An independent panel of scientists in the United States has begun a review of the controversial synthetic chemical bisphenol A, whichiscommonly found in household goods such as plastic food and beverage containers.
Nearly three billion kilograms of bisphenol A or BPA are used to make consumer products each year, and trace amounts of the synthetic estrogen leach into food and drinksand are absorbed by the human body.
BPA has been linked to adverse health effects in rodents, including obesity, cancer and insulin resistance. And there is growing concern that BPA exposure, even in low levels, may cause similar adverse effects in humans. However,there arediscrepancies in the findings of government-funded and industry experiments that have studiedBPA.
The panel convened by the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health is expected to make a recommendation onwhether exposure toBPA is hazardous to human development or reproduction.
"I'm of theopinion that the recent research is showing more and more concern with ubiquitous exposure,"Dr. Alan Abelsohntold CBC News.
A spokesman for the chemical industry said in a statement that BPA has been studied by government and scientists around the world and that "these evaluations support the conclusion that bisphenol A is not a risk to human health."
In Canada, government scientistswill review BPA later this year.
But activists, including Environmental Defence's executive director Rick Smith, want a complete ban on BPA.
"I think the fight to get rid of this thing over the next few years is going to be a knock-down drag-em-out brawl," he told CBC News.
"It's a failure of government regulation," he said. "It's impacting people's health in a negative way and it doesn't have to be … the case."