The US Food and Drug Administration has recently rejected a proposal from the Natural Resources Defense Counsel to ban the use of BPA (bisphenol A) coming in contact with food through food and beverage packaging.
BPA is a common plastic chemical that is often found in plastic drinking bottles, canned foods, and a host of other food and beverage containers. BPA has been found to mimic estrogen in the body and cause a myriad of harmful health effects.
According to Medicalnewstoday, “Bisphenol a is an endocrine disruptor - a substance which interferes with the production, secretion, transport, action, function and elimination of natural hormones.”
Some studies have shown that a high amount of BPA can cause reproductive disorders, male impotence, heart disease, and breast cancer among numerous other harmful health effects.
However, through the FDA’s own research, they have found that BPA does not pose a major threat to human health. Their research shows that although harmful, BPA can be inactivated and processed through the body so that even blood levels are too low to detect.
Evidently, the Natural Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC) and other environmentalists disagree. NRDC’s senior scientist for public health, Dr. Sarah Janssen, believes that "The FDA is out-of-step with scientific and medical research."
The FDA does say that there is some concern about the effects that BPA can have on infants and small children. But for now, there will be an ongoing assessment on the safety of the chemical, with a planned $30 million going towards research.
With the recent years of BPA scrutiny, some manufacturers have switched to alternatives, and according to Manufacturing.net, “by the end of 2009, the six leading baby bottle manufacturers in the U.S. went BPA-free.”
Although many Americans lean heavily on government agencies’ decisions to protect them against harmful substances, health has always been about staying informed and making healthy decisions.
For more information about the harms of plastic, read Is Your Plastic Poisoning You?