COMMENTARY: Bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen, is wreaking havoc with the health of Americans in particular. China and Canada alike have deemed BPA a dangerous chemical, but the U.S. seems to be oblivious to the connection between its super-sized citizens and this chemical that has been linked to ailments such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
While lifestyle definitely factors into the growing obesity problem, scientists are noting that not only are children and adults fattening up at a rate double that of 30 years ago; newborns, lab rodents, pets and wildlife that live in close proximity to humans are also gaining weight. This shines a light on the fact that maybe calorie intake is not the only thing driving the epidemic. Can a person really say infants, pets and wildlife are suddenly getting lazy too?
Angel Nadal, a BPA expert at Spain's Miguel Hernandez University, said, "When you eat something with BPA, it's like telling your organs that you are eating more than you are really eating."
Nadal published his latest research in PLoS ONE, last week. His findings show that the chemical triggers the release of double the insulin necessary to break down food. High insulin levels desensitize the body which leads to weight gain. This chemical also plays a large part in the current surge in Type 2 diabetes according to his studies. With half of the developed world overweight and over 250 million people suffering from diabetes, this study should not be taken lightly.
Previously the BPA's chemical mechanism was suspected, but had eluded scientists. Long-term studies have been conducted, but doubt remained because the phenomenon was not understood. Now that Nadal's team pinpointed the connection, there is no denying that this chemical is messing with the health of the public.
Earlier this year I read an article that outlined seven foods experts won't eat. The number one food on the list was canned tomatoes. This bummed me out. Canned tomatoes were one of my staple foods, especially in the winter. The expert interviewed, Fredrick vom Saal, PhD said, "You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, I won't go near canned tomatoes." Vom Saal is an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri and his words only emphasize this study.
Understandably, the chemical industry disagrees with his findings. Kathryn Murray St. John, a spokesperson for the American Chemistry council said, "BPA is one of the most thoroughly tested chemicals used today and has a safety track record of 50 years."
Even if this lobbying agency is correct and BPA is not the big bad wolf like the study claims, since WWII over 80,000 synthesized chemicals have been issued. Even if they are all deemed safe on their own, what about the potential interactions creating dangerous cocktails?