Monday, June 16, 2008

Bisphenol A in more than just plastic

NewsAnchorMom Teresa Snow from KRCG in Jefferson City, Mo sent me this interview she did on bisphenol A, the toxic chemical that has been under fire recently for being in many baby bottles. Thank you for passing along this great information!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

I recently interviewed a fellow mother of twins who is a pioneer in the research into the effects of bisphenol A. Susan Nagel PhD, assistant professor of Women's Health at the University of Missouri Medical School explained what bottles should concern you. BPA is found in #7 plastics. They are hard plastic bottles you can see through, made of polycarbonate. Ones you can “crinkle” are not this type.

Her research looked at the effects of BPA on mice. In one study the mice drank water that contained the chemical in levels that mimic what we would consume drinking water from a plastic drinking bottle. In some the chromosomal damage lead to miscarriages. Mice that were successfully delivered were followed three to six months as they matured. Males exposed to BPA inutero developed enlarged prostates. The females experienced accelerated puberty. “There were many concerning effects,” lists Nagel, “exposed mice also have shown increased hyperactivity, obesity and insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes, and decreased maternal behavior.”

Nagel says she won’t refuse a drink from a plastic water bottle but there’s plenty you can do at home to limit your exposure to chemicals from plastics. She advises you get rid of polycarbonate drinking bottles. She used glass baby bottles with her children and says they are a sturdy alternative. Do not heat foods or drinks in plastic containers. The heating can accelerate the reaction between the chemicals in plastics and your food. While we don't know all the ways we are exposed to BPA, Nagel says you can also be exposed by eating food out of metal cans. They are often lined with plastic containing BPA to keep the food from having a metal taste. But during the heating process BPA can leech into the liquid. She recommends rinsing canned foods when possible.

It's important to note government agencies are mixed on whether BPA causes a real health risk to humans. A Center's for Disease Control study published this year looked at urine samples from 2500 people. Results show more than 90 percent of Americans over the age of 6 have BPA in their system. But lead research chemist Antonia Calafat of the CDC says the levels show only trace amounts, lower than in the animal studies.

A 2007 brief from the National Institutes of Health's National Toxicology Program takes a more cautious approach saying while there's no direct evidence BPA causes harm, the animal data shows there's a possibility the chemical can affect human development. The FDA is the agency that could recall products containing BPA, but they aren't ready to do that. The agency's website states, a large body of evidence shows human exposure to BPA is at safe levels.

Teresa Snow is the 5, 6 & 10 pm anchor at KRCG-TV, the Barrington Broadcasting station covering Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri. She has been a news anchor for 20 years and mom for 8. Teresa and her husband have two sets of twins! Kyle and Travis are entering third grade and Ashley and Tony second grade next fall.

-NewsAnchorMom Teresa

Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.


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