Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

Things in motion: Colored Domino
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a report linking bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, to childhood obesity.  The study showed that BPA occurred in higher levels in the urine of obese children.  Although eating habits and exercise clearly contribute to the obesity epidemic, BPA appears to be a contributing factor.  It seems that BPA acts like the hormone estrogen and can make fat cells bigger.  (A reminder:  the JAMA study did not research any other negative side effects of BPA.  BPA has been linked to cancer, birth defects, and cardiovascular disease, as well.)

However, before we push the burden of the obesity epidemic on the chemicals found in our food packaging, consider that some experts believe that the BPA found in higher quantities in urine might just function as a "marker." The presence of elevated levels of BPA might just indicate that the obese children consume more foods proceeded foods than normal weight children, hence the higher numbers.  (Go here to read an article about the study.)  

Although BPA has been banned in products such as sippy cups and baby bottles, it is still found in other types of food packaging and is used to line aluminium cans.  And children's toys, pacifiers, plates, and utensils can still be manufactured with BPA.  Further, sippy cups and baby bottles are now made of a different type of bisphenol.  My past research shows that another type of bisphenol has been substituted for the BPA in making the plastic beverage containers.   I question the wisdom of substituting one bisphenol for another.  Since BPA is detected in the urine of 93% of Americans, I wonder what levels of BPB (or BPZ or whatever bisphenol will become the common substitute for BPA) will be found in our urine in the future.  It is hard to imagine our world without plastic, but since the chemicals used to make plastics are now part of our bodies, it seems prudent to seek out products that don't contribute to our body burden, such as glass and stainless steel.  

(As a side note, it is interesting that China banned BPA in baby bottles before the FDA did. The European Union declared a ban two years ago and Canada considers BPA a toxic substance.  The FDA has stopped short of declaring a ban or rating BPA as toxic through its wording of the new food additive rules.  Read this article to see how, in abandoning the use of BPA, the FDA avoided the safety - and future liability - issue.) 

No comments: