BPA (bisphenol A) was detected in 100% of umbilical cord blood samples taken in a study released in the August 2013 issue of Environmental Science and Technology. BPA is a chemical in many plastics, including water bottles, food can lining, and children’s sippy cups. Years after it became ubiquitous, health concerns about BPA began cropping up, due to its ability to imitate estrogen in the body. California has tried to ban BPA, but the plastics lobby and the Chamber of Commerce has successfully killed legislation each time it has been brought up.
The study abstract begins with some very stark language:
“Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an endocrine disrupting chemical used in numerous consumer products, resulting in universal exposure in the United States. Prenatal exposure to BPA is associated with numerous reproductive and developmental effects in animals.”
Yup. “Universal exposure in the United States.” Furthermore, the study found that one third of the samples showed BPA levels comparable or larger than levels associated with biological damage in animals, according to Environmental Health News.
BPA is an issue that America is ill-equipped to deal with: the science on it is mixed, or at least appears to be, because the more positive studies tend to come from the industries that benefit from BPA being legal and unregulated. Its effects are subtle and invisible, BPA itself is invisible, and its defenders are well-funded and united. The people we entrust with the job of doing something about this, Congress, are more likely to get reelected if they side with the industry without an incredible public outcry.
You can do two things: call your state legislators and tell them you want a BPA ban or at least tighter regulations on labeling and what can and what can’t legally have BPA. Two: buy BPA-free products. Our politicians are unlikely to be responsive to us here, but the market reacts to pressure.