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[greenyes] Health Impacts from Bisphenol A Leaching from Plastic Bottles

Study Cites Risk of Compound in Plastic Bottles
Report urges the EPA to restrict bisphenol A, found widely in liquid and
food containers.
By Marla Cone
Times Staff Writer

April 13, 2005

Evidence is mounting that a chemical in plastic that is one of the world's
most widely used industrial compounds may be risky in the small amounts that
seep from bottles and food packaging, according to a report to be published
this week in a scientific journal.

The authors of the report, who reviewed more than 100 studies, urged the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to re-evaluate the risks of bisphenol A
and consider restricting its use.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been detected in nearly all humans tested in the
U.S. It is a key building block in the manufacture of hard, clear
polycarbonate plastics, including baby bottles, water bottles and other food
and beverage containers. The chemical can leach from the plastic, especially
when the containers are heated, cleaned with harsh detergents or exposed to
acidic foods or drinks.

The chemical is the focus of a contentious debate involving industrial
compounds that can mimic sex hormones. Toxicologists say that exposure to
man-made hormones skews the developing reproductive systems and brains of
newborn animals and could be having the same effects on human fetuses and
young children.

Since the late 1990s, some experiments have found no effects at the doses of
BPA that people are exposed to, and others have suggested that the chemical
mimics estrogen, blocks testosterone and harms lab animals at low doses.
Plastics industry representatives say the trace amounts that migrate from
some products pose no danger and are far below safety thresholds set by the
EPA and other agencies.

In the new report, to be published online in Environmental Health
Perspectives on Thursday, scientists Frederick vom Saal and Claude Hughes
say that as of December, 115 studies have been published examining low doses
of the chemical, and 94 of them found harmful effects.

In an interview Tuesday, Vom Saal, a reproductive biologist at University of
Missouri in Columbia, said there is now an "overwhelming weight of evidence"
that the plastics compound is harmful.

"This is a snowball running down a hill, where the evidence is accumulating
at a faster and faster rate," Vom Saal said.

"You can't open a scientific journal related to sex hormones and not read an
article that would just floor you about this chemical.. The chemical
industry's position that this is a weak chemical has been proven totally
false. This is a phenomenally potent chemical as a sex hormone."


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