Category Archives: BPA

Intersex Fish Showing Up in Pennsylvania Rivers

Megan Gannon reports for Live Science:

A smallmouth bass‘Scientists found intersex fish in three river basins in Pennsylvania, a sign that the water may be tainted with chemicals from human activity.

Male smallmouth bass with female characteristics — namely, immature egg cells in their testes — were discovered in the drainage areas of the Susquehanna, Delaware and Ohio rivers, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Such abnormalities are linked to estrogen-mimicking chemicals, which likely got into rivers and streams from agricultural runoff and human waste, the researchers said.’


Sperms’ swimming and navigational skills disrupted by common chemicals

Ian Sample reports for The Guardian:

Microscopic image of sperm‘Common chemical additives found in sunscreens, food packaging, toothpaste and toys can harm sperm and may affect the fertility of some couples, scientists say.

Tests on 96 ubiquitous and supposedly non-toxic substances found that nearly one third disrupted the way sperm functioned, affecting their swimming and navigational skills, and their ability to fertilise an egg.

The findings – from an experiment conducted on sperm in dishes in the lab – are the first to demonstrate how the chemicals, which are so widespread they are detectable in people’s blood, can impact on sperm and potentially harm reproduction.’


Plastic pollution: Another threat for seabirds

From Science Daily:

‘Acording to a study published on Marine Pollution Bulletin plastic ingestions affects around 94% of Cory’s shearwaters on the Catalan coast. Jacob González Solís, from the Department of Animal Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona (UB), heads the research group that carried out the study. In the case of Yelkouan shearwaters and Balearic shearwaters, conclusions state that 70% of studied birds were affected by plastic ingestion.’


Male fish becoming ‘feminised’ by pollutants in Spanish waters

Antonia Molloy reports for The Independent:

Members of the Cell Biology in Environmental Toxicology group have found evidence that male fish in the estuaries in Basque Country are becoming “feminised” by chemical pollutants in the water. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) acting as oestrogens – the primary female sex hormones – are seeping into the waters and causing reproductive and developmental disturbances, according to a report published in the Marine Environmental Research journal.

Immature eggs were found in the testicles of a number of male fish, the scientists from the University of the Basque Country said.  The chemicals involved are found in everyday products such as pesticides, contraceptive pills and detergents. They are thought to enter the estuaries after getting through the cleaning systems in water treatment plants or as a result of industrial and farming activities.


Are Any Plastics Safe? Industry Tries to Hide Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Containers: Interview with Mariah Blake

‘A new exposé by Mother Jones magazine may shock anyone who drinks out of plastic bottles, gives their children plastic sippy cups, eats out of plastic containers, or stores food with plastic wrap. For years, public campaigns have been waged against plastic containing bisphenol-A (BPA), a controversial plastic additive, due to concerns about adverse human health effects caused by the exposure to synthetic estrogen. But a new investigation by Mother Jones reporter Mariah Blake has revealed that chemicals used to replace BPA may be just as dangerous to your health, if not more. Plastic products being advertised as BPA-free — and sold by companies such as Evenflo, Nalgene and Tupperware — are still releasing synthetic estrogen. The Mother Jones piece also reveals how the plastics industry has used a “Big Tobacco-style campaign” to bury the disturbing scientific evidence about the products you use every day. Blake joins us to discuss her findings.’ (Democracy Now!)

Growing number of chemicals linked with brain disorders in children

From Science Daily:

Toxic chemicals may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among children — such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia — according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers say a new global prevention strategy to control the use of these substances is urgently needed. The report [was] published online February 15, 2014 in Lancet Neurology.

“The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis. They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes,” said Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at HSPH.

The report follows up on a similar review conducted by the authors in 2006 that identified five industrial chemicals as “developmental neurotoxicants,” or chemicals that can cause brain deficits. The new study offers updated findings about those chemicals and adds information on six newly recognized ones, including manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos and DDT (pesticides), tetrachloroethylene (a solvent), and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants).


