May 26, 2009

DT Friday Freakout: BPA Ivy Edition

It all seems like a puberty-accelerating blur now, but I think the DT Friday Freakout grew out of my whipsawed boredom at posting about every urgent press release about how Bisphenol-A is as poisonous as a lead pacifier in Chernobyl! No, it's safe enough for newborns to drink it straight, and breastfed babies should be given BPA supplements so they don't fall behind on their developmental milestones!

So I figured I'd compile all the hyperventilating science news into one day a week--and we got BPA-free bottles, so I don't have to care anymore anyway. Which is nice. So nice, I sometimes forget to get freaked out by science at all these days.

Fortunately, for those times, there's Harvard:

A Harvard study released yesterday supports what many public health specialists have long assumed: Hard plastic drinking bottles containing bisphenol A are leaching notable amounts of the controversial chemical into people's bodies.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who drank for a week from the clear plastic polycarbonate bottles increased concentrations of bisphenol A - or BPA - in their urine by 69 percent.

The study was not only conducted by Harvard--in this case, the polycarbonate bottle-swigging doctoral students in Dr. Karen Michels' environmental health class--it was conducted on Harvard: 77 students who submitted urine samples after switching back and forth between stainless steel and BPA plastic bottles for a week. So all other things held constant, polycarbonate drinking implements are in fact a source for most of the BPA in the Harvard students' systems.

The American Chemistry Council, the lobbying group for duPont and the rest of the $4 billion BPA industry reiterated that the chemical is safe, and if it wasn't, would a hundred Harvard students be using it in the first place? And now that you mention it, a lifetime of BPA use certainly didn't keep them out of Harvard, so don't sue us when your kid doesn't get in.

Harvard study backs bottle concern [boston.com via dt freakout senior correspondent sara]
EHP In-Press: Use of Polycarbonate Bottles and Urinary Bisphenol A Concentrations [ehponline.com]

2 Comments

So then I can blame my 5-and-a-half year PhD programme on the Nalgene bottke I kept on my desk, and refilled from the office water cooler, right?

And, yes, that should be bottle. It might've taken a long time to get that PhD, but I can spell. (Just can't type when a toddler is wriggling in my arms.)

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