Here's a big reason to be aware of this:
Bisphenol A is used in polycarbonate baby bottles and the epoxy linings of cans, including those for almost all types of infant formula. Because BPA can mimic estrogen, many researchers suspect it is a factor in health trends linked to sex hormone imbalances, such as prostate and breast cancer. (see rest of Globe article below)
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical compound used in a wide range of consumer products and is classed by the Government of Canada as a hormone disruptor. (see Bisphenol A Fact Sheet here)
Bisphenol A has been getting a lot of attention in the last year particularly because it's been linked with breast and prostate cancer. I posted last year when it made the news then. Recently an article appeared in the Globe, which I have saved (the online version at the Globe is only available if you purchase it).
Parents can reduce child exposure by avoiding food and beverage containers made of polycarbonate plastic (often identified by the number 7 in the recycling symbol) and by avoiding plastic-lined (white-coloured) canned foods.
Here's the whole article from this Globe & Mail site:
Bisphenol A most harmful to infants, study says
From Friday's Globe and Mail
January 11, 2008 at 3:58 AM EST
A new U.S. study on the plastic compound bisphenol A indicates that the chemical may be far more dangerous for young children than for adults.
The finding has been submitted to Health Canada for its current safety review of BPA, and bolsters the case for limiting bisphenol A exposure in infants, who lack the capacity that adults have to detoxify it.
Bisphenol A is used in polycarbonate baby bottles and the epoxy linings of cans, including those for almost all types of infant formula. Because BPA can mimic estrogen, many researchers suspect it is a factor in health trends linked to sex hormone imbalances, such as prostate and breast cancer.
In the new study, researchers found that neonatal mice exposed to trace amounts of bisphenol A, either orally or through injection, ended up with similar amounts of the chemical in their blood because they do not have high amounts of the liver enzyme that breaks it down into an inactive form.
Young rodents don't fully develop the capacity to make the enzyme until they are weaned, a trait they share with humans. By contrast, adult rodents fed BPA have been found to rapidly clear it from their bodies using the enzymes.
Similar experiments are not done on babies for ethical reasons, but given the similarity of biological processes among mammals, many scientists consider the results applicable to humans.
The research study is expected to be issued next week by the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology.
The finding is "extremely scary," said Dr. Frederick vom Saal, a professor in the biological sciences department of the University of Missouri, and a member of the team that conducted the study.
Dr. vom Saal is a leading authority on BPA, and he contended that formula and polycarbonate baby bottles expose children to worrisome amounts of the synthetic estrogen. "You are significantly dosing your baby with bisphenol A every day and every time the baby is consuming food," he said.
Health Canada said in a statement to The Globe and Mail yesterday that "it is too early for us to state whether we have a concern or not with infant formula or baby bottles which contain BPA."
But two major formula makers - Nestle Canada and Mead Johnson Nutritionals - dismissed the concerns.
"Health Canada, as well as other international authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have approved the use of BPA in food packaging," Nestle Canada said in an e-mail statement.
"The preponderance of valid scientific literature right now upholds the position that BPA and the levels found in the food chain of humans is absolutely safe," said Gail Wood, spokeswoman for Evansville, Ind., based Mead Johnson. She also discounted the significance for humans of research on mice.
Based on a preliminary risk assessment in 2006, Health Canada said that bisphenol A was a chemical for which it had a "predisposition to conclude toxic." It is expected to issue a formal evaluation by May.
The study also contradicts a major contention on the safety of bisphenol A advanced by chemical manufacturers. Many of the nearly 200 studies finding severe health effects from bisphenol A exposure have been done by injecting young or pregnant rodents with the chemical.
The American Chemistry Council, an Arlington, Va., trade group for major BPA manufacturers, has argued that injection study results aren't applicable to humans because people are thought to have most of their exposures from oral sources, such as food, subject to rapid metabolizing by liver enzymes. Delivering BPA by injection bypasses this detoxification process and may cause health effects that wouldn't occur by ingesting the chemical, according to the industry's view.
However, the new research indicates that both oral and injection approaches are equally valid for experiments during fetal and neonatal development.
Health Canada said it hasn't yet decided whether to accept or reject the industry's position on the dosing controversy.
The council did not respond to a request for comment on the new research.