The Father writing good essays Life has reported on BPA in the past (‘Drastic Plastic’, April 2008), but lately there has been growing concern over the effects of BPA on humans. What is BPA? BPA is ‘bisphenol A,’ a hormone used by plastics manufacturers to make, among other things, the durable plastics and food containers we rely on every single day. Proponents of BPA (namely the industries that manufacture them to the tune of $6 Billion annually) claim that humans are exposed to BPA in such low doses that it has no practical effect.
However, a new article published this month by Fast Company entitled ‘THE REAL STORY ON BPA’ makes a compelling and chilling case otherwise. In fact, they go so far as to compare industry’s claims about BPA’s harmlessness to big tobacco’s claims about cigarettes as well as the long cover-up surrounding the hazardous pesticide DDT. Serious accusations to be sure, but they’ve made a convincing case.
Others are taking note as well. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, a recent Bill introduced in the House would “ban bisphenol A in food or drink containers for children ages 3 and younger amid concerns that even small amounts of the chemical could be harmful to babies or young children.”
FastCompany’s David Case describes how, “a handful of consultants used Big Tobacco’s tactics to sow doubt about science and hold off regulation of BPA, a chemical in hundreds of products that could be harming an entire generation.” He talks about the fact that out of, “more than 100 independently funded experiments on BPA, about 90% have found evidence of adverse health effects. On the other hand, every single industry-funded study ever conducted — 14 in all — has found no such effects.” And while it seems like momentum is beginning to build behind this issue, he reaches the conclusion that, “the government is unlikely to start controlling the use of BPA. The United States has a long tradition of keeping harmful substances — lead, DDT, tobacco, PCBs — on the market for decades after scientists find adverse effects.”
Scared? Given that BPA is found in almost everything we eat or drink or touch on a daily basis, we should probably be a little concerned at the very least. So, what can one do to lower their risks associated with BPA?
- First, educate yourself. Start by reading David Case’s Fast Company article and than educate yourself from there about BPA. Perhaps, you’ll feel safe from the research cited. Perhaps you won’t.
- Second, buy foods that come in glass containers. For instance, many dairies now offer milk in returnable glass containers. The price is competitive, it’s environmentally friendly (glass is much more easily recycled than plastic), and you can actually taste a difference (it tastes much better!).
- Lastly, stop using BPA products. US News & World Report published a great post WHERE TO FIND BPA-FREE PRODUCTS that lists many of the sources for BPA free water bottles, food containers, etc. Probably the best source was Amazon.com’s listing of BPA-free Products.
Obviously, short of an outright government ban on BPA, the choice has to be yours. But the evidence is mounting that this is an issue we should be concerned about and should be doing more to get to the bottom of. We at The Father Life hope that this update has given you some good information for doing so.
Image by: Rogener Pavinski, SXC
Ben Murphy, founder of The Father Life, is an Adventure Athlete, Writer, and Wellness Advocate who used to be obese. You can ask him your questions at www.BenMurphyOnline.com. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and three daughters.