Better avoid plastics – you would have heard this numerous times. But you often find yourself looking in the supermarkets/stores for BPA-free plasticware.
BPA has been widely used as a strengthening agent in plastics such as water bottles, sippy cups, toys, water-supply pipes, compact discs, even dental sealants and many more. This BPA can seep into the food when the plastic containers are heated up and that is linked with many problems like premature births, early puberty, etc.,
BPA is found to mimic the effects of estrogen due to its similar shape to the hormone and so they can bind to the hormone receptors thereby rising the level of estrogen in the body above its threshold.
A 2013 study by Cheryl Watson at The University of Texas found that even picomolar concentrations of BPS can disrupt a cell’s normal functioning, which could potentially lead to various metabolic disorders.
Studies also suggest that BPS speeds up embryonic development and disrupts the reproductive system.
In the latest publication, the effects of BPA and BPS were studied in Zebrafish by a team led by Nancy Wayne at University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). Zebrafish have brain development similar to humans, besides they have transparent embryos, making observations easier. Fluorescent-green protein tags were used to track the development of brain cells that control puberty and fertility. Exposure to BPS and also BPA affected the genes that control these endocrine functions significantly. Moreover, egg development and hatching occurred much faster than they would naturally, causing the equivalent of premature birth.
Wayne believes that premature puberty and disruption of the reproductive system could be the result of overstimulation of the neurons that regulate reproduction.
The team also found that BPA and BPS affect both the estrogen system and the thyroid hormone system. As the thyroid hormone has an important influence on brain development during gestation, the findings would seem to imply a greater risk for embryonic and fetal development in general.
These findings are really thought-provoking! For now, sticking to leach-free materials like glass or stainless steel as much as possible seems will be a best option to be safe.