In 2012, global sales of BPA hit approximately $13bn USD, comprising about 6.5m tons of the material. That figure is expected to grow by about 5% annually, reaching $18.8bn by 2019.
BPA is a popular choice in food and beverage containers, thanks to its light weight, durability, clarity when used in plastic resin, and resistance to heat and electricity. Other industries favor the chemical for its fire-retarding properties.
This growth in demand for BPA coming from food packaging and processing firms, as well as other manufacturing sectors, marches on even though new claims that the material is dangerous to human health pop up on a daily basis.
For example, a report led by Laura N. Vandenburg with the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology at Tufts University (Massachusetts) looked at a wealth of scientific reports to delve into the low-dose effects of BPA in in vitro, lab animal and epidemiological studies.
According to the researcher’s low-dose findings, BPA’s potential effects in low doses includes reproductive effects, behavioral impact, altered immune response, changes in brain functions and others. While Vandenburg’s report does not issue an outright recommendation to ban the substance, she claims it at least warrants a further look.
“There do remain scientific data gaps and data needs that are worth pursuing,” she said.
Every time a researcher or advocacy group issues a statement claiming BPA’s harmful effects, industry associations whose members are involved in production of products containing BPA rise to defend their position.
John M. Rost, chair of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, told FoodQualityNews.com that the Vandenburg study was at best misleading and manipulative.
“There are constant BPA reports with links to certain illnesses and effects, but it is the job of the experts to do a risk assessment and evaluate the relevance to human health,” he said.