Thursday, December 8, 2011

BPA and plastics

A recent independent scientific report cautions women to avoid BPA to minimize their chances of breast cancer. The study said there was a "biological plausibility" that BPA is linked to breast cancer. Scientists can see a mechanism in animals by which certain substances, including BPA, might cause breast cancer, but there is not enough information to assess the risk in humans, the study said.

BPA is a harmful organic chemical compound which is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It is an environmental contaminant that disrupts reproductive processes through changing hormonal systems in the body. The effects of BPA have been studied on humans, however, There has been increased awareness of the health related risks to BPA exposure, due to recent research into its environmental distribution and its detection in humans. A recent US study found 91% have traces of BPA.

The main source of human exposure is from food and drink that has been in contact with materials containing BPA such as plastic food and drink containers. Food and beverage containers and culinary utensils are manufactured from polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. These resins are used as linings for metal products including bottletops, food cans and water supply pipes.

Studies have suggested that BPA is associated with a number of serious health effects including; causing cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and also reproductive abnormalities. BPA is also known as an endocrine disruptor, which can interfere with reproduction and development. Fetuses, infants and children are usually more susceptible than adults, due to their fast developmental stages. There is a considerable amount of evidence now that exposure to certain environmental factors in early stages of development promote the risk of numerous chronic diseases in adulthood. Research has recently highlighted the estrogen‑like and carcinogenic adverse effects of BPA and there have been increased incidences of accelerated growth and puberty linked to BPA exposure.

One of the studies carried out on the effects of BPA exposure on pregnant women and the fetus which showed BPA caused prenatal and or postnatal reproductive issues. The ability for a fetal liver to detoxify BPA is much less than that of an adult. However, studies have also shown that 8PA increases infant bodyweight due to its estrogen‑like effects. It has been recorded that there is a link between serum BPA levels and recurring miscarriage. In one study patients with a history of three of consecutive first trimester miscarriages had blood BPA levels of around three times higher than the control group with no history of miscarriage or infertility.


  1. Hi Peter, we wondered if the white coating inside some cans contains BPA or other leachable plasticisers. We don't buy cans much but can't always get around it with tomatoes, and as these are quite acidic, we're a bit concerned. We can only get puree in glass and wondered what's worse - possible heavy metal leaching from uncoated cans or the probable plasticisers from the coated ones... currently are preferring uncoated tins if we can get them. And of course we have started growing our own tomatoes as much as possible, and will be preserving them in glassware when we get better at it. Cheers Sue & Brett, Albany

  2. Hi Peter, I would also like to know if the white coating inside some cans contains BPA or other leachable plasticisers.
    Also I read an article in Body and Soul (Sunday Herald Sun Insert 1st July) by yourself re EDC's. Endocrine disruptors - what are these? I found the article technical and confusing and would appreciate you writing an article for "Laymen" Also I store left over food items, cereals, flours,frozen food etc in Tupperware. Do chemicals leach from these into the food? I was under the impression BPA were only detrimental with "soft" plastics?