|The chemical BPA even shows up on|
money around the world.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency asked for public input earlier this week to determine whether it needed to take more action with regards to the widespread occurrence of BPA.
The commercial chemical bisphenol A is an ingredient in many plastics and food-contact resins and has become a concern because people are more exposed to it than previously believed.
“A number of concerns have been raised about the potential human health and environmental effects of BPA,” a Science New article quoted Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
Data from the proposed new tests, he said, “would help EPA better understand and address the potential environmental impacts of BPA.”
It may require new toxicity testing and environmental sampling because of a concern that it “is a reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic, there are questions about its potential impact, particularly on children’s health and the environment,” EPA notes on the BPA Action Plan website.
Recent animal studies have shown that even low level exposure to BPA can have worrying health effects.
Recent findings include:
- Studies involving mice showed that
early exposures — in the womb and up through a period equivalent to puberty —
could affect gender-linked behaviors in adults: Males became subtly feminized,
and in one instance females appeared somewhat masculinized.
- One human study linked higher BPA exposures in the womb to subtly altered gender-specific behavior in toddlers: Girls became somewhat more aggressive than normal; boys more anxious and withdrawn.
- Low-dose exposures in one study, where mice had been exposed to BPA during fetal development, resulted in later prediabetes when the rodents reached early middle age.
- A 2009 study in mice showed that the uterus of female mice exposed in the womb to BPA became supersensitized to the effects of estrogen in adulthood; a change that the authors said might jeopardize reproduction. (A test-tube study reported by others at the same time — at the Endocrine Society meeting — showed BPA altered the contractile rate of heart-muscle cells, especially in the presence of estrogen).
- Genetic studies using roundworms showed it affected the genes responsible for successful reproduction and could cause sterility.
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