Are plastics dangerous? If you look around, you will easily find plastics in your kitchenware, disposable bottles, toys, television casing, and more. Plastics can make your life easier, but could they be making you ill? Right now the answer is unclear, but some precautions can be taken.

Certain plastics are made with a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA). The chemical helps plastic, particularly polycarbonate plastics, be lightweight but tough and able to withstand high heat and electrical resistance. These types of plastics may be used in baby bottles, hard water bottles, compact discs, dental sealants, and food containers. BPA is also used in epoxy resin, which is used as a protective liner in canned foods. Because of its widespread use, many have begun to question if BPA exposure is safe.

Some animal studies have shown that BPA may have a hormone-like effect in the body. BPA exposure in pregnant animals was found to have some negative effects on fetuses. Babies born to these animals also developed problems after exposure to BPA. In particular, changes occurred in:

  • Thyroid function
  • Brain growth
  • Behavioral development
  • Development of the pituitary gland

It is not clear if BPA exposure would cause the same changes in humans or if humans consume as much BPA as the lab animals were exposed to.