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BPA a “chemical of concern”–EPA makes it official

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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BPA-chemical-modelFirst U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson warned in September 2009 that reform of chemical regulations was coming and that bisphenol A, or BPA—a building block of many plastics—was among those that might be due for enhanced scrutiny. Then the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it had concerns about BPA and would conduct further testing of its safety in January. Now the EPA has made it official by designating BPA as a "chemical of concern" for its human health and environmental impacts.

Ultimately, such a listing might lead to BPA being regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

That also means the EPA will begin requiring testing of water for BPA levels and requiring manufacturers to provide data on its impacts to human health, the environment and wildlife. EPA will coordinate its efforts with the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute on Environmental Health Sciences. Already, EPA estimates that more than 450,000 kilograms of BPA are released into the environment annually, out of the roughly 2.7 million kilograms produced.

But it also shows up in 93 percent of Americans, according to CDC data, and has been linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer, among other human health concerns. At least five states have banned it, most recently Wisconsin, and Canada and the European Union restrict its use. "We share FDA’s concern about the potential health impacts from BPA," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, in a prepared statement. "Both EPA and FDA, and many other agencies are moving forward to fully assess the environmental and health impacts to ensure that the full range of BPA’s possible impacts are examined."

Image: © / Martin McCarthy

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  1. 1. JamesDavis 8:49 am 03/31/2010

    Well hell! That is going to cause a lot more trouble for West Virginia again because we have one of the biggest, dirtiest, most dangerous, and most unhealthiest "clear plastic drinking bottle" manufacturing companys in America. We use more BPA than anyone else in the nation to make sure you can clearly see into our clear bottles and there are no plans to ever change that, but we do have plans to increase our BPA production so our plastic baby bottles can be even clearer. America needs BPA because it creates jobs in West Virginia and we are not a least bit concerned about our health or the health of the rest of America. As long as BPA creats jobs here, we could care less what those stupid EPA scientists think or say about our most needed and loved BPA.

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  2. 2. C.Ray 9:38 am 03/31/2010

    Nothing to worry about, the water will get u before the BPA. Usually when u reach 60 or 70 years of age u will have cancer, because it is all deposited in our cells, which then turn to cancer cells.

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  3. 3. C.Ray 9:45 am 03/31/2010

    The BPA will lodge in our cells, and then when we all get 60 or 70 years of age, the cells by then will be cancer.Everything we eat and drink goes thru the cells, thats why there is so much cancer.

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  4. 4. Extremophile 3:18 pm 03/31/2010

    James, Ray

    not only cancer, it is much worse: Impotence.

    Are you sure you want to sacrifice your sex life for your job?

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  5. 5. pramodbhai 11:51 pm 03/31/2010

    Every now and then a new chemical is indicted. Some of these have a history of usage over decades. After these have been put out of circulation, when will we know about the toxicity of the replacements. Most likely not in one’s life time and so the cycle will go on.

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