Health Concerns Cancer Concern #2: Bisphenol A
It’s time to use the right infant & newborn bottle!
What could be more soothing and nurturing than cuddling your newborn while he drinks warm milk from a bottle? Well, depending on the bottle you’re using, it might be less of a nurturing moment and more a huge mistake.
The Centers for Disease Control’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals Spotlight on Bisphenol A (BPA) and 4-tertiary-Octylphenol show that these industrial chemicals are endocrine disrupters and can cause many health problems in humans.
What are Bisphenol A (BPA) and 4-tertiary-octylphenol (4-t-OP)? BPA is an organic compound used to make polycarbonate plastics. It is found in plastics such as refillable beverage containers, protective linings in food cans, compact disks, plastic dinnerware, impact resistant safety equipment, and epoxy resins.
Additionally, BPA is also used in the production of materials found in dental composites and sealants. BPA is not found in softer, more flexible products such as single-serving water bottles.
The chemical 4-t-OP is formed during the process of making surface-active agents, known as surfactants, which are used in detergents and pesticides.
How are people exposed to BPA and 4-t-OP?
Because these two chemicals are used to make a wide variety of products, people may be exposed:
• When the chemicals are produced, used, or disposed of
• When the chemicals migrate into food
• When people come into contact with or breathe in other consumer products that contain these chemicals.
How do BPA and 4-t-OP affect people’s health?
Many animal tests have been done, and the results clearly show that BPA and 4-t-OP mimic estrogen, an important hormone.
For example, studies have demonstrated developmental toxicity, carcinogenic effects, and possible neurotoxicity at low doses in animal models. Some recent studies suggest exposure to BPA is linked to obesity, and have confirmed that BPA exposure during development has carcinogenic effects and produce precursors of breast cancer.
At high doses, BPA has estrogen-like effects on the uterus and prostate glands of experimental animals. At various doses, 4-t-OP has been shown to cause testicular malformations in male rats. Scientists continue to debate whether effects could possibly occur in people who are exposed to these chemicals. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to these chemicals.
What are the levels of BPA and 4-t-OP in the U.S. Population?
In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published results of its analyses of urine samples obtained from 2,517 people aged 6 years and older who took part in CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 through 2004.
• CDC scientists detected BPA in the urine of nearly 93% of the people tested, a finding that indicates widespread exposure to BPA in the U.S. population.
• Females had significantly higher levels of BPA in their urine than males. Children had the highest levels, followed by teens and adults.
• Non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites had higher levels of BPA than Mexican Americans.
• People with the lowest household incomes had higher levels of BPA than people in the highest income bracket.
• CDC scientists detected 4-t-OP in the urine of nearly 57.4% of the people tested.