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A new study by a University of Missouri scientist highlights the concern that many food and drink containers are made with a potentially harmful chemical called BPA. The research findings suggest people should pay more attention to their repeated exposure to this chemical. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.
If you’ve shopped for baby and toddler items recently, you may have noticed that many labels for bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups, and toddler spoons proclaim that these products are BPA free.BPA is short for Bisphenol A. Cheryl Rosenfeld, associate professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri Columbia says past studies have shown that BPA can cause problems in mammals.
“There have been studies done in rodents and non-human primates that demonstrate there can be reproductive deficits, behavioral deficits, including learning and memory, and (deficits in) other systems, any system that’s driven or guided by hormones such as steroids, testosterone and estrogen can be affected by Bisphenol A. Because we’ve seen these effects in animals and non-human primates, there’s no reason to presume we wouldn’t see similar effects in humans.”
Given that, Rosenfeld examined the levels of BPA in rodents who were exposed to the chemical through their diet, which she says is the primary way humans are exposed to BPA.
“What we have been able to see with our mice when we exposed them to a diet is they have greater than two fold increase in the active form of BPA than through the single dose exposure. So, there’s a definite need to look at humans how the diet can impact our concentrations of BPA.”
After all, Rosenfeld says this chemical shows up in the linings of soda cans and canned foods, water bottles, even on the insides of cardboard food containers. And she says it’s even more prevalent than that.
“Dental sealants, what they use to close cavities, it contains BPA. Even the credit card receipts that we nowadays get, those we are now concerned about containing BPA.”
Rosenfeld says there are two ways to address the widespread presence of BPA—through legislation banning the chemical from certain products and by contacting companies.
“Directly pressuring companies that make these products to use other sources that are now available in lieu of Bisphenol A. For instance, Nalgen that makes water bottles has voluntarily gone away from using BPA in their products based on consumer sentiment.”
It can be difficult to assess whether products you use on a regular basis contain BPA. Rosenfeld says one way to check, though it’s not definitive, is to look on the bottom of the product. If you see that it’s a number seven plastic, the chances are good that the product contains BPA.