Canada tracks BPA exposure, finds in most people

Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:27pm EDT
 
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bisphenol A, a widely used chemical that Canada is banning from baby bottles, is present in the bodies of 91 percent of Canadians, according to a report that shows just how prevalent the controversial chemical is in daily life.

Statistics Canada said Monday's report was the first time it has measured the extent that the industrial chemical, known as BPA, has been absorbed by people exposed to it.

"The real value in this is...for the very first time (we) have baseline information against which we can study trends and track what is happening with respect to bisphenol A exposure," said Tracey Bushnik, of Statscan's Health Analysis Division.

BPA is used in plastic bottles and as a coating for everything from shopping receipts to a lining for cans of foods, but it also has many other uses. [nN08153820].

Studies suggesting that low exposure levels early in life can affect neural development and behavior prompted Canada to announce plans to ban its use in baby bottles. Some consumer groups, citing research linking it to cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, want restrictions to be wider than that.

The Statscan report is based on a two-year survey that measures levels of exposure among Canadians to more than 80 chemicals and environmental contaminants.

It found a mean concentration of 1.16 micrograms per liter in the urine of Canadians tested. Teenagers had the highest concentrations of BPA, while children between 6 and 11 had higher concentrations then adults over 40.

That pointed to "continual widespread exposure" to the chemical among Canadians, the report said.   Continued...