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Study finds BPA alternatives may carry their own health risks

Researchers say replacement products could pose similar dangers

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The adverse effects associated with plastic products that contain Bisphenol A (BPA) have been well-documented for decades, going back to a team that first discovered abnormalities in the eggs of animals who were exposed to the plastic ingredient.

Now, in what may be a fitting discovery, the same team that first discovered this danger says that alternatives to BPA aren’t much safer. The team, hailing from Washington State University, reported feeling “a strange déjà vu experience in our laboratory” when they came to their conclusions.

The team states that efforts by regulators to provide a BPA alternative have been unsuccessful and pose a danger to consumers.

“Rapid production of structural variants of BPA and other EDCs circumvents efforts to eliminate dangerous chemicals, exacerbates the regulatory burden of safety assessment, and increases environmental contamination,” they said.

Damage lasting generations

The team came to their latest conclusions about BPA alternatives after studying how the products affected mice. After testing several BPA alternatives, the researchers found that these new products negatively affected the reproductive system.

The team believes that the finding could mean trouble for future generations of consumers whose parents and grandparents were exposed to these products.

“These findings add to growing evidence of the biological risks posed by this class of chemicals,” the researchers said.

Unsafe alternatives

This isn’t the first time that BPA alternatives have been subjected to scrutiny. Studies dating back several years, including one conducted at UCLA, have asserted that these products are not completely risk-free.

“Exposure to low levels of BPA had a significant impact on the embryos’ development of brain cells that control reproduction, and the genes that control reproduction later in life,” said Nancy Wayne, lead author of the study conducted back in 2016. “We saw many of these same effects with BPS found in BPA-free products. BPS is not harmless.”

More recently, researchers have cited evidence suggesting that some of BPS products promoted growth of cancer cells. This has led some experts to caution consumers away from consuming foods or drinks that are packaged in products containing BPA or BPS.

“Currently...regulatory agencies charged with assessing chemical safety cannot keep pace with the introduction of new chemicals,” said the research team from Washington State University. “Further, as replacement bisphenols illustrate, it is easier and more cost effective under current chemical regulations to replace a chemical of concern with structural analogs rather than determine the attributes that make it hazardous.”

The full study has been published in the journal Current Biology.

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