Manufacturers scrambled to develop BPA-free products to assuage a terrified public after the compound was demonized for playing a role in Christina Applegate and Sheryl Crowe’s breast cancer diagnoses several years ago.
Now, with the FDA’s findings, is it safe to consume BPA-packaged products? The answer is: maybe.
1. Which products contain BPA?
BPA is in products, such as bottles, cans, eyeglass lenses, CDs, and more, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The compound helps create polycarbonate (No. 7) plastic, and some paper receipts have the chemical.
In fact, general exposure to BPA is probably widespread among the public, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Next: BPA might not be as bad as originally thought.
2. BPA exposure might be safe
The FDA says BPA is “safe” after a two-year study. Scientists concluded the chemical has “minimal effects” on health, even at high levels, NPR reports.
“The FDA has routinely considered and evaluated the scientific evidence surrounding the use of BPA and continues to conclude that BPA is safe for the currently authorized uses in food containers and packaging,” Dr. Stephen Ostroff, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a news release.
Next: But previous studies said BPA is harmful.
3. Previous studies connect BPA with health problems
A bevy of studies cited by the Environmental Defense Fund point to BPA as being a public health threat. Reports include negative impacts on metabolic health, cardiovascular effects, and developmental neurotoxicity.
Next: BPA could disrupt hormones.
4. BPA mimics the hormone estrogen
Because it produces a weak version of synthetic estrogen, BPA might disrupt hormones. This can impact how estrogen and other hormones interact, creating a hormonal imbalance, according to BreastCancer.org.
Next: The breast cancer risk is still in question.
5. BPA could still influence your breast cancer risk
Women still might consider limiting exposure to BPA because of what it can do to their hormones. Estrogen can encourage the development of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, according to BreastCancer.org.
Next: Some researchers are skeptical.
6. Some scientists believe the report was released prematurely
Despite the FDA’s assertion that BPA is safe, other scientists think the organization jumped the gun. “It is premature to draw conclusions based on the release of one component of a two-part report,” said Laura Vandenberg, a spokesperson for the Endocrine Society. The group said the study did not address brain impacts or “provide assurance of BPA’s safety” either.
Next: What’s the best advice?
7. Not sure what to do?
You can easily avoid BPA, as many companies don’t include the chemical in their products, according to NPR. The Can Manufacturers Institute reportedly no longer lines metal cans with BPA. Plus, plastic packaging manufacturers provide a variety of BPA-free containers, as well.
Additionally, avoid paper receipts, buy food in glass jars, use stainless steel bottles, and wash hands frequently.
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