Tara Parker-Pope takes on the hard plastics (bisphenol-a or BPA) in baby bottles and other items in today's Science section of The New York Times. The health blogger/journalist answers a few basic questions bothering parents. Like, what is the evidence that BPA is dangerous? Her expert, Dr. Michael D. Shelby, director of the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction at the Department of Health and Human Services says no one should be alarmed. The evidence comes from animal studies, mice exposed to BPA that afterwards showed changes in tissues "suggestive" of "potential" cancer and also, in the females, accelerated puberty. How much BPA does a baby get from using a plastic bottle? Apparently trace amounts.
What does that mean? Who knows? Unlike some other well-publicized parental bugaboos, I have very little sense of the real risk involved. Micrograms of a chemical substance put me into a state. Now IQ, depression, empathy, school readiness - these I understand and can put into perspective. I look forward to the review from the folks over at STATS. In the meantime, you can check out the Bisphenol-a Q&A over at CERHR.