Bisphenol A Chemical in Plastic Bottles Harms Children, Feds Conclude

By David Gutierrez | For the first time, a branch of the U.S. government has admitted that the common industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) may pose a health risk.

BPA is a crucial ingredient in the hard, clear polycarbonate plastic found in water and baby bottles. It is also used to make liners for food and infant formula cans. BPA has been shown to seep out of these containers and into food or liquids, and 90 percent of U.S. residents carry it in their bodies.

The National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health concluded in April that there is “some concern” that BPA may cause problems in fetuses, babies and children, including breast or prostate cancer, early onset of female puberty, attention deficit disorder and other problems of the reproductive and neurological systems.

“Some concern” is the middle of five rankings available to the National Toxicology Program, with none at one end and extreme at the other.

The National Toxicology Program’s findings “[reflect] a significant body of science showing that BPA may play a larger role than previously thought in a host of common health problems, including prostate cancer, breast cancer and early puberty,” said Anila Jacob, senior scientist at Environmental Working Group.

“More research is needed to better understand [BPA’s] implications for human health,” the report reads. “However, because these effects in animals occur at bisphenol A exposure levels similar to those experienced by humans, the possibility that bisphenol A may alter human development cannot be dismissed.”

In spite of the report’s cautious wording, BPA expert Frederick vom Saal said that it is “very, very much in line” with a statement signed by 38 scientists in 2007, warning that BPA could be harming infant development.

“This is going to ripple around the world,” vom Saal said. “The bottom line is there really is a convergence of opinion that is occurring.”

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