Do you buy convenience foods? What about canned foods? Do you store foods and beverages in plastic containers or, worse, heat them up in plastic containers? If your answer to these questions is “yes”, it’s time to change these habits.
Compounds called endocrine disrupters have long been suspected to be behind health disorders such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer, diabetes, heart problems, liver disease and even behavioural changes.
An endocrine disrupter which is one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals, bisphenol A (BPA), is estimated to be detectable in the bodies of more than 90% of the population in the US and Europe. More than 2.2 million tonnes of bisphenol A are produced annually, mainly for making plastics such as containers, baby bottles and food packaging. It’s even used to line cans.
In June 2009, the US Endocrine Society presented research showing that this chemical can affect women’s hearts and permanently damage the DNA of mice. Scientists in January 2010 reported that exposure to bisphenol A has been linked to heart disease, confirming earlier findings. The study was led by Dr. David Melzer, professor of epidemiology and public health at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England. Dr, Melzer’s team studied data on 1,493 people aged 18 to 74. Their research confirmed that BPA also plays a role in diabetes and some forms of liver disease.
In a previous study, using data from a US government national nutrition survey in 2006, American and British scientists examined the effects of bisphenol A and found that high levels of the chemical in urine samples were associated with heart disease.
Pressure has been mounting to ban the use of the chemical in food packaging and bottles. Food and drug regulators in countries such as the US, Canada and the United Kingdom have been examining the safety of bisphenol A. Canada plans to outlaw plastic bottles made with BPA. The organization Breast Cancer UK in December 2009 urged the British government to do the same because they said there was compelling evidence linking bisphenol A to breast cancer risk.
In 2008, US government toxicologists at the National Institute of Health expressed concerns about BPA’s harmful effects on the development of the prostate and brain, as well as behavioural changes in foetuses, infants and children.
US environmental health advocacy groups are urging a federal ban on bisphenol A. “There’s enough research to take definitive action on this chemical to reduce exposure in people and the environment”, said Dr. Anila Jacob of non-profit organisation the Environmental Working Group.
Governments don’t move as fast as an individual can. What are YOU going to do TODAY to protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects of endocrine disrupters like bisphenol A?