Plastics comes in many forms and shape. We the laymen have no idea how dangerous some of these plastics can be.
The hue and cry over the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonates is very real. Dr. Mustafa was instrumental in having the chemical banned in baby feeding bottles in Malaysia due to his research on BPA. The ban took effect on March 1, 2012 and is in line with Regulation 27A (1) of the Food Regulations 1985. Several countries worldwide later followed suit.
With effect from the regulation, the wordings “BPA free” was allowed to be labelled on feeding bottles not containing BPA. Why is BPA such a necessity? People like things that are sturdy and clean-looking. BPA was the answer to these requirements! It makes the plastic baby feeding bottles translucent and stiffer, while those without BPA has a less clear and “dirtier” look.
Up close – let’s get to know the plastic products.
So what’s so dreadful about BPA? BPA is able to mimic the female hormone, estrogen, and pass through the placenta from mother to baby. It can cause reproductive abnormalities – defective sex organ, reduce sperm counts and cause early puberty. Human exposure to BPA comes particularly from direct food contact with polycarbonate materials that contain BPA. Scientists have found that BPA can leach out from old polycarbonate bottles and tableware used by babies and children.
Do you know what Phthalates is?
What can we do about it?
There’s a lot of hype about the dangers of BPA. What’s important is to get the real facts and not the sensationalist stuff!
1. You may have traces of BPA in you
• If you have eaten anything that comes out of a can or used anything made from hard plastic, you may have taken in some BPA.
• Not all hard plastics contain BPA. Look for the recycling codes on your plastic products. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle code 7 may be made with BPA.
• If you avoid heating the plastic, there's a good chance you won't get a substantial amount of BPA in your system.
2. BPA has a number of harmful side effects
• Doctors have found that BPA can cause your estrogen levels to rise dramatically – males & females.
• Only prolonged exposure to BPA has been shown to cause negative side effects. If you're simply using canned goods every now and then, there's a good chance the BPA levels in your body won't affect you at all.
3. Avoid taking BPA into your system• Don’t become reliant on canned goods and plastic products.
• Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and only use canned goods when absolutely necessary.
• Check all of your plastic products to make sure they're not made using BPA.
4. Examine bottles and discardWorn or scratched bottles can harbour germs and in BPA-containing bottles, lead to greater release of BPA.
About the Scientist
Professor Dr. Mustafa Ali Mohd joined the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya as a lecturer in 1994 and was promoted to a full professor in 2005. He also holds the post of Deputy Dean at the same Faculty and is currently the Deputy Director (Development) of the University of Malaya Medical Centre.
He was instrumental in establishing the Shimadzu UMMC Centre for Xenobiotics Studies (SUCXes), a prominent and state of the art facilities for analysis of trace quantities of chemicals in the blood, environment, food & drugs. He helped the nation solve the melamine crisis by setting up a monitoring unit & analytical facilities in his lab. In 2010 Professor Dr. Mustafa was appointed as Expert panel for WHO on toxicity of BPA & melamine.
He has published more than 100 papers in international and national peer reviewed journals. He was awarded Excellent Scientist Award in 2005 and Top Research Scientist Malaysia in 2012.
The Science Engagement Session