Unsafe levels of Bisphenol A found in humans, scientists say

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Human exposure to food packaging chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is
higher than levels found to have caused cancer in laboratory
animals, according to new scientific studies.

In addition a group of 38 scientists associated with BPA research have issued a consensus statement saying that they are particularly concerned about the use of concern is the use of BPA in food and beverage plastic storage and heating containers and to line metal cans. Their conclusions are based on a collection of new studies and reviews of the chemical due to be published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology. The findings and statement will add to the body of research on the toxin and fuel growing consumer concerns. The resulting consumer and regulatory fallout from the health scare could force processors to seek safer packaging alternatives. Three of the scientists are due to discuss their conclusions tomorrow in a conference call with the press in an event hosted by the journal Reproductive Health, which is hosting the press event. BPA is an additive widely used in plastic packaging and the resin linings of food cans. It is also used in dental filling. Other published studies have found that the chemical migrates in small amounts into food and beverages from packaging containing the substance. The new studies broaden scientific concerns about potential adverse health effects of very low levels of BPA exposure, especially during early development, according to a spokesperson for the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. In previous statements the Can Manufacturers Institute, with members manufacturing about 80 per cent of cans produced in the US, has said there is no scientific basis for concern that exposure to trace levels of BPA will cause human harm, even in children. Three of the new reviews focus on the extensive studies already done on animals, and examine outcomes, including early stage breast and prostate cancer, decreased sperm counts and early puberty in mice and rats, at exposure levels comparable to those experienced by most Americans. "Unfortunately, there are very few epidemiological studies of human effects of BPA to determine how well this extensive animal data will translate to human diseases and dysfunctions,"​ according to a statement from the spokesperson organising the conference. One review reports that BPA is present in many forms in the daily lives of Americans. The common exposure sources are the linings of food cans and some plastic containers, including some popular water and baby bottles. The journal will also publish simultaneously a new study claiming that BPA is functionally similar to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen banned long ago for use by pregnant women. DES was banned after studies implicated the chemical in causing reproductive tract problems. The experimental animal study, done by a team led by Retha Newbold, claims to be the first to link developmental exposure to bisphenol A to diseases such as uterine fibroids, precancerous changes in the reproductive tract, and to cystic ovaries. The conference call will involve Jerrold Heindel, a scientist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, his colleague Retha Newbold, and Frederick vom Saal, a scientist with the department of reproductive biology and neurobiology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. About six billion pounds of BPA are used annually to make resins and polycarbonate plastic. Previous studies have linked BPA with increases in abnormal penile and urethra development in males, early sexual maturation in females, an increase in neurobehavioral problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, an increase in childhood and adult obesity and type 2 diabetes, a regional decrease in sperm count, and an increase in hormonally mediated cancers, such as prostate and breast cancers.

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