BPA replacements in plastics may up reproductive problems

Plastics Made Without BPA Might Also Be Bad For You

There have been previous studies confirming that danger still prevails in BPA-free plastic, but this latest one may make consumers think twice about plastic products in general, BPA-free or not.

BPA is a chemical compound that has always been used to make plastic products including water bottles and to coat cans.

Washington State University researchers have found that plastic products meant to replace the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, are also causing genetic abnormalities in mice.

It has a bad reputation over concerns that, if BPA reaches high enough levels in the human body, it might mimic natural hormones and potentially damage organs and reproductive, nervous and immune systems. Considering the plastic is used in food containers and plastic bottles, it's a concerning find. "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.

This isn't even the first time the study authors have stumbled upon BPA's effects in their labs.

Hunt explained that the BPS plastic is more stable, "but it induced similar effects on the process of making eggs and sperm".

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

The team again noticed changes in the data concerning their mice, which was traced to contamination from damaged cages.

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Both sexes had problems getting DNA to recombine correctly, leading to a reduction in viable sperm and an increase in abnormal eggs, according to the study.

It confirmed replacement bisphenols produce remarkably similar chromosomal abnormalities to those seen so many years earlier in studies of BPA.

Although determining the levels of human exposure is hard, the 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. The researchers showed that, if it were possible to eliminate bisphenol contaminants completely, the effects would still persist for about three generations.

Ms Hunt said more work is needed to determine whether some replacements are safer than others.

Hunt also suspected that other widely used and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including parabens, phthalates, and flame retardants, might be having similarly adverse effects on fertility.

This has led Hunt to conclude that, regardless of whether or not they're BPA-free, "plastic products that show physical signs of damage or aging can not be considered safe", she said in a statement.

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