Bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used to make certain plastics harder, is found in many products, particularly infant and toddler bottles and cups. Although the use of BPA in children’s products has been banned in some states, the exposure to harmful chemicals has not necessarily been stopped or even reduced. There have been no significant efforts made to reduce all possible contact and exposure to BPA. On the contrary, BPA is being replaced with bisphenol AF (BPAF) and bisphenol B (BPB), chemicals that are just as harmful, if not more so, than BPA. Researchers are also investigating overexposure to BPA and its effects on fertility.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a synthetic estrogen that interrupts the normal function of the endocrine system. BPA is most often used in children’s products, but it may also be found in the metal that lines food cans. If dental sealant residue is not wiped away after sealants are applied, it mixes with saliva and forms BPA. A.T.M. machine receipts often use thermal paper that contains significant amounts of BPA, so it is reasonable to assume that BPA may be found on money as well.
Is BPA-Free a Good Idea?
According to ABC News, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) once maintained that BPA was safe, yet now it is taking steps to reduce exposure, even though it did not go so far as to ban the use of the chemical. The FDA is, however, beginning a study to measure the effects of BPA, research that will cost roughly $30 million to complete.
Since the federal government has not taken steps to ban BPA or even limit its use, states are taking it upon themselves to attempt to resolve the issue. Maine, for example, banned BPA in plastic Tupperware containers, and Oregon is contemplating eliminating its use in bottles and sippy cups.
BPAF is quite similar to BPA, but it is fluorinated. It can be found in optical fibers and electronic devices, and it may be even more capable of disrupting endocrine function than BPA. BPB is also similar to BPA, yet it has been shown to cause an increased risk in breast cancer. A possible replacement for BPA, however, is bisphenol S, or BPS. Researchers are studying the use of this chemical in thermal paper before endorsing it as a suitable alternative.
Can BPA Cause Infertility?
According to Environmental Health News, one out of every eight couples is infertile. Continue reading