Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bisphenol A: Score One for the Babies

This is the last toxin discussed in Slow Death, and it's a success story of sorts.  At least Canada didn't wait for other people to act before banning BPA in baby bottles.  Yay us!   The fact that two out of my three kids refused to drink from a bottle is small comfort indeed though because this stuff is everywhere....

Uses
* Polycarbonate plastic - the hard, clear plastic with a recycling #7 and is in CDs, DVDs, water bottles, drinking glasses, kitchen utensils, eyeglass lenses, big water jugs, hocky helmet visors, baby bottles, medical supplies, faces of laptops and blackberries, headlights, toys, carbonless paper (receipts), recycled paper (from newspaper ink)....  Epoxy resins in sporting equipment, airplanes, cars, dental fillings, wire coatings, piping, and the interior lining of most tin cans.
  
Alternatives
* Glass.  It's heavier and breakable, but it doesn't leach toxins into our bodies. Drink any carbonated drink out of glass, not plastic or cans - they're a particularly high source of BPA.  Switch to Jones Soda if you have to! 
* If plastic is necessary, use only plastic with recycling numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5.
* Don't microwave plastic, and avoid cling wrap. 

Prevalence / Persistence
* 93% of people tested have measurable amounts of BPA in their bodies.
* They've found that "stunningly small" exposures have specific and dramatic effects.   

Health Concerns
* Hormone-disrupting properties have been known since the 1930s. 
* Breast and prostate cancer
* Learning disabilities, ADD
* Type 2 diabetes
*Infertility and miscarriages
* Can cause damage to multiple generations at the same time as it affects eggs in utero (i.e. little girls of moms with high BPA levels are born with damaged eggs). 

Why it's still in use
* People were convinced it would stay put in the materials, and not get into our food or lungs or be absorbed by our skin.

Legilation
2007 - A "baby rally" outside Queen's Park convinced Premier McGuinty to establish Canada's first Toxic Pollution Reduction Act with a focus on BPA.  He said, "I've always had this sinking feeling that we haven't really fully explored the potntial downsides associated with using these new materials and chemicals in consumer products."  Canada was first for a change! 

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