The whole fuss about BPA in water bottles and baby bottles is making me crazy.

First, there is no good science that shows any deleterious effects in humans at normal levels of BPA consumption.

Second, it’s pretty hard to make polycarbonate water bottles (or baby bottles, for that matter) leach much BPA. Hard plastics like polycarbonate are pretty stable. You have to heat them up for a good while before you’ll get any significant BPA out of them — and even then, the amount that leaches is well under the recommended consumption limit.

Third, bottles are a wildly minor source of estrogenic compounds. That white stuff that lines cans of food, including baby formula? Full of BPA, and cans leach much more than polycarbonate baby bottles. Also, meat, soy, and lots of herbs and vegetables. But I don’t see anyone banning tofu or soymilk or celery or tinned tomatoes. Quite the opposite: the soymilk-and-tofu crowd have been loudly demanding action on polycarbonate bottles. Soymilk in a stainless-steel sippy cup isn’t exactly the improvement, estrogenically speaking, that they think it is.

But most importantly, it’s yet another example of worrying about the wrong thing — a ban on BPA-containing baby bottle is a small and pointless trick that gives the illusion of action and control, designed to make us happy while distracting us from the bigger issue. BPA is not the issue. The issue here is that we’re eating the wrong things because our system of food production is focused on “products”, not on food — and most definitely not on health. But it’s so much easier to take advantage of people’s poor risk-assessment skills to pick on one unfamiliar, unpronounceable chemical than it is to even mention that maybe, just maybe, we should do something about the way we produce and consume food.