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Bisphenol-A found in paper receipts

From The Washington Post:

As lawmakers and health experts wrestle over whether a controversial chemical, bisphenol-A, should be banned from food and beverage containers, a new analysis by an environmental group suggests Americans are being exposed to BPA through another, surprising route: paper receipts.

The Environmental Working Group found BPA on 40 percent of the receipts it collected from supermarkets, automated teller machines, gas stations and chain stores. In some cases, the total amount of BPA on the receipt was 1,000 times the amount found in the epoxy lining of a can of food, another controversial use of the chemical.

Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the environmental group, says BPA's prevalence on receipts could help explain why the chemical can be detected in the urine of an estimated 93 percent of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What remains unknown is how much of the chemical that may rub off onto the hands is absorbed through the skin or whether people then ingest BPA by handling food or touching their mouths.

Among those surveyed, receipts from Safeway supermarkets contained the highest concentration of BPA. A receipt taken from a store in the District contained 41 milligrams of the chemical. If the equivalent amount of BPA was ingested by a 155-pound adult, that would exceed EPA's decades-old safe exposure limit for BPA by 12 times.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents the chemical industry, said that while BPA can transfer from paper receipts to the skin, the level of absorption is low.

The Environmental Protection Agency, however, recognizing that paper coated in BPA may be a significant route of exposure, launched an effort this month to work with paper manufacturers, the chemical industry and environmental groups to encourage companies to find alternatives to BPA in receipts.

Appleton Papers, the nation's largest manufacturer of "thermal papers," the type often used for receipts, dropped BPA from its formulation in 2006 out of growing concerns about the safety of the chemical, said Kent Willetts, the company's vice president of strategic development. "We just realized we'd rather move away from it sooner than later," Willetts said.

Posted: 7/28/2010 9:06:00 AM

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BPA Present in Most Canned Foods

From Reuters:

Four years ago, just after giving birth to her second child, the stay-at-home mom heard about BPA, a chemical inside some plastics that can leach into water or food slowly over time, potentially causing serious health problems like cancer. Unwilling to take any risks, she ran to Babies "R" Us, which had a program to exchange baby bottles containing BPA, and walked out with $100 in rebates.

If only life were so easy.

What Sprague didn't realize is that BPA, or bisphenol A, is ubiquitous. Simply put, just about anything you eat that comes out of a can -- from Campbell's Chicken Soup and SpaghettiOs to Diet Coke and BumbleBee Tuna -- contains the same exact chemical.

The exposure to BPA from canned food "is far more extensive" than from plastic bottles, said Shanna Swan, a professor and researcher at the University of Rochester in New York. "It's particularly concerning when it's lining infant formula cans."

BPA is the key compound in epoxy resin linings that keep food fresher longer and prevents it from interacting with metal and altering the taste. It has been linked in some studies of rats and mice to not only cancer but also obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Trade groups for chemical and can manufacturers say they stand behind the chemical, and point to some studies from governmental health agencies that deem BPA safe and effective for food contact. They also note that its use has substantially reduced deaths from food poisoning.

But in January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the first time expressed "some concern" about BPA. Propelled in part by recent independent scientific studies and also bowing to mounting concern from the public and consumer groups, the agency announced that it would tap $30 million in federal stimulus funds to study the chemical's potential effects on the human body.

Though it is not clear how economically stimulating the study will be, its results are anxiously awaited in industry and consumer circles. The report, due late in 2011, is being done in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health.

Posted: 6/10/2010 4:04:00 PM

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Report: BPA makes canned food risky for pregnant women

From USA Today:

Pregnant women should limit their intake of canned foods and drinks, according to a report that finds 92% of food from metal cans is contaminated with an estrogen-like chemical called BPA, or bisphenol A.

The chemical is used in countless products, from plastic bottles and paper receipts to the linings of metal cans. The National Toxicology Program has said it has "some concern" that BPA alters development of the brain, behavior and the prostate gland in children, before and after birth.

Researchers found that BPA levels vary dramatically even between cans of the same product, according to the study, released Tuesday by the National Workgroup for Safe Markets, a coalition of 19 environmental groups. For example, one can of Del Monte French Style Green Beans had 36 micrograms of BPA per serving, while another can of the same product had 138 micrograms per serving — a level that has been linked to changes in prostate cells and increased aggression in animals.

The report calls on Congress to ban BPA in food and drink containers, noting that companies such as Eden Foods already sell vegetables in BPA-free cans; Muir Glenn also plans to begin packaging tomatoes in BPA-free cans this year. Canada and Denmark restrict the use of BPA in certain children's products, as do five U.S. states, three counties in New York and the city of Chicago, the report says.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association says the report ignores evidence showing BPA is safe.

