Why Plastics Can Make You Sick

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Why Plastics Can Make You Sick

A controversy regarding the safety of low-dose effects of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to make hard, clear plastics such as those found in baby bottles, food-storage containers and the lining of soda cans, has reached the forefront in America.

Each year, over 6 billion tons of BPA are used to make polycarbonate plastics. Chemical bonds that BPA forms in plastic can unravel when heated, washed or exposed to acidic foods, prompting the chemical to contaminate foods. And while the plastic industry fails to see the need for alarm regarding the health impact of this chemical, researchers with no ties to the industry beg to differ.

Opposing Results

Your body is extremely sensitive to sex hormones, and miniscule amounts can induce profound changes. Therefore, since BPA imitates the sex hormone estradiol, scientists are afraid even low levels of BPA could have a negative impact. Moreover, there is evidence (among mice and rats) low doses of BPA can cause:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Early puberty
  • Increased fat formation
  • Abnormal sexual behavior
  • Disrupted reproductive cycles
  • Structural damage to the brain

Of the 115 published studies researchers reviewed on the low-dose effects of BPA, 94 of them reported harmful effects on mice and rats; 21 did not.

Coincidentally, none of the 11 studies funded by chemical companies found harmful effects caused by BPA, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported is detected in 95 percent of all patients tested. On the other hand, more than 90 percent of the studies conducted by scientists not associated with the chemical industry [text in blue] discovered negative consequences.

Environmental Health Perspectives Free Full-Text Download 

USA Today April 14, 2005


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