Even Less to Fear About Plastics

Following up on Angela’s post:

What is even more egregious about the Post article on Bisphenol A (BPA) is that it fails to put BPA exposure into the proper risk perspective. The principle reason that the National Toxicology Program was reviewing BPA is that its chemical structure is similar to that of estrogen. While this may sound ominous, what the Post article fails to mention is that we are constantly exposed to a variety of other estrogen mimicking compounds in our everyday diet, not from manmade chemicals, but from compounds produced by plants themselves — so called phytoestrogens. All legumes, for example contain estrogen mimicking compounds with soy products being one of the largest contributors.

It would have been helpful if the Post had compared the levels of exposure of phytoestrogens to the level of exposure to BPA in order to give readers a basis of comparison with which to judge the risk. In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences published its study, “Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment,” and estimated the potential daily human exposure of various estrogens. According to the NAS study the estimated exposure to BPA in food cans was 6.3 micrograms per day, and BPA in beverage containers was less than 0.75 micrograms per day. By comparison, the exposure to phytoestrogens was estimated at 1,000,000 micrograms per day. Given the huge relative disparity between the exposure to phytoestrogens as compared to BPA concentrations, the risk of BPA in consumer products appears to be about the same as tablespoon of soymilk.