Friday, December 9, 2011


It was only recently that the EU cleared the controversy surrounding the risk posed by BPA through migration from plastic bottles and aluminum can coatings, indicating that this potential endocrine disruptor chemical levels in foods migrated from them are too low to cause any health damage. Now comes the news that concentration of BPA in paper products handled every day by the consumers is very much higher than that found in packed water and foods. Of course these paper products are not edible and therefore there cannot be any danger of imbibing the chemical through the oral route. However what is of concern is that those who frequently handle these paper products with high BPA levels can absorb the same through the skin, posing some danger to them. Here is more information about the new twist to BPA saga.

"It seems there's no escaping the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which is used to make plastics like water bottles and to coat the insides of aluminum cans. Now a new study shows that BPA is also in a wide variety of paper products, including napkins, toilet paper, tickets, food wrappers, newspapers, and printer paper. "The concentrations are very high in the paper products," says study researcher Kurunthachalam Kannan, PhD, a research scientist at the New York State Department of Health. Kannan tested more than 200 paper samples from 15 different types of products. He found BPA levels in paper that were 100 to 1 million times higher than amounts detected in canned and packaged foods. The study is published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Researchers say that because only a fraction of that is absorbed through the skin, most people probably pick up far less BPA handling paper than they do from their diets. But those amounts may wind up being significant for people like cashiers or printers who have to touch a lot of BPA-tainted paper as part of their jobs. "We've been focused on food, but there could be certain groups of people that could be exposed through other routes and other sources," says Joseph Braun, PhD, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, who is studying how BPA may affect kids' behavior. He was not involved in the latest study. In Braun's studies, pregnant women who worked as cashiers had BPA levels that were about 30% higher than pregnant women who had different kinds of jobs".

The findings by the group about BPA danger must receive the attention of safety experts as the focus so far has been only on food ignoring other sources to which humans are exposed regularly. This is an occupational hazard which needs to be addressed and ways and means ought to be evolved to protect the personnel vulnerable to exposure to BPA. Now is the time to critically examine various daily use materials by people and assess the extent of cumulative exposure to BPA through frequent contacts with such materials. Omnipotence of plastics in to day's life is making the environment more and more unsafe causing a number of health disorders about which the society and the government will have be more alert!


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