Even small amounts of exposure to many chemicals can result in drastic negative health consequences – bisphenol-A (BPA) is no exception. Found in many household goods such as plastic and some food items, BPA acts as an endocrine-disrupting chemical that mimics hormones in the body. Due to the incredible negative effects BPA possesses, and given its prominent place in today’s society, scientist Frederick vom Saal thinks that this chemical should be banned completely.
Scientists Call for Drastic Government Regulation Over BPA
For 20 years Saal has been on a quest to remove endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA completely from daily use. The chemical is has been shown to adversely affect male genital development and therefore cause widespread fertility problems. In addition, there are more than 130 studies confirming the link between BPA and breast cancer.
The scientist successfully generated dozens of scientific papers shedding light on the many negative effects of bisphenol-A, but now he is trying to persuade United States authorities to heavily regulate the use of the chemical. Saal isn’t the only scientists looking to regulate the chemical, however. In September of 2011, a group of 20 scientists of which Saal was a part of met to discuss why the Food and Drug Administration would ever allow such a harmful chemical to run in many consumer products. While the research produced by many scientists was enough to persuade 11 states, Canada, China, and the European Union to restrict the allowance of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, it seems that U.S. government agencies aren’t so easy to convince.
“As a scientist I feel I have an obligation to identify when, in fact, science and government policy are not consistent with each other,” vom Saal says. “And that’s what I’m doing.”
Of course what the scientists are doing will be amplified many times by public opposition to such chemicals. BPA leaches from its container into whatever it happens to contain. If you microwave a TV dinner for example, the chemical content of the plastic container would find its way into the food you are going to eat. Likewise, when bottled water or a soft drink is manufactured and shelved, BPA leaches into the liquid over the time it takes to be purchased and consumed. The chemical is in food can linings, often in dental fillings, and can be found in 95 percent of paper money. It seems clear that public opposition is more than called for to reduce exposure, and it will be key in future regulation.