There have been many gender-bending and adverse health issues associated with BPA (bisphenol-A), an oestrogen-mimicking molecule. It promotes a cascade of unhealthy biochemical activities that may lead to breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, neurological issues, low sperm counts, gender confusions, premature puberty and other issues with reproduction and giving birth.

BPA is used to add strength and flexibility to petroleum-based polycarbonate plastics. The plastics industry disagrees with BPA danger warnings and leans on an FDA study which concluded that low levels of BPA cause no harm.

Other than a few industry-backed “checkbook research” studies, the FDA study conclusion is ridiculous compared to a plethora of independent studies disagreeing with that conclusion. Besides, if the FDA is confident of there being no health dangers from low-dose oestrogen, why did they ban plastic baby bottles and plastic toddler drinking cups containing BPA in 2012?

Bisphenol-A was a 1930s lab discovery that was meant to be used medically for mimicking oestrogen. Then in the 1950s as plastics evolved, BPA was given widespread use in the plastics industry.

Besides leaching into the liquids and foods stored in BPA containers, various landfills stashed with many polycarbonate plastic items feed the groundwater with BPA. BPA has been discovered in natural waterways as well.

Even worse, a CDC program found that 90% of 2,517 participants tested, some as young as six years old, had high levels of BPA in their urine, which indicated even higher blood levels. But the CDC added that the study doesn’t prove adverse health reactions from BPA.

A recent BPA removal proposal

At the March 2014 American Chemical Society’s meeting and exposition in Dallas, a pair of researchers introduced an alternative to BPA which they say is as worthy a component of plastic as BPA, but without the toxic ramifications.

It’s sourced from tree lignins, which gives trees their strength and is a by-product of processing wood pulp for paper and other products. The researchers claim that it could be ready for production within five years.

Over 70 million tons of lignin wood pulp by-product is produced each year, dwarfing the 3.5 million tons of BPA produced worldwide. Currently, almost all the lignin by-product is burned for energy. But its energy-producing efficiency is low. So how’s a mere 3.5 million taken from 70 million going to affect inefficient energy output anyway?

The researchers developed a process that instead converts lignin fragments into a compound called bisguaiacol-F (BGF), which has a similar shape to BPA. They predict that it will act like BPA for supporting plastic strength and flexibility without the oestrogen-mimicking properties of BPA.

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, technology already exists for making biodegradable non-petroleum-based plastic that doesn’t require toxic additives.

The hemp solution

Hemp plastics are free from petroleum toxins and BPA. Industrial hemp can be cultivated without THC, the ingredient that gets one high. The technology and production ability already exists for this.

Industrial hemp has nothing to do with medical cannabis. Industrial hemp has been used for making paper and clothing for eons. Lately, research has uncovered ways of creating building materials and strong plastics from toxic-additive-free hemp.

Henry Ford built his “vegetable car” in 1941 partially from hemp. The car’s body was stronger than any other car body to date and didn’t dent or crack as it was pounded with sledge hammers.