The end result? We are all exposed to BPA. Testing by the CDC showed that 93% of us have BPA in our systems. Children had higher levels than adults, but the testing did not include children under the age of 6. Children under the age of 6 are expected to have the highest levels of BPA.
Government regulators have been debating the safety. You may recall that the NTP was reviewing two reports – one the expert panel report from the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction and the other known as the Chapel Hill panel. The two expert reports issued somewhat contradictory findings. Accusations were made that the CERHR expert report was too biased in favor of industry.
In any event, this Draft Brief indicates a higher level of concern than expressed in the CERHR expert panel report for possible effects of BPA on prostrate gland, mammary gland, and early onset of puberty in exposed fetuses, infants and children. The Draft Brief has led several legislators to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration to take action.
In sum, the Draft Brief concludes that BPA is possibly affecting human development or reproduction.
Of relevance, the Draft Brief concludes:
"The National Toxicology Program (NTP) concurs with the conclusion of the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) Expert Panel on Bisphenol A that there is some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures. The NTP also has some concern for bisphenol A exposure in these populations based on effects in the prostate gland, mammary gland, and an earlier age for puberty in females.
The scientific evidence that supports a conclusion of some concern for exposures in fetuses, infants, and children comes from a number of laboratory animal studies reporting that "low" level exposure to bisphenol A during development can cause changes in behavior and the brain, prostate gland, mammary gland, and the age at which females attain puberty. These studies only provide limited evidence for adverse effects on development and more research is needed to better understand their implications for human health. However, because these effects in animals occur at bisphenol A exposure levels similar to those experienced by humans, the possibility that bisphenol A may alter human development cannot be dismissed."
What's a concerned mama to do? To be honest, this is one area where I don't need certainty to act. So many alternates exist that it is easier just to let the scientists and bureaucrats debate it while choosing, with my green purse, to skip polycarbonate plastic and canned goods. So, my recommendation? Skip polycarbonate plastic bottles and sippy cups. Check out here for some substitutes for baby bottles and sippy cups. Also, try to avoid canned goods – buy fresh, frozen or dried. If you have to go canned, choose foods in glass or other plastics instead. For infant formula, canned prepared formula has the highest leach rate, so buy prepared formula in glass or go powdered.
How do you identify polycarbonate plastic? It is identified by the #7 recycling code. Which is really a resin identification code, not a recycling code. And #7 means other – not polycarbonate. It just usually is polycarbonate. But, those Gerber First Foods that are labeled with #7 – they are NOT polycarbonate – they are a combination of plastics so they are labeled with #7 as "other plastic."