California Warning on Toxic BPA More Symbolic than Actionable

BPA free bottle


California’s Environmental Protection Agency decided on Friday to list Bisphenol-A (BPA) as a reproductive hazard. If not met with any rejections in the next month, BPA will be added to a list of hundreds of other chemicals that are “known to the State of California” as hazardous to health.

Bisphenol-A  is a chemical compound used as a building block of several polymers and polycarbonates that in turn are found in plastic bottles. It is also used in the lining of cans. Which means all of us are exposed to tiny amounts, whether eating canned peas, milk from a baby-bottle, or any other product sold in a plastic container or a can.

In use since the 1940′s, BPA started to raise concerns decades ago. At certain levels of exposure, lab animals would get their reproductive organs messed up. Despite this, more than 7 billion pounds of BPA are manufactured annually, and there does not seem like a better alternative has been found.

Some progress has been made though. In 2012, the FDA banned BPA from baby drinking bottles. Some may say this is too little, too late. Due to public pressure,  in March 2009, six manufacturers announced that they would voluntarily stop manufacturing bottles with BPA. Playtex Products, Gerber, Evenflo, Avent America, Dr. Brown and Disney First Years.

California’s new ruling on BPA will not make much of a change because it does not ban BPA. It simply requires a warning on products with BPA above a certain level. And guess what – none of the canned goods you would buy at the supermarket have BPA at those levels. Still, this is another small step in the right direction.

What to do at the supermarket:
Here are some simple suggestions that may help reduce your family’s  BPA intake:
1. if you have a baby or toddler, purchase BPA free plastic bottles.
2. If microwaving formula, do so in a glass bottle.
3. When possible, choose fresh or frozen products instead of canned.
4. Drink tap water instead of bottled water

  • James Cooper

    My understanding is that nearly all BPA is excreted in the urine, and thus very little ends up in the body. Thus measurements of BPA in urine say little about that present in the body.

  • Adeline

    Hi there, is there a website/document accessible to the public that lists all substances considered hazardous by the state of california? Thanks

  • Richard Valls

    If you drink tap water you are still getting a poison, fluoride. So you lose in both arenas.