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FDA Says BPA is Bad For Your Baby’s Health, Finally!

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Remember bisphenol A aka BPA, that nasty compound that may be found in your baby bottles, milk formulas, and canned soup? Since the BOL blog started, we had brought you regular updates about BPA. To refresh your memory, BPA, a compound used in the manufacture of some plastics, made headlines way back in 2007 when it was found to leach from containers into the drink or food we consume. Although studies have shown that the amounts of leaching BPA can be detected in the urine and are associated with a lot of diseases, the US FDA issued in 2008 a statement that BPA in food products are too low to cause health problems. This, despite a report from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) at the National Institutes of Health that pointed to health risks related to BPA.

Most relevant developments BPA

  • 2009:
    • Several manufacturers responded to the states’ requests and promised to take steps in phasing out BPA from their manufacturing process.
  • 2010:

    Last month, the US FDA issued the “Update on Bisphenol A (BPA) for Use in Food: January 2010”. What the update said is a stark contrast to the FDA’s stand xx years ago. For example, it say that now, the US FDA, together with the NTP, has “concerns” about the effects of BPA on fetuses, babies, and young children. Thus, it is taking “reasonable steps” to regulate exposure to BPA through the food supply. Some of these steps are:

    • Support the food manufacturer’s efforts to eliminate BPA in baby bottles and cups
    • Help in finding safer alternatives to BPA used in food packaging

BPA resources

Another skeptical player in the BPA drama was the European health authorities. They too, revised their stand. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gives the following table which conservatively estimates children’s and adult’s exposure to BPA through food:

Conservative estimates of total dietary exposure to bisphenol A at different ages

Age of consumer

Food/Beverages consumed

Dietary exposure to BPA based on conservative migration value in microgram/kg bw/day  (Figures in parenthesis represent exposure based on typical migration value)

3 month infant

Breast milk only

0.2

3 month infant

Infant formula fed with glass or non-PC bottle

2.3

3 month infant

Infant formula fed with PC bottle

11* (4#)

6 month infant

Infant formula fed with PC bottle and commercial foods/beverages

13* (8.3#)

 

1.5 year-old child

2 kg commercial foods/beverages

5.3

Adult

3 kg commercial foods/beverages

1.5

*  Based on the upper value of 50 microgrammes BPA/litre of infant formula

#  Based on the typical value of 10 microgrammes BPA/litre of infant formula

How To Avoid BPA Exposure

So now that health authorities finally agree on the health risks of BPA, let us hope that proper steps will be taken to minimize our exposure, and that manufacturers will fulfill their promise of BPA phase out. In the meantime, check out the Environmental Working Group’s advice on how to avoid BPA exposure.


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