The Endocrine Society, a professional organization of scientists who do hormone research, on June 10, 2009, issued a statement calling for better scientific studies into health effects of the plastic-hardening compound bisphenol A (BPA) and other substances suspected of disrupting the body’s endocrine functions (EDCs).
BPA, a synthetic estrogen, is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate water bottles and other food packaging; baby bottles; the epoxy resin lining of cans; and PVC water pipes. The National Institutes of Health has found that it can leach into food and beverages; a May  report from researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that hard-plastic drinking bottles containing BPA leach “notable amounts of the controversial chemical into people’s bodies,” The Boston Globe reported May 22, 2009.
Studies, including those presented at The Endocrine Society’s annual meeting June 10-13 in Washington, have reported that exposure to BPA and other EDCs affect male and female development, prostate cancer, thyroid disease and cardiovascular disease.
[...] The Endocrine Society said, “Results from animal models, human clinical observations and epidemiological studies converge to implicate EDCs as a significant concern to public health.”
During the society’s 91st Annual Meeting, several studies were presented that show BPA can affect the hearts of women and can permanently damage the DNA of mice, UPIand ScienceDaily recently reported. Scientists also reported during the meeting that human exposure to BPA may be much higher than the recommended safe daily dose, entering the human body from a variety of sources, UPI reported June 11, 2009.
The Endocrine Society is urging humans to avoid using products that are known to contain BPA and other EDCs, according to its statement. It also stated the Society’s intent to actively engage “in lobbying for regulation seeking to decrease human exposure to the many endocrine-disrupting agents.”
New US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said this month that the agency is reexamining its position about the safety of BPA in food containers. [In] December , the FDA agreed to continue to its review of BPA in food contact applications, while maintaining the position that the chemical is safe. That decision followed a finding in October  by a panel of FDA scientific advisors that FDA’s draft safety assessment of the chemical in food contact applications was inadequate. In August 2008, the FDA said that the public was not at risk from BPA, as WaterTech Online® reported.
The American Chemical Council (ACC) June 10 released a statement in response to the recent Endocrine Society research. In its statement, the ACC said: “These brief presentations on unpublished research are difficult to assess for significance to human health, since they have not been peer-reviewed or published in scientific literature and few details are available in conference abstracts. Bypassing the scientific process in favor of sensational press releases is a scare tactic that will not promote public health.”
Health Canada, the Canadian national health agency, said it has no safety concerns about the presence of the plastic-hardening chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in 18.5-liter (5-gallon) polycarbonate drinking water bottles, according to a recent report on the Health Canada Web site.
“The levels of BPA in these containers were very low and pose no safety concerns,” Health Canada reported, citing findings of a study by its Bureau of Chemical Safety entitled “Survey of Bisphenol A in Bottled Water Products.”
In April 2009, scientists at Goethe University found that polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastics, of which individual bottled water containers commonly are made, may contain hormone-disrupting chemicals that leach into the water, Discovery News reported. According to researchers, it now appears that some as-yet-unidentified chemicals in PET plastics have the potential to interfere with estrogen and other reproductive hormones in the same manner that BPA and phthalates are suspected of doing.
Source: WaterTech Online, 12 Jun 2009 ; WaterTechn Online, 16 Jul 2009 ; WaterTech Online, 28 Apr 2009