The controversy over the chemical bisphenol A (also known as BPA) continues to heat up. The chemical is increasingly thought to mimic human hormones, which direct body processes. Studies have linked exposure to bisphenol A in lab animals to a number of problems, from obesity to diabetes, early onset puberty, impaired immune function and even breast cancer.
A report is currently being finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program on bisphenol A, with the goal of informing regulators who will likely soon decide whether the chemical warrants increased restrictions. A number of environmental and public health watchdogs have already denounced that process as unduly tainted by industry influence.
What exactly is bisphenol A? It was first made in 1891, and was investigated for use as a replacement for estrogen. View the chemical structure here. It is used in the production of epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics (often identified by the recycling number 7), which find service in a variety of applications, especially food and drink packaging. These include:
Common Metal Coatings Liners of food cans (6 billion pounds a year) Insides of water pipes
Dental Fillings Baby Bottles The hard plastic ones. Read more here.
Water Coolers and Bottles Tableware and Food Storage Containers Medical Devices Consumer Items Sunglasses CDs and DVDs Electronic equipment Automobile parts Sports equipment
Construction Glazing and Bulletproof Glass When dealing with breakdown products that can leach out of materials, your best bet is to try to stay clear of items that are worn and old, especially if they have scratches. Also, heating up plastics can increase the likelihood of BPA and other compounds coming out.
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