Published on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:18
A new study published in the medical journal Endocrinology demonstrates once again that Bisphenol A is a chemical that needs regulation by our government. The study conducted by faculty at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the University of Missouri found the following:
“Bisphenol A (BPA) is a plasticizer and an endocrine-disrupting chemical. It is present in a variety of products used daily including food containers, paper, and dental sealants and is now widely detected in human urine and blood. Exposure to BPA during development may affect brain organization and behavior, perhaps as a consequence of its actions as a steroid hormone agonist/antagonist and/or an epigenetic modifier. Here we show that BPA produces transgenerational alterations in genes and behavior. Female mice received phytoestrogen-free chow with or without BPA before mating and throughout gestation. Plasma levels of BPA in supplemented dams were in a range similar to those measured in humans. Juveniles in the first generation exposed to BPA in utero displayed fewer social interactions as compared with control mice, whereas in later generations (F2 and F4), the effect of BPA was to increase these social interactions. Brains from embryos (embryonic d 18.5) exposed to BPA had lower gene transcript levels for several estrogen receptors, oxytocin, and vasopressin as compared with controls; decreased vasopressin mRNA persisted into the F4 generation, at which time oxytocin was also reduced but only in males. Thus, exposure to a low dose of BPA, only during gestation, has immediate and long-lasting, transgenerational effects on mRNA in brain and social behaviors. Heritable effects of an endocrine-disrupting chemical have implications for complex neurological diseases and highlight the importance of considering gene-environment interactions in the etiology of complex disease.”
So what should we take from this new study? First is that the prenatal exposure of rats in this to BPA levels similar to those found in pregnant women in this study caused the first generation to display “unusually reduced social behavior”. The second point is that this prenatal exposure to BPA affects did not stop with the juvenile but was passed along to future generation. So BPA exposure hurt the babies but also hurt future generation of rats.
We know the American Chemistry Council and those more worried about profits than health will say this was a study conducted on rats and that means nothing for humans. What they will not say in the same statement is that it is unethical to conduct similar human studies (you know like the Tuskegee Experiment) and it is studies like these that we must depend on to formulate public policy and safety standards. But hey, we expect that from the industry.
The real thing to watch with this study is will those agencies in our government that are responsible for protecting consumers, like the EPA and FDA, finally stop worrying about corporate profits and start worrying about the public health like they are supposed to. At some point the FDA and EPA should get the guts to join the European Union, Canada, Saudi Arabia, China (yes China) and other nations to restrict the use of BPA in baby bottles, toys and food containers.
While we wait for someone in Washington, D.C. to actually do their job we at least have companies like Amy’s, Whole Foods and Kroger that are taking BPA out of consumer items.
You can read the abstract of the study by following the link to Endocrinology. We want to close by thanking the following researchers for sharing this study with the public:
Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, Michelle Edwards, Savera R. J. Shetty, Jessica D. Gatewood, Julia A. Taylor, Emilie F. Rissman and Jessica J. Connelly