Poisoned By Plastic: Interview with Dianna Cohen


Rich and poor have different toxins in their bodies

From Quartz:

In a finding that surprised even the researchers conducting the study, it turns out that both rich and poor Americans are walking toxic waste dumps for chemicals like mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium and bisphenol A, which could be a cause of infertility. And while a buildup of environmental toxins in the body afflicts rich and poor alike, the type of toxin varies by wealth.


Food is main source of BPA for consumers, thermal paper also potentially significant

From Medical News Today:

EFSA’s scientific experts have provisionally concluded that for all population groups diet is the major source of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and exposure is lower than previously estimated by EFSA. BPA is a chemical compound used in food contact materials such as packaging as well as in other consumer products. This is the Authority’s first review of exposure to BPA since 2006 and the first to cover both dietary and non-dietary sources (including thermal paper and environmental sources such as air and dust). As part of a two-stage process of its full risk assessment, EFSA is now seeking feedback on this draft assessment of consumer exposure to BPA. During a later phase, EFSA will publicly consult on the second part of its draft opinion, focussing on its assessment of the potential human health risks of BPA.

New data resulting from an EFSA call for data led to a considerable refinement of exposure estimates compared to 2006. For infants and toddlers (aged 6 months-3 years) average exposure from the diet is estimated to amount to 375 nanograms per kilogram of body weightper day (ng/kg bw/day) whereas for the population above 18 years of age (including women of child-bearing age) the figure is up to 132 ng/kg bw/day. By comparison, these estimates are less than 1% of the current Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for BPA (0.05 milligrams/kg bw/day) established by EFSA in 2006.

For all population groups above three years of age thermal paper was the second most important source of BPA after the diet (potentially accounting for up to 15% of total exposure in some population groups).

Among other key findings, scientists found dietary exposure to BPA to be the highest among children aged three to ten (explainable by their higher food consumption on a body weight basis). Canned food and non-canned meat and meat products were identified as major contributors to dietary BPA exposure for all age groups.


New Studies Show Harmful Effects of BPA on Pregnant Women ~ Yahoo!

SEE ALSO: Chemicals: a worry for pregnant women? (BBC)\
SEE ALSO: Could you be a plasticarian? (iOL Lifestyle)



BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical used in almost every type of food packaging to extend shelf life, make the product more durable, and withstand extreme temperatures. But it’s also been linked to plenty of health concerns, the newest concerns for pregnant women in particular. In addition to the functionality of BPA, it is also linked to increase risks of cancer, heart disease, and reproductive abnormalities.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) released a paper this week advising pregnant women to avoid BPA when possible. “Pregnant women should reduce the use of foods and beverages in cans and plastic containers to minimize exposure to chemicals including BPA as part of a safety-first approach,” the RCOG said in statement.


Study shows dangers of BPA chemical used in plastic packaging ~ Independent

Are BPA-free bottles really safer than the ones that are chock-full of bisphenol A? Good luck trying to find out.

by Steve Connor
The Independent

‘Further evidence has emerged showing that a chemical used widely in plastic packaging and the lining of drinks cans may be harmful to health.

The latest study has shown that bisphenol A (BPA) can affect the way genes work in the brains of laboratory rats, although other scientists have questioned the relevance of the findings to humans.

Researchers found that feeding BPA to pregnant rats was associated with lasting alterations to the “epigenetic” structure of genes in the brain tissue of their offspring, causing possible changes to certain aspects of sex-specific behaviour, such as chasing, sniffing and aggression.

[…] The researchers concluded: “This study provides evidence that low-dose maternal BPA exposure induces long-lasting disruption to epigenetic pathways in the brain of offspring….Importantly, our findings indicate that these BPA-induced changes occur in a sex-specific, brain region-specific and dose-dependent manner.”’


Autism’s Rising Rates Increasingly Blamed On Toxic Chemicals ~ Huffington Post


[…] To date, science has not directly linked any of these environmental exposures with any of the disabling behavioral and cognitive conditions that fall along the autism spectrum. But rising rates of autism along with the increasing breadth and reach of synthetic chemicals — some of which are known to be toxic and most of which we know near nothing about — raises questions for which scientists are beginning to offer a few answers.

