EPA to Launch BPA Investigation
The issue of adverse health effects linked to the estrogenic plastic chemical bisphenol A—BPA—has been making headlines in recent years, with a focus on the controversies regarding its harm ongoing among industry, the government, and consumer advocates.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) had been largely faulted for relying on two chemical industry studies indicating that BPA poses no health concerns at current exposure levels; however, hundreds of other studies have linked the ubiquitous chemical to a vast array of diseases and disorders. Under its new administration, the FDA recently reversed its position that BPA was safe for all saying it has “some concern” about BPA’s effects on the brain; behavior; and prostates of fetuses, infants, and young children, said the Journal Sentinel previously. The agency advisory system is comprised of five levels of concern; the term “some concern” is the third.
Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it plans on investigating BPA’s effects on the water supply and environment, said the AP. Of note, we recently wrote that immediately following a meeting between chemical industry lobbyists and officials with the Obama administration, federal regulators did a bit of a back track in the inclusion of BPA in its regulation of dangerous chemicals. The meeting took place last year and left many wondering, especially given that the EPA head has been vocally critical about the public’s exposure to chemicals, specifically, BPA. The agency released its list on December 30th and BPA was not among the four chemicals subject to more stringent labeling and reporting and is not intended to be on its regulatory plan for another two years.
Now, said the AP, the agency is planning on stepping up its review of BPA following the urging of scientist and advocates, citing the many scientific reports pointing to BPA’s negative health effects, said the AP. The EPA will now start looking at BPA levels in both drinking and ground water, said the AP, noting that some one million pounds of BPA are released into the environment annually, citing the EPA. As part of its study, the agency will also “look for ways to reduce unnecessary exposures, including assessing substitutes,” quoted the AP.
BPA a plastic hardener used in polycarbonate manufacturing, is commonly found in the lining of food and beverage cans, paper receipts, and a wide array of plastic products. USNews recently reported that other products, such as the resins used in nautical paint, may contain BPA, which could be linked to high BPA levels found in “beach sand and coastal seawater” world-wide, said USNews.
Industry has long argued that scientists and advocates exaggerate BPA’s adverse effects, continually citing two industry studies; however, at last count, over 900 peer-reviewed studies found links between BPA and such effects. Studies have overwhelmingly found BPA to have negative effects at doses lower than current FDA standards; retention in the body longer than was previously believed; leeching into liquids being held in containers regardless of the containers’ temperature; and longer lasting damage, which some feel can be passed to future generations.
Countless established and emerging reports continue to confirm that the chemical appears to cause significant disruption to the body’s endocrine system and has been linked to cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, links with serious health problems, and erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in males. In urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 93 percent and, significantly, the chemical is found in 90 percent of all newborns.