2010年10月19日火曜日

カナダ BPAを有毒物質に認定

カナダはBPAを有毒物質に認定した。
 カナダ政府は、プラスチック原料や缶詰内面の塗装剤などに使われて
いるBPAを、有毒な化学物質と認定した。

BPAをめぐっては、動物実験の結果から、これまで安全と考えられてきた
量より少ない摂取量でも、内分泌かく乱化学物質(環境ホルモン)として、
乳幼児の神経や行動に影響を及ぼす恐れが指摘されている。

欧州食物安全局が、BPAを含む化学製品は健康被害をもたらさないと
言った二週間後に、加は、世界で始めて、BPAを有毒物質に認定した。
仏、デンマーク、豪、米国では、個別に用途を制限しているようだ。

BPA
プラスチック水差し、医療装置、ホッケーヘルメット、携帯電話
ハウジング、コンピュータ、自動車のバンパー、エポキシ樹脂等の消費製品
で広く使用。

BPAの規制がそのうち始まる。
人間の口に直接入れなければと考えても、食物連鎖で結局人間の口に入る
ことになる。使用禁止にすると、代替品があるものは良いがないものは
影響が大きい。環境を取るか経済を取るか究極の選択かもしれない。

BPA 子供に影響か


---「ビスフェノールA」は有毒 カナダが認定、規制強化へ---
2010年10月15日 11時29分
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2010101501000277.html

 【ワシントン共同】米メディアによると、カナダ政府は14日までに、プラスチック原料や缶詰内面の塗装剤などに使われているビスフェノールA(BPA)を、有毒な化学物質と認定した。
 カナダでは既に、BPAを含む哺乳瓶の販売を禁止する措置を取っており、BPAを含む塗装剤を使った粉ミルクの缶の規制や、工場から環境へのBPA排出の削減に乗り出すとみられる。本格的な対策に乗り出すのはカナダが初めてという。
 BPAをめぐっては、動物実験の結果から、これまで安全と考えられてきた量より少ない摂取量でも、内分泌かく乱化学物質(環境ホルモン)として、乳幼児の神経や行動に影響を及ぼす恐れが指摘されている。このため米国や日本でも安全性を再評価している。
 ロイター通信によると、カナダの保健相は「BPAは人の健康や環境に悪影響を与える恐れがある」と説明。一方、化学産業界は「判断はカナダ保健当局の研究結果や欧州連合の政策と矛盾している」と反発している。


---Canada declares Bisphenol A toxic---
(AFP) - 20101015
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gPtEOraKvc4gOS90zK4WACV-9Kjg?docId=CNG.bd6bd0d86d63f1a0e61b464e310712d2.dc1

OTTAWA - Canada has become the first country in the world to declare as toxic Bisphenol A, a compound used in many consumer products, despite opposition by the chemical industry.

The move comes only two weeks after the European Food Safety Authority said the chemical, commonly referred to as BPA and used in some baby bottles and plastic and canned food packaging, poses no health risks.

France and Denmark, as well as Australia and some US states, however, have independently limited its uses.

On Wednesday, the compound was formally listed without fanfare by the Canadian government as being toxic to both the environment and human health in an official notice.

"A scientific assessment of the impact of human and environmental exposure to Bisphenol A has determined that this substance constitutes or may constitute a danger to human health and the environment," said the announcement in the Canada Gazette.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Canada is the first country to take such "bold action."

"Canadians can rest assured that we are working hard to monitor and manage Bisphenol A," added Environment Minister Jim Prentice.

BPA is made from petroleum and, according to the government, Canadians are exposed primarily through food packaging.

Canada was also the first to ban its use in baby bottles in October 2008 after tests showed it can affect neural development and behaviour in laboratory animals exposed in the womb or very early in life.

As well, it may be concern for human fertility, as it has been shown to disrupt hormone systems in animals.

Over 130 studies over the past decade have also linked even low levels of BPA to serious health problems, breast cancer, obesity and the early onset of puberty, among other disorders.

The chemical industry has disputed its impact on humans, and it is still widely used in plastic water jugs, medical devices, hockey helmets, mobile phone housings, computers, car bumpers, carbonless papers and other consumer products.

Bisphenol A is also used in the manufacture of epoxy resins, which act as a protective lining on the inside of metal-based food and beverage cans.

Global production of the chemical was estimated at four billion kilograms per year in 2006.

Approximately half a million kilograms was imported annually into Canada in products, but this has decreased substantially since 2006, according to an industry survey.


