The Plastic Predator: BPA
In work published in Endocrinology University of Cincinnati researchers have found that a chemical widely used in food cans, milk container linings, water pipes, and even dental sealants could disrupt important effects of estrogen in the developing brain.
In a press release, researcher Scott Belcher, PhD, says Bisphenol A (BPA) interferes with the vital role of estrogen in female and male brain development even at low doses.
"We have now shown that environmental estrogens like BPA appear to alter, in a very complicated fashion, the normal way estrogen communicates with immature nerve cells," Dr. Belcher explained. "The developmental effects that we studied are known to be important for brain development and also for normal function of the adult brain," he said...
In the face of more than 100 studies published in peer-reviewed journals showing the detrimental effects of BPA, Dr. Belcher said, the chemical industry and federal regulatory agencies have resisted banning BPA from plastics used as food and beverage containers, despite the fact that plastics free of BPA and other toxic chemicals are available.
In the discussion forum of his member center, Dr. Fuhrman discussed plastics with members in 2004. One presented research that #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), used for "cloudy" milk and water jugs and opaque food bottles, may be one of the safer ones. Dr. Fuhrman responded that he wasn't convinced, based on two primary factors. First of all, he wrote, water from those jugs "tastes like plastic, so it can't be good." Dr. Fuhrman also cited this study as a sample of research showing leeching from plastic into food.
The blog Mindfully has examined plastic and food extensively. I was hoping to find some handy advice to pass along about how to recognize safer kinds of plastics, but instead found only that they conclude plastic should never touch food. I can't vouch for their conclusions, but it's something to consider.
Any plastic experts out there who can shed some more light on this for us? I bet a lot of us would like to know some steps we can take to try to reduce our exposure to these kinds of toxins. Please comment away.
(Thanks to Medical Informatics for the heads up on this story.)