From Oregon Live (mentioning the work of Upstream contributor, Dr. Carlos Sonnenschein):

Though the chemical is the object of much public outcry and caused many retailers to remove products containing BPA from their shelves, for many, questions surrounding the chemical remain unanswered. What exactly is BPA? What, if any, are its potential dangers for adults?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the plastic known as bisphenol A, has been used in many consumer products including reusable drinking bottles and baby bottles as well as in the lining of metal cans. According to the Professor Carlos Sonnenschein, Tufts University, Boston, fetal and neonatal exposure to the chemical increases the likelihood of development of malignant tumors later in life. Other studies have connected it to both breast and prostate cancers.

In January of 2010, the FDA issued a statement regarding its current position on BPA, recognizing that research interpretation is at best, uncertain. “These uncertainties relate to issues such as … differences in the metabolism (and detoxification) of and responses to BPA both at different ages and in different species, and limited or absent dose response information for some studies,” it read.

Six months later, in July of 2010, the Environmental Working Group issued a study that found high levels of what they call the “endocrine-disrupting” chemical in 40 percent of receipts sampled from such outlets as McDonalds, CVS, KFC, Whole Foods, Walmart and the U.S. Postal Service.

“A typical employee at any large retailer who runs the register could handle hundreds of the contaminated receipts in a single day at work,” said Jane Houlihan, EWG Senior Vice-President for Research. “While we do not know exactly what this means for people’s health, it’s just one more path of exposure to this chemical that seems to bombard every single person.”

Though other major retailers such as Target, Starbucks and Bank of America ATMs appear to not be using BPA to coat their receipts, determining whether a receipt has BPA can be difficult.

As of November 8, 2010, Appleton Inc., the nation’s largest and only producer of BPA-free, thermal paper announced the introduction of “easy-to-see red fibers” to its products. Appleton had dropped the use of BPA in its papers in 2006, but now adds the red fibers as a way to give consumers an easy way to detect the chemical.

In 2008, the National Toxicology Program and the NTP Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction warned of “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current human expo¬≠sures to bisphenol A.”

More.

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