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Why Worry About BPA? continued...

The FDA is still studying that question, but so far, says that there’s no need for families to change how they eat.

The food industry supports that statement.

“We agree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that foods packaged in cans with epoxy linings that utilize BPA are safe, and that there is no need for consumers to change their consumption habits,” the Grocery Manufacturers Association says in a statement. “That position is supported by the findings of numerous food safety agencies around the globe, such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the EU, Germany, Japan, UK, Canada, and Australia-New Zealand, which have all repeatedly confirmed the safety of BPA and continue to reaffirm the safety of BPA, including at levels comparable to those found in the exposure survey published in EHP.”

What Studies Show

Animal studies have shown an association with high and low levels of BPA with problems in neurodevelopment and reproductive development.

In 2008, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that found that adults with the highest levels of BPA in the study had more than twice the risk of getting diabetes as adults with the lowest levels.

But most studies such as these can only show associations; they can’t prove that the chemicals are directly causing health problems.

Nira Ben-Jonathan, PhD, a professor of cell and cancer biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio, has studied what happens to cells when they are exposed to BPA in test tubes.

In one study, her team found that BPA exposure protected breast cancer cells from chemotherapy. In another, it made cells ignore a hormone that protects against the development of diabetes.

Even seeing those changes in cells, she said she had reservations about the message of this study.

“Interesting, but not as striking as one would expect,” says Ben-Jonathan, who reviewed the study for WebMD. She said she found it suspicious that even after adhering to such a strict regimen that some chemical traces remained.

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