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Entries in BPA (12)

Sunday
Mar032013

Chemical Common in Plastic Containers Linked to Asthma

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Young children exposed to a specific chemical, commonly present in plastic containers and metal cans used to hold food, may be at higher risk of developing asthma, according to a new study.

The report, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found a link between exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and increased rates of asthma among children, according to HealthDay. BPA has previously been linked to respiratory problems, obesity, increased blood sugar levels, and behavioral issues.

Dr. Kathleen Donohue, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, explained to HealthDay that the link between BPA and asthma is only an association, and not necessarily a cause.

Investigators studied the levels of a form of BPA that is found in urine after exposure to the chemical in 568 women and their children. The measurements were first taken during the third trimester, and then when the children were 3, 5 and 7 years old.

During each measurement, about 90 percent of the children had some BPA in their bodies. Interestingly, the researchers found that the children exposed to BPA after birth had increased rates of wheezing and asthma.

The report found no connection between exposure to BPA during the third trimester and asthma rates.

While some experts remain unconvinced, Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told HealthDay, "It is unclear what the mechanism is, but it seems clear there really is a mechanism."

Horovitz recommended avoiding BPA as much as possible to HealthDay, saying that people should "stop using number 3 and number 7 plastics, use more glass containers, more metal containers."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep272012

Canadian Government Backs BPA in Food Containers

David McNew/Getty Images(OTTAWA, Ontario) -- The Canadian government Thursday reaffirmed the safety of bisphenol A in food packaging, upholding its 2008 stance on the controversial chemical despite banning it from baby bottles.

The chemical, better known as BPA, is used to make hard plastic containers and metal can linings.

"Based on the overall weight of evidence, the findings of the previous assessment remain unchanged and Health Canada's Food Directorate continues to conclude that current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children," Health Canada's Bureau of Chemical Safety wrote in its report.

BPA made headlines in 2008 when it was found to leach out of plastic when heated. Studies by the Canadian government at the time concluded the chemical was "not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children."

Two years later, however, the country declared the chemical "toxic" and banned it from baby bottles on the basis that, when heated, they might leach levels of BPA that are harmful to infants.

"Our science indicated that bisphenol A may be harmful to both human health and the environment and we were the first country to take bold action in the interest of Canadians," Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said at the time.

Under consumer pressure, U.S. companies followed suit, voluntarily pulling BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made the ban official in June, even though the human health risks of dietary BPA exposure remain unclear.

"The FDA ban of BPA in baby bottles is not based on definitive scientific studies," said Dr. Robert Brent, professor of pediatrics, radiology and pathology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. "The country is bordering on lunacy from the exaggerated fear of chemicals."

Laboratory studies in cells and animals have linked BPA to cancer, infertility and diabetes. And just three weeks ago, a study of more than 2,800 U.S. children and teens found those with high urinary levels of BPA were more likely to be obese.

"Our study can't identify obesity as being caused by BPA. But in the context of increasing evidence from experimental studies, it raises further concern," said study author Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.

The FDA admits it "sees substantial uncertainties with respect to the overall interpretation of many published studies, and, particularly, their potential implications for human health effects of BPA exposure," according to a statement. But the agency said it will consider Trasande's study in its "ongoing evaluation of the safety of BPA."

The new report updates Health Canada's 2008 BPA risk assessment with data from six Canadian studies conducted in the past four years. The North American Metal Packaging Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based industry trade group, hopes the report will reassure U.S. consumers.

"Today's determination should put to rest once and for all any doubts as to where the Canadian government stands regarding the safety of BPA in food packaging," NAMPA chairman John Rost said in a statement. "Health Canada's assessment is based on actual exposure among all age groups from real-life food and beverage products, and should provide reassurance to consumers everywhere that BPA in food packaging is safe."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul182012

FDA Requires BPA-Free Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Baby bottles and sippy cups just got safer.  On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) said child beverage containers could no longer contain the plastic chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA.

