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BPA in Plastic Linked to Heart Disease and Other Health Problems

Research on the negative health effects of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) continues to emerge. Two new studies came out this month. A team of French scientists found that BPA can cause intestinal problems, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

A team of researchers from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom found that individuals who have high levels of BPA in their body have higher risks of heart disease. This study was published in the journal PLoS One.

BPA is a chemical added to many plastic products from baby bottles to aluminum can liners and various food containers. It is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it disrupts the balance of hormones within the body. BPA is thought to mimic estrogen in the body. Various studies have linked BPA to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, cognitive problems, reproductive problems, and asthma. Studies also suggest that BPA can cause developmental problems for children.

In December 2009, a study from the Environmental Working Group found that 9 out of 10 newborns already have BPA in their blood. A previous study found that 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their blood.

“It’s alarming!” said Janet Gray, director of the Environmental Risks and Breast Cancer project at Vassar College. “What more evidence do we need to act?”

Many retailers have stopped selling baby bottles that contain BPA. Although health experts have called for a ban on BPA in all products, the FDA maintains that BPA is safe. Current research suggest otherwise.

To avoid exposure to BPA and protect your children from BPA, stop buying canned foods and beverages. Metal cans are lined with BPA. Never microwave plastic food containers. Stop drinking from plastic bottles. Switch to reusable stainless steel bottles. Do not buy a reusable aluminum water bottle because, like aluminum cans, the aluminum bottles have BPA linings. As for baby bottles, I recommend glass bottles. Don’t drink water from plastic water cooler containers. To avoid BPA from the office water cooler, you can modernize your office with a safe bottle-less water cooler.

Last year a study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that individuals who drank from plastic bottles had a 69 percent increase in BPA after a week. Some experts believe that hormone disruptors like BPA are “feminizing” unborn boys and raising their risk of cancer and infertility later in life. As an ominous sign, male fish in the Potomac River have begun to produce eggs in their testes due to endocrine disruptors like BPA in the water. Similar “intersex” symptoms have been seen in frogs and salamanders.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has introduced legislation that would ban BPA from use in infant products. In several states, lawmakers have introduced bills calling for BPA bans. For now, it’s up to you to find BPA-free products if you wish to protect your family from the harmful effects of this pervasive chemical.