The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common chemical used in making plastic products. The basic purpose of using this chemical is to provide hardness to plastic. It is extensively used for the last 40 years in manufacturing plastic products like water bottles, compact discs, the lining of canned food and drinks, etc. It has wide applications in medical services, industrial manufacturing, and many other products.
We receive some amount of BPA in our body through the foods and drinks that are stored in plastic containers that have BPA in them. Recently there have been discussions going on about the harmful effect of BPA on the human body, especially on children.
Although it is not proved by strong evidence, people are apprehensive about the role of BPA in plastic products that are used every day. Some of the manufacturers have already stopped manufacturing baby bottles and cups that may contain BPA. People are looking for more information and authentic data on the harmful effect of BPA to take necessary actions.
The use of BPA as a chemical component in plastic has been a regular practice and earlier there were no risk assessments or declarations by experts about its harmful effects. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed studies about the toxicity results of BPA and found it safe for humans at standard low levels of exposure.
The controversy started in 2010 when FDA expressed some concern about the potential effects of BPA based on other studies. Some of the possible effects of BPA on the human body can be related to hormone levels, heart problems, obesity, and some behavioral problems in young children. However, the evidence was not strong enough to establish a connection between BPA and these health problems.
Experts doubt whether BPA poses any health risk which is used by most people. New research is going on regarding risk factors of BPA but results are still awaited. The manufacturers working on BPA-free plastic alternatives are getting the support of the FDA in developing new products that limit the exposure of BPA to users, especially infants and young children.
It’s difficult to remove plastic from daily lives but parents are trying to minimize the use of certain plastic products that are supposed to contain BPA and make the children less exposed to its effect. Shifting to non-plastic containers is the best alternative. The use of glass, steel, or porcelain containers is always encouraged as it also helps to reduce plastic pollution that happens during disposal.
Many companies have claimed to manufacture BPA-free plastic containers and recommend their special mode of use to avoid any negative effects. It is advisable not to use foods packed in cans that may have BPA linings inside. Plastic containers should not be exposed to sunlight or heat for a long time because it may enhance the effect of BPA and contaminate the food or drink stored in the container.
Different studies and reviews were carried out to check the authenticity of the notion that there is a link between certain health issues and BPA-contained plastic use. In 2014, the FDA revealed the outcome of a review concerning the safety aspects of BPA.
The review said that it is safe for humans as the level of BPA that goes into the human body through food are very less and doesn’t appear to be harmful. The studies conducted were mostly based on other animals to find out the effects of BPA and there were few pieces of evidence of adverse reactions in some species, especially in mice.
But a more recent study by another set of experts concludes that the human body breaks down BPA faster than mice thereby minimizing the harmful effects. Another important finding is that the chemical was directly injected into the research animals whereas BPA enters our body with the food and is converted to inactive form thereby losing its harmful properties.
So the results from animal research might not be relevant to humans. On the basis of several recent studies, FDA has expressed its view that the risks of BPA to humans are not as severe as it was apprehended.
We have made plastic a part and parcel of our everyday lives knowing full well that it contributes to a large chunk of waste. Plastic is not biodegradable so plastic wastes accumulating in landfills and oceans are the main source of environmental pollution.
Plastic is not doing any good for mankind and its future even if it is BPA-free. Plastic industries always try to promote their products by bringing new ideas, designs, and innovations that promise safety and hygiene but eventually all plastic contains some toxic elements in some form or other. The extensive use of plastic leads to serious concern for humanity and its environment.
It is extremely necessary to reduce plastic use which can help create a plastic-free earth and control the increased environmental pollution. It is difficult to remove plastic products from our modern-day lifestyles and habits, but if we take some small steps, we can easily manage plastic use and reduce its harmful effects on present and future human generations.