Harvard students have drinking problem: bisphenol A

And, when it comes to BPA, the FDA has a little problem with objectivity, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal.

First to Boston. The Globe reports that a Harvard prof was inspired to do a new study on the suspect by-product of some plastics when she saw her student drinking out of bottles.

Led by Jenny Carwile, a Harvard School of Public Health doctoral student, 77 Harvard students in the study drank all cold beverages from stainless steel bottles for a week to wash BPA out of their bodies and minimize exposure. Most BPA is flushed from people’s bodies within a matter of hours. During that week, the students gave urine samples.

Then the students were given two refillable polycarbonate bottles made with BPA to drink all cold beverages from for one week. Urine samples taken over that week showed the students’ BPA levels spiked the second week to levels normally found in the general population.

Here’s a link to the actual study:

Use of Polycarbonate Bottles and Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration

On the FDA end of this story, The Journal Sentinal says it has emails that “show how government regulators relied on the trade association to do much of their work for them. The FDA relied on two studies – both paid for by chemical makers – to form the framework of its draft review declaring BPA to be safe.”

Here’s a take on BPA from that trade association, the American Chemistry Council.

The scientific evidence supporting the safety of bisphenol A has been repeatedly and comprehensively examined by government and scientific bodies worldwide. In every case, these assessments support the conclusion that bisphenol A is not a risk to human health at the extremely low levels to which people might be exposed.

The Council states the current thinking of regulators — now we know why. The environmentalists say the evidence of harm is clear – BPA has to go.

For that point of view, see The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow : “A broad coalition in Massachusetts working to pass laws and policies that prevent harm to our health from toxic chemicals.” Here’s why they think the Harvard study is important.  

Well, it has been thought that BPA is mostly a danger when heated, but this study shows that BPA also leaches out of polycarbonate plastic when cooled. This is particularly relevant to the adult population that drinks mostly cold beverages in polycarbonate containers, while it is mostly polycarbonate baby bottles that contain warm liquids.

This Globe story details the group’s effort to get BPA banned in the state.

 

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