The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to decide the fate of BPA, bisphenol A, the ubiquitous and controversial polycarbonate plastics chemical that has been linked to a growing number of adverse health reactions.
Now, said Heartlander, the agency is preparing to issue a decision on whether or not to ban BPA, and is expected—to settle a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—to issue its decision by the end of the month. The NRDC petition was filed in 2008 requesting the FDA ban the chemical. The FDA failed to respond to the petition when mandated by law and the NRDC followed with a federal lawsuit to compel an FDA decision, said Heartlander. The FDA agreed to issue a decision by March 31.
BPA is a known estrogenic mimicker that has been linked to a wide array of negative health effects. The ubiquity of BPA, which is used in many, many consumer products, is legendary, making the debate over this chemical significant. BPA is also known to leach into products, whether heated or cold, and into the skin, from every day items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts.
A recent study revealed a link between BPA exposure future cardiac issues and followed a similar study that yielded similar results. Another study on which we wrote linked BPA to adverse health effects; scientists from that study warned that even tiny amounts of synthesized substances such as BPA, are sufficient to mix up hormones and how they work in our bodies. This can include, for instance, our fat cells taking in more fat or confusing the pancreas into releasing too much insulin, the hormone responsible to regulate the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates in the body. BPA is the most commonly found endocrine disrupter.
We’ve also written about at least two BPA-breast cancer links and links to increased anxiety and depression in preschoolers exposed to BPA in the womb. BPA has been linked to toxic injury and implications in cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, premature puberty, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems in males as young as the developing fetus.
Critics argue that tests all involve laboratory animals and question study methodology. In 2010 the FDA released a report that stated, “Studies employing standardized toxicity tests have thus far supported the safety of current low levels of human exposure to BPA…. FDA is continuing to consider the low dose toxicity studies of BPA as well as other recent peer-reviewed studies related to BPA,” wrote Heartlander.
But anti-BPA advocates disagree. “Every day, millions of American consumers are exposed to this dangerous chemical, commonly used in packaging for canned foods, beverages and even baby formula,” said Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist in the Environment and Public Health program at the NRDC, in an NRDC press statement. “The FDA has an obligation to protect us from toxic food additives.”