Author and journalist Nena Baker said that a chemical currently used in the manufacturing of soda cans, baby bottles and cookware has a negative effect on our health.
Besephenol A, or BPA, is a toxic substance that is already banned in Canada and some states in the U.S. In her book, The Body Toxic, Baker investigates the use of this chemical in household items, many of which are geared toward babies.
About 6 billion pounds of BPA is produced per year, Baker said, and studies have linked the chemical to an increased risk of prostate and breast cancer. “Every one of us has traces of toxic chemicals in our bodies.” Baker said.
This is especially alarming for pregnant women and nursing mothers. “Our breast milk is contaminated by these pollutants,” Baker said. She described a study in which the chemical levels of mothers were recorded as they breast fed their babies. Baker said the study found that as the breast milk was transferred from mother to baby, the mother’s chemical levels dropped.
A bill has been introduced in Congress that would eliminate the use of BPA in products that are used primarily by children. The Kids Safe Chemicals act would require manufacturing companies to make safety related data available to the public to ensure that all chemicals have been proven safe for consumption before they are sold.
The Obama administration said it considers this issue to be as much a priority as global warming.
The chemical industry is working hard to insure that BPA production continues, Baker said. One tactic manufacturers are considering is having a pregnant woman speak to the public about the alleged health benefits of BPA.
Julie Babbitt, a supporter of The Body Toxic, said that she thinks manufacturers should be required to follow stricter regulations for the use of toxic chemicals.
“I’m not going to eat microwave popcorn anymore,” Babbitt said, referencing another household product that Baker found to contain toxic chemicals.
Caroline Acosta, an advocate for the banning of BPA, said that mineral oil is another toxic substance to avoid. It is a key ingredient in many things and has already been banned in India, Acosta said.