BPA: Banned From Bottles and Linked to Mood Swings
Lately there has been more and more buzz about the possible dangers of BPA (bisphenol A) - an industrial chemical commonly used in plastic bottles and food packaging.
As of Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the chemical from baby bottles and children's drinking cups.
In addition, a new study published in this month's issue of "Pediatrics" suggests there is a link between BPA presence in dental fillings and childhood mood disorders. Basically, your little one's fillings could be making him or her cranky.
Sound far-fetched? It seems a lot more plausible when you consider the fact that BPA mimics estrogen in the body, and an increase in estrogen - which can happen naturally during menstruation or pregnancy can contribute to mood swings.
No More BPA in Baby Bottles and Cups
Although most manufacturers have already discontinued the use of BPA in the production of plastic bottles and cups for children, the FDA has responded to a request by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) to officially ban all BPA from baby bottles.
The policy is intended to boost consumer confidence following the news of health concerns involving BPA. Research has shown that the chemical can seep into food, and a recent study of more than 2,000 people found that more than 90 percent of them had BPA in their urine. Traces of the chemical have also been found in breast milk, the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cord blood.
“This is only a baby step in the fight to eradicate BPA," Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist at the environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council, told the NY Daily News.
"To truly protect the public, [the] FDA needs to ban BPA from all food packaging. This half-hearted action-taken only after consumers shifted away from BPA in children’s products - is inadequate. FDA continues to dodge the bigger questions of BPA’s safety."
Wondering if the old bottles and cups in your house are made with BPA? Plastic items containing the chemical are generally marked with a 7 on the bottom for recycling purposes.
BPA in Dental Fillings
Raising further questions about the safety of BPA, a recent study of 534 children between 6 and 10 years old revealed a link between dental fillings made from the chemical and behavioral changes.
The researchers followed the behavior patterns of the 534 children with two or more fillings - before the fillings and up to five years after the fillings were put in place.
The study found that the top 16% of children who had the highest number of fillings made from BPA had more emotional problems five years down the road, but no changes were reported of children with other fillings. The responses were based on surveys of both the children and the parents. The reported behavior changes included hyperactivity and aggressiveness.
Researchers saw negative effects from the fillings, which are being phased out due to the presence of mercury. Nancy Maserejian, the author of the study, commented, "On average, the difference in social behavior scores were very small and would probably not be noticed for each individual child, but imagine a huge group of children around the country; you’d probably notice a difference."
But before we all go into full-blown panic mode, remember that these results are still very preliminary.
In fact, the researchers have commented that more research is needed before they state a direct correlation between the BPA and mood disorders. Maserejian says, “We are really not sure if BPA or another material released from the resin could be causing these effects.”
What are your thoughts on this FDA ban? Do you take steps to avoid BPA in your daily life?