A recent study suggests that the side effects of BPA may be long lasting. BPA, or bisphonel A, a controversial plastics chemical, has been linked to a growing and broad array of adverse health effects.
In this study, the effects seen during gestation, according to Science Daily, were immediate, long lasting, and trans-generational, impacting the brains and social behaviors of mice. The study has been accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society’s journal, Endocrinology.
The issue of trans-generational effects is significant, according to Emilie Rissman, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and lead author of the study and means that BPA’s effects could be seen many years into the future. “We have demonstrated, for the first time to our knowledge, that BPA has trans-generational actions on social behavior and neural expression,” Rissman told Science Daily. “Since exposure to BPA changes social interactions in mice at a dose within the reported human levels, it is possible that this compound has trans-generational actions on human behavior.” In other words, said Rissman, “If we banned BPA tomorrow, pulled all products with BPA in them, and cleaned up all landfills tomorrow it is possible, if the mice data generalize to humans, that we will still have effects of this compound for many generations.”
For this study, female mice received food with or without BPA before mating and throughout gestation. BPA plasma levels supplemented female mice were in a range similar to what has been measured in humans, Science Daily pointed out. First generation juveniles exposed to BPA in utero displayed fewer social interactions when compared with the control mice. Gene changes were most striking in the first generation of mice exposed to BPA in utero. Some changes, said Science Daily, continued into the fourth generation.
“BPA is a ubiquitous chemical, it is in the air, water, our food, and our bodies,” said Rissman. “It is a man-made chemical, and is not naturally occurring in any plant or animal. The fact that it can change gene expression in mice, and that these changes are heritable, is cause for us to be concerned about what this may mean for human health,” she added, said Science Daily.
BPA, a compound that uses a combination of phenol and acetone, enters food when it leeches from food and beverage containers, and has been approved by the FDA for use in shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic and durable epoxy resins. BPA leaches into products—hot or cold—and into the skin, from common items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts. BPA also works in the body as an anti-androgen, a substance that blocks hormone activity, and mimics estrogen, a powerful female hormone. Because of this, BPA affects, even interrupts, sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children.
Many hundreds of scientific studies have linked BPA to toxic injury and life threatening illnesses, including future cardiac issues; breast cancer; and for mixing the body’s hormones, tricking fat cells into taking in more fat or confusing the pancreas into releasing too much insulin. Studies have BPA to increased anxiety and depression in preschoolers exposed to BPA in the womb; toxic injury and implications in intestinal problems; brain cell connection interference; increased risks of immune system diseases and disorders; problems with liver function testing; and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment. BPA’s links to the reproductive system disease are dramatic and include issues with uterine health and mammalian reproduction; a deadly uterine infection; premature puberty; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues; and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems in males as young as the developing fetus.