By now you must all know about BPA, right? If not (are you trapped under something heavy?), Bisphenol A is a chemical that, among other things, makes hard plastic bottles shatterproof and is found in the lining of most cans and food packaging.
On Monday, Washington State voted to ban BPA in products for children under the age of 3. Similar restrictions are in place in Chicago, Minnesota, Connecticut and Suffolk County in New York. In Congress, a bill has been filed that would block BPA from all food and drink packaging. Those wise Canadians banned BPA in baby bottles in 2008.
90% of us have this stuff in our bodies and recent studies have found a presence in the majority of newborn babies. In the last 50 years, dozens of studies have linked BPA to health problems, including abnormal growths and tumors in animals. Some studies say BPA alters healthy breast cells, turning them into abnormal cancer cells. Other studies say BPA contributes to tumor growth by mimicking estrogen in the body.
My cancer was hormone positive. That means there were teeny-tiny receptor sites on the outside of my cancer cells that estrogen would bind to. The abundance of estrogen (naturally occurring and from BPA and other toxins) in my system may have accelerated my tumor’s growth.
This is how my war, not just against cancer, but against estrogen began. Chemo drugs shut down my ovaries. After treatment, I started receiving injections to stay post-menopausal but the drug didn’t always work as planned, and I popped in and out of medically-induced menopause multiple times.
Let me take a moment to acknowledge how wrong it is for a person to go from post-menopausal to pre-menopausal. It’s like changing the rotation of the earth and moving from winter back to fall. You can imagine the mood swings. Picture me with my hands clutching my mother’s collar screaming at her to clean my fridge. Right this minute. I sounded like my two year old (I guess some relationships never change). Just do it LADY.
I also started avoiding BPA by drinking from glass and stainless steel containers. If I hadn’t had all that fake estrogen in my system, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten cancer at 31 or, if I had, maybe it wouldn’t have been hormone positive.
Let me be clear: I’m not saying I believe BPA definitively caused my cancer. I don’t believe any one thing causes cancer. I am saying there is a good chance BPA played a part in its development.
But enough about me, back to the topic at hand. Perhaps you’re asking yourself why Washington state is banning BPA, isn’t this the FDA’s job? In past years the FDA has maintained that BPA is completely safe based largely on the findings of two industry-funded studies. In January the FDA reversed their position and they have expressed concern about the effects of BPA.
Then this from the Washington Post:
FDA officials also said they were hamstrung from dealing quickly with BPA by an outdated regulatory framework.
Awesome. And then this:
One administration official privy to the talks said the FDA is in a quandary. “They have new evidence that makes them worried, but they don’t have enough proof to justify pulling the stuff, so what do you do?” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “You want to warn people, but you don’t want to create panic.”
Sure, let them eat poison but, for god sake, don’t freak anybody out.