According to an article published in WebMD Health News, two recent studies suggest that the plastic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is not toxic to the brain and that it does not inhibit the development of the human reproductive system. One of the studies was funded by the plastics industry. Both studies were originally published in Toxicological Sciences.
BPA is an organic chemical compound, which is used as an additive or building block in several plastics. Its primary purpose is to harden plastic. For this reason, BPA is found in a wide variety of consumer products such as plastic bottles, cups, and even baby milk bottles.
“Some experts are concerned that exposure to BPA and its weak estrogen-like effects, especially during critical periods of development, may be linked to a range of health hazards, including behavioral effects, reproductive problems, cancers, heart disease, and diabetes.”
The two studies in question were designed to specifically study the impact of BPA on the brain and the reproductive system. Both studies used animal models. The study that focused on neurotoxicity found that female rats and their litters did not develop neurological defects from exposure to BPA. The study that focused on BPA’s impact on the reproductive system found that rats exposed to low doses of BPA in utero and throughout the breastfeeding period maintaind healthy reproductive systems.
Notwithstanding these new findings, many remain concerned about the toxicity of BPA. Even the FDA reversed its position regarding the safety of BPA in January 2010 and called for additional research on the subject. Previous studies appear to suggest that BPA is toxic. For example, in an article published in Reproductive Toxicology in 2007, 38 experts agreed that average levels of BPA in humans are above those that appear to cause harm in animals. In 2009, an article publushed in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, sumarized past BPA research and concluded that:
“The potential for BPA to influence body weight is suggested by in vitro studies demonstrating effects of BPA on adipocyte differentiation, lipid accumulation, glucose transport and adiponectin secretion. Data from in vivo studies have revealed dose-dependent and sex dependent effects on body weight in rodents exposed perinatally to BPA. The mechanisms through which perinatal BPA exposure acts to exert persistent effects on body weight and adiposity remain to be determined.”
Another study published in the Journal of American Medical Association specifically addressed the impact of BPA on humans. The study concluded that there was a strong positive correlation between the amount of BPA in a person’s urine and the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and enzyme abnormalities. These are just a few of the many research studies suggesting a link between BPA and varous medical complications.
Contributing Author: Jon Stefanuca