New Study Claims BPA-Free Plastics May Leach Chemicals Similar to BPA
The journal Environmental Health Perspectives, published by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, released a study finding that BPA-free plastics can release chemicals with similar endocrine-disrupting properties as BPA.
The study, entitled "Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved," found that BPA-free products often contain other chemicals that have estrogenic activity (EA), and that these chemicals mimic estrogen in the same way as BPA. The study found that, of the 455 plastic products tested, many of which were labeled "BPA-free," 70 percent tested positive for estrogenic activity. That number climbed to 95 percent when the products were exposed to regular use, such as microwaving and dishwashing.
"Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA-free," the authors wrote of the results. "In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than BPA-containing products."
The study was lead by George Bittner, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas, and concluded that estrogenic activity-free plastics can be developed which would "eliminate a potential health risk posed by most currently available plastic products that leach chemicals having EA into food products." NPR reports that Bittner is also the founder of a company claiming to make such EA-free plastics.
Bisphenol A has been making headlines across the world the past several months. In February the governor of Maine, Paul LePage, said of the side effects that "the worst case is some women might have little beards," and it was recently revealed that U.S. citizens have twice as much BPA in their bodies as Canadians. This week, China banned BPA from all children's products, citing potential developmental disorders. The long-term effects of exposure to BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals are not yet fully known.