This topic has been a hot one in the last few months. I saw this article today and though it is not much clearer if BPA is harmful or not, it does seem to make a few pretty clear points.
First let’s back up. BPA is bisphenol A, a chemical found in polycarbonate plastics, the hard, clear plastics (labeled #7) used to make items like baby bottles and sippy cups, and also lines many metal food and infant formula cans. BPA is known to mimic the female hormone estrogen.
The article is long, though a good one at telling both sides. It is notable that most independent/government studies have shown adverse affects and industry tests have not. Who stands to lose something – the industry right? They would have to come up with alternatives if they found BPA to be harmful. Industry research does not hold much water with me.
The article does conclude though that BPA seems to do more harm in small quantities because hormones are released in small quantities, so the body responds accordingly. It also states that BPA appears to do the most harm during critical development times – during fetal development and during the first year of life. These small amounts affect organ development and may increase susceptibility to the development of cancer in some organs.
It also states :
“Early life exposure to environmentally relevant BPA doses may result in persistent adverse effects in humans.”
“The function of the immune system can be altered following adult exposure to BPA.”
So, while there is still no clear cut answer on the effects in humans (these tests were done on lab rats), scientists certainly see a need for further studies, especially during critical development periods.
Because studies do show harm and the harm was found after the subjects were given a low-dose of BPA, I am going to continue to avoid it. There are safer bottles, sippy cups and fresh food instead of canned food. And since I breastfeed my 22 month old and hope to become pregnant soon, I will certainly ensure I avoid BPA myself. Honestly, it is not hard to do since safer alternatives are available, so it has not been an inconvenience. Even if it were, the extra steps are worth protecting the health of my family.