Ten years ago, Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports and owner of Consumerist) warned us all about the potential danger from bisphenol A (BPA) leeching from plastic containers into our food. It’s only in recent years that municipalities got around to banning the chemical—at least in containers designed for use by infants and small children.
What’s BPA? It’s in plastic, and it’s not very good for humans.
Never meant to be ingested, BPA has potential links to an array of human health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, cancers, infertility, obesity, and neurological disorders. A 2007 Centers for Disease Control study showed that 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine. And a recent study suggests that BPA stays in the body longer than previously believed. Babies and young children may be particularly vulnerable because they may metabolize BPA more slowly than adults.
Several government and non-governmental scientific bodies have assessed the safety of BPA, and indicated concerns, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet. Since 2007, Congress has questioned whether the BPA industry has been unduly influential in FDA’s assessment of scientific studies of BPA. Congress recently introduced legislation to ban BPA in food contact substances and FDA has initiated yet another review of BPA safety-and the hope is that this time, more than a handful of selected studies will be considered.
Legislation has passed the California state Senate that would ban BPA use in items intended for use by children under three, but is unlikely to pass the Assembly, which is quite unfortunate.