More and more in the world today, there has been more advanced testing procedures becoming available in order to test products and their containers for unsafe materials that may exist. BPA is one of the substances that has been used in manufacturing processes of food and beverage containers for many years, and in the past few years has been found to be most toxic to pregnant women, unborn infants, infants, and toddlers, but does affect millions of humans on a daily basis.
Within this discussion board posting there will be a description of Bisphenol A, some possible detrimental effects of BPA, the position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding BPA, the position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding minimizing an infant’s exposure to BPA, the position of the State of Michigan government regarding BPA, and whether or not after researching BPA that I think that BPA should be more tightly regulated within the U.
After researching in order to find out what BPA is since I have never heard of this term before, I have found that Bisphenol A otherwise known as BPA was originally synthetized in the year 1905 within a German lab, and is the product of chemical reactions between phenol and acetone. BPA is used to produce polycarbonate plastic which in turn is used to manufacture products such as water bottles, food packaging, soda can packaging, eyeglass lenses, medical equipment, safety shields, and automobiles.
BPA is also used as the starting material for manufacturing epoxy resins which are used to manufacture products such as adhesives, powder coatings, automobile primers, and printed circuit boards (“Bisphenol A (BPA),”). BPA in the past, was used in the manufacturing process of baby bottles and sippy cups, but due to human infant safety concerns has been as of the year 2012, banned from infant and toddler product manufacturing processes.
Possible detrimental health effects that are associated with BPA, are that the substance is an endocrine disrupter with estrogenic activity. What this means is that BPA has the potential to interfere with the human body’s natural hormones. A research study conducted by U.S. Center for Disease Control and prevention, consisted of acquiring a urine analysis from 2,517 Americans that were over the age of 6 years old. The result of the research testing was that 93% of the samples contained detectable amounts of BPA, which leads scientists and researchers to believe that BPA is widespread in the populace (Heindel).
Other possible detrimental health effects that are associated with BPA include reproductive disorders, heart disease in females; type two diabetes, brain function pertaining to memory and learning, breast cancer, and asthma (Nordqvist, 2013). It is also reported that BPA effects our environment, especially within aquatic environments and has been found to produce genetic abnormalities as well in amphibians and crustaceans. With all of this information being stated, the most detrimental health effects of BPA were found in unborn infants, infants, and small children which stems from the use of BPA in the manufacturing processes of the baby bottles, teething rings, and sippy cups. This is detrimental because small infants and children cannot eliminate the xenobiotic from their bodies as well as adults.
Position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding BPA As of the year 2012, the position of the U.S. Food and Drug administration regarding BPA, is that the substance is safe at the very low doses that occur in some foods. This position is supported by the FDA through the review of hundreds of studies conducted by FDA scientists, which included additional studies that were implemented because of new concerns being expressed about BPA and human health (“Bisphenol A (BPA):,” 2012).
The FDA’s position on the utilization of BPA in the manufacturing of baby bottles and children’s’ sippy cups is that BPA as of 2012, is now banned from the manufacturing process per request from the American Chemistry Council. The FDA’s position on future testing is that BPA will continue to be tested and regulated far into the future, and that any individual product, ingredient, or chemical that represents a risk to public health will be swiftly eliminated. While the FDA has banned the manufacturing of sippy cups and baby bottles containing the BPA substance, there has been little done to regulate BPA in adult related products.
Position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding minimizing an infant’s exposure to BPA The position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding minimizing an infant’s exposure to BPA is that parents should examine discard scratched baby bottles and infant feeding cups, as if these old containers contain BPA it could be released in small quantities into an infant’s system (“Bisphenol A (BPA),”).
Another factor that was found while researching is the fact that a high temperature used to heat your infant’s formula can dispense more BPA into the formula than heating with a hot water bath. As a result, the HHS suggests that parents should not ever heat baby formula in a BPA container in the microwave because not only a burn to the infant’s mouth may occur, but there may be a higher dose of BPA being administered to the infant (“Bisphenol A (BPA),”). The last suggestion for minimizing the exposure of BPA to infants, is for parents to read the labels on plastic containers relating to the recycle codes. The recycle codes that are likely to not contain BPA are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, while recycle code number 7 is likely to contain BPA.
The position of the State of Michigan government regarding BPA is non-existent as far as I can find in my research. After searching the safer states Website, I found that the State of Michigan has not yet joined the other 12 States in the U.S. that ban BPA, thus is lacking in regulatory governance of the substance (“About Bisphenol A,” 2013). I found that Michigan’s neighboring state of Illinois has implemented a Toxic Free Toddler Act ban on BPA that bans the sale of children’s food and beverage containers containing BPA, and that the new law went into effect in the beginning of 2013 for manufacturers and in the year 2014 for retailers.
After being introduced to the fact that millions of American citizens in the U.S. are exposed to a substance that has a known hazardous content on a daily basis through food and beverage containers alone, which is a fact that I previously did not know; I feel that BPA should be more regulated in the U.S. The regulation should first start with the FDA as the backbone of the regulatory processes, and the individual states should then reinforce regulatory laws pertaining to BPA labeling at home within their state in my opinion, as the main control mechanism of what unknowing consumers are purchasing within their state.
Ongoing testing and evaluation should be conducted on BPA, along with trying to figure out if we can change the structure of BPA in order to make it non-toxic. In conclusion, the research into the substance called Bisphenol A has been very enlightening. I had never thought that the food and beverage containers along with others in my household could be toxic to me or my family members. This new knowledge gleaned from my research will be shared with others such as at work when I see a co-worker eating their lunch out of an old scratched melted microwavable container. I will now share my new knowledge with them regarding BPA so that they may make their own conclusion on the subject.
Now, after researching BPA, I will be paying much closer attention to the containers that I purchase in the store and have stored in my cupboards, along with implementing less canned food media into my daily diet. I am thinking more and more that if BPA is toxic to some humans, how do we know the amount of toxicity that is contained within our own bodies without scientific testing. I enjoyed researching BPA, and am looking forward to learning much more by reading the postings of other students’ on this discussion board in order to gain more insight into the controversial topic of BPA toxicity from their unique viewpoint. I wish you all much success as we learn more about material science this week!