As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in April, autism now affects an estimated one in 88 kids. Among boys, the burden is even higher: about one in 54. And the ramifications of the rise go beyond the child, the family and even the school. In decades to come, individuals with autism are now expected will account for one in 88 adults, meaning society will pay the price in terms of lifetime care and other medical expenses. All told, managing autism already costs the country $35 billion a year.

Researchers sense the urgency. Many are now investigating factors that might help curb the epidemic. This generally means looking beyond genetics, the avenue of investigation that has consumed most of the government’s funds and researchers’ time over the last several years.

“While studying genes might help us identify diagnostic tests, which can make you a profit, it will not lead us towards preventing disease,” said Bruce Lanphear, an environmental health researcher at Simon Frasier University in British Columbia. He pointed to lung cancer as a case in point: All the genetic links in the world amount to little compared to the role of smoking cigarettes, and therefore encouraging people to abstain is medicine’s single most effective response.

It’s also increasingly clear that genetics can’t tell the whole story of autism. A Stanford University study of twins published last year found that genetics accounts for just 38 percent of the risk.

“That analysis suggested that the assumption that this is mostly a genetic condition was perhaps made in error,” said Diana Schendel, a scientist with the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Maybe the environment plays a larger role in autism than we once believed.”

Schendel, who is involved in a large study looking at possible risk factors during a child’s early development, doesn’t expect to find one smoking gun. Like other experts in the field, she thinks a cocktail of chemical insults on top of genetic susceptibility is likely to blame for each case of autism.

Drugs used decades ago to treat morning sickness, bipolar disorder and ulcers, as well as the insecticide chlorpyrifos, have already been tied to autism. With about 80,000 chemicals available for industry use, most of which remain untested for toxicities, researchers have plenty more potential culprits to investigate. A study spearheaded by the advocacy organization Environmental Working Group found an average of 200 industrial chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of 10 babies born in U.S. hospitals in 2004.

Such figures have raised alarms given the host of health problems on the rise among kids, including diabetes, obesity, asthma and cancer. Growing children are extremely sensitive to chemicals, even at very low doses. And of all the developing organs, the brain may be the most vulnerable. The time window for a chemical to wreak havoc extends from the early embryo all the way through adolescence, when the brain finally matures.

“The brain goes through rapid changes, all complex and all easily disrupted,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, chairman of the department of preventative medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “Take a Swiss watch and multiply that by 1,000.”

In April, Landrigan co-authored a report that highlighted 10 widely used chemicalsand mixtures of chemicals that are suspected of harming the developing brain, including lead, methylmercury, organochlorine pesticides, endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol-A and phthalates, automobile exhaust, and flame retardants.

Recent research by Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an autism expert at the University of California, Davis, supports the list. She has found hints of links between autism andproximity to freewayspesticides and a parent’s occupational exposures, as well asnutrition.

The latter study was the first to illustrate how genes and the environment might interact to trigger the disease. “Children who inherited unlucky genes that made them less efficient at utilizing and metabolizing the folic acid of prenatal vitamins had a five- to seven-fold higher risk of autism,” Hertz-Picciotto said.

Next up for her team: agricultural chemicals and possibly bisphenol-A.

Other research published over the past few months has added evidence that flame retardants and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as some factors more broadly considered environmental such as a mother’s diabetes or fevers during pregnancy, might be implicated in autism and other learning disorders. Several more ongoing studies are looking into social factors, medications taken during pregnancy, and infections.

“We are so many years away from having the answers, but we are far closer to a tsunami of young autistic men in our communities, getting assaulted, assaulting others,” said Donna Ross-Jones of Los Angeles, who blogs about life as the mother of a 14-year-old boy with autism. “When we look at the impact on housing and employment, on society, it’s pretty scary. This is not like a small group we can put in a closet.”


Widely used chemical linked to childhood asthma ~ CBS

BPA for lunch? 6 kid-friendly canned foods that flunked testBisphenol A (BPA) is often used to line food and beverage cans as well as to keep plastics flexible, but a new study suggests the compound can leach into the foods we eat.

BPA has been linked to behavior problems, obesity, hormone abnormalities and even kidney and heart problems. Now, new research from scientists at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health has found a link between the compound and an increased risk for asthma.

