The aim of All About Going Green is not to have endless scary discussions about the dangers of life as we know it. We all know about that – or at least some of us know about some of the stuff most of the time.
Instead, I prefer to provide you, my readers, with easy, practical ideas on how to make greener, healthier and more sustainable choices.
When it comes to the debate on plastic, however, I decided to dedicate this one blog entry to the dangers of plastic and more specifically the organic compound Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA.
The bad guy – BPA
The specific ingredient in plastic that concerns medical doctors, environmentalists and also certain governments, is a substance called bisphenol A (or byphenol A), commonly known as BPA.
Initially believed to be a safe chemical, further studies seem to be indicating the exact opposite. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that mimics the body’s own hormones leading to numerous negative health effects, especially during developmental stages. Canada became the first country, in September 2010, to name BPA as a toxic substance.
Dr. Theo Colborn, president of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange and professor emiritus of zoology at the University of Florida, puts BPA at the top of his list of harmful chemicals because, he says, it affects the whole body.
A team of researchers from the US Toxicology Program raised concerns over BPA exposure to fetuses, babies and infants. The studies indicated that it could affect brain-, prostate gland- and sexual development in these young ones. Babies are often exposed to high levels of BPA through baby bottles, toys and canned baby formula.
In 2008, Canadian authorities expressed concern over the safety margin of BPA in formula fed infants. Baby bottles, -toys and canned formula were pulled off the shelves by prominent retailers like Wall-Mart and Toys-R-Us. These retailers also started pulling these products from their shelves in other countries causing a snow-ball effect all around the world.
Women also seem to be especially affected by BPA since it acts like estrogen in the body. Levels of BPA found in woman correlated to oxidative stress (causing aging and cancer) and inflammation (linked to coronary heart disease, cancer, Parkinsons and Alzheimers). BPA was also found to be altering breast tissue, increasing the risk of breast cancer.
Studies have also found significant changes in the male reproductive system resulted from exposure to BPA levels below what is considered to be safe.
Studies are still underway and of course there are those who claim that this is all just media hype. I would suggest, however, that you do your own research and decide for yourself.
Having looked at the evidence, however, my suggestion is that you educate yourself on where BPA lurks and how to avoid BPA contamination.