Bisphenol A or BPA is a natural compound which is being used to produce some kinds of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins that usually show in baby and water bottles, food packaging, and medical and dental equipment. Businesses use BPA for their products and packaging since 1957 and it is still being used until now and has already used more than 8 billion of BPA annually as of 2011 records.
Problems come up when BPA leaks out of the products that contain it and into the human body, unfortunately. Bisphenol A in the human body means that it will imitate the functions of estrogen, the female sex hormone. There are several studies that have connected BPA to unfavorable side effects to health, particularly to the infants and children. The researchers believe that BPA can leach from the products when they are loaded with hot or acidic stuff or cleaned with harmful detergents.
Customers brought their cases to the courts against the producers of products that have BPA. Organizations also filed cases to influence the government authorities to do something concrete regarding the issues of BPA in the food and beverage containers. The FDA has lately altered their stance on BPA, claiming that exposure to the chemical is of “some concern” for the infants and children. There are some states that also passed the legislation suspending the use of BPA in some products like baby bottles.
What are the products that contain BPA?
After the media expose regarding the issues of BPA in products, many manufacturers eliminated the use of BPA in producing their products. However, some manufacturers still use BPA on some products. The following are some products that have BPA, or used to have BPA:
- Aluminum soft drinks cans
- Lunch boxes
- Canned goods, including canned infant formula
- Hard plastic baby bottles
- Sippy cups for young children
- Reusable water bottles, both plastic, and metal
There are many, but not all, of the plastic products that have marked with the recycling codes 3 and 7 have BPA. Products with other recycling codes usually do not have BPA.
What are the risks that follow after BPA exposure?
Since BPA copies the hormone estrogen in the human body, it has risks that cause many health problems, particularly to children. Researchers link the exposure to BPA with many issues, however, it is good to note that research regarding BPA exposure is still ongoing.
There are some studies that found connections between BPA exposure and:
- Neurological development issues
- Heart ailments
- Increased chances of cancers
- Reproductive problems
- Sexual difficulties
Basing on the health problems and risks that researchers have discovered, there are some plaintiffs who have filed cases against manufacturers of products that contain BPA. These cases were fused into one multi-district lawsuit which was supervised by the Western District Court of Missouri. The plaintiffs with several claims include the breach of state consumer protection statutes, violation of warranty, fraud, strict product liability, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and negligence.
The defendants originally included the manufacturers of baby and water bottles and infant formula producers, though the court dismissed the formula defendants in late 2009.
There is one manufacturer that has settled the case against them. Philips consented to offer refunds to purchasers of its Avent brand baby bottles and sippy cups, however, continued to claim that it gave adequate warning notice about their products having BPA.
Aside from the lawsuits by the customers, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a case against the Food and Drug Administration wanting the agency to respond to a petition by the NRDC asking to ban BPA in food packaging.
BPA in Baby Bottles
Researchers who are studying the effects of BPA believe that the exposure to the chemical can really have serious side effects to human, particularly to the children and infants. Because of this, BPA in baby bottles is a major concern to parents and authorities.
Most manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups voluntarily eliminated the BPA from their products but other states went further and barred BPA from children’s products. While every ban is different, their general aim is to stop the use of BPA in products for children, particularly for children below three years old. Some of the products included in the ban are the baby bottles, sippy cups, formula and baby food.
Finally, there are seven states who have passed this kind of ban, namely Wisconsin, Maryland, Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont, Washington, and New York.
Federal regulation is presently pending in Congress.
The science that surrounds BPA recommends that exposure to the chemical can bring unfavorable effects on health, particularly on infants and children. There are many manufacturers who voluntarily stop using BPA in their products, but BPA was, and stays, present in many products. Litigation is presently on its way to determine the liability, if there is any, that manufacturers will have to face for their customers’ exposure to BPA.