BPA or Bisphenol A is a type of synthetically produced plastic derived from processing natural hydrocarbon fuels such as coal and crude oil. It’s often used for making polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins to coat the inner linings of metal food containers. BPA is a synthetic endocrine disruptor capable of creating hormonal imbalances by mimicking or partially mimicking hormones, especially estrogen, that can lead to certain cancers, neurological disorders, compromised immune systems, and cause fertility and gender issues with women and men. It was chemically created in the late 1800s but not used commercially until the plastic industry began using it during the 1950s. Concerns among health-conscious people have motivated food processors to claim their containers are "BPA free". But BPA substitutes, such as BPS and other bisphenol compounds are not mentioned when food and beverage processors make their BPA free claims. Scientists outside the plastics industry are raising concerns that BPS and other related biphenol compounds create the same hormonal issues as BPA.
The first U.S. study of the effect on people of exposure to a hormone-disrupting chemical widely used in food packaging showed that levels the Food and Drug Administration deems “safe” can alter insulin response, a key marker for diabetes. The groundbreaking study, published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, administered low doses of bisphenol A, or BPA, to 16 people, then tested their insulin production in response to glucose, commonly called blood sugar. When insulin and blood glucose levels were compared to the same measurements taken without exposure to BPA, researchers found that BPA significantly changed how glucose affected insulin levels. Similar insulin and glucose tests are used by doctors for diagnosing diabetes.
The word is out about bisphenol-A (BPA), the chemical that is commonly used in drinking containers, children’s toys, and other plastic products: it’s been linked to diabetes, asthma, cancer, obesity, and altered prostate and neurological development, among other illnesses. Unfortunately, the alternatives that industry is using are no safer, despite the “BPA-free” marketing ploys—but federal regulators continue to protect the chemical industry by refusing to ban these dangerous compounds. The chemical industry has, in response to consumer demand (and an FDA ban of BPA in plastic baby bottles), used bisphenol-S (BPS) to replace BPA. However, reports indicate that BPS is just as toxic as BPA. Studies have found that even small amounts of BPS—as little as one part per trillion—can disrupt cellular functioning and impair brain development. Studies have also shown that BPS causes breast cancer cells to aggressively multiply. BPS has also been linked to heart arrhythmia and endocrine disruption, causing puberty at a premature age in females. Despite this alarming data, nearly 81% of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) was first created by a Russian chemist in 1891, but wasn't used in the manufacture of products until the 1950s when it was used to produce resilient and often transparent plastics. Today, BPA is found in countless personal care products, water bottles, cashier receipts and the lining of canned goods. Although research shows BPA is detrimental to human health, the market was valued at over $13 billion in 2013 and expected to reach $20 billion in 2020. Unfortunately, as the demand for BPA-free products is rising, substitute chemicals that are nearly identical to BPA are being substituted and thought to produce the same negative human health effects. Recently, a study from the University of Exeter determined the extent to which BPA is found in the human population. The study was a collaborative research project between community-based resources (high school students) and the University of Exeter researchers. The study tested the urine and blood of 94 students in Great Britain and found 86 percent of the teenagers had hormone-disrupting contaminants in their system. Although currently legal in Europe, the European Chemicals Agency reclassified BPA in 2017 as a substance of "very high concern" as it has probable serious effects on human health.
Replacements for bisphenol A, a hormone-disrupting chemical in plastics and food containers, could be just as harmful or even worse than it, according to a new study by the National Toxicology Program. The study of 24 replacement chemicals found that many already in use are structurally and functionally similar to BPA, and, just like BPA, may harm the endocrine system.
Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is likely leading to an increased risk of serious health problems costing at least $175 billion (U.S.) per year in Europe alone, according to a study published recently. Chemicals that can mimic or block estrogen or other hormones are commonly found in thousands of products around the world, including plastics, pesticides, furniture, and cosmetics. The biggest estimated costs, by far, were associated with chemicals' reported effects on children's developing brains.
A recent study reveals just how profoundly misled we are about Bisphenol A and its analogs: they are at least 100x more toxic than we previously imagined.
The National Organic Standards Board will be meeting later this month to discuss and vote on fundamental issues that will determine the future of organic foods. They plan to research whether BPA in the packaging of organic food should be banned. They also will tackle cross-contamination of organic crops from GMO crops, and other thorny GMO issues. The deadline for comments is this week.
While many people today are having their dental amalgams replaced due to concerns about mercury poisoning, it is important to take note of this study published in 2011 that found many composites and sealants used in the dentistry field contained bisphenol A (BPA), and that these dental materials can release BPA into your body via your mouth.