Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic compound used in the manufacture of a group of plastics known as polycarbonates. These plastics are easily molded into desired shapes and widely used in the chemical industry. They are resistant to temperature and sudden impacts.
One of the uses of polycarbonates is in the manufacture of baby bottles. In 1997, researchers reported that low-dose exposure to BPA in laboratory animals seemed to disrupt their hormones. Since then, over 100 studies have been done on BPA’s effects and they have found possible (but not definitive) links with developmental defects, neurotoxicity, cancer, and obesity.
BPA is also used in CDs, DVDs, plastic lining in canned food cans, and dental sealants. To date, no human studies have been completed, but based on results of animal studies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a maximum intake for human safety. The European Union and Japan have both assessed various studies and concluded that the current human exposure to BPA is safe. Some toxicologists are pointing out the animal studies done so far have all injected the BPA into the animals, whereas humans ingest it, and the differing effects are as yet unknown.
An endocrine disrupter
One of the effects of BPA observed in animal studies is that it mimics estrogen, the main female sex hormone. In other words, it can act in the body like estrogen, and possibly cause other hormonal responses. That makes it an endocrine disrupter. Endocrine glands are small organs which release hormones, and they form an endocrine system of seven glands. Examples are the pancreas which produces insulin; the two adrenal glands (one on top of each kidney) which produce adrenalin; and the ovaries which produce several hormones, one of which is estrogen.
Many private lawsuits
California has a class action pending against the manufacturers of Nalgene reusable sports bottles, which claims that the company downplayed the risks of BPA in the bottles. Missouri has a class action pending against five baby bottle companies, claiming that they failed to reveal information about the health effects of the BPA in their bottles and training cups.
Kansas and Los Angeles also have pending class action suits, and these claims are against the retailers of the bottles as well as the manufacturers. The FDA has not determined that BPA is unsafe, but in April this year it formed a task force to look into the matter.
This space will watch the BPA issue and report back later. Meanwhile, if you are wondering whether your baby has been affected by BPA, or if you or a loved one are wondering about the effects of water bottles, please contact our office for a free case evaluation.