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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Mimi

BPA, an industrial plastics chemical, was first developed over a hundred years ago as a synthetic estrogen. In the 1950s, industry discovered that BPA could be used to make polycarbonate plastics, such as reusable bottles, food containers, and tableware as well as lining in food and beverage cans. BPA has become one of the most widely used chemicals in the world.

Even though BPA has been recognized to have hormonal effects, the United States FDA says BPA is safe. However, in 2012, the FDA banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups though not in other containers.

BPA is inhaled from dust or through the skin from BPA-laden cash-register receipts, but 90 percent of exposure is from the diet. Mounting evidence suggests that even very low levels of exposure may cause health problems. Recent studies have shown associations between BPA exposure and thickening of the artery linings in young adults; faster weight gain in US women; higher occurrence of heart disease, diabetes, and liver inflammation; and declining male sexual function.

Switching to fresh foods with less reliance on canned food can result in a significant drop in BPA levels.

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