The hidden endocrine disruptors found in plastics
2011 was a momentous year for global awareness in terms of the harmful effects of plastic on human health. Following a number of reports from national health and safety agencies, the European Commission outright banned the use of BPA in the manufacture of bottles intended for baby feeding. The evidence for the harmfulness of this substance, particularly in infants, became simply indisputable. Not one year passed and the U.S. also took major steps towards the elimination of BPA. We’ve been using plastic materials for selling and storing our food for quite some time now, which makes the legal action all the more worrisome. It begs the question: just how did we get to a place where we have to ban manufacturers from using toxic substances in their products?
Bisphenol A (or BPA, for short) is a compound widely used in the production of resins and plastic materials. It’s been around ever since the 1950s and, granted, it is a blessing for construction. In terms of chemical importance, BPA is vital to obtaining hard, yet flexible polycarbonate plastic products. In terms of human consumption, however, its effects range from slightly detrimental to outright poisonous, especially in young children and elderly individuals. BPA’s impact on human hormones can yield anything from diabetes, developmental issues, heart disease, genital abnormalities, obesity and, unsurprisingly, infertility.