Bisphenol A is the new aluminum

Sabrina received a couple email warnings from well-meaning friends today, about this decade’s great evil conspiracy: Bisphenol A in baby bottles.

I first heard about this stuff a few years ago from my brother.  Plastic bottles make girls grow boobs too early, or something like that.  That right there is reason to be skeptical about it.  I didn’t really think much about it.

Some years later, I read a review of the available scientific evidence on the subject in a magazine.  Sadly, I can’t find the article anymore.  But the gist of it was that the whole fracas is just a whole lot of unwarranted scare-mongering, with much wailing and gnashing-of-teeth, but scarcely a shred of solid science behind it.

Since I last looked at it, apparently Bisphenol A has ratcheted up its campaign of terror a few notches.  It’s doing alot more than just growing boobies on pre-teens.  Now it’s causing assorted cancers, infertility, thyroid problems, ADHD, obesity.  You name it, Bisphenol A can cause it… as long as it’s bad.

I was going to lump these latest emails in with the rest of that crap, but apparently there’s at least some truth in them: Health Canada really is going to tighten the acceptable levels of Bisphenol A, and ban baby bottles made with it.

The Health Canada website doesn’t really go into much detail about why exactly they’re doing this, after years of maintaining (along with every other respectable health organization in the world) that it’s perfectly safe (at the levels we encounter.)  They don’t show any solid new evidence.  They don’t even claim that the existing levels of Bisphenol A are actually dangerous at all.  Just a vague statement about improving the safety margin.  Personally, I think they’re just caving in to all the “think-of-the-children” hysteria around the issue.

Two things really crack me up about all this:

  • Some people are suggesting aluminum baby bottles and sippy-cups instead.  Ten years ago, aluminum was the big nasty poison that the scare-mongers said would give us all Alzheimer’s.  Now it’s the safe alternative.
  • Other people are wondering how we can safely dispose of these bottles, now that one of their main ingredients is a “toxic chemical.”  Christ.  We’ve been making plastic everythings and lining cans with this stuff for 50 years.  Now suddenly it’s freakin’ plutonium, and people are afraid to touch it without wearing gloves.

Anyway, whatever.  Sabrina wants to get rid of the Avent bottles (which we’ve never actually used yet.)  I’m not super attached to them.  Despite my skepticism about the whole thing, I’ll go along with it.

But if anybody ever tries to hit us with the “vaccination causes autism” scare-mongering crap, they’ll be in for a fight.  The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine does not cause autism.  Seriously.  It doesn’t.  Never has.  I’m sorry your kid has autism, I really am.  But no vaccine caused it.  Sometimes, bad things happen to good people, that’s just how it is.  It’s time to move on now.

Anybody that wants to skip the MMR vaccine for their kid, out of some misguided take-no-chances thing, know this: measles can #$%# your kid up, badly.  It usually doesn’t, but it can.  My mother used to work with a girl (well, a woman actually) who had measles as a child.  Now, as an adult, she isn’t able to make change for a dollar, or ride the bus by herself, or even read.  Measles did that to her.  She was normal before she had it.  Polio is worse (seriously… )  You want to take-no-chances with your baby, then don’t take any chances with these terrible diseases.  Get the damn vaccinations, and tell those anti-vaccine doofuses where to go.

4 Responses to “Bisphenol A is the new aluminum”

  • Well, it is not all scaremongering for sure. You might want to check out this post for a short review of evidence pro and contra BPA toxicity/carcinogenicity.

    The main issue, IMHO, is that usually the amounts of BPA released by dental sealants, bottles, food cans, etc. are enough to have documented health impacts on rodents and aquatic life…but it is not well known what they would do in humans. Plus, BPA is not the only foreign estrogenic compound around. Toxicity is a matter of quantity/load, not just of what kind of compound we are ingesting.

  • Your post seems good, fairly evenhanded. It really can be difficult, in contentious issues like these, especially with large sums of money at stake, for laypeople (such as myself) to pick up the truth. It gets spun so much, that reality is completely lost. Both sides are always able to offer up a big bunch of studies that prove their point.

    The trouble is that often any given study (from either side) has been previously refuted, due to poor methodology, or lack of reproducibility. But they still keep getting pushed on the public anyway. And people are always quick to dismiss any research that was in any way funded by any interested party, which probably throws alot of babies out with the bathwater.

    To get to the truth requires so much research, the average person just can’t hack it. And often, they don’t even have access to the studies in question anyway. They’re locked away in expensive journals, unavailable to the public that oftentimes actually paid for the actual research in the first place.

    I really wish I could find that article I read before. I’m pretty sure it was in either Skeptical Enquirer, or Skeptic magazine. But I’ve gone through my entire collection of each, and couldn’t find it. It seemed like a very good review to me at the time, though I’m sure “skeptical” authors sometimes have unintentional biases of their own.

  • Bisphenol A also a kind of Adhesive, look to my blog about bisphenol A at

  • It is amazing to me that people think that something that was previously deemed harmless will suddenly start causing extensive harm. It just ain’t so.

    If there is something that was previously thought safe and we discover some problem with it, the problem will be on the order of maybe a maximum of 1 death per million users or even lower. People act like suddenly things like this are as harmful as cigarettes.

    People are simply unable to be logical about risk.

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