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Should you fear a chemical inside metal food containers like the ones that hold beans? Government scientists say no.
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Maybe BPA isn't so bad after all.
The plastic additive has been vilified by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are reporting in the journal Toxicological Sciences .
The results "both support and extend the conclusion from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that BPA is safe as currently used," says Daniel Doerge. a research chemist with the FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research .
Scientists agree that in large doses, BPA can act a bit like the hormone estrogen. But there's been a lot of debate about whether the tiny amounts found in people have the potential to cause problems.
has received a lot of attention because the chemical leaches out of many products, including polycarbonate water bottles and the lining of metal food containers. As a result, "Nearly everyone in the U.S. will have traces of BPA in their urine," Doerge says.
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So Doerge and his colleagues have been working with scientists from the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health to see if there are any effects from this low-level exposure.
And even when rats got more than 70,000 times what a typical American ingests, there was no change in body weight, reproductive organs or hormone levels, the scientists reported. "In the low-dose range, there really were no biologically significant changes observed at all," Doerge says.