Consumers Union, the advocacy group spawned from Consumer Reports, praised the FDA's announcement.

This is a big day for everyone who has worked so hard to get BPA out of our sippy cups and baby bottles, especially the families who have lobbied the government to do the right thing for our kids," Jean Halloran, Consumers Union Director of Food Policy Initiatives, said Tuesday in a statement.

Manufacturers have used BPA since the 1960s to make plastic bottles and food containers, including those used to package infant foods, according to The New York Times.  Studies have shown traces of the chemical to be found in the food and beverages contained in the bottles and cans made with BPA, the Times reports.

Groups like Consumers Union have long proposed a ban on BPA in food containers used by babies and young children. After California's passage last year of a law banning the chemical in child food containers, the American Chemistry Council immediately requested that the FDA introduce rules against the chemical's use in these products. Manufacturers, after all, had already stopped using BPA in order to satisfy consumer preferences.

Halloran said Tuesday that the FDA's action, "will help protect millions of the most vulnerable Americans," with various studies proving the serious health risks associated with BPA.  Now, she says, "FDA's next step should be to ban this chemical in infant formula containers. Babies' exposure to BPA should be minimized in every way possible."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul172012

Study: BPA-Based Fillings May Change Kids' Behavior

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As if a visit to the dentist for some kids isn't traumatic enough, a new study finds that many who received fillings made from a widely-used, but controversial plastics chemical may suffer minimal yet long-term emotional problems.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, followed more than 500 children and found that children who got composite fillings made with the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, tended to experience behavioral differences over a five-year period.  The more BPA-based fillings a child had, the more likely he or she was to show these changes.

Children with other types of fillings, however, did not experience any differences.

Researchers are not sure if it's the BPA or something in the resin causing the problems and say further investigation is warranted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar302012

FDA Won't Ban BPA Chemical in Packaging

David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it won't ban bisphenol A (BPA), the controversial chemical that is widely used in food packaging.

The FDA agreed to respond by March 31 to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that called for a ban on BPA as a food additive. The March 31 date was set after the NRDC sued the FDA for not responding to the petition, originally filed in 2008.

The FDA previously said that low levels of BPA are safe, but in Jan. 2010, agreed to "take reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply" based on a report from the National Toxicology Program that indicated "some concern" for effects the chemical can have on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of developing fetuses, infants and children, according to the FDA's web site.

Those steps, the agency said, included "supporting the industry's actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market; facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings."

BPA has been under fire from advocacy groups including the NRDC and the Breast Cancer Fund. The groups claim there is ample evidence linking the chemical to health problems, particularly among fetuses, infants and young children.

Some of the biggest forces behind the drive to ban BPA, however, are not large organizations, but are moms on a mission. They are women using the power of social media to influence policy on an issue they are passionate about.

Despite numerous concerns, there's still debate over the true effects of BPA on humans. The World Health Organization recently issued a report concluding that although a number of studies found links between low-level BPA exposure and several health effects, including a higher risk for developing mammary tumors in rats and changes in sperm quality in men, "there is considerable uncertainty in this research."

And the authors of a study published in October that found a link between prenatal BPA exposure and the development of behavior problems in children later wrote that "the clinical relevance of these findings is unclear at this point."

The American Chemistry Council called the controversy over BPA a "distraction" back in Feb. and stands by its assertion that the chemical is safe.

"Although governments around the world continue to support the safety of BPA in food contact materials, confusion about whether BPA is used in baby bottles and sippy cups has become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators," the council said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar302012

FDA Weighing Ban on BPA Chemical in Packaging

David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce whether to ban bisphenol A (BPA), the controversial chemical that is widely used in food packaging.

The FDA agreed to respond by March 31 to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that called for a ban on BPA as a food additive. The March 31 date was set after the NRDC sued the FDA for not responding to the petition, originally filed in 2008.

