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Asunto:[LEA-Venezuela] Compuestos químicos del plástico conectados con prob lemas de salud
Fecha:Lunes, 8 de Septiembre, 2008  07:25:18 (-0400)
Autor:Jorge Hinestroza <jlhinestroza>

Chemical in Plastic Is Connected to Health Problems in Monkeys

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 4, 2008; Page A02

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have linked a chemical found in
everyday plastics to problems with brain function and mood disorders in
monkeys -- the first time the chemical has been connected to health problems
in primates.
The study is the latest in an accumulation of research that has raises
concerns about bisphenol A, or BPA, a compound that gives a shatterproof
quality to polycarbonate plastic and has been found to leach from plastic
into food and water.
The Yale study comes as federal toxicologists yesterday reaffirmed an
earlier draft report finding that there is "some concern" that bisphenol A
can cause developmental problems in the brain and hormonal systems of
infants and children.
"There remains considerable uncertainty whether the changes seen in the
animal studies are directly applicable to humans, and whether they would
result in clear adverse health effects," John R. Bucher, associate director
of the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement. "But we have
concluded that the possibility that BPA may affect human development cannot
be dismissed."

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
the Yale team exposed monkeys to levels of bisphenol A deemed safe for
humans by the Environmental Protection Agency and found that the chemical
interfered with brain cell connections vital to memory, learning and mood.
"Our findings suggest that exposure to low-dose BPA may have widespread
effects on brain structure and function," the authors wrote. In contrast to
earlier research on rodents, the Yale researchers studied monkeys to better
approximate the way BPA might affect humans.
"Our goal was to more closely mimic the slow and continuous conditions under
which humans would normally be exposed to BPA," said study author Csaba
Leranth, a Yale professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive
sciences and of neurobiology.
BPA, in commercial use since the 1950s, is found in a wide variety of
everyday items, including sports bottles, baby bottles, food containers and
compact discs. One recent federal study estimated that the chemical is found
in the urine of 93 percent of the population.
The American Chemistry Council, a trade group, maintained yesterday that
"there is no direct evidence that exposure to bisphenol A adversely affects
human reproduction or development."
The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health,
has no power to regulate BPA, but its findings are used by other federal
agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA, which set
safe exposure limits for chemicals.
The FDA plays a critical regulatory role because it regulates the compound's
use in plastic food containers, bottles, tableware and the plastic linings
of canned foods.
The agency last month issued a draft report that declared BPA safe for use
in food packaging and bottles, based largely on the strength of two studies,
both funded by industry.
"Unfortunately the regulatory agency charged with protecting the public
health continues to rely on industry-based research to arrive at its
conclusions, rather than examining the totality of scientific evidence,"
Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, said in a statement yesterday. His committee is investigating the
FDA's handling of BPA.
U.S. manufacturers make about 7 billion pounds of BPA annually. A ban would
affect thousands of businesses and perhaps billions of dollars in profit for
its largest manufacturers.
Canada has said it intends to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles, and state
and federal lawmakers have proposed a variety of BPA bans. Sen. Charles E.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) is sponsoring a bill to prohibit BPA from children's
products, while Rep. Edward J. Markey(D-Mass.) wants to bar it from all food
and drink packaging.
"The FDA's assurances of BPA's safety are out of step with mounting
scientific evidence to the contrary," Markey said yesterday. "For the sake
of the health of every man, woman and child in America, we should ban BPA in
food and beverage containers, especially because there are alternatives
already available."
Several major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, have pledged to
drop BPA products next year while some makers of baby bottles and sports
bottles have switched to BPA-free plastic.