After 10 years of conflicting research, the government is now launching a study to determine whether BPA can play a role in cancer, diabetes, obesity and other disorders.
Hundreds of studies and millions of dollars have produced nothing but controversy in the debate over BPA, a chemical often found in reusable food and drink containers.
“I think we don’t even realize how much we take in,” said junior Simon Campbell.
A presidential panel on cancer and the environment said there was a “growing link” between BPA and several diseases. About half a dozen states have banned BPA in children’s products, and the restriction may be made nationwide with an amendment to the food safety bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate next week.
Consumer fears have made the phrase “BPA free” a marketing tool. Wal-Mart and many other retailers have said they will stop selling baby bottles made with BPA. Nalgene, which manufactures popular water bottles, quit using BPA when customers began complaining.
“I think it’s one pretty easy thing to eliminate out of all the things we’re exposed to,” Campbell said.
Professor of Kinesiology, Paul Bartlett said, “Sometimes it comes across as hype, sometimes as something we need to take serious note of. My tendency is not to jump on the bandwagon too soon.”
Many insist that BPA is harmless. Some Republicans, anti-regulation activists and the food packaging and chemical industries argue that BPA is essential for producing many goods at reasonable prices and for keeping canned foods safe.
Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said, “This is a chemical we’re all exposed to, and I think that makes it incumbent upon us to study it. We need to know what it might be doing, if anything.”
The new government-financed study is now under way with animal subjects. Results are not expected for at least two years.