BPA — More Bad News for Babies

January 20, 2009

One of 2008’s top ten health stories continues to trouble consumers in 2009: the hazardous compound bisphenol A (BPA), a common chemical component of plastics, which is widely found in consumer products like water bottles, food containers, baby bottles, and dental sealants. BPA is known to leach from these containers when food and drink is heated; and when the pH is altered as with acidic foods (tomatoes and citrus fruits), the plastic breaks down and releases BPA. Over 90% of Americans have BPA in their blood, with levels higher in teens and children than adults.

Animal experiments have now begun to reveal the potential effect of BPA exposure. BPA can influence the body’s hormonal balance because it mimics estrogen. BPA appears to have a wide range of health effects such as diabetes, infertility, abnormal brain function, and heart disease.

Two newly published studies discuss BPA and infants. One study found that babies exposed to more plastic medical devices had more BPA in their urine, and that plastic medical devices are a significant source of BPA exposure for premature babies. Babies cannot fully metabolize BPA because the enzymes in their system are not fully functional until they are at least a year old.

A second study uses a mathematical model that is based upon the differences in enzymes between newborns and adults. Although it has long been cautioned that the difference in body size makes chemical exposure particularly significant for children, this study predicts that BPA in babies fed with baby bottles may be eleven times higher than that in adults.

The current world production of BPA totals 6 billion pounds a year and continues to grow. The potential health effects mentioned include:

• Early onset of female sexual maturity.
• Increased postnatal growth in both sexes.
• Increased prostate size in male offspring exposed in the womb.
• Decreased sperm production and fertility in males due to developmental exposure.
• Adverse affects on chromosome segregation in eggs.
• Altered immune function.
• Hyperactivity, aggressiveness and impaired learning

The FDA and the National Toxicology Program have reviewed the BPA research and have reached vastly different conclusions about its safety. Given the massive exposure of our children to BPA, what can you do?

• Do not buy food or drink in plastic containers.
• Do not buy food or drink in aluminum cans.
• Avoid microwaving food in plastic food containers.
• Do not use plastic food and drink containers for babies and children.
• Use glass or BPA-free baby bottles.
• Discuss the presence of BPA in the use of dental sealants used to prevent cavities in children with your dentist.

Visit www.ReformFDA.org now and sign the petition. Your child’s health is at stake. The next generation is depending on you.

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