BPA: How bad is it, really?

4 05 2008

New York Times’ health blogger Tara Parker-Pope has an excellent overview of the chemical everyone’s talking about: bisphenol-A, or BPA. Here are the basics from her blog post:

The substance is bisphenol-a, or BPA, widely used in the making of the hard, clear and nearly unbreakable plastic called polycarbonate. Studies and tests show that trace amounts of BPA are leaching from polycarbonate containers into foods and liquids.

While most of the focus is on products for children, including clear plastic bottles and canned infant formula, the chemical is also used in food-storage containers, some clear plastic pitchers used for filtered water, refillable water bottles and the lining of soft-drink and food cans.

While there is debate about how much of a health worry BPA really is, retailers including Wal-Mart have said they are withdrawing baby products made with it. Nalgene, the maker of a popular sports bottle, and the baby-products maker Playtex have announced they will stop using it.

Here are answers to some common questions about BPA.

What is the evidence that BPA is harmful?

It all comes from animal studies. Rat pups exposed to BPA, through injection or food, showed changes in mammary and prostate tissue, suggesting a potential cancer risk. In some tests of female mice, exposure appeared to accelerate puberty.

A draft report from the National Toxicology Program, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, notes that there is no direct evidence that human exposure to BPA harms reproduction or infant development. “I don’t think there’s anything in this brief that should lead to alarm,” said Dr. Michael D. Shelby, director of the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, who oversaw the report. “It means we’ve got a limited amount of evidence from some studies that were done in laboratory animals.”

Parker-Pope goes on to suggest ways in which the wary can reduce their already trace exposure to BPA: don’t use hard plastic containers to hold hot liquids, or to heat them, and use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned. Some baby bottle manufacturers are now making BPA-free containers, and many other container companies are sure to follow due to the public fear of this chemical.

I have not forsworn my trusty Nalgene bottles, but I have decided not to use them for hot drinks or to wash them in harsh soaps or very hot water. Scrubbing the inside of the bottles is another no-no, as it increases the wear on the plastic, which causes leaching. If your polycarbonate (hard-plastic) bottle is scratched or very worn, or you have used it to hold lots of hot liquids over the years, you might consider getting a new bottle.

If you still can’t shake the nightmares of BPA, do the eco-chic thing and 1) make your bottle into a solar lantern (here’s the gadget for only $20!) and 2) get a SIGG for your swig.

NOTE: The “make your bottle into a solar lantern” link is not working, but it’s not my fault. Please try again later.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

6 responses

4 05 2008
David

Wow! Light Cap 200, the solar powered bottle-cap light, is AMAZING! I really need to get one of those! Thanks for doing the sleuthing and keep up the good, green work!

6 05 2008
Rosalie @ SolLight (www.sollight.com)

Hi there! 🙂

Thank you very much for posting a link to our LightCap200’s information. 🙂 We really appreciate it!

Thanks again! Have an awesome week,

Rosalie @ SolLight (www.sollight.com)

6 05 2008
Mister Moone

Colleen,

Re:
I have not forsworn my trusty Nalgene bottles, but I have decided not to use them for hot drinks or to wash them in harsh soaps or very hot water. Scrubbing the inside of the bottles is another no-no, as it increases the wear on the plastic, which causes leaching. If your polycarbonate (hard-plastic) bottle is scratched or very worn, or you have used it to hold lots of hot liquids over the years, you might consider getting a new bottle.

If you still can’t shake the nightmares of BPA, do the eco-chic thing and 1) make your bottle into a solar lantern (here’s the gadget for only $20!) and 2) get a SIGG for your swig.

NOTE: The “make your bottle into a solar lantern” link is not working, but it’s not my fault. Please try again later.

…I had looked for solid intel on the BPA thing, but had not found ‘the goods,’ as you did – Thanx…I typically do NOT put hot liquid into my Nalgene bottles and I never do anything but rinse them with water…water is practically the ONLY liquid I put into them…it might also help if water does not stand/is not stored in them for too long….

Wayne

21 05 2008
Mint

Thank you for good information~~*

Please comeback to visit my blog too : http://about-plasticcontainers.blogspot.com/

I’m sorry , If you think this is spam. but may i thank you again.

Bye

25 08 2009
Matt

Hey, nice little piece, maybe a bit outdated, though, since it NOW APPEARS THAT SIGG BOTTLES had BPA in them too!

5 09 2009
Buying Baby Bottles

Why are BPA free feeding bottles important?…

Babies up to 4 months are usually fed only on breast milk. Mother’s milk is very important at this age. As the child grows, we feed them with other milk, juices, soups, etc. To feed milk and juices, we use baby feeding bottles.
The early feeding …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: