EDCs have been linked to the feminization of fish, amphibians, and other animals, and concerns have been raised that human exposure to these chemicals, especially for pregnant women and young children, could cause serious health and developmental problems. These chemicals are clearly getting into the environment; BPA was one of the most commonly detected organic contaminants in groundwater in a study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Concentrations tend to be very low, parts per billion or even less.
As part of the review process, FDA funded studies to look at how much BPA was getting into the blood of people exposed to high levels of BPA. In a study of 20 adults exposed to a large dose of BPA from canned foods and juice in plastic containers for a day, bioreactive BPA was not detected any blood samples. This contradicts results from some earlier studies, which may not have been as rigorous in preventing contamination of samples.
Other studies mentioned in the NPR report used rats, mice, and monkeys to look whether BPA was transferred into breast milk or if it bioreactive BPA was more likely to reach the bloodstream in infants. In both cases, very little BPA was found. The human body appears to effectively “deactivate” BPA.
These studies should help to allay some fears at least on BPA’s effects on humans, although it still is known to negatively affect other animals. The FDA may still decide to ban BPA from food packaging, and many manufacturers have already moved away from its use; you can find “BPA-free” labels on bottles and other containers. But the chemicals that are replacing BPA need to be evaluated just like BPA has been.
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