BPA-free plastics not as safe as previously thought

By Brooks Hays  |  March 4, 2014 at 11:20 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

AUSTIN, Texas, March 4 (UPI) -- After studies linked bisphenol A, or BPA, to heightened estrogenic activity (EA) -- which has been associated with a variety of health risks, especially in infants in utero or nursing newborns -- moms and dads began ridding their cabinets of plastic baby dishes and cups, buying up BPA-free plastics instead.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently produced a study and maintained its position that BPA has no effects in low doses, contested by some scientists, many plastics are still marketed as BPA-free after a spate of national concern.

But a recent {link:report by Mother Jones: "http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tritan-certichem-eastman-bpa-free-plastic-safe target="_blank"} has drawn attention to a 2011 study that suggests BPA-free plastics may be leaching just as much synthetic estrogen.

In a study published in the NIH journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers at the University of Texas-Austin 455 store-bought food containers and storage products and determined that "almost all" plastics that were tested leached synthetic estrogens and showed evidence of EA.

Scientists say, BPA or no BPA, any chemical that tampers with the endocrine system -- the system of glands that controls hormones in the human body -- is potentially dangerous. BPA and other estrogen mimickers have been linked to to breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, and hormone abnormalities in children.

"We know that there's a cost when we mess with the levels of these hormones in our bodies, regardless of how we do it," Laura Vandenberg, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, told Mother Jones. "Even small changes early in life can alter brain and organ development and set us up for disease later on."

BPA has been federally banned for use in baby bottles and sippy cups. But now laws currently govern the use of many of the chemicals plastics companies now use in BPA's stead.

“There are way too few studies to know if the alternatives are any better,” Dr. Shuk-mei Ho, the director of the Cincinnati Cancer Center, told Newsweek.

Federal regulations assume chemicals as safe until proven otherwise.

[{link:Mother Jones: "http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tritan-certichem-eastman-bpa-free-plastic-safe target="_blank"}] [Newsweek]

Trending Stories