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Plastics and Bisphenol A: Mounting Evidence For A Health Hazard

I first became aware of the potential link between a chemical found in some plastics (bisphenol A) and health effects in humans a little more than a year ago. I was concerned enough by the preliminary data collected by the NIH to blog about it, and it seems that many others are voicing concerns as well.

In fact, Canada has decided that the evidence is sufficient to label the chemical “dangerous” and will be announcing this shortly:

In Canada, the Globe and Mail newspaper said the Canadian health ministry was ready to declare BPA a dangerous substance, making it the first regulatory body in the world to reach such a determination. The newspaper said the ministry could announce the decision as soon as Wednesday.

Environmental activists long have warned about health concerns regarding the chemical. They praised the draft findings of the National Toxicology Program, which cited more potential worries about the chemical than did a panel of experts that advised the program last year.

At this point we don’t have enough information about how the chemical impacts humans to be sure of its level of risk. But what we do know is that:

1. The chemical is ubiquitous (most Americans have trace amounts detectable in their urine).

2. Animal studies appear to have demonstrated a causal relationship between bisphenol A and fertility, behavioral, and immunologic disorders in rats.

3. Human breast cells exposed to bisphenol A in a Petri dish developed a more aggressive form of cancer.

4. There is a plausible biologic mechanism by which the chemical could exert clinical, endocrine-mediated effects.

For these reasons, I think we should certainly view bisphenol A with suspicion. I will continue to follow the research with interest and concern.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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