Monday, June 16, 2008

Plastics and Disease - Bisphenol A

According to a report by a large expert panel, Bisphenol-A (BPA) causes abnormal penis development, early sexual development in females, an increase in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, childhood and adult obesity, type 2 diabetes, a decrease in sperm count, and an increase in prostate and breast cancer.

The report estimates that 95% of people in western cultures have too much BPA in their bodies.

Yes. You have too much BPA in your body. If you’re pregnant, your fetus has too much BPA in its body.

Other research has shown that the level of BPA that the US government considers safe may be too high. In other words, the number of people who actually have too much BPA in their body may be even higher than 95%. Experts have asked that the government reevaluate the safe level.

The plastics industry, of course, claims that BPA is safe at current levels of exposure. They sell six billion pounds of the stuff per year. They paid for eleven studies that all found that there wasn’t a problem. However, the government-funded studies found that there was a problem 90% of the time.

Surely all of us have noticed an increase in the health issues in the first paragraph. We can’t blame all of the increases on BPA, but it would be crazy to continue to expose ourselves to this dangerous chemical regardless of what may be considered a safe level.

What to do?

Use glass, ceramic and steel in all food preparation, storage and serving.

Learn how to use plastics safely. Only plastics with recycle codes of 2, 4 and 5 should be used at all. Plastics should never be used in the microwave. Don’t use canned food or drinks because the cans are lined with plastic. Especially don’t drink hot drinks in plastic cups or paper cups that are lined with plastic. (Sorry StarBucks!)

Look for products that don’t contain BPA. You can find BPA-free products on, from Nalgene, from SC Johnson who makes Saran-wrap and Ziploc bags, and many other manufacturers who are recognizing the problem and taking responsible action.

There are sources on the Web; The Environmental Working Group,,, Consumer Reports, and Z-Recommends have information about products that don’t use BPA.

Do it now

The good news is that BPA leaves your body, and your children’s bodies, very quickly once you stop using the products. Choose plastic products consciously. If you don’t know the product is safe, put it back on the shelf. If you don’t know how to choose safe plastics, now is the time to learn.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron