There has been considerable media exposure on BPA and the dangers of BPA in the plastics we use everyday, including infant products and accessories. BPA is the acronym for bisphenol A, a chemical which has been used since the sixties in some plastics. These plastics are often used in the containers we use to store food and drink – think about your plastic water bottles.
What is BPA? What’s all the fuss about?
BPA stands for bisphenol A. It is an industrial chemical which has been used since the sixties in the production of some plastics and resins. These plastics are polycarbonate plastics; often used to make containers we store food and water in. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of food cans, bottle tops and also water supply lines. This is not an exclusive list as to the uses of products which include BPA, they are only a few examples.
The dangers of BPA came to light when it was discovered that BPA can seep into beverages or the food which is stored in containers made from plastics or resins which contain the chemical. There are potential health side effects on the brain, behavior and the prostate glands, particularly in children.
While BPA used to be common in infant bottles and plastic sippy cups, the six major manufacturers have stopped using BPA plastics in their products they sell in the US. Many infant formula manufacturers have ceased using BPA in their cans too.
What are the effects of BPA?
The effects of BPA have not yet been determined, but it is believed that more than 90% of people have BPA in their bodies. BPA is everywhere – it has been used to harden plastics for more than 40 years. Water bottles, the lining of canned foods, dental sealants – the list goes on and on. Most of the BPA in our bodies comes from eating food which has been stored in containers which contain BPA.
It is still relatively unknown what exactly BPA does to us. There are no definitive studies, although there has been testing done with animals. Human exposure is currently relatively low, and the FDA continues to study BPA and its potential hazards. You can read more from the FDA here.
What Does BPA Potentially Do To Us?
There is some concern about the effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate glands in young children and infants. There are concerns that BPA can affect hormone levels in humans, particularly fetuses, babies and small children. There have been animal studies conducted, but the results have been mixed.
There have been links to cancer and heart problems, brain and behavior problems but none of the results are definitive. There are possible links but as yet there are no definite results pointing to BPA as the cause. There are some studies which suggest that the risk of BPA is most pronounced in infants and small children. Their bodies are smaller, still developing and they are not as efficient at eliminating toxic substances from their bodies’ systems.
The list of potential issues is alarming, but there have been no definite links established; there is no direct evidence that BPA causes any of these problems. While more testing is carried out, if you are worried then you should try to avoid plastic containers and water bottles which have BPA in them which will reduce your exposure. There are plenty of BPA free products available wherever baby and infant products are sold.