Recent news has exposed the dangers of a toxic chemical known as Bisphenol A (BPA) used in some plastic containers that is believed to be harmful to consumers.
According to Reuters Health News, BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material in products ranging from plastic baby and water bottles to sports safety equipment and medical devices. It also is used to make durable epoxy resins used as the coating in most food and beverage cans.
People can eat or drink the chemical when it leaches out of the plastic into liquid such as baby formula, water or food inside the container.
“At this point, the writing is on the wall for bisphenol A. Major retailers and governments all across the country and the world are now recognizing that this chemical is extremely toxic at very low levels of exposure,” Michael Schade of the U.S. environmental group Center for Health, Environment and Justice said in a telephone interview.
Dr. Mercola reports that Bisphenol A (BPA) is an artificial estrogenic compound that may increase the adult breast cancer risk of female fetuses. This confirms earlier findings regarding a link between BPA and breast cancer.
A study exposed pregnant rats to bisphenol A at a range of doses from 2.5 to 1,000 micrograms per kg of body weight per day.
Their female children developed precancerous breast lesions during puberty at a rate three to four times higher than usual. BPA resulted in an increased level of lesions at all dose levels, which suggests that the current exposure limit set by the U.S. EPA (50 micrograms per kg per day) has put American women at risk of breast cancer.
Urine analysis has shown that 95 percent of people have been exposed to BPA. BPA has also been linked to prostate cancer and brain tissue damage, even at extremely low levels.
The Daily Green offers a handy guide to identify toxic and non-toxic plastics used in consumer goods. Inside a triangle molded into the the bottom of all plastic containers is number ranging from one to seven. The guide identifies what each number represents in terms of the type of plastic used, type of consumer goods manufactured using it, whether it is recyclable, and risk of leaching toxic chemicals, and more.
Plastics containing bisphenol A are among the last group of plastics identified by the number 7 on plastic containers. The Daily Green guide classifies this group as follows:
Number 7 Plastics = Miscellaneous
Found In: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, ‘bullet-proof’ materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, nylon
Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them.
Recycled Into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products
Risks: A wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate is number 7, and is the hard plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors.
To see the the entire guide, go to The Daily Green website.