Europe will tighten the limit for the hazardous plastic component a hundred thousand times. However, we will not be behind the water

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Bisphenol A is a widely produced chemical. Its world annual production is around seven million tons. It is often used as a component of plastics, such as polycarbonates, from which everything is made. We find it in plastics from CDs to drinking bottles.

It is also abundant in films used for food packaging. It is common, for example, in the foils that coat the inner walls of cans. From there, it can penetrate into food and beverages.

Bisphenol A has long been known to be an endocrine disruptor. This means that it disrupts the hormonal balance of various organisms, from mice to humans. Experiments on laboratory animals show that bisphenol A thus contributes to a number of health complications from obesity, through mental disorders to infertility.

In the European Union, the European Food Safety Authority, known as EFSA, monitors food safety. In 2015, it stipulated that we could consume 4 micrograms of bisphenol A per kilogram of body weight per day without harm. An 80-pound man could easily consume over 300 micrograms of bisphenol A per day.

This seemed too much to many experts on issues related to the effects of endocrine disruptors on human health. Now these skeptics are satisfied when EFSA revises the current limit in its new opinion and lowers it by a hundred thousand times. The new limit will be 0.04 nanograms per kilogram of live weight per day.

Chemical “white horses”

It might seem that we can rest. But we would fall asleep dangerously soon on our laurels. We live in a cocktail of about 2,500 endocrine disruptors. We eat them, we drink them, we inhale them, we get them into the body through the skin. Each of us has a different cocktail of these substances depending on where he lives, works, how and where he commutes, what he eats and what he drinks.

The resulting effect of these cocktails is largely unknown. Their effects can add, cancel or multiply each other. Just as nothing will kill an ox a hundred times, so a mixture of dozens of endocrine disruptors, none of which exceed the permitted limit, does not have to be left without effect. The fact that in economically developed countries a fifth of couples have a problem with the number of children, experts attribute, among other things, the effect of endocrine disruptors.

“Wisdom” in the case of bisphenol A is just a proverbial spit into the ocean. This is partly because the industry has long found “white horses” for bisphenol A – substances that are very similar to it chemically, but which are not known as well as bisphenol A. For these “white horses” a kind of “presumption of innocence”. Until the endocrine disruptor is convicted of serious damage to health, we look at it as a harmless substance.

Bisphenol A has been replaced by structurally very similar molecules such as bisphenol S, bisphenol F, bisphenol E or bisphenol AF. We also already have a lot of unpleasant evidence about their harmfulness, but so far scientists have not put enough on one pile to convince the responsible authorities.

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