7) that is similar in makeup to estrogen, and therefore can attach to the estrogen receptors. This is potentially a problem, particularly during development, as any extra hormone exposure can severely affect later reproductive health. While the FDA still says that the plastics containing BPA are safe, there is a growing amount of scientific evidence that it isn't.
1. Recently, there was this report on NBC nightly news.
2. In a recent study, monkeys exposed to BPA exhibited problems with brain function, particularly in connectivity between neurons. Specifically, when primates were given a daily dose of BPA equal to the current EPA/FDA safe daily limit (i.e. this is the dose the government says is safe for us!), there were severe changes in synapse formation in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of the brain, both regions involved in memory formation and mood. This is the first study to show adverse reactions in the primate brain to BPA, and makes me worry about the possibilities of intake. Also, it was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is a VERY highly esteemed journal. And, on a personal note, the work was done in Neil MacLusky's lab; he's a colleague of my doctoral advisor's and was a co-author on one of my papers. He knows his stuff.
3. A study that just came out in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA; another highly respected journal) reports that higher levels of BPA in human urine are associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver enzyme abnormalities. Again, this is a correlation, not causation, but it's still indicative of a possible problem.
The FDA does have a review panel currently with many experts discussing both sides of the issues (this was mentioned in the NBC news story, I believe). I hope that they will make the appropriate decision and more rigorously regulate BPA in plastics. I don't necessarily think that it should be taken out of plastic completely; as one of the experts on the panel (Dr. Gail Carver) has mentioned, some uses of BPA, such as in children's bicycle helmets, are beneficial and likely have no harmful effect on children. The negative side effects of BPA are more likely to occur when ingested through food.
Our daughter has had BPA free bottles almost since birth. I know that some of you thought I was a little crazy for insisting that she use BPA free plastics. However, I knew about this research and thought it was a good idea to limit her exposure. All of her bottles, sippy cups, utensils, plates, are from BPA free plastic. Additionally, I don't give her food from plastic containers, only from jars
Evan has even gotten rid of his plastic coffee containers, and is using stainless steel, which is what more people are doing in regard to this scientific evidence. BPA is leached into water, coffee, food etc particularly when heated, so hot coffee would definitely cause it to leach from the plastic. And in men, or developing boys, I would seriously question the effects of exposure to a chemical that attaches to estrogen receptors (which yes, men have), as who knows what effecst that could have on reproductive/prostate health.
I'm not saying all of you have to stop using BPA products. I'm just here to give the info out, not to make judgments. This is simply something that we have chosen to do, as we think it's safest for all of us.