The FDA previously said that low levels of BPA are safe, but in Jan. 2010, agreed to "take reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply" based on a report from the National Toxicology Program that indicated "some concern" for effects the chemical can have on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of developing fetuses, infants and children, according to the FDA's web site.

Those steps, the agency said, included "supporting the industry's actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market; facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings."

BPA has been under fire from advocacy groups including the NRDC and the Breast Cancer Fund. The groups claim there is ample evidence linking the chemical to health problems, particularly among fetuses, infants and young children.

Some of the biggest forces behind the drive to ban BPA, however, are not large organizations, but are moms on a mission. They are women using the power of social media to influence policy on an issue they are passionate about.

Despite numerous concerns, there's still debate over the true effects of BPA on humans. The World Health Organization recently issued a report concluding that although a number of studies found links between low-level BPA exposure and several health effects, including a higher risk for developing mammary tumors in rats and changes in sperm quality in men, "there is considerable uncertainty in this research."

And the authors of a study published in October that found a link between prenatal BPA exposure and the development of behavior problems in children later wrote that "the clinical relevance of these findings is unclear at this point."

The American Chemistry Council called the controversy over BPA a "distraction" back in Feb. and stands by its assertion that the chemical is safe.

"Although governments around the world continue to support the safety of BPA in food contact materials, confusion about whether BPA is used in baby bottles and sippy cups has become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators," the council said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov232011

Canned Foods Linked to High BPA Levels

George Doyle/Stockbyte(BOSTON) -- People who eat a good deal of canned foods often have higher levels of the chemical BPA in their blood, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health.

BPA, a chemical used in the linings of cans, has been linked to -- but not a proven cause of -- serious health problems including cancer, heart disease and early puberty in children of women who have high BPA levels while pregnant.

“They took a group of 75 people and they gave them canned soup once a day for five days,” ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who was not directly involved with the study, explained. “What they found was, after five days, the level of BPA in their body went up more than ten-fold -- a big rise in BPA.”

After two days, Besser says, BPA levels were back to normal.

“The more food that you can eat that’s fresh or frozen -- that will eliminate the BPA from the can-liners,” Besser said. “If you're buying food in plastic, don't heat it in the plastic material because that heating can actually release some of the BPA into your food.”

The study was paid for by the nutrition research advocacy group, the Allen Foundation. The findings were published in the Nov. 22 edition of the Journal of the Medical Association.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov212011

Thanksgiving Food Truths and Myths We Just Can't Shake

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Will your Thanksgiving turkey put you to sleep?  Can the stuffing give you salmonella poisoning?

Here's the straight story on health myths and facts surrounding your Thanksgiving feast:

Turkey Dinner Makes You Sleepy

Turkey does contain a protein called tryptophan which can act like a natural sedative.  But a large amount -- meaning more than just a few slices of turkey -- would have to be consumed alone on an empty stomach to make you feel sleepy.

"A more likely scenario is the huge number of calories that people consume rather than the turkey meat," said Dr. Lou Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

A large number of calories consumed from the whole meal produce intestinal hormones which can make you sleepy, said Aronne.

Canned Foods Contain Cancer Causing BPA

A recent report released by the Breast Cancer fund suggests that canned foods may contain traces of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in the lining of cans, which has been implicated as a potential carcinogen.  Still, many experts said that not all cans contain BPA, and the levels in the cans that do have it are too small to ruin your Thanksgiving meal.

"There are more anti-cancer properties in having vegetables than not eating because of the can," said Aronne.

Drinking More Can Cure that Holiday Hangover

"Most hangover cures are by and large not effective besides sleeping and hydrating with water," said Arrone.

Drinking more will only help you get drunk again, which is only a temporary cure for what's sure to be a stronger hangover, he said.  Worse, drinking alcohol to cure a hangover could lead to more dehydration, which can lead to serious health problems.

Holiday Desserts Can Cause Acne

Acne is due to hormone changes in the body and not by consuming sweet or fried food, experts said.

