BPA Exposure Likely More Widespread Than Previous Estimates

BPA Exposure Likely More Widespread Than Previous Estimates

Image CC licensed by Flickr user timlewisnm

New research suggests total daily human exposure to bisphenol A, a chemical that mimics estrogen and has been linked to health problems in fetuses, infants and children, is probably much higher than previously estimated.

Researchers from the University of Missouri, University of California at Davis, and Washington State University have also discovered that women process bisphenol A, a chemical known as BPA that is found in several household products, similarly to female monkeys and mice, making existing data on how BPA negatively impacts rodents at low levels relevant for humans.

It also found that BPA is not completely metabolized in mice and monkeys on the first pass through the liver, which "was the basis for the conclusion that there was little concern for human health due to exposure to BPA," the study said.

"For years, BPA manufacturers have argued that BPA is safe and have denied the validity of more than 200 studies that showed adverse health effects in animals due to exposure to very low doses of BPA," Julia Taylor, lead author and associate research professor at the University of Missouri, told Science Daily. "We know that BPA leaches out of products that contain it, and that it acts like estrogen in the body."

The study, published in Environmental Health Persectives, suggests human exposure to BPA is higher than first thought, coming from unknown sources other than the usual suspects, such as the plastic lining of food cans. It was recently discovered that thermal paper used for receipts in another BPA source.

"We've assumed we're getting BPA from the ingestion of contaminated food and beverages," Pat Hunt, a co-author and professor at Washington State University, told Science Daily. "This indicates there must be a lot of other ways in which we're exposed to this chemical and we're probably exposed to much higher levels than we have assumed."

BPA is used in products ranging from food packaging to baby bottles. Canada and Taiwan have declared BPA to be toxic, while several states, including Minnesota, New York and Oregon, have taken steps to ban BPA in some uses.

Data released last month showed BPA is present in about 91 percent of the Canadian population.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user timlewisnm.