The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it is launching a formal investigation into the impact of the chemical of Bisphenol-A on the environment and our water supply . BPA is a chemical plastic hardener that is found in the lining of canned foods, metal beverage cans, credit card receipts, water bottles and other consumer products.

The EPA states in its Action Plan Summary, “Because BPA is a reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic, there are questions about its potential impact particularly on children’s health and the environment.”

In January, the FDA reversed its position on BPA,  stating in a New York Times article, that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children,” and would join other federal health agencies in studying the chemical in both animals and humans.” In the Times article, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein said, “We are for the first time saying we believe there is some concern about the substance’s safety, and we’ve closed the gap between N.I.H. and F.D.A.”

Results from past studies have indicated that BPA levels in humans and the environment are safe or too low for concern.  However recent studies indicate otherwise. Last year the Environmental Working Group found the chemical in 9 out of 10 umbilical cord blood samples, proving that babies are being exposed to BPA before birth. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention discovered BPA in the urine of 93 percent of Americans over the age of six.

In a press release, Steve Owens, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said, “Both EPA and FDA and many other agencies are moving forward to fully assess the environmental and health impacts to ensure that the full range of BPA’s possible impacts are examined.”

Richard Wiles, EWG’s co-founder and senior vice president for policy and communications, states in a news release, “the rap sheet of serious health problems this chemical is associated with reads like the public health version of the FBI’s Most Wanted list, breast cancer, diabetes, infertility, neurological disorders, prostate cancer, early puberty, obesity and heart disease, to name just a few. EPA’s decision to put BPA under the microscope is yet another blow to the chemical industry and a good step forward for public health.”

The EPA also announced it will be creating a formal action plan for BPA. Its first step will be to add it to a list of “chemicals of concern.”

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