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How Does BPA Affect the Human Body? Bisphenol A Health Effects

Effects of BPA
BPA has shown potential health effects on the brains of growing fetuses, infants and children, which has prompted the FDA to mandated BPA free baby bottles and sippy cups.

According to most studies, low-level exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) is safe for humans, based on recent findings and data analyzed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They reveal that the amount of BPA exposure in normal diets has minimal health effects.

The FDA further states that the currently approved uses of BPA in food packaging and containers pose no risk to human health. Recent studies have revealed that human beings and other primates, regardless of age and gender, effectively metabolize BPA in their body to a harmless substance called BPA glucuronide, which is then excreted from the body through the urine.

There have been updated concerns about the effect of BPA on human health due to its ability to mimic the hormone, estrogen. BPA may disturb the hormonal balance in humans (acting as an endocrine disruptor). The proposed adverse effects of BPA include the possibility of developing:

Any adverse health effects of BPA on humans have not been conclusively proven by national institutes or the Food and Drug Administration.

Studies conducted on animals, particularly rodents, have revealed several harmful effects of BPA, such as disturbing the hormonal balance, affecting fertility, harmful effects on fetal development, causing certain cancers and metabolic disorders. No such adverse effects have been reported in humans so far. Nonetheless, research is underway to further discover and understand how BPA affects the human body.

In July 2012, the FDA updated its regulations to ban the use of BPA containing polycarbonate resins in baby bottles and sippy cups because they may affect newborns, infants and young children. A year later, in July of 2013, the FDA further amended its regulations to ban the use of BPA-based epoxy resins as coatings in packaging for infant formula, opting for BPA free containers instead.

What is BPA?

Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical substance that is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It is made all over the world in large quantities for various applications, such as the manufacture of the following:

  • compact discs
  • baby bottles
  • water bottles
  • beverage containers
  • food packaging and cans
  • water supply pipes
  • medical devices
  • safety equipment

Bisphenol A may also be used in dental treatment involving BPA containing sealants.

How does BPA get into your body?

For most people, exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) mainly occurs through diet. Present in several food and beverage containers, BPA leaches from the packaging and into the food we consume. It may even be found in water supply pipes.

BPA may leach from these sources into foods and drinks and finally find its way into the human body. The extent to which BPA from these sources can break off and pass into food and drinks largely depends on the temperature and age of the container. Thus, people concerned about BPA exposure are advised not to microwave BPA-containing food containers.

Additionally, the environmental protection agency advises people to recycle old containers from which BPA may leach more easily into foods and drinks. Dental procedures using BPA-containing dental sealants may result in bisphenol A exposure. Exposure can also occur through water, air and dust, especially in areas near factories that manufacture BPA-containing goods and articles.

Furthermore, since BPA can pass from mother to fetus during pregnancy or from mother to baby through breast milk, expectant mothers should consider opting for BPA free food and beverage packaging.

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