Editorial: Warnings about plastic hard to swallow
Vail CO, Colorado
Some locals are chucking their Nalgene and baby bottles in favor of glass containers after Nalgene announced a few weeks ago that they will no longer make the bottle containing the chemical Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA.
Though Nalgene officials say they believe the bottles are safe for “intended use,” their customers requested BPA-free alternatives, prompting the change.
All this comes after a federal report was released acknowledging BPA may cause health problems, particularly in children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration say there is no health risk to humans associated with the plastic bottles containing BPA, but a panel of researchers disagrees, saying the chemical has the potential to cause risk to human health. Studies linked the chemical to breast cancer, prostate cancer, behavioral changes and early puberty in rats.
Major stores like Wal-Mart are pulling plastic baby bottles and other containers for kids that carry BPA off shelves. The Canadian government labeled BPA toxic and it’s been banned in Europe in products intended for kids 3 and under.
It’s important to know that some drinking bottles aren’t the only products that contain BPA ” it’s in everything from CDs and eyeglasses to plastic products like Tupperware used for eating and drinking, and even plastic wrap. Pediatricians seem to agree that people should avoid microwaving or heating the plastic (or even leaving your Nalgene bottle in a hot car in the sun) as that causes the chemical to further leach out.
The bottom line is the jury is still out on BPA. Looking at the bigger picture, there are lots of things that have been introduced in the last half century that we don’t know the long-term effects of ” cell phones, hybrid cars, laptop computers, tanning beds, genetically modified food, even microwaves.
We don’t claim to know whether you should toss out your collection of plastic bottles or not, but we do believe scientists should keep studying and exposing the potential risks. For this to happen the Bush administration, and whoever lands in the White House next, should think twice before cutting the budgets of regulatory agencies that strive to do just that.
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