Cell phones cause brain tumors, tap water lowers your sperm count, breakfast cereals lead to ovarian cancer, and Teflon pans pose greater health risks than sunblock and deodorant combined. Wrong, wrong, endlessly wrong: Very Short List’s Science desk doesn’t put much stock in pseudo-scientific scare tactics. And so, when we first read about bisphenol A (or BPA) — a compound found in hard polycarbonates like Nalgene bottles and Tupperware — we took the news with a pinch of that other deadly substance: salt. A paper in the new Journal of the American Medical Association does, however, have us worried.
BPA is ubiquitous — more than 90 percent of Americans have it in their urine — and the FDA insists that it’s “safe at current levels of exposure.” But according to JAMA, people with high concentrations of BPA in their urine had double the normal risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver problems. While scientists are quick to point out that correlation doesn’t equal causation, the study builds on evidence demonstrating that in lab animals, at least, even low levels of BPA can lead to serious health problems. We all know that those billions of bottles are terrible news for the planet. Now it seems that they’re bad for our bodies as well.
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