Federal agencies are not adequately assessing the safety of BPA (bisphenol A), says one respected group. BPA, an estrogenic mimicker, is a highly ubiquitous plastics chemical found in untold amounts of consumer products and linked in studies to a growing number of adverse health effects.
In a statement released by the Endocrine Society, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is just one of a number of regulators ignoring available science in how BPA’s safety is assessed, wrote the Chart. “Testing needs to include models of developmental exposure during critical life periods when organisms may be most vulnerable to even very low-dose exposure,” wrote the Endocrine Society, which is described by the Chart as the “world’s largest group of researchers and clinicians who study how hormones function.”
A 2009 scientific statement issued by the Endocrine Society states that, in typical poisons, larger doses tend to create greater toxicity; however, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as BPA, act differently. These poisons, said the Endocrine Society, may be “counter-intuitively more potent at lower levels,” and also during ”windows of vulnerability,” explained the Chart. These time frames includes periods such as pregnancy and this statement creates issues for screening tests conducted by regulatory agencies which typically do not detect low-dose chemical effects on the endocrine system, explained Frederick vom Saal, co-author of the Endocrine Society’s new statement.
The Endocrine Society issued a revised definition for “endocrine-disrupting chemicals,” said the Chart, saying that any chemical “that interfere with any aspect of hormone action should be presumed to produce adverse effects.” Understanding of those adverse reactions is not relevant.
This year, another regulatory agency, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), denied a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petition requesting BPA be banned in food packaging arguing that, “FDA is constantly monitoring the science on the substances or products it regulates, including BPA.” The agency added, “The FDA does not have sufficient evidence at this time to show harm to humans at low levels of exposure to BPA,” in a statement to CNN.” The EPA refused to comment.
“The FDA is using approaches to regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals that violate basic endocrine principles,” said Vom Saal. “They are not so incompetent that they cannot understand this. It is just inconvenient to do so,” he added, wrote the Chart.
A combination of phenol and acetone, BPA enters food by leeching from food and beverage containers, yet is FDA-approved for use in shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic and durable epoxy resins, which are used in food and beverage container linings. BPA leaches into products—hot or cold—and into the skin, from common items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts.
Working as an anti-androgen, BPA blocks hormone activity; mimics the powerful female hormone, estrogen; and can interrupt sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children.
The studies on which we have written—and hundreds have been conducted—have linked BPA to a wide and growing array of health effects that seem to affect nearly every bodily system. For instance, BPA has been linked to brain tumors and some hormone-sensitive cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. One study suggests that BPA side effects—specifically on brain and social behaviors—are immediate, long lasting, and trans-generational, which means these effects could carry many years into the future. BPA has also been linked to cardiac issues and fat cell confusion and pancreatic issues that relate to diabetes. Studies have linked BPA to increased anxiety and depression, brain cell connection interference and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, increased risks of immune system diseases and disorders, and liver function testing and intestinal problems.
BPA’s links to reproductive system diseases are dramatic and span to fetal development, likely due to its hormone-mimicking and -blocking properties. Issues include effects on uterine health and mammalian reproduction; a deadly uterine infection; premature puberty; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues; and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems.