Bisphenol A - a modern version of the Roman lead pipes

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Bisphenol A - a modern version of the Roman lead pipes

Traditionally it is taught that the Romans destroyed themselves by the use of lead pipes which managed to poison the elite of Rome and hasten the downfall of the culture. The truth or not of that is moot here, but the principle is the same.

Apparently an ingredient in hard plastics used in food containers and water bottles is leaching into peoples body and replicating the female hormones, leading to the strange defects and effects that are starting to plague our society.

Welcome to the heated controversy over bisphenol A.

Derived from petroleum, bisphenol A is the chief ingredient in polycarbonate, the rigid, translucent hard plastic used in water bottles and many baby bottles. It's also used to make the resins that line most tin cans, dental sealants, car parts, microwaveable plastics, sports helmets and CDs.

Environment Canada and Health Canada last year selected it as one of 200 substances that a preliminary review deemed possibly dangerous and in need of thorough safety assessments. The 200 were culled as the most worrisome chemicals from among about 23,000 substances in use in the 1980s and grandfathered from detailed safety studies when Canada adopted its first modern pollution laws.

Government scientists classified bisphenol A as "inherently toxic," and companies making it will be challenged by the assessment to prove that continued use is safe.

The assessment is expected to begin next month and provide a glimpse into one of the biggest public-health and scientific controversies in the world.

Some researchers with close-up views of bisphenol A are so shocked by its ability to skew development in their laboratory animals, even at among the lowest doses ever used in experiments, they aren't waiting for the government to ban it. In their personal lives, they can't run away from products containing it fast enough. "I would love to see it banished off the face of the Earth," Dr. Patricia Hunt, a Washington State University geneticist, said.

She began ditching her bisphenol-A-containing products after discovering that mere traces of the chemical were able to scramble the eggs of her lab mice. In humans, similar damage would lead to miscarriages and birth defects, such as Down syndrome. "I thought, 'Oh my God," she said. "I'm going to throw out every piece of plastic in my kitchen."

Much more on this hidden menace on the site here
By netchicken: posted on 8-4-2007

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