A waste product from making paper could yield a safer, greener alternative to the potentially harmful chemical BPA, now banned from baby bottles but still used in many plastics. Scientists made the BPA alternative from lignin, the compound that gives wood its strength, and they say it could be ready for the market within five years.
They described the research here today in one of the more than 10,000 presentations at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, taking place through Thursday.
In one of the first studies to show a significant association between BPA and cancer development, Univ. of Michigan School of Public Health researchers have found liver tumors in mice exposed to the chemical via their mothers during gestation and nursing.
"We found that 27 percent of the mice exposed to one of three different doses of BPA through their mother’s diet developed liver tumors and some precancerous lesions. The higher the dosage, the more likely they were to present with tumors," says Caren Weinhouse, U-M doctoral student in the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences and first author of the paper published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.
New research suggests that high levels of BPA, a chemical in many plastics and canned food linings, might raise the risk of miscarriage in women prone to that problem or having trouble getting pregnant.
The work is not nearly enough to prove a link, but it adds to “the biological plausibility” that BPA might affect fertility and other aspects of health, says Linda Giudice, a California biochemist who is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The study was to be presented today at the group’s annual conference in Boston. Last month, ASRM and an obstetricians group urged more attention to environmental chemicals and their potential hazards for pregnant women.
A controversial component of plastic bottles and canned food linings that have helped make the world’s food supply safer has recently come under attack: bisphenol A. Widely known as BPA, it has the potential to mimic the sex hormone estrogen if blood and tissue levels are high enough. Now, an analysis of almost 150 BPA exposure studies shows that in the general population, people’s exposure may be many times too low for BPA to effectively mimic estrogen in the human body.
The analysis, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting by toxicologist Justin Teeguarden of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, shows that BPA in the blood of the general population is many times lower than blood levels that consistently cause toxicity in animals. The result suggests that animal studies might not reflect the human BPA experience appropriately.
Every Thursday, Laboratory Equipment features a Scientist of the Week, chosen from the science industry’s latest headlines. This week’s scientist is Cheryl Rosenfeld from the Univ. of Missouri. She and a team researched BPA and learned that their finding did not match previous studies on the chemical.
Following a three-year study using more than 2,800 mice, a Univ. of Missouri researcher was not able to replicate a series of previous studies by another research group investigating the controversial chemical BPA. The MU study is not claiming that BPA is safe, but that the previous series of studies are not reproducible. The MU study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also investigated an estrogenic compound found in plants, genistein, in the same three-year study.
“Our findings don’t say anything about the positive or negative effects of BPA or genistein,” says Cheryl Rosenfeld, associate professor of biomedical sciences in MU’s Bond Life Science Center. “Rather, our series of experiments did not detect the same findings as reported by another group on the potential developmental effects of BPA and genistein when exposure of young occurs in the womb.”
A group of scientists from North America and Europe, including Carnegie Mellon Univ.’s Terry Collins, has developed a five-tiered testing system that manufacturers can use to ensure that the chemicals and consumer products they produce are free of harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA or DDT. Their study will be published in the January 2013 issue of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Green Chemistry, and is currently available online.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals, which are commonly used in consumer products, can mimic hormones and lead to a host of modern-day health epidemics including cancers, learning disabilities and immune system disorders. The new testing system can help manufacturers avoid creating products that contain the harmful chemicals.
Soy Mitigates How BPA Affects Gene Expression, Anxiety
New research, led by North Carolina State Univ., shows that exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) early in life results in high levels of anxiety by causing significant gene expression changes in a specific region of the brain called the amygdala. The researchers also found that a soy-rich diet can mitigate these effects.
“We knew that BPA could cause anxiety in a variety of species, and wanted to begin to understand why and how that happens,” says Heather Patisaul, an associate professor of biology at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the work. BPA is a chemical used in a wide variety of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, and is used in consumer products such as some food containers.
The federal government announced that baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA. The U.S. chemical industry’s chief association, the American Chemistry Council, had asked the Food and Drug Administration to phase out rules allowing BPA in those products in October, after determining that all manufacturers of bottles and sippy cups had already abandoned the chemical due to safety concerns.
It is illegal for companies to use substances not covered by FDA rules.
Hormone-mimicking chemicals released into rivers have been found to impact the mating choices of fish, a new study has revealed. The controversial chemical BPA, which emits oestrogen-like properties, was found to alter an individual’s appearance and behavior, leading to inter-species breeding. The study, published in Evolutionary Applications, reveals the threat to biodiversity when the boundaries between species are blurred.
The research, led by Jessica Ward from the Univ. of Minnesota, focused on the impact of Bisphenol A (BPA) on Blacktail Shiner (Cyprinella venusta) and Red Shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis) fish which are found in rivers across the U.S. BPA is an organic compound used in the manufacture of polycarbonate and other plastics. It is currently banned from baby bottles and childrens’ cups in 11 U.S. states.
A new study finds that fetal exposure to the plastic additive bisphenol A, or BPA, alters mammary gland development in primates. The finding adds to the evidence that the chemical can cause health problems in humans and bolsters concerns about it contributing to breast cancer.
"Previous studies in mice have demonstrated that low doses of BPA alter the developing mammary gland and that these subtle changes increase the risk of cancer in the adult,” says Patricia Hunt, a geneticist in Washington State Univ.’s School of Molecular Biosciences.
Bisphenol A (BPA)—a substance that may have harmful health effects—occurs in 94 percent of thermal cash register receipts, scientists are reporting. The recycling of those receipts, they add, is a source of BPA contamination of paper napkins, toilet paper, food packaging and other paper products. The report, which could have special implications for cashiers and other people who routinely handle thermal paper receipts, appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Mother’s BPA Exposure Linked to Daughter’s Mental Health
Exposure in the womb to bisphenol A (BPA)—a chemical used to make plastic containers and other consumer goods—is associated with behavior and emotional problems in young girls, according to a study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, and Simon Fraser Univ. in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Bisphenol A (BPA), a common component of plastic used in many consumer products, has recently become infamous—and banned in some places—because it can mimic natural estrogen in the body. A new study by Brown Univ. toxicologists, however, finds that male mice whose mothers were exposed even to high doses of BPA while pregnant developed no signs of harm to their testes as adults.