Thursday, January 19, 2012

The National Children’s Study: Addressing the Debate over BPA

The debate over BPA began several years ago when scientific studies were suggesting that BPA present in our environment could have serious negative effects on our health.  Like any debate, there are at least two sides to a story, or in this case, a study.  In the case against BPA, preliminary research suggests that BPA may cause several health issues; however, most of these studies involve animal test subjects rather than humans, and for this reason some scientists do not believe that BPA could affect us to the same degree.

At ESP, we believe there may be a connection between BPA exposure and our health, which is why we are doing our best to educate consumers and give families a place where they can purchase non-toxic products based on their own beliefs and lifestyles. Our take on BPA can be categorized under the Precautionary Principle: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” In other words, we like to think it’s the “Better Safe than Sorry” principle where based on the research currently available, there are several proactive steps we as consumers can take to reduce our exposure to BPA. 

Currently, there is research underway to give us more insight into BPA under the National Children’s Study.  What makes this study different than one in the past is that it has an observational study that focuses on humans more so than animals.

The goal of this study, which began in 2000, is to “improve the health and well-being of children and contribute to understanding the role various factors have on health and disease.”  These factors include water, diet, environmental pollutants, and more.  The National Children’s Study will be the largest long-term of children’s health ever conducted in the United States.  Over the course of 21 years the study will follow 100,000 children, recording details about their environments and their habits.  The study will be conducted in a variety of locations across the country, including rural and urban populations and populations from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.  All in all, 105 different locations will be used.  With this information scientists will have a wealth of information to draw links between our environment and our health, including the effects of BPA.

After 7 years of planning, the piloting of their study design began in 2007.  Beginning this month the National Children’s Study is ready to begin the first year of their main study.  This is the first major step toward gaining observational data on BPA and our health…and we’ll be keeping our ears and eyes open for any new findings!

~ Jessica

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