Posted: 5/20/2010 10:46:00 AM

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Bisphenol-A (BPA) Found Throughout Oceans

From Wired:

A survey of 200 sites in 20 countries around the world has found that bisphenol A, a synthetic compound that mimics estrogen and is linked to developmental disorders, is ubiquitous in Earth’s oceans.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is found mostly in shatter-proof plastics and epoxy resins. Most people have trace amounts in their bodies, likely absorbed from food containers. Its hormone-mimicking properties make it a potent endocrine system disruptor.

In recent years, scientists have moved from studying BPA’s damaging effects in laboratory animals to linking it to heart disease, sterility and altered childhood development in humans. Many questions still remain about dosage effects and the full nature of those links, but in January the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that “recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.”

At an American Chemical Society  meeting last year, they described how soft plastic in seawater doesn’t just float or sink intact, but can break down rapidly, releasing toxins. In their new findings, they showed that BPA-containing hard plastics can break down too, and found BPA in ocean water and sand at concentrations ranging from .01 to .50 parts per million.

As for what those numbers mean for public and environmental health, it’s hard to say. BPA can cause reproductive disorders in shellfish and crustaceans, and doses below a single part per trillion can have cell-level effects, but the path from water and sand to ocean animals needs to be studied.

One disturbing possibility is that BPA could bioaccumulate, with animals eating BPA-tainted animals that have eaten BPA-tainted animals, finally reaching high concentrations in top-level ocean predators and the humans who eat them. For that to happen, BPA would have to be stored in fatty tissue, rather than passing quickly through the body.

In a 2009 Environmental Health Perspectives study of BPA concentrations in people who had recently fasted, Shanna Swan, a University of Rochester environmental medicine specialist,  found that BPA levels remained high longer than expected. It’s possible that BPA indeed accumulated in their fat, said Swan.

The BPA contamination likely comes from a mix of boat paint and plastic. About three million tons of BPA-containing plastics are produced each year. The United Nations estimates that the average square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of plastic trash.

Posted: 4/2/2010 8:41:00 AM

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More States Starting To Take Action To Limit BPA Ahead Of Federal Regulation

From The Baltimore Sun:

As scientific evidence mounts against bisphenol-A, a chemical used in plastic baby bottles, soup cans and other containers, many states - including Maryland - are starting to take action to limit the chemical ahead of any federal regulation.

The states are responding to some scientists, consumer groups and now even federal officials who have been sounding alarms about the chemical better known as BPA, which has been linked to developmental disabilities in children and reproductive problems in women.

Minnesota and Connecticut, Chicago and four counties in New York have banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Maryland is among 20 states that are considering legislation, according to the consumer group Maryland PIRG.

Del. James W. Hubbard, a Democrat from Prince George's County, has pushed BPA legislation in the state for years. On Friday, the House of Delegates passed a bill he sponsored by a vote of 137-0 that would prohibit manufacture, sale or distribution of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups intended for children younger than 4. The Senate recently held a hearing and might vote as soon as today on the bill, which would take effect in 2012.

The FDA said the chemical, used for more than four decades in hard plastic food containers and the lining of metal food and soda cans, may be passed into food and beverages, and the agency expressed "concern" about its safety.

It was a reversal of a position taken in 2008, when the FDA said toxicology research showed BPA was safe.

In response, the Interagency Task Force on Children's Environmental Health was created to coordinate more research. The National Institutes of Health was given $30 million to foster research, and results are expected in 18 months to two years.

Posted: 2/25/2010 10:54:00 AM

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Wisconsin and Oregon vote on Bisphenol-A (BPA) bans

From the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

The Assembly voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to ban the sale and manufacture of BPA in baby bottles and cups for children age 3 and younger, clearing the way for the matter to become law.

The measure, passed 95-2, also requires that these items made without BPA be labeled to let consumers know that they don't contain the chemical.

Last month, the state Senate unanimously passed an identical bill.

The measure moves to Gov. Jim Doyle for his signature to become law. He is expected to sign it.

And from (Eugene, Oregon):

A bill to ban a chemical used in rigid plastic baby bottles and "sippy cups" has failed on a tie vote in the Oregon Senate.

Advocates of the bill say bisphenol A is a hormone disrupter that poses multiple health hazards for fetuses and young children, and the federal government has failed to regulate it.

Opponents say federal regulators haven't concluded the chemical is a hazard, and the measure could lead to a ban on the chemical in the plastic liners of baby formula cans.

Oregon canneries opposed a provision in the bill that would apply to cans, so it had been taken out.

