GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008 - (Page 32)

just so we know BPA: not our BFF By Michelle Briseno-Tucker is the sippy cup hiding a toxic secret? A siPPy cuP mAde from PolycArBonAte PlAstic? Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic industrial chemical used for the produc- tion of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. BPA’s use applications range from infant bottles to construction glazing to bicycle helmets to the protective epoxy-resin linings of the canned foods on our pantry shelves. Polycarbonate plastic’s recycling category is #7. Flip over baby’s sippy cup and look for a recycling triangle symbol with the number 7 at its center. Sometimes the letters “PC,” for polycarbonate, are stamped near the recycling symbol. Not all category 7 plastics are polycarbonate. However, if baby’s sippy cup is made from a hard, shiny, clear—perhaps tinted—lightweight, shatter-resistant plastic, it’s probably PC plastic and contains BPA. so? The FDA says “exposure levels” are below what could cause “adverse health effects.” WhAt’s the concern? Last April, a National Toxicology Program (NTP) draft report expressed “some concern” BPA may cause risks to infants and children. Subsequently, Health Canada (equivalent to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration) announced BPA is a dangerous substance and called for a partial ban against BPAcontaining products marketed for infants and young children—such as PC infant bottles. In response, the FDA created an agency task force to re-examine BPA. The agency’s preliminary report released in August opines exposure levels from the trace amounts of BPA that leach from food and drink containers are too low to be harmful to infants and adults. Multiple health advocates and environmental groups argue the FDA has ignored dozens of published BPA studies performed by reputable government scientists and university research labs, which show adverse health effects, and instead has relied upon two flawed multigenerational rodent studies that were funded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC)—which don’t evidence problems. The disparity in findings raises eyebrows. Since spring, many have red flagged polycarbonate plastic products as being harmful—particular attention has been directed to water bottles, infant bottles, sippy cups, and pacifiers. Biochemists have known for more than 70 years that BPA is a synthetic estrogen. Now we also know that trace amounts of BPA can leach from PC plastic products and BPA-epoxy resins, particularly when such BPA-containing materials are scratched, damaged and/or exposed to elevated temperatures from boiling water or microwaving, and/or the materials come in contact with fatty substances—such as liquid infant formulas. A national health study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which analyzed urine samples collected from 2,517 people of age 6 years and older, showed BPA was detected in 93 percent of the urine samples. The highest levels of BPA were found in the children’s samples, followed by teens, and then by adults—with women showing higher detectable levels than men. Many research scientists currently regard BPA as a reproductive, developmental and neural toxicant—for animals and possibly humans. Obvious ethical issues prevent scientists from obtaining direct evidence, which would involve using human test subjects. Therefore, on the basis of what is seen in animal experiments, many researchers suggest that low-dose exposures to BPA also may be associated with increasing trends in humans for miscarriage, congenital defects, lowered sperm counts, early onset of puberty in girls, neural behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and autism, obesity, diabetes and prostate and breast 32 GRAND SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008

Grand Magazine- September/October 2008
Grand View:Priceless
Isn't it Grand?: Picture Perfect
Winners!: GRANDparent of the Year
Grand Central
Toddler Town:Grand-proofing
Ask Grand:Two Tired
Tips on Teens: The Bar Mitzvah Trips
Just So We Know:BPA Not Our BFF
Full House-Full Heart-Full Time:Confessions of a Backyard Grand
Grandbloggers: It Takes a Village
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Family Food = Fun
On the Cover: Nora Roberts A Fine Romance
Everything Was Fine Until You Showed Up
Happy Big Sister Day
Looking Grand:Elementary, My Dear
All in the Family:Pasta, Present and Future
Inspirations:Grandpa's Violin
Grand Bazaar
More to the Story
Grand Finale:Long Ago Under the Sun

GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008