Posted by: terrauniversity | July 17, 2012

Babies, Bottles and BPA

The Federal Drug Administration banned the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles and drinking cups for children. While many are applauding this move, others say it doesn’t go far enough. The FDA still refuses to ban the substance from other products due to, as they claim, “not enough scientific evidence it may cause harm.”

In 2008, Canada banned the substance from baby bottles and in 2010, the Canadian government declared BPA toxic in Canada, potentially leading to further government regulation. The European Union also banned BPA form baby bottles in 2010.

What’s the big deal about BPA?

BPA is an estrogen mimic, meaning that it can bind to our body’s estrogen receptors and elicit a response, similar to that of estrogen. The chemical has been around since 1891 and in the 1930’s, scientist began to use it as a synthetic estrogen pharmaceutical, although it was later replaced by diethylstibestrol (DES). [Note: DES has been linked to numerous adverse health effects] It wasn’t until the 1950’s that plastic manufacturers began to incorporate BPA into their products. [Source: BPA: What, Where, When, How, Why]

Like DES, research has also linked BPA exposure to numerous adverse health effects, leading to the call that further action is required. Adults are still exposed to this chemical through can linings and other plastic products.

Reproductive Failure in Female Rats Given Bisphenol-A Neonatally

Bisphenol A bioaccumulates in the serum of pregnant mice.


Chemical Exposures: Prostate Cancer and Early BPA Exposure

BPA and PXR Activation: Human Receptor Is Affected, Mouse Receptor Is Not

Hormone Impact: BPA Linked to Altered Gene Expression in Humans

For educators:
Have you students discuss the difference between human and animal studies.
Have your students research the history of the drug DES. Is the DES story a warning for BPA?
Have your students look up alternatives to products containing BPA?
Discuss whether the application of the Precautionary Principle towards chemicals like BPA.


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