Monday, April 2, 2012

FDA Says "No" to Possible BPA Ban

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would not ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in some plastic containers, most aluminum food cans and the majority of cash register receipts.

Evidence is growing that BPA has negative affects on our endocrine systems, one of our bodies' essential regulating instruments. Public distaste for BPA has led a handful of states and other municipalities to ban baby bottles and sippy cups made with BPA. In addition, major food companies are curtailing the use of BPA in their aluminum cans; Campbell's was the latest to join the parade.

Whether you believe BPA is dangerous or not (since I follow the precautionary principle, I avoid it), Jane Houlihan, Senior Vice President for Research of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) had a pretty funny comment, which I read in the EWG's press release following the FDA's decision:

“The next decision the FDA should make is to remove ‘responsible for protecting the public health’ from its mission statement. It’s false advertising. Allowing a chemical as toxic as BPA, and linked to so many serious health problems, to remain in food means the agency has veered dangerously off course.”
To avoid BPA, replace plastic storage containers with glass containers. (No reason to buy; recycle used jars of jelly, mustard, sauce, etc.) Also, try to avoid eating food from aluminum cans containing BPA; a handful of companies (Eden Foods, Muir Glen, Native Forest, etc.) use BPA-free cans.

Finally, be careful with receipts generated from computerized cash registers. I kind of, sort of try to touch them with only the tips of two fingers and put them in a dedicated envelope for storage. I've read that if you put the receipts in your wallet, the BPA can transfer and remain on other papers and transfer to your skin later. BPA can leach into our bodies via the skin, so make sure to wash your hands with soap (not antibacterial!) and water as soon as possible.

All of this makes hunting for a saber-toothed tiger sound that much more appealing.

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