Does+BPA+Plastic+act+as+estrogen-+NYTimes

Does+BPA+Plastic+act+as+estrogen-+NYTimes - Reprints This...

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Reprints This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the "Reprints" tool that appears next to any article. Visit www.nytreprints.com for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now. September 6, 2010 In Feast of Data on BPA Plastic, No Final Answer By DENISE GRADY The research has been going on for more than 10 years. Studies number in the hundreds. Millions of dollars have been spent. But government health officials still cannot decide whether the chemical bisphenol-A , or BPA, a component of some plastics, is safe. The substance lines most food and drink cans, and is used to make hard, clear plastic bottles, containers and countless other products. Nearly everyone is exposed to it. Concerns about BPA stem from studies in lab animals and cell cultures showing it can mimic the hormone estrogen . It is considered an “endocrine disruptor,” a term applied to chemicals that can act like hormones. But whether it does any harm in people is unclear. Where science has left a void, politics and marketing have rushed in. A fierce debate has resulted, with one side dismissing the whole idea of endocrine disruptors as junk science and the other regarding BPA as part of a chemical stew that threatens public health. About half a dozen states have banned BPA in children’s products, and Senator Dianne Feinstein hopes to accomplish the same nationwide, with an amendment to the food safety bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate next week. This year, a presidential panel on cancer and the environment said there was a “growing link” between BPA and several diseases, including cancer , and recommended ways to avoid BPA, like storing water in bottles free of it and not microwaving food in plastic containers. Some cancer experts said the report overstated the case against chemicals, but the concerns it raised seemed to reflect growing public worries. Consumer fears have made the words “BPA-free” a marketing tool. Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Sears, CVS and other retailers have said they will stop selling baby bottles made with BPA, and major formula and baby-bottle manufacturers have also scrapped it. Worried people have purged their homes of plastics labeled 7. (Products are numbered for recycling; those with BPA carry a 7, but not everything with a 7 contains BPA). Nalgene, which makes popular water bottles, quit using BPA when customers began complaining about it. Sunoco, one of the companies that makes
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BPA, said it would sell the chemical only to buyers who guaranteed that they would not use it in food or drink containers meant for children. In May, a White House task force on childhood obesity issued a report suggesting that BPA and certain other chemicals might be acting as “obesogens” in children — promoters of obesity — by increasing fat cells in the body and altering metabolism and feelings of hunger and fullness.
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