BPA-free plastics also harmful
When bisphenol A (BPA), commonly used in plastic packaging, was found to cause endocrine disruption 20 years ago, manufacturers began to use its replacements (mainly bisphenol S – BPS). However, it turns out that BPA substitutes are just as harmful as the original.
Twenty years ago, scientists at Washington State University made an accidental discovery. A sudden increase in the number of abnormal cells was observed in rodents kept in the laboratory for testingoegg sharks. Researchers spent a long time looking for the source of theothe root of the problem. Once they had checked almost every factor, including the air in the lab, it was noted that the plastic cages in which theorych mice were kept, they are rubbed in several places and look damaged.
It turned out that the plastic, whichorego cages were made, under the influence of contact with the wrong cleaning agent (to flooro(g), have begun to release the bisphenol A contained in them, also known under the skrowith the name BPA. The study confirmed that the plastic, built to resemble female sex hormones – estrogens, is responsible for changes in the endocrine system of mice.
Now the same scientists whoothose who discovered the dangerous effects of BPA noted that substitutes for this plastic used by manufacturersoin (mainlyownie other bisphenols – primarily bisphenol S – BPS) can also disrupt endocrine function and appear to cause similar problems in mice as BPA. Research on the subject appeared in the journal „Current Biology”.
– I have a strange impression déjà vu – said Patricia Hunt of Washington State University. She was the first to turnotion 20 years ago that this plastic could cause a problem in mice. Scientists bumped into the harmful effects of the substituteoin BPA in a similar wayob, which previously. The researchers again noticed changes in laboratory animals and again searched all possible sources ofoThe source of the problem ending up in plastic cages, whichore once again found to be a source ofogave the problemow. However, this time the harmful effects were more subtle than before.
After the situation was brought under control, scientists conducted additional studies to see what effects several substitute bisphenols, including BPS a commonly used BPA substitute, have on the body of mice. This study confirmed that BPA substitutes cause very similar chromosomal abnormalities to those observed years earlier in studies on BPA.
BPA is a widely used plastic. It’s durable and, moreover, transparent. Unfortunately, BPA particles are easily precipitated from plastic packaging, and the plastic is still used in such a wide range of productsoin consumer products that daily exposure is inevitable.
„Humans can absorb BPA through skohand with BPA-contaminated particles productoin personal care. These molecules can be found in water and other food products in plastic packaging. We even absorb it along with dust in the air” – admitted Hunt at the „The Conversation”.
However, whether BPA is dangerous to our health remains a cause of heated debate. „Although data from traditional toxicology studies provide little or no evidenceoin on the harmfulness of these compoundsow for humans, independent researchers like us have reported effects caused by very low doses of. The consequences of these low doses on human health and reproduction have attracted the attention of mediow and increased the concernoj consumerow. In response, manufacturers introduced BPA replacements structurally similar bisphenols. As a result, we are not dealing only with BPA, but with a whole range of bisphenols” – noted Hunt.
Researchers at Washington State University and others working on this problem have shown over the past few years that exposure to BPA affects the developing mozg, heart, lungs or prostate. It is causing roThey also seriously disrupted egg and sperm productionow. To make matters worse, the effects of exposure do not disappear with the removal of BPA, and its effects on the endocrine system have persisted for three generations. At least in rodents, whichore passed on the disturbances to offspring.
Hunt acknowledged that more research is needed to determine whether someore bisphenol substitutes may be safer than other. She noted roalso that dozens of such compounds are currently in useoIn chemical. Moreover, the researcher suspects that other widely used compounds, such as phthalates and parabens, roalso can disrupt hormones and have adverse effects on fertility.
Rozwoj technology is now very fast, and the regulatory agencies responsible for assessing the safety of productow do not keep up with checking new chemicals. In addition, as illustrated by bisphenol substitutes, it is easier and more cost-effective under current regulations to replace a questionable chemical with structural analogs than to identify features thatore make it dangerous.
Hunt stressed that plastic products, whichore show physical signs of damage or aging, they cannot be considered safe.