by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: BPA(Bisphenol-A)

May 11 2008

Those worrying plastic water bottles: Consumer Reports weighs in has an especially understandable description of the plastic bottle situation. If the recycling number is 7, the plastic could be polycarbonate and leaching bisphenol A endocrine disrupters. It says recycling numbers 1, 2, or 5 are better bets. The Environmental Working Group says bisphenol A is the “signature compound in the fight for reform of the nation’s toxic chemicals laws. It contaminates nearly all Americans, it causes toxic effects at very low doses…yet the EPA has only the most clumsy and convoluted authority to control its use and reduce exposure to populations at risk.”

Apr 19 2008

Fiji Water an eco-choice? And what’s with plastic water bottles?

Thanks to Hugh Joseph for forwarding this Brandweek article about Fiji water with a subject line saying, “You could never make this up.” Fiji Water, it seems, has a new $10 million ad “carbon negative, globally positive” campaign to explain its carbon neutrality. Hmmm. The last I heard, Fiji was about 8,000 food miles away and plastic bottles were causing all kinds of environmental problems.

And now it seems that plastic bottles are also causing health problems, particularly from leaching of the endocrine disrupter, bisphenol A. Canada is all set to ban this chemical in general and has just banned it from baby bottles. The FDA is under pressure to do the same or at least set limits for it. And Nalgene says it won’t use it anymore.

Maybe Fiji Water bottles don’t use polycarbonate plastics (with bisphenol A) but it looks like any bottled water needs some re-thinking, no?

Dec 10 2007

More on Bisphenol A: Sponsored Science?

My previous post on bisphenol A linked to a National Toxicology Program giving this component of plastic water bottles a relatively clean bill of health. Now, Integrity in Science Watch (a branch of Center for Science in the Public Interest) reports that according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, the science behind this report is industry-sponsored as the final report relied more on industry-funded studies than on those conducted by independent researchers. When reviewing studies of controversial topics, it’s always a good idea to check who sponsored the research.

Nov 30 2007

Does Bisphenol A affect reproductive function or cancer risk?

The Department of Health and Human Services has just released a huge report from an expert panel on the potential toxicity of bisphenol A, a component of polycarbonate plastic bottles widely used to package bottled water, milk, and infant formulas. The Department initiated the report because of suggestions that bisphenol A disrupts endocrine function or causes prostate cancer in laboratory animals. The panel looked at all the studies it could find examining the effects of high and low dose bisphenol A on fetal development, reproductive function, accelerated onset of puberty, and prostate cancer.

I found the report a struggle to read, in part because it is so long (384 pages) and in part because it does not have an executive summary. The panel’s conclusions, which come way at the end, are also hard to figure out because they are expressed as degree of concern (negligible, minimal, or some) about the effects of bisphenol A on three groups: pregnant women, infants and children, and adults.

The good news is that the panel was surprised by how little evidence it found for adverse effects at either high or low doses. For adults its concern is negligible except for people who have high occupational exposures. For pregnant women, infants, and children, the panel has some concern about effects on the nervous system and behavior, but minimal concern about accelerated puberty. Mostly, the panel thinks more research is needed. The report is now open for comment.