Bisphenol A (BPA) is used extensively in plastic food and beverage containers, including plastic food containers and shatter-proof baby bottles. It is found in food and drink cans and in a wide range of other products, like compact discs, sunglasses and dental fillings. Traces of it leach from polycarbonate, which is hard, clear plastic, and the epoxy linings of canned foods and beverages.
BPA is now found in the bodies of virtually all people living in developed countries at levels that can cause cancer, genital abnormalities, diabetes and behavioral disorders in laboratory animals.
In August 2007, international scientists reviewed 700 studies on BPA. They concluded that people are exposed to levels of BPA exceeding those that harm lab animals. They noted that infants and fetuses are most vulnerable. The review linked exposure to BPA with an increased risk of cancer as well as changes in chromosomes that potentially lead to mutations and cancer.
They also found that low doses of BPA during pregnancy can have profound effects on the development of the baby affecting breast, testicle, mammary glands and brain development.
Their adverse findings were supported by the National Institutes of Health that found uterine damage in newborn animals exposed to BPA, which could be a possible predictor of reproductive diseases in women, including fibroids, endometriosis, cystic ovaries and cancers. Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A can also lead to a predisposition to obesity.
Recent research has shown that the more BPA in a person’s urine, the higher their rates of heart disease and diabetes. A link between abnormal liver enzymes in people exposed to BPA suggest that the chemical alters how the liver functions.
BPA has been found in the effluent of waste water treatment plants flowing into Australia waterways.
Friends of the Earth Australia Consumer Guide: Bisphenol A in plastic: does it make us sick?