Plastic Bottles and Food Containers are Toxic?
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Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic synthetic compound with the chemical formula (CH3)2C(C6H4OH)2 belonging to the group of diphenylmethane derivatives and bisphenols, with two hydroxyphenyl groups. It is a colorless solid that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water. It has been in commercial use since 1957.
BPA is employed to make certain plastics and epoxy resins. BPA-based plastic is clear and tough, and is made into a variety of common consumer goods, such as water bottles, sports equipment, CDs, and DVDs. Epoxy resins containing BPA are used to line water pipes, as coatings on the inside of many food and beverage cans and in making thermal paper such as that used in sales receipts. In 2015, an estimated 4 million tonnes of BPA chemical were produced for manufacturing polycarbonate plastic, making it one of the highest volume of chemicals produced worldwide.
Bisphenol A was discovered in 1891 by Russian chemist Aleksandr Dianin.
Based on research by chemists at Bayer and General Electric, BPA has been used since the 1950s to harden polycarbonate plastics, and make epoxy resin, which is contained in the lining of food and beverage containers.
In 1997, adverse effects of low-dose BPA exposure in laboratory animals were first proposed. Modern studies began finding possible connections to health issues caused by exposure to BPA during pregnancy and during development. See US public health regulatory history and Chemical manufacturers reactions to bans. As of 2014, research and debates are ongoing as to whether BPA should be banned or not.
BPA is a xenoestrogen, exhibiting estrogen-mimicking, hormone-like properties that raise concern about its suitability in some consumer products and food containers. Since 2008, several governments have investigated its safety, which prompted some retailers to withdraw polycarbonate products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ended its authorization of the use of BPA in baby bottles and infant formula packaging, based on market abandonment, not safety. The European Union and Canada have banned BPA use in baby bottles.
The FDA states “BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods” based on extensive research, including two more studies issued by the agency in early 2014. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviewed new scientific information on BPA in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015: EFSA’s experts concluded on each occasion that they could not identify any new evidence which would lead them to revise their opinion that the known level of exposure to BPA is safe; however, the EFSA does recognize some uncertainties, and will continue to investigate them.
In February 2016, France announced that it intends to propose BPA as a REACH Regulation candidate substance of very high concern (SVHC).
Bisphenol A is used primarily to make plastics, and products using bisphenol A-based plastics have been in commercial use since 1957. At least 3.6 million tonnes (8 billion pounds) of BPA are used by manufacturers yearly. It is a key monomer in production of epoxy resins and in the most common form of polycarbonate plastic.
Identification in plastics
Some type 7 plastics may contain bisphenol A:
Plastic packaging is split into seven broad classes for recycling purposes by a Plastic identification code. As of 2014 there are no BPA labeling requirements for plastics in the US. “In general, plastics that are marked with Resin Identification Codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with the Resin Identification Code 7 may be made with BPA.” Type 7 is the catch-all “other” class, and some type 7 plastics, such as polycarbonate (sometimes identified with the letters “PC” near the recycling symbol) and epoxy resins, are made from bisphenol A monomer. Type 3 (PVC) may contain bisphenol A as an antioxidant in “flexible PVC” softened by plasticizers, but not rigid PVC such as pipe, windows, and siding.
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