The Dangers of BPA and Where It is Lurking

Can of Peaches
Can of Peaches

In 2011, Bisphenol A, also known as BPA  was a big topic in the news about the risks connected with this product found in plastics and food packaging materials.  Studies showed it could cause a wild range of diseases such as reproductive system abnormalities, cancer, behavioral disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  In one study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology, researchers found that BPA acts as a channel blocker, not allowing cells carrying calcium to get where they need to go. In a BPA free environment, calcium ions flow through “channel proteins” so that they can do their job of regulating muscle contractions, enzyme activity and nerve cell communication. The disruptions from BPA are very similar to those caused by drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure or arrhythmia.

BPA was developed in the 1930s, as scientists were looking for synthetic materials that could mimic the action of the female sex hormone estrogen. Soon it became apparent, however, that the estrogenic effects of BPA were relatively weak for therapeutic applications and other pharmaceuticals were better suited.

However,  BPA found an alternative use in the chemical industry as a basis for plastics and resins. Manufacturers appreciate its versatility, robustness, good electrical insulating properties and low flammability.

But BPA’s hormonal effects still pose a problem. BPA particles can detach from the products and be ingested by the human body, especially through food. Studies show that, among other things, BPA can dissolve in hot water. But even without a source of heat, some plastic coatings in food cans in which BPA is present pass it on to the food.

BPA  has faced criticism for years and in 2011 it was banned from baby bottles because it could cause deformities in infants.  However, BPA is used in many everyday products such as CDs, thermal paper from receipts, mobile phones, motorcycle helmets and plastic bottles.

In my opinion, if it is not good for babies, it is not good for anyone.  Since BPA is everywhere, you really can’t avoid it.  However, you can take some steps in trying to limit your intake as much as possible by using non-BPA lined water bottles.  Most plastic bottles labeled as #7 contain BPA.  If you leave a water bottle in the car while you go somewhere and it gets hot or warm, don’t drink it because if it does contain BPA, the heat will cause the BPA to leech into your drink at a higher rate.  Also, since BPA can leech into  your food from cans, use frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible.   Fresh is best, but frozen is better nutritionally for you than canned, so that is even better.

Today, BPA is back in the news.  The link below is an article about how California is poised to declare BPA as toxic to the reproductive system in people under Proposition 65.  I think this is a good thing because if it passes in California, chances are, we will see this spread throughout the country.

California Set to Declare BPA Toxic to Reproductive System

Still, environmentalists believe the California decision will make more Americans aware of the dangers of BPA in cans. As Janssen puts it, “The significance [of California’s decision] comes from the fact that BPA is about to be

Inside Your Food