Turns out that this compound, which has been used for over 40 years, is banned in many countries, including Canada, and Japanese manufacturers voluntarily removed it from their products a decade ago. Until very recently, the FDA has been sitting on the fence but leaning towards industry here declaring studies have shown very little harm to humans. Through additional research, some of which has been funded by Recovery funds, it is more clear than ever that BPA is causing problems by disrupting the endocrine system.
BPA may contribute to obesity, lead to fertility problems, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and liver abnormalities. The National Toxicology Program has declared that they have "some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A." While they have so far, found negligible concern about the effects on adults, they do acknowledge that exposure is widespread. Thus, a large amount of Recovery Act funds (we may debate this now, or later, if you'd like) have been allocated to further research the effects of BPA on people.
While Congress has asked companies to voluntarily end their use of BPA, very few have done so. Unfortunately, the FDA does not have the authority to determine and regulate levels of BPA in products as of yet, so the Congress must pass legislation providing them with that authority. In addition to Congress, some individual states are working on bills to ban the chemical.
So, what can you do to avoid BPA until we know more and companies stop using BPA?
- Purchase stainless steel or aluminum water bottles (KleanKanteen, Sigg [now bpa free], watergeeks, Camelback and others have great options for sport & every day use)
- Make sure the bottles that come with your hydration pack are BPA free
- Purchase baby bottles that are BPA free
- Avoid canned food as much as possible (opt for fresh or frozen instead)
- Do not heat food in plastic containers
- Do not put plastic containers in the dishwasher
- Store food in glass, porcelain, or stainless steel