March 2011 Issue

The Future for Bisphenol A in the Food System

Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to make hard, clear plastic called polycarbonate, is at the center of one of the biggest food safety controversies of the year. Found widely in the food system for decades, BPA is used in baby and sports bottles and epoxy resins used as protective linings in metal food and beverage cans. Leached BPA from food containers into food has led to widespread human exposure; in a 2005 study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 95 percent of people had measurable amounts of BPA in their urine. The chemical has come under fire because it mimics the hormone estrogen. Although BPA research has led to conflicting results, some studies have linked exposure to the plastic with a number of possible negative effects, including developmental problems in fetuses, infants and children.

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