This is your fetus’ brain on plastics


Bisphenol A, or BPA–found in all kinds of plastics, including food and beverage containers–is scary stuff. I wrote a term paper on its effects on the developing embryo as an undergrad. Now, a team at the University of Cincinnati has found that BPA shows negative effects in brain tissue “at surprisingly low doses.”

Bisphenol A-based polycarbonate is used as a plastic coating for children’s teeth to prevent cavities, as a coating in metal cans to prevent the metal from contact with food contents, as the plastic in food containers, refrigerator shelving, baby bottles, water bottles, returnable containers for juice, milk and water, micro-wave ovenware and eating utensils.

Earlier this year, Frederick S. vom Saal of the University of Missouri and Claude Hughes of East Carolina University found a striking pattern of bias in the reporting of research findings on bisphenol A. In the last 7 years (through December 2004), 115 relevant studies have been published. None of the 11 funded by industry reported adverse effects at low level, whereas 94 of 104 government-funded studies found effects. These many studies were conducted in academic laboratories in Japan, the US and Europe.

From the UC release:

In the face of more than 100 studies published in peer-reviewed journals showing the detrimental effects of BPA, Dr. [Scott] Belcher said, the chemical industry and federal regulatory agencies have resisted banning BPA from plastics used as food and beverage containers, despite the fact that plastics free of BPA and other toxic chemicals are available.

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