A big no to BPA replacements

Desiree Burns
September 16, 2018

BPA has always been used in bottles, cups, medical and dental devices, and as coatings for food-can linings and cash register receipts.

In 1999 scientist Patricia hunt noticed that most plastic products contain a chemical that destroys the hormones.

"This paper reports a unusual déjà vu experience in our laboratory", says Patricia Hunt of Washington State University. "It suggests these replacement bisphenols are not safe", Patrick Allard, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved with the study, tells Science. "We stumbled on an effect yet again. Importantly, when we tested the chemicals in controlled experiments, we got similar results for each of them".

The study concludes that these "findings add to growing evidence of the biological risks posed by this class of chemicals".

More recently, the WSU observed similar effects in mice housed in plastic cages - particularly worn or damaged ones - made with BPA alternatives.

Hunt and her colleagues say mice exposed to the common BPA replacement bisphenol S, or BPS, underwent changes in the way the germ cells in their testes and ovaries copy and splice DNA while producing sperm and eggs.

Substitutes for BPA plastics may have ingredients that cause similar problems as the product they're replacing. Both the latest study and one Hunt led 20 years ago that first signaled the hazards of BPA came about by accident, when she discovered that mice's reproductive systems were affected by plastic compounds leaching out of damaged cages.

A little bit of England will always be French, study finds
Dijkstra et al, Mapping a hidden terrane boundary within the mantle lithosphere with lamprophyres, Nature Communications (2018). Rocks from each site were subjected to a detailed chemical analysis in the lab using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry.

She adds that - although determining the levels of human exposure is hard - their controlled experiments were conducted using low doses of BPS and other replacement bisphenols thought to be relevant to exposure in people using BPA-free plastics.

Problems in the male germline lasted several generations after the initial exposure. They then conducted subsequent studies to show how chromosomal abnormalities can persist for up to three generations.

Hunt says more work is needed to determine whether some replacement bisphenols might be safer than others, noting that there are dozens of such chemicals now in use. She also suspects that other widely used and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including parabens, phthalates, and flame retardants, may be having similarly adverse affects on fertility that warrant much more study.

Alarm over the plastic ingredient bisphenol A has led to marketing campaigns boasting BPA-free products-and a reasonable assumption by consumers that such labeling indicates greater safety.

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