August 28, 2010

Canada Not Buying Anything Containing Bishpenol-A

Last week Statistics Canada reported that 91% of people tested had toxic bisphenol-A in their urine. Disturbingly, the highest concentrations were in children. In 2008 Environment Canada banned BPA-laced baby bottles. Shortly after that France followed suit. Now Canada is ready to declare BPA a toxic substance and ban its use in any consumer products, becoming the first country in the world to do so.

Bisphenol-A is used to harden plastics and is found everywhere, from the plastic linings of tin cans to water bottles, plastic food wrap, and some plastic containers. There are also many non-food uses for BPA plastic such as CDs and DVDs, and sunglasses. Research has linked this all-pervasive chemical to hormonal and neurological issues. It is often identified as #7 plastic, and is associated with diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, and developmental problems in children's brains and hormonal systems.

The American Chemistry Council is already pleading with Environment Canada not to declare their product toxic, but the Minister of Environment, Jim Prentice, is not being swayed by their pursuit of profit over safety. It is not known exactly when, but the ban will be implemented.

Many are accusing those in the chemical industry of attempting to sabotage the implementation of public policy meant to protect us from the nasty toxic cocktail developed to give us 'better living with chemistry". Some of the tactics being used are: developing blue ribbon panels, constructing studies with pre-conceived outcomes, and publishing white papers in order to convince the public of the safety of controversial chemicals.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that it would be virtually impossible for the average person to ingest enough BPA to be dangerous. But this finding was discredited when it was discovered that the agency had ignored the advice of its own scientists and allowed representatives of the chemical industry to write significant portions of the final document.
“There are an estimated 85,000 chemicals in the stream of commerce, and very little is known about most of them. The health effects of almost half the major industrial chemicals have not been studied at all. Of those that have been studied, approximately 1,400 chemicals with known links to cancer, birth defects, reproductive impacts and other health problems are still in use today.”

- Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE)
It is good to see that Canada is leading the way to make sure that in the future we will not be buying anything containing toxic BPA. Undoubtedly this will lead the way for more nations to press the chemical industry for the truth about BPA and other products, which will end up making our lives better without chemicals, or at least, better with less harmful chemicals.

In the meantime, you can reduce exposure to BPA in the following ways:
  • limit your use of foods packaged in plastic lined cans (canned pasta and soups appear to have the highest levels of BPA)
  • use a stainless steel water bottle (without a liner)
  • do not heat food in plastic containers in the microwave
  • use powdered baby formula instead of pre-mixed liquids (liquid formula contains more BPA)
  • buy products in glass bottles or non-plastic lined containers
  • do not use BPA plastic baby bottles
  • do not use #7 polycarbonite (PC) bottles for hot liquids
  • #1, 2, and 4 plastics do NOT contain BPA
  • avoid using old, scratched water bottles

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