Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chemical in Plastic Water Bottles is Dangerous

CNN and other news sources yesterday spoke of WalMart's decision to eliminate products made from a certain type of plastic. In the case of this giant retailer, it specifically referred to baby bottles. WalMart is concerned because new statements from the US Government have identified a chemical in some plastic food and drink packaging (including these baby products) that may be tied to early puberty and prostate and breast cancer.

This has been spoken of for years on Usenet discussion groups and in alternative healthcare forums. I have no idea why it takes the government so long to "catch on." But, based on draft findings by the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, senior congressional leaders asked the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its view that the chemical bisphenol A is safe in products for use by infants and children.

The chemical, also called BPA, is used in many baby bottles and as the plastic lining of cans of infant formula. The National Toxicology Program went further than previous U.S. government statements on possible health risks from BPA when it said that, "There is some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures." The findings expressed concern about exposure in these populations, "based on effects in the prostate gland, mammary gland, and an earlier age for puberty in females."

The National Toxicology Program said laboratory rodents exposed to BPA levels similar to human exposures developed precancerous lesions in the prostate and mammary glands, among other things.

Bisphenol A is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins and can be found in food and drink packaging as well as compact discs and some medical devices. Some dental sealants or composites contain it as well. The National Toxicology Program expressed "negligible concern" that exposure of pregnant women to BPA causes fetal or neonatal death, birth defects or reduced birth weight and growth in babies. It also had "negligible concern" that exposure causes reproductive problems in adults.


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