Posted: 2/18/2010 11:38:00 AM

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Wisconsin and Washington vote on Bisphenol-A (BPA) bans

From Business Week:

The Wisconsin state Senate has passed a bill that would ban the chemical bisphenol A from baby bottles and other cups for children.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously Tuesday. A similar bill also passed unanimously out of an Assembly committee on Tuesday as well.

The Senate bill would ban BPA in cups and bottles intended for children under age 3.

And from The News Tribune:

A bill to ban the use of an industrial chemical found in food and beverage containers used by children sailed through the House on Monday on a 95-1 vote.

If the legislation becomes law, Washington will join Minnesota and Connecticut as the only states to eliminate bisphenol A (BPA) in children’s products.

The vote came 10 days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voiced concerns about BPA’s potential effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and young children.

The BPA ban in children’s food and beverage containers, and water bottles was one of three priorities of the environmental community in the 2010 state Legislature.

The state legislation is necessary because the FDA didn’t endorse an outright ban on BPA in children’s products, supporters of the bill said.

Posted: 1/27/2010 3:13:00 PM

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NMS Labs Responds to National Health Concerns with Its Groundbreaking Test to Monitor Bisphenol-A (BPA) Levels in Humans

From Business Wire:

NMS Labs launches its groundbreaking test that will allow medical researchers, health care, occupational and environmental medicine practitioners to accurately measure Bisphenol-A (BPA) in their patients. This is a timely release due to the FDA’s recent reversal of its position on BPA’s potentially harmful effects and the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) official position. Researchers funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act administered by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) continue to investigate toxicity concerns of BPA. 
NMS Labs is the only known commercial laboratory to be currently performing a BPA urine test. The company provides this test guided by highly skilled toxicologists who continue to monitor BPA research and the potential benefit of testing in respect to exposure. While this testing does not correlate directly with toxicity, it does offer comparative data to established population statistics for measured BPA in urine.

In addition to BPA, NMS Labs is in the final stages of development for phthalate metabolite testing. Along with BPA and other substances, phthalates have generated concern as potential “endocrine disruptors,” that is, compounds capable of interfering with normal and developing endocrine function.

“NMS Labs has always taken a socially responsible approach to developing new tests by monitoring national health concerns,” explains Laboratory Director & Forensic Toxicologist, Robert Middleberg, PhD. 

Posted: 1/27/2010 9:09:00 AM

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F.D.A. Concerned About Substance in Food Packaging

From The New York Times:

In a shift of position, the Food and Drug Administration is expressing concerns about possible health risks from bisphenol-A, or BPA, a widely used component of plastic bottles and food packaging that it declared safe in 2008.

The agency said Friday that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children,” and would join other federal health agencies in studying the chemical in both animals and humans.

Concerns about BPA are based on studies that have found harmful effects in animals, and on the recognition that the chemical seeps into food and baby formula, and that nearly everyone is exposed to it, starting in the womb.

But health officials said there was no proof that BPA was dangerous to humans.

Nonetheless, health officials suggested a number of things people could do to limit their exposure to BPA, like throwing away scratched or worn bottles or cups made with BPA (it can leak from the scratches), not putting very hot liquids into cups or bottles with BPA and checking the labels on containers to make sure they are microwave safe. The drug agency also recommended that mothers breastfeed their infants for at least 12 months; liquid formula contains traces of BPA.

The government will spend $30 million on BPA research in humans and animals, to take place over 18 to 24 months, health officials said at a news briefing on Friday.

Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said the research would involve potential effects on behavior, obesity, diabetes, reproductive disorders, cancer, asthma, heart disease and effects that could be carried from one generation to the next.

Posted: 1/19/2010 11:16:00 AM

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FDA likely to delay ruling on BPA

From the Journal Sentinel:

Despite months of additional study and a self-imposed timetable, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration likely will not release its ruling Monday on the safety of bisphenol A, a chemical used in thousands of household products that has been linked to developmental and behavioral problems.

Sources told the Journal Sentinel the agency instead is likely to ask for more time as its scientists consider hundreds of new studies on the chemical's effects.

Last year, relying on two studies paid for by BPA-makers, the FDA held the chemical was safe for all uses. But the FDA's own science board recommended that the agency had not considered enough of the other studies on the chemical. Earlier this year, the FDA said it would review its findings and set the Nov. 30 deadline.

Advocates for a ban on BPA viewed the prospect of a delay as a good sign, figuring if the FDA plans to maintain its earlier ruling the agency would not need more time.

Additionally, environmentalists were pleased at the recent appointment of Lynn Goldman, a pioneer in research on endocrine-disrupting chemicals and a leading voice for strong environmental health policy, to act as a part-time consultant to the FDA on the chemical.

Advocates of a ban, and packaging company executives who maintain BPA is safe, have anxiously awaited the new FDA ruling.

Posted: 12/2/2009 1:11:00 PM

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