The phrase BPA free can now be spotted on an ever growing number of plastic water bottles. What’s all the fuss? Well to get you up to speed, BPA or Bisphenol-A was originally developed in the late 1930’s as a synthetic Estrogen. It has been used in all sorts of unrelated ways since that time. Most notably in the manufacture of plastic polycarbonate water bottles, where it adds durability to the plastic. It is largly found in plastic bottles with a recycling code #7 on the bottom of the bottle. To find out which type of bottle you have, look for the imprinted recycling triangle symbol located on the bottom of your plastic bottle. The number will be inside the triangle. BPA has also been used in a myriad of other ways, such as the spray-in resin liner located in the inside of canned goods, and in dental sealants. The problem is that BPA has been shown to leach out of the plastics when exposed to liquids and heat. Certain named brands of canned Tuna and Chicken soups have tested very high for levels of BPA, when they were sampled. This leaching of BPA into the food products or water that is being consumed by the public has an insidious effect on the endocrine system or hormone system. This is due to the fact that BPA is classed as a hormone disruptor and creates imbalances in your body’s delicate hormone levels. It has been implicated in recent research studies with increased male sexual dysfunction and changes in anatomical sexual traits in newborns. In simple salivary hormone testing done in my office, we have found that increasing numbers of males are showing higher than normal levels of estrogen that could be liked in part to consumption of BPA from these types of plastic bottles and canned goods. While we know that BPA isn’t the only cause of increased Estrogen in the body, it definitely merits a longer look. Many other countries in the world have removed it from use because of the known risks to public health. Even the oft-slow to react FDA, ran a multi-million dollar study in conjunction with the NIH to looks at the effects of BPA. The result was only a ban on it’s use in baby bottle and sippy cups. At the same time, they published a long list of steps that you should take to minimize exposure to BPA in the mean time. I believe that they are continuing to act in a business as usual approach and trying hard to juggle the difficult task of both allowing industry the time to find safer alternatives in a financially prudent way and to also appear proactive in the publics eye by studying the risks of BPA. Meanwhile, industry is leading the way and doing what they do best, chase the all mighty dollar. BPA is still in use today. Fortunately, they started producing BPA free products, because that is what the public demanded. Just remember that you have a say in what you put into your body and that “Choice Activism” works everytime you spend money you vote. Vote wisely.