March 30, 2011
By Bryan Walsh
Excerpt: There's a lot we don't know about bisphenol-A (BPA), a common chemical used in food packaging and polycarbonate plastics that may also mess with hormones.
We don't know the impacts that BPA might have on human beings — especially developing fetuses and young children — and we don't know whether worrying test results in animal subjects would translate to people. We don't know if BPA should be banned from baby bottles, as it has been in Canada and the European Union, or whether such fears are overblown. As it has with many potential toxins, our ability to detect chemicals is running ahead of our ability to understand what they may be doing to us.
What we do know for sure is that BPA is all around us — and inside us. An estimated 93% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers. But here's the good news: once we stop being exposed to the chemical, BPA levels can drop dramatically. Unlike persistent, long-lasting toxins like mercury, we can rid ourselves of BPA fairly quickly — provided we know how to do it.