Thursday, October 14, 2010

Canada Condemns Bis-Phenol As A Toxic Chemical!!

Fans of Depth of Processing know that I have tracking the condemnation and fall of bis-phenol A for some time. Today, Canada reclassified bis-phenol A as a toxic chemical -- opening it for severe regulation, and possible bans.

The official government Canada Gazette said:

Concern for neurobehavioural effects in newborns and infants was suggested from the neurodevelopmental and behavioural dataset in rodents. Given that available data indicate potential sensitivity to the pregnant woman/fetus and infant, and that animal studies suggest a trend towards heightened susceptibility during stages of development in rodents, it was considered appropriate to apply a precautionary approach when characterizing risk to human health. Therefore, it was concluded that bisphenol A should be considered as a substance that may be entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.

... regulations, guidelines or codes of practice to protect the environment and human health. These instruments can be developed for any aspect of the substance’s life cycle from the research and development stage through manufacture, use, storage, transport and ultimate disposal or recycling.

Bis-phenol A is used in a zillion materials, most notably the lining of beverage cans and in polycarbonate plastics. Polycarbonate had been used to make unbreakable kitchenware, but is fading away quickly due to issues with extraction. Polycarbonate is a clear plastic.

I would avoid microwaving in clear plastic containers, and probably not put them in the dishwasher either.

It would seem that the hazard is that bis-phenol A bioaccumulates, so that low dosages can turn into higher dosages in the body. Higher doses trick the body's hormones, and affect development of children especially girls.  It causes precocious sexual development in girls, undersized male parts in boys, and low sperm count in men: at least in high doses. A question is how high is high. 

The next step will be for Health Canada to issue regulations limiting where industry can use bis-phenol A. This will cost millions, but industry should have known this was coming.