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Living in a Saran-Wrapped Society

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Everyone is lazy once in a while and cooking dinner is probably the last thing they want to do. So, they opt for the easy way out, pulling out yesterday’s saran-wrapped leftovers. Little do they know that they are actually consuming harmful chemicals such as phthalates and bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA. Before the plastic era, food came wrapped in wax paper and water, milk, and other liquids came in glass bottles. But these items were replaced when scientists found that BPA could be made into a shatterproof material (Layton 1). Glass bottles became obsolete and wax paper seemed to disappear. But lately, studies have shown that BPA can get into your bloodstream rather easily, can cause harm to fetuses and infants, and can be linked to many life-threatening diseases. That’s why the FDA needs to ban these harmful chemicals from the items we use in our everyday lives.

BPA resides in most plastics, which you can easily find and be exposed to at your local grocery store. However, the FDA does not require plastic manufacturing companies to state that BPA and other chemicals are in their items (Layton 1). Not knowing what you’re being exposed to is like walking blindfolded into a burning building: dangerous. The main way that BPA gets into the body is through food. When plastic wrap is put over a hot meal, the heat causes the BPA to seep into the food (White 70-73). No one would intentionally spoon harmful chemicals into their body but with plastic wrap, that’s what is happening. CDC, or Center of Disease Control, studies have shown that ninety percent of Americans have large, detectable amounts of BPA in their systems (Hoffman 1). All of those harmful chemicals are swirling around with the blood in your body at a fast pace, wreaking havoc as they go. BPA is not leaving the body any time soon with people so openly exposed to it.

Although plastic may be more convenient for the kitchen and storage, people’s health should outweigh convenience every time. It is also well known that plastic cookware is cheaper and more available than glass. But should health really be on the line because of money and availability? Heating up leftovers or TV dinners in plastic containers causes food to absorb BPA faster than if it were cold (White 70-73). Not only is BPA seeping into the food faster, more is being consumed. That’s like eating your own rising medical bill.

With all that BPA around inside and outside the body, it’s not a big surprise that it can also affect unborn fetuses and the ability to reproduce. BPA causes damage, such as uterine and prostate tumors, to the reproductive system (White 70-73). Having these problems and knowing that they could stop your ability to have and love more children would be devastating. BPA can also get to a fetus through the placenta or through seeping into breast milk (White 70-73). That is like feeding a helpless baby risks that could affect their health throughout their lives. BPA acts like estrogen, which is a hormone that is crucial to organ development and later on, puberty (Barot 18-22). That baby born with the hole in its heart or the dysfunctional lung might’ve been healthy if it wasn’t for the BPA that was fed into their system before they could do anything to stop it.
On top of harming fetuses and damaging the reproductive system, BPA has been linked to many harmful diseases and reduced bodily function. Studies have shown that BPA can be a cause of heart disease, diabetes, liver problems, and breast cancer (Shelton). Since BPA mimics estrogen, it causes the levels of the chemical in the body to rise, which is known to be a main factor of breast cancer (Knopper 26-35). Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women (“CDC-Women’s Health…”). It’s scary to think that a chemical that the body is so openly exposed to can cause such a deadly disease. BPA has also been linked to decreased lung function in men (Conis F1). A lack of oxygen can cause damage to the brain and in a lot of cases, a stroke (Cerebral hypoxia…). With BPA around, the human brain is being forced to fight a battle that if nothing is done to lessen the amount of the chemical, it will eventually lose. It’s sad to know that while BPA can cause all of these diseases and poor body functions, it is still a legal substance.

BPA and other chemicals are causing more damage to an already surprisingly fragile society. Plastic in the United States is so largely available, that BPA can get into the human body with little resistance. Once it’s in, it can cause harm to fetuses and damage the reproductive system. It is life-threatening and has been linked to many deadly diseases and poor bodily function. But even with all of these dangers, the chemicals are still legal. The FDA needs to ban them from our society before it’s too late.

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