Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Potential Health Risks Of Plastic Drink Bottles

Wow, learn something new everyday. I would definately be concerned over this more than the fact that Pepsi uses tap water! A compound used in the manufacture and lining of many products, including baby bottles and bottled water, may pose certain health hazards.

From Science Daily

"An independent panel of scientists convened by the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) will review recent scientific data and expects to reach conclusions regarding whether or not exposure to a widely used chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA) is hazardous to human development or reproduction."
Interesting. So what kind of evidence is there pointing to the effects this chemical has in humans? First a little background. From the limited research I undertook I found that BPA "Bisphenol A was investigated in the 1930s during the search for synthetic estrogens. At that time, another synthetic compound, diethylstilbestrol, was determined to be more powerful than estrogen itself, so bisphenol A was not used as a synthetic estrogen." (Wikipedia) I cannot find if any human trials were done, but it was being investigated as a stynthetic estrogen.
"Bisphenol A is known to be an estrogen receptor agonist which can activate estrogen receptors leading to similar physiological effects as the body's own estrogens.[3] The first evidence of the estrogenicity of bisphenol A came from experiments in the 1930s in which it was fed to ovariectomized rats.[4][5] Some hormone disrupting effects in studies on animals and human cancer cells have been shown to occur at levels as low as 2-5 ppb (parts per billion). It has been claimed that these effects lead to health problems such as, in men, lowered sperm count and infertile sperm. Recent studies have confirmed that bisphenol A exposure during development has carcinogenic effects and produce precursors of breast cancer.[6] Bisphenol A has been shown to have developmental toxicity, carcinogenic effects, and possible neurotoxicity. [7][8] Recent studies suggest it may also be linked to obesity by triggering fat-cell activity. [9] " (Wikipedia)
Sounds scary doesn't it? I am not trying to be one sided, and freak out over every little thing a la hypochondriac lady. Everyone knows that every chemical in the world has some group saying that it is killing us all slowly and painfully, so here is the flip side of the account:
"In January 2006, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment announced that polycarbonate baby bottles are safe, stating that published research is "difficult to interpret and [is] occasionally contradictory".[15] A subsequent study by the European Union’s Food Safety Authority reached a similar conclusion, and sharply criticized the methodology used in many of the low-dose exposure studies on rodents.[16]

Bisphenol A has been known to leach from the plastic lining of canned foods and, to a lesser degree, plastics which are cleaned with harsh detergents or used to contain acidic or high temperature liquids.[17] Infants fed with concentrated (canned) infant formula have among the highest exposures of anyone eating canned foods. Infants fed canned formula with polycarbonate bottles can consume quantities of bisphenol A up to 13 µg/kg/day.[18] The chemical is found in most people who live in developed countries at low concentrations. Debate continues on what is the safe limit of this compound. Within the United States, an exposure of up to 50 µg/kg/day (50 ppb) is considered safe - satisfying a thousand-fold margin of safety[13] - by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.[19]"(Wikipedia)

If anything I hope this makes everyone be more aware of the chemicals round us. I am not saying if this one is OK or not, the studies are still being done, but it is good to have an awareness. The Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction is performing a study right now (see Science Daily link) and the draft report is available at http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/chemicals/bisphenol/BPA_Interim_DraftRpt.pdf


Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Suddenly I'm feeling a bit nostaligic for the glass bottles we had when I was a kid in the 70's!