An estrogen-like compound widely used in plastic products is thought to be causing serious reproductive disorders, according to a statement by several dozen scientists, including four from federal health agencies.
The compound, bisphenol A (BPA), is one of the most-produced chemicals in the world, and almost everyone has traces of it -- or more -- in their bodies.
After reviewing about 700 studies, the scientists concluded that people are exposed to levels of BPA in excess of those that have harmed lab animals. Among the most vulnerable are infants and fetuses, who are still developing.
BPA is used to make hard plastic that’s used in numerous products including:
- Polycarbonate plastic baby bottles
- Large water-cooler containers and sports bottles
- Microwave-oven dishes
- Canned-food liners
- Some dental sealants for children
The statement appeared alongside five accompanying scientific reviews and a new study by the National Institutes of Health that found newborn animals exposed to BPA suffered from uterine damage. The damage could indicate that the chemical causes reproductive disorders in women ranging from fibroids to endometriosis to cancer.
While studies have yet to be conducted to directly examine BPA’s influence on humans, past animal studies have found low doses of the chemical to be associated with early-stage prostate and *** cancers and decreased sperm count.
No governmental agency worldwide has restricted the use of BPA, but a U.S. expert panel is meeting to discuss whether the chemical should be declared a human reproductive toxin, which could lead to regulatory action.
The chemical industry maintains that BPA is safe, and has called the scientists’ statement “alarmist and biased.”
Reproductive Toxicology July 2007
Seattle Times August 3, 2007