Tag Archives: BPA

Present Position of FDA About BPA Risks

In a shift of position, the U.S. FDA is expressing concerns about possible health risks from bisphenol A, or BPA, a widely used component of plastic bottles and food packaging. The agency declared BPA safe in 2008.

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But the FDA now has “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.”

The action is another example of the drug agency becoming far more aggressive in taking hard looks at what it sees as threats to public health over the past year. In recent months, the agency has stepped up its oversight of food safety and has promised to tighten approval standards for medical devices.

Concerns about BPA are based on studies that have found harmful effects in animals, and on the recognition that the chemical seeps into food and baby formula. Nearly everyone is exposed to BPA, starting in the womb.

Dr. Sharfstein said the drug agency was also re-evaluating the way it regulates BPA.

The substance is now classified as a food additive, a category that requires a cumbersome and time-consuming process to make regulatory changes. Dr. Sharfstein said he hoped its status could be changed to “food contact substance,” which would give the F.D.A. more regulatory power and let it act more quickly if it needed to do so.

Resources:
New York Times January 15, 2010
New York Times FDA Articles
New York Times May 14, 2009

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Plastic Bottles Behind Earlier Puberty in Girls?

Girls are beginning to grow breasts at an earlier age, and starting their periods sooner too, and scientists suspect chemicals in plastic   bottles may be behind this trend.

The findings back up recent studies that found earlier breast development in American girls over the past several years,
Lise Aksglaede of Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, the lead researcher on the study, said. “At this point, we don’t know what is happening, and that is also what worries us.”

Aksglaede noted that she and her colleagues have seen an increasing number of girls with precocious puberty, meaning sexual maturation beginning before age eight.

To investigate whether this might represent a trend, or simply greater recognition of the problem by parents, the Denmark-based researchers looked at 1,100 girls who were studied in 1991-1993 and 995 examined between 2006-2008. The study participants ranged in age from 5.6 to 20 years old.

While the average age at which breast growth began was 10.88 years for the 1991 group, it was 9.86 for the 2006 group. Age at first menstruation was 13.42 for the 1991 group, and 13.13 for the 2006 group.

Most experts believe that the obesity epidemic may have something to do with earlier puberty in girls, Aksglaede noted, but she and her colleagues found no difference in the prevalence of overweight and obesity between the 1991 and 2006 groups.
There also were no differences in levels of several reproductive hormones between the two groups, although the 8- to 10-year-olds tested in 2006 actually had lower estrogen levels than girls of the same age tested in 1991.

Chemicals which can produce estrogen-like effects in the body may be responsible, Aksglaede said. However, she pointed out that the effects of such chemicals are extremely difficult to study, given that there are so many different chemicals out there, and that the levels girls are exposed are in constant flux.

Chemicals in plastics like the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates have the potential to interfere with estrogen and other reproductive hormones.

While precocious puberty can have psychological consequences for girls, and may also stunt growth, the girls in the current study were still entering puberty at a relatively normal age.

“It is the first time we are seeing this in Europe,” the researcher said. “It might be happening in other countries, but it hasn’t been reported yet.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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FDA Slammed for Calling BPA Safe

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BPA, plastic

In a highly critical report, a panel of scientists from government and academia said when the FDA completed a draft risk assessment of bisphenol A (BPA) last month, they did not take into consideration numerous studies that have linked the chemical to prostate cancer, diabetes and other health problems.

The scientists took the FDA to task for basing its safety decision on three industry-funded studies.

The report was written by a subcommittee panel of the FDA’s outside science board, experts who advise the FDA on complex issues. The panel concluded that the FDA’s margin of safety is “inadequate.”

The panel said the FDA also didn’t use enough infant formula samples and didn’t adequately account for variations among the samples.

Studies the FDA did not consider when making their assessment suggest that BPA could pose harm to children at levels at least 10 times lower than the amount the agency called safe. Another government agency, the National Toxicology Program, concluded that there is “some concern” that BPA alters development of the brain, prostate and behavior in children and fetuses.

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Five Ways to Keep Bisphenol A (BPA) Out of Your Food

With new studies linking bisphenol A, a chemical found in the linings of food and beverage cans, to diabetes and heart disease, you may be wondering what you can do to minimize your exposure. Here are some good rules of thumb for reducing your intake of BPA:

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1. Buy your tomato sauce in glass jars

Canned tomato sauce is likely to have higher levels of BPA, because the high acidity of the tomatoes causes more of the chemical to leach from the lining of the can.

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2. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned

In addition to their BPA-free benefit, fresh produce usually has more nutrients, which often get lost in the process of canning.

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3. Purchase beverages in plastic or glass bottles

Canned soda and juice often contain some BPA.

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4. Use powdered infant formula instead of ready-to-serve liquid

An assessment from the Environmental Working Group found that liquid formulas contain more BPA than powdered brands.

5. Think in terms of moderation

Follow a sensible approach, eating less of those foods that are higher in BPA………..

Sources:
U.S. News & World Report September 17, 2008
Journal of the American Medical Association September 16, 2008; 300(11):1353-5
Journal of the American Medical Association September 16, 2008; 300(11):1303-10

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Plastic Bottles are Deadly for Your Brain

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Plastic containers may be deadly for your brain. Canadian researchers have found that Bisphenol A (BPA), the chemical used in making plastic containers, might be responsible for impairing many brain functions such as learning and remembering.

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They also fear that it could be a factor behind Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and depression.

BPA is globally used in making plastic water bottles, baby food bottles, food containers and dental prostheses.

In their study, the researchers at the University of Guelph near here found that BPA might be leaking into the solid or liquid foods kept in the plastic containers.

When these foods and liquids are consumed, they said, the chemical might be getting into the human system, disrupting communication between brain neurons which is vital in understanding and remembering.

According to researcher Neil MacLusky, the slow doses of this chemical badly impair the formation of synapses in the areas of the human brain linked to learning.

As part of their study, the researchers fed African green monkeys at St. Kitts Island with foods containing low levels of BPA for a month.

After that period, they found that the chemical had slowed down the synapses in the monkey brain.

MacLusky said this process was linked to the hormone oestrogen.

“Oestrogen enhances the rate at which some types of synapses are formed and is vital in maintaining normal neuronal structure in regions of the brain that control learning, memory and mood state,” he said in a TV interview.

When monkeys had BPA in their system, he said, it seriously impaired this process, affecting their ability to remember.

Sources: The Times Of India

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