“Our study found that routine low doses of exposure were associated with increased odds in wheezing,” said lead author Dr. Kathleen Donohue, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and an investigator at the center.

Donohue and her colleagues followed 568 women participating in a study on environmental exposures to mothers and newborns. They measured the BPA levels in the women’s urine during their third trimester of pregnancy and also tested their kids’ urine for BPA when they were aged 3, 5 and 7. At ages 5 and 12, based on their symptoms, tests and medical history, their physicians diagnosed the children who met the criteria for asthma with the respiratory disorder.

Donohue and her team found that BPA might be one of the environmental exposures that may have contributed to the increase in asthma over the years. She also said that pregnant women pass the chemical to their fetuses through their blood stream or placenta.

However, there are things that consumers can do to help prevent ingesting BPA. Donohue recommends that people “use less canned foods, use less stainless steel.” She also suggests that before purchasing plastic products to check the number in the small triangle on the bottom of the merchandise. It is better to avoid anything plastic with a 3 or a 7.


Study Shows Younger Women More At Risk For Breast Cancer ~ CNN

Duke Study: BPA Has Adverse Effects On Developing Nervous System ~ WUNC


Scientists at Duke University say a substance found in many plastics could inhibit the development of the central nervous system.  The report says bisphenol-A, widely known as BPA, can suppress the chemical chain of events that allows neurons to improve their functioning early in life.

“It disrupts this process and it corrupts this process,” says Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke, lead author of the study.

“And that, for example, would be a scenario that fits very nicely to the setting of neuro-developmental diseases, where we see an exponential growth in the number of cases that are being diagnosed year by year.”

Liedtke says BPA had harsher effects on female neurons harvested from mice, rats and aborted human fetuses.  He says that suggests BPA exposure could be linked to autism disorders such as Rett Syndrome, which is almost exclusively found in girls.  The study appears in Monday’s edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Everyday chemicals linked to diseases, warns World Health Organisation ~ Telegraph


A technician checking a mammogram.In a landmark report, the WHO warned “synthetic chemicals” had “serious implications” for human health.

The global health watchdog suggested so-called “gender-bending” compounds found in toys, PVC flooring and even credit cards should be banned in order to protect future generations.

The study said that more research was needed to fully understand the links between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) – found in many household and industrial products – and “specific diseases and disorders”.

It found links between exposure to EDCs and health issues such as testicular problems, breast, prostate and thyroid cancer, developmental effects on the nervous system in children and attention deficit hyperactivity in children.

The UN agency said the study, titled State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, was the most “comprehensive” report on EDCs to date because it has evaluated several chemicals and related evidence rather than focusing on just one.

The report, published following more than two years of research, admitted it was “reasonable to suspect” substances called phthalates – often found in pesticides bisphenol A and other PCBs – harmed female fertility and increased childhood illnesses such as leukaemia.

It also flagged concerns of bisphenol A, a man-made compound found in a host of daily items such as tin cans and sunglasses, which is thought to interfere with the natural hormones that influence a person’s development and growth.

According to the WHO, there was “very strong evidence” in animals they can interfere with thyroid hormones, which could cause brain damage, decrease intelligence, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

In prostate cancer, “significant evidence” existed that suggested a link with agricultural pesticides, the team of international medical experts found. It also said wildlife was at risk.

“The diverse systems affected by endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely include all hormonal systems and range from those controlling development and function of reproductive organs to the tissues and organs regulating metabolism and satiety,” said the report.

“Effects on these systems can lead to obesity, infertility or reduced fertility, learning and memory difficulties, adult-onset diabetes or cardiovascular disease, as well as a variety of other diseases.”

The same report published a decade ago, found only “weak evidence” that the chemicals harmed human health.

“The latest science shows that communities across the globe are being exposed to EDCs, and their associated risks,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO’s Director for Public Health and Environment.

“WHO will work with partners to establish research priorities to investigate links to EDCs and human health impacts in order to mitigate the risks.

“We all have a responsibility to protect future generations.”

The study reflected similar warnings from the European Environment Agency (EEA) last year, which warned items such as cosmetics and medicines containing EDCs could be harmful to humans.