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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily Gouin April 19, 2024

More should be done to protect us from BPA

Often, television news attempts to scare us with larger-than-life issues. Local news, especially, berates us with short commercials that tell us something that might directly affect us health-wise and then encourages us to learn about it on their show at six or 11.

Personally, I’ve become sort of numb to all the talk of health risks from the lining of pots and pans and the long-term adverse health affects of keeping cell phones in our pockets.

So, a few days ago, when I scanned the headlines of cnn.com and saw that they were doing a report on five chemicals that may be harmful to us, I was skeptical. How harmful were these chemicals, really?

Tom Cory / NW

Then I saw the description of a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found BPA in the urine of 93 percent of the people it tested. Which means, in essence, almost all of the people reading this sentence are infected.

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The high rate of people who have the chemical in their system shocked me. I don’t understand how so many people could have this chemical in their system and not even know it.

BPA is called a “chemical of concern” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is found in water bottles, the lining of metal food and infant formula cans, plastic food containers and baby bottles. Humans are exposed to low levels of it over time as they use these products.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means it can mimic the effects of hormones in the body and disrupt their function. This could lead to negative health affects, as the endocrine system is very sensitive.

The EPA has set a level of how much exposure humans can have to this chemical and still be safe.

Yet many studies over the past decade have shown that lab animals exposed to similar levels of Bisphenol A have higher rates of diabetes, neurological problems, mammary and prostate cancers, decreased sperm count, early puberty and obesity.

For once, I’m glad to see that the scare tactics employed by 24 hour news networks and local news are actually warranted. The high rate of exposure to this chemical is extremely alarming. Once learning of this distressing phenomena, I was quick to research what was being done to protect us.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did acknowledge the concern about the chemical in a January 2010 report, saying “the FDA shares the perspective … that recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA.”

Yet FDA is neglecting to take steps to lower the rate of how much of this chemical can be exposed to humans, because the report also went on to say that there is too much variation in the studies which have been conducted to pursue an adequate course of action at this time.

It seems to me, though, that if so many Americans are already infected, the FDA should be acting quickly to help resolve this problem.

Regardless of the variation between studies, the fact remains that many of us have been exposed to this chemical.

This affects the individuals behind desks at the FDA as much as it does the readers of this column.

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