Canada has just given us one more reason to use metal, glass or ceramic water containers. According to the CBC, Health Canada’s classification of bisphenol A (BPA) as a dangerous substance is imminent.
The chemical, found in plastic water and baby bottles, food containers, toys, sippy cups, pacifiers and nalgene bottles has raised red flags for environmentalists and health advocates for some time. In fact, it was first studied in the 1930s and discovered to have adverse effects on the body’s natural estrogen. Still, the substance is so pervasive that it is found in the urine of 93% of Americans over the age of six. A 2006 National Toxicology Program Report (PDF) called for further study, potentially linking BPA to breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty in females, insulin resistance and behavioral changes.
If the expected announcement comes, Health Canada will become the first regulatory body in the world to definitively rule that BPA endangers people and the environment. National health care, a strong dollar and sane regulatory bodies? It’s one more reason to move to Canada! Their new motto can be “Come to Canada, We Don’t Poison Our Children”.
The plastic industry defends the chemical, saying it has been widely used for 50 years. Well, blood letting as a remedy for illness was widely used for hundreds of years. That didn’t make it a good thing.
A ruling on controlling exposure to BPA is expected to come within a year of the report. In the meantime, a number of retailers are pulling items containing BPA off the shelves including the Frozani Group, Canada’s largest sporting-goods retailer, Wal-Mart Canada, Canadian Tire, Lululemon Athletica, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Hudson’s Bay Company.
Certainly, U.S. health advocates will point to the Canadian ruling and the 2006 report as cause to pull BPA containing products off the shelves in U.S. stores. But whether that will happen remains to be seen. In the meantime, us non-Canadians can choose to drink our drug laden tap water out of aluminum bottles that we really hope aren’t leeching anything toxic! If they are, we will look to Canada to let us know.