Thursday, November 13, 2008

More on BPA

You might remember that I wrote about BPA, bisphenol A, in plastics in an earlier post. I havejust read another article about BPA and phthalates in November's Good Housekeeping and think that a revisit on the topic is prudent. Phthalates are added to make plastics soft...think chewy toys for babies. The interesting thing about these chemicals is that the FDA insists that the levels present in plastics are not high enough to present a danger to people. The author of the Good Housekeeping article, Florence Williams, cites Steven Hentges, executive director of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group as saying that an average adult would have to consume more than 500 pounds of canned foods and beverages every day just to reach the safety standards set in the US.

But what is especially poignant about the article is the effect that BPA and phtalates have on developing fetuses. What isn't understood is at what time of gestational development these chemicals could have the most damaging effect on the fetus and how much is too much for a fetus?

Studies looking at BPA and phthalates are seeing links to low sperm counts and other reproductive abnormalities, early puberty, cancer and obesity and diabetes.

When we look at the amount of plastics used today, it is pervasive from cereal in plastic bags, to cans lined with plastic to cheese wrapped in plastic to vinyl and acrylics. The appearance of plastic came about after WWII and in fact a lobby group was organized called the Society for Plastic Industries. From that point the production and use of plastics snowballed and now we find ourselves wondering how we are going to escape this massive plastic bubble. Mom

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