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BPA Risks continued...

How could BPA affect the body? Here are some areas of concern.

  • Hormone levels. Some experts believe that BPA could theoretically act like a hormone in the body, disrupting normal hormone levels and development in fetuses, babies, and children. Animal studies have had mixed results.
  • Brain and behavior problems. After a review of the evidence, the National Toxicology Program at the FDA expressed concern about BPA’s possible effects on the brain and behavior of infants and young children.
  • Cancer. Some animal studies have shown a possible link between BPA exposure and a later increased risk of cancer.
  • Heart problems. Two studies have found that adults with the highest levels of BPA in their bodies seem to have a higher incidence of heart problems. However, the higher incidence could be unrelated to BPA.
  • Other conditions. Some experts have looked into a connection between BPA exposure and many conditions -- obesity, diabetes, ADHD, and others. The evidence isn't strong enough to show a link.
  • Increased risk to children. Some studies suggest that possible effects from BPA could be most pronounced in infants and young children. Their bodies are still developing and they are less efficient at eliminating substances from their systems.

Although this list of possible BPA risks is frightening, keep in mind that nothing has been established. The concern about BPA risks stems primarily from studies in animals.

A few studies in people have found a correlation between BPA and a higher incidence of certain health problems, but no direct evidence that BPA caused the problem. Other studies contradict some of these results. Some experts doubt that BPA poses a health risk at the doses most people are exposed to.

BPA: Governmental Action

The federal government is now funding new research into BPA risks. We don't know the results of these studies yet. Recommendations about BPA could change in the next few years.

For now, there are no restrictions on the use of BPA in products. The Food and Drug Administration does recommend taking "reasonable steps" to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. The FDA has also expressed support for manufacturers who have stopped using BPA in products for babies and for companies working to develop alternatives to the BPA in canned foods.

A number of states have taken action. Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Vermont have laws restricting or banning the sale of certain products containing BPA, like bottles and sippy cups. So have cities like Chicago and Albany, as well as a few counties in New York. Similar laws are likely to pass in New York and California, and state legislatures are considering restrictions in many other states.

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