FDA Allows Dangerous BPA Chemicals in Food Packaging
Did you know that toxins from canned goods or plastic products can leak into food they contain? Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that has been used in the production of a variety of plastic containers (reusable cups, baby bottles, and in the lining of canned foods) for over 40 years. But recently there has been some new research regarding the toxicity of BPA and how much of the chemical is actually getting into our food and, then, our bodies. Due to consumer concerns, the Department of Health and Human Services has invested over $30 million to study the potential harmful effects of BPA over the next two years. The Food and Drug administration has recently banned Bisphenol A from all children’s cups and bottles. But many consumers think this is not sufficient, as BPA has not been banned from other types of products. Just this past March, the FDA refused a petition to ban Bisphenol A from food packaging.
Data from a NHANES III (a large study of the overall health of the US population) found that 93% of Americans had detectable levels of BPA in their urine. Bisphenol A exposure is especially a concern for the development of a child’s brain and neurological function. It has also been linked to increase rates of cancer, obesity rates, and thyroid dysfunction. The FDA believes that the risk of exposure is greatest for children, but there is not enough research to determine the safety of BPA for adults.
What can you do to limit Bisphenol A exposure for you and your family? Make sure you look for plastic products that are BPA free, especially if children will be using them. Most of the major manufacturers of hard plastics have stopped using BPA since 2009. Products marked with a recycling code of 3 or 7 may contain Bisphenol A. If cups or bottles are scratched, dispose of them immediately. If you are unsure if a bottle contains BPA, do not put boiling or hot liquids into it and do not heat it in the microwave as BPA can leach into the food. Overall, until the research has been finalized on the potential dangers of Bisphenol A, try to limit the exposure you and your family might have to products containing this chemical and keep everyone healthy.