---Europe Says Bisphenol A. Is Safe. But...---
David Ropeik
Author, "How Risky Is It, Really?"
Posted: October 6, 2010 02:18 PM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-ropeik/bisphenol-a-europe-says-i_b_748914.html

BPA x EFSA x FDA should = SAFE, right? Both the European Food Safety Authority and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have studied the science on Bisphenol A and, at the moment, they say that at the tiny doses most people consume, it's safe. The Europeans just reviewed more than 800 studies on BPA and "they could not identify any new evidence that would lead them to revise the current tolerable daily intake -- the level below which EFSA scientists think there is no risk. EFSA also said "the data currently available do not provide convincing evidence of neurobehavioural toxicity of BPA."

But several other governments say the same evidence does convince them, at least enough to ban certain uses of BPA, particularly in baby bottles. BPA x Denmark x Canada x several states in the U.S. = not safe, or, at least, not sure. And that's why this case is so interesting. It's not about what we know. It's about how we choose to keep ourselves safe when we don't know. How do we deal with uncertainty when our health is on the line?

The Canadian position on BPA captures this conundrum perfectly. "Health Canada's Food Directorate has concluded that the current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants." Pretty direct. Even a country that banned it says the doses we currently get are safe. But then they go on to say they are banning its use in baby bottles "due to the uncertainty [my emphasis] raised in some animal studies relating to the potential [again, my emphasis] effects of low levels of BPA." Most of the bans around the world say the same thing. They are being precautionary in light of evidence suggesting that BPA may be a health threat, instead of waiting until the evidence confirms one way or another whether BPA actually is bad for us.

What do we do with risks like this? Better Safe Than Sorry make sense, right? It feels right, anyway, although lots of times we make decisions about risk that feel right but actually make things worse. Worried about anything that raises the emotionally-compelling risk of cancer, we replaced a chemical solvent used to clean circuit boards with the non-carcinogenic chlorofluorocarbons that ripped a hole in the ozone layer. Freaked out about nuclear power, another cancer risk, we ended up with energy policy heavily weighted toward fossil fuels that kill tens of thousands from fine particle pollution, and fuel global climate change. Worry at the expense of reason doesn't seem like the smartest way to make social policy.

But reason, as glowing a goal as that is, is an unreasonable expectation. You and I are not nearly expert enough or informed enough to figure BPA out on our own. Regarding scientific evidence that some governments find convincing enough to ban BPA, EFSA said "these studies have many shortcomings. At present the relevance of these findings for human health cannot be assessed..." Geez, if the experts can't decide, how are we supposed to judge?

That's where a different science comes in. Not the toxicology, but the psychology of risk perception. And that science is pretty clear. Uncertainty about a risk makes it scarier. In addition, the fact that a risk like BPA is human-made makes it scarier than if the same substance were natural. Risks from sources we don't trust, like the chemical industry, are scarier. Risks that fit stigmatized patterns of what we've already learned to automatically worry about, like industrial chemicals, are scarier. Risks to kids? Whoa! Way scarier!

That's a lot of reasons why something like BPA fuels a lot of concern. And it explains why some governments, even those that acknowledge the stuff is safe, are taking a precautionary approach, particularly with the risk it may pose to kids... note that the bans are mostly on baby bottles. All those psychological characteristics make BPA scary. And scary is enough to prompt governments -- which are, after all, made up of politicians who like to keep voters happy so they can keep their jobs -- to act. Listen to the Canadian Environment Minister John Baird in announcing the ban: "Many Canadians, especially mothers of babies and small children in my own constituency of Ottawa West-Nepean, have expressed their concern to me about the risks of bisphenol A in baby bottles." Concern is not the same as evidence of harm.

But it's real, and in a democracy, how we feel must be respected. So the formula really ought to look like this: BPA x Uncertainty x Human-Made x Lack of Trust x Risk Belongs to Stigmatized category x Kids at Risk = Concern. We don't know if BPA is safe. Experts don't either -- though industry experts seem sure it is, and environmental health experts seem pretty sure it's not. I have no clue. Let me repeat that for all my environmental and industry friends. I am not nearly expert enough to know whether BPA is safe or harmful.

But I have read up on and written about what smart scientists have learned about how we deal with risks like this, and BPA is a classic case of how, as much as we'd like to think our thinking brain can figure out risks like this based on the facts, in the end it's not just about the facts, but how those facts feel.

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