In early August, scientists issued a report warning that an estrogen-like compound in plastic is likely to be causing an array of serious reproductive disorders in people. The compound, bisphenol A or BPA, is one of the highest-volume chemicals in the world and has found its way into most of our bodies. BPA is used to make plastic beverage containers, baby bottles, large water cooler containers, sports bottles, food storage containers, and even canned food liners and some dental sealants for children. BPA seeps from these containers and into the food and liquids you consume from them. Scientists reviewed about 700 studies before concluding that humans are exposed to higher levels of the chemical than any lab rat. Naturally, infants and fetuses are most vulnerable. The statement, published online by the journal Reproductive Toxicology, was accompanied by a new study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health finding uterine damage in newborn animals exposed to BPA. That damage is a possible predictor of reproductive diseases in women, including fibroids, endometriosis, cystic ovaries and cancers. It is the first time BPA has been linked to female reproductive tract disorders, although earlier studies have found early-stage prostate and breast cancer and decreased sperm counts in animals exposed to low doses. BPA could very well be declared a human reproductive toxin, a first step toward federal regulation.
We’ve heard for some time about the potential dangers of plastics. Now we have even more proof of their damaging effects. What to do? It would take some strict planning to completely eliminate plastics from our lives, but we can take some simple steps to reduce its presence in our lives. Instead of drinking out of plastic water bottles, pick up a stylish, aluminum SIGG bottle (www.mysigg.com). If your city’s tap water is undrinkable (as most cities are), instead of turning to water that comes in a large plastic container, consider an at-home water filter. I have one in my kitchen from Aquasana (www.aquasana.com) that works great and was really easy to install. The water I drink never touches plasticâ€”the filtered water goes straight into my glass or my cute red SIGG bottle. Glass baby bottles are also becoming more widely used, and as for storing one’s food, seek out an alternative to Tupperware, and if you nuke your food in the microwave, take it out of the plastic container first.