"The problem is that high-fat finger foods gets greasy and you put those fingers up to your face," said Keith Ayoob, Director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.  "If you don't wash carefully and often, this may clog pores."

Salmonella from Turkey Stuffing

Stuffing a turkey while raw or not fully cooked can contaminate the stuffing with bacteria like salmonella.  Heat can kill some of the bacteria, but because the stuffing is hidden inside the turkey, some of it may not reach the 160 degrees needed to kill off the bacteria.

"If it does reach that temperature then the bird could be overdone," said Ayoob.

While the salmonella risk can be staved off if the stuffing is warm when added to the turkey, you may end up having another problem on your hands.

"But all the turkey fat drips into the stuffing," said Ayoob.  "Do we really need another source of fat in a Thanksgiving meal side dish?"

Cook the stuffing and turkey separately, marry them later, and the problem will be solved, he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct242011

Prenatal Exposure to BPA Might Affect Children's Behavior Later

BananaStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A new study in this week's Pediatrics medical journal suggests that prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in many products, including food and beverage containers, is linked to behavioral and emotional problems in 3-year-old children.

Some environmental and child health experts say the findings support the argument that BPA is harmful to children's development, a position that has been under debate for the past several years.

In the study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati Children's Medical Center, and several other institutions measured BPA levels in the urine of 244 women at different times during their pregnancies and in the urine of their children at one, two and three years of age.

They found BPA in more than 97 percent of the urine samples, and discovered an association between BPA exposure and subsequent behavioral problems.

"The results of this study suggest that gestational BPA exposure might be associated with anxious, depressive and hyperactive behaviors related to impaired behavioral regulation at three years of age," wrote the authors, led by Joe Braun, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

The effects were especially strong among girls.

Despite the findings, the authors urge caution in their interpretation.

"There is considerable debate regarding the toxicity of low-level BPA exposure, and the findings presented here warrant additional research," they wrote

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep212011

Report Urges FDA to Ban BPA in Food, Beverage Containers

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- An advocacy group committed to exposing and eliminating environmental risks for breast cancer has taken aim at canned foods popular among kids, reheating the debate on bisphenol A.

A new report from the Breast Cancer Fund reveals 12 canned soups and pastas found to contain BPA -- an estrogen-like chemical -- raising concern among experts for its potential health effects in children, infants and fetuses.

Topping the list was Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes with 148 parts per billion.  The average level across all 12 cans was 49 parts per billion.

"The findings of this report outline the urgent need to remove BPA from food packaging -- a major source of exposure to this toxic hormone disruptor -- especially in foods marketed to children," the report states.

BPA, a key ingredient in hard plastics and resins used to coat metal cans, made headlines in 2008 when it was shown to leach out of plastic when heated.  The Canadian government responded by banning the chemical from baby bottles.  In the United States, the federal government has not followed suit, but several local governments have and leading U.S. baby bottle manufacturers went BPA-free voluntarily.  But the chemical continues to line the country's cans.

"I think they're definitely right in trying to get this chemical out of canned foods," said Dr. John Spangler, professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.  "We can't do anything about past exposures but we can do something about current exposures."

When it comes to the health effects of BPA, the jury's still out, according to the World Health Organization.  Laboratory studies in cells and animals have linked the chemical to cancer, infertility, diabetes and obesity.  But the consequences of chronic exposure in humans remain unclear.  Nevertheless, many experts and parents err on the side of caution.

"There are things we can do to minimize our exposure to BPA," Spangler said.  "We can use fresh or dried pasta and sauce in jars.  We can eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer canned foods."

Spangler said he hopes the Breast Cancer Fund report persuades canned food manufacturers to look for alternatives to BPA.

But Campbell Soup Company spokesman Anthony Sanzio said the company is confident in the safety of its products.

"The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows that the use of BPA in can lining poses no threat to human health," he said.  "That being said, we understand that consumers may have concerns about it.  We're very aware of the debate and we're watching it intently."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio