Despite Health Concerns, Bisphenol-A Unregulated in U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control says 93% of us have Bisphenol-A in our bodies. From the linings of food and soda cans to eyeglasses, water bottles and dental sealants, billions of pounds of this petroleum-based chemical are used to strengthen plastics. BPA mimics and can interfere with the hormone estrogen. Studies show even small amounts can alter reproductive, neurological and immune systems.
“Bisphenol-A, research is showing more and more, could lead to diabetes, obesity, early puberty, cancer, a whole range of problems,” said Erika Schreder of the Washington Toxics Coalition.
Canada now lists BPA as a toxic substance. The European Union and at least seven states have restricted its use. But the Federal Government has not taken any regulatory action. The Environmental Protection Agency has listed BPA as a chemical of concern, and the Food and Drug Administration says there’s “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.”
“The public basically wants safer materials. They don’t like that someone isn’t minding the store,” said Andy Ingrejas, director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.
“If we can’t get Washington to address these problems in a way that really benefits public health, but also benefits the business environment, we’ll see more private efforts in the marketplace. We’re seeing more companies start to address, start to adopt their own chemical policies trying to weed out the known bad chemicals.”
Though industry groups like the American Chemistry Council say “BPA has been safely used for decades,” concerned families, some retailers and interest groups are working to overhaul outdated U.S. Chemicals policies so that health and safety information is publicly available.