The use of plastics in everyday products opened a wide array of options for household use and new products to make our lives easier and more productive. New research is indicating that we may be paying a very high price for our conveniences.
A component in plastics to make rigid, transparent drink containers, including baby bottles and some hard-bodied water bottles, could cause harm to developing fetuses and the brains and reproductive organs of children, some researchers say. These are some of the conclusions recently reached by the National Toxicology Program, a division of the National Institutes of Health. This chemical is also used in the manufacture of linings for cans for food and infant formula.
According to the Houston Chronicle, April 21, 2008, studies found that bisphenol-a, also known as BPA has negative impact on animals at low doses. In animal fetuses and newborns, BPA can interfere with normal hormone production and change genes. Some of the results of these changes in genes and hormone production can result in early onset of female puberty, attention disorders, breast and prostate cancers and other reproductive and neurological problems. Apparently, the use of this chemical is so widespread in our daily products that traces of it can be found in almost every human tested so far.
These findings are the result of a review of close to 500 animal studies and indicate that more research and experimentation must be done to determine what risks children might be exposed to in their everyday consumption of foods packaged with plastics containing BPA. According to Mike Shelby, director of the Center for Evaluation for Risks to Human Reproduction who oversaw the report, “we have a warning, a signal, of some concerns. We can not dismiss the possibility that similar or related effects might occur in humans.”
More and more parents are concerned about toxic environmental exposure for their children beginning in utero as well as in the child’s daily life. With organic gardening, toxic free toys, shopping for fresh vegetables and range fed animal products, many parents have felt a sense of peace that they have done everything they can to protect their children from an increasingly toxic environment. However, these and other recent studies indicate that better living through chemicals may have placed us all in danger. According to the Houston Chronicle, April 21, 2008, BPA is everywhere. “The majority of exposure is through food and drink containers; however, there could be trace amounts in water and dust. Your cell phone is probably made out of it.”
The good news is that more and more manufacturers are beginning to make products without using BPA. The infant products industry will logically be the first to stop the use of this chemical in manufacturing processes when possible. However, the lining of cans of beans, corn and other products that we have grown up with in our supermarkets, may include this chemical. If so, the way we shop and the choices we make for ourselves and our families will have to change dramatically. Watch for BPA-Free infant products coming soon to your grocery stores.