CityMom and I have a lot in common, as you can tell, but one of our favorite topics over the years has been a shared vehement hatred for bisphenol A, a chemical used to make plastic resin. We have written about it and interviewed researchers, and knew that BPA, which is used to line metal food cans and to make baby bottles, refillable water containers and cheap plastic tableware, makes hormones go wonky, causing all sorts or developmental and fertility problems and cancers in scores of animal studies. (I fully suspect it will turn out to have been an environmental trigger for autism.)
For a long while, my friends thought I was a bit bonkers over the issue. I took every opportunity to preach about it, first of all, and second of all, it was just too incredible to believe. The lifestyle changes to avoid BPA are daunting. You don't eat canned food? None? Not even beans? You want me to buy - glass! - baby bottles?
This, in part, because the FDA has been stalling on this for years thanks to steadfast lobbying and a blandishment crusade by the chemical companies. But I think, finally, that BPA's time has come. The Endocrine Society, a consortium of doctors, had its annual meeting this week, and presented numberous shocking new studies. First of all, humans are regularly exposed to more BPA than the FDA now considers safe (and the FDA has given the chemical a lot of leeway). It has been linked to abnormal heart rhythms.
Oh, and exposure during pregnancy causes a fertility defect in offspring, a permanent change in their DNA that affects how the body responds to estrogen. Anybody out there who has shelled out loads of cash on fertility treatments, or still is, should be as outraged as I am.
The Society also released a statement, its first ever, saying that the "precautionary principle" should apply to the use of BPA. This means that, while the jury may still be out on whether BPA is truly bad, or how much is bad, there's enough info out there to act, and act now.
Canada has banned BPA. Minnesota has, and Chicago. The time has come for BPA's nationwide death knoll. And my official release from the loony bin.