November 6, 2009

BPA in the headlines again!

I've posted warnings about bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, during the past few months. Consumers Reports' recent study puts BPA back in the headlines again. It's nasty stuff--an endocrine disruptor--that's already in all of us. But it definitely does not belong in our food, and that's where Consumers Report found it.

Last June, the Endocrine Society released a health warning, saying that low level exposure to BPA adversely affects male and female reproduction, thyroid function, metabolism, and could increase obesity. That last one was the subject of a recent major news magazine article.

How does BPA get into our bodies? Babies used to get a bunch of it from their bottles, but most baby bottles no longer contain the stuff. But the food industry still packs a lot of our foods into cans lined with this plastic-like substance. Then it can "leach" (another posting subject) right into your baby formula or string beans.

Consumers Report looked at 19 common supermarket products, and found that “almost all” of them showed measurable levels of BPA. Soups and canned beans contained the most. In fact, some contained  80 times more than experts' recommended daily upper limit--and in ONE serving.

The FDA is looking at BPA again, but their 2008 draft review based their findings on studies funded by the chemical industry (the ones who make the stuff). That's fox and henhouse doings. Perhaps it's time for the FDA to take another look?

LOCAL ACTIONS: In May of 2009,Chicago became the first city in the U.S. to ban any beverage or food containers intended for kids age 3 and under that contains BPA. The ban takes effect Jan. 31, 2010. Minnesota is the first state to ban BPA and Suffolk County, NY, the first county. This may be a very slow campaign!