Chemical in plastics can adversely affect developing organs in primates
Researchers have found that exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) - a chemical used in a wide variety of consumer products, such as resins used to line metal food and beverage containers, thermal paper store receipts, and dental composites - can cause fetal abnormalities in primates.
Frederick vom Saal, Curators Professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU, said that BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical that has been demonstrated to alter signaling mechanisms involving estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormones.
After collecting tissue samples, other researchers analyzed the tissues to determine if BPA exposure was harmful to fetal development.
Researchers found evidence of significant adverse effects in mammary glands, ovaries, brain, uterus, lung and heart tissues in BPA exposed fetus when compared to fetuses not exposed to BPA. The abnormalities were caused by levels of BPA in the monkey fetuses that were very similar to levels reported in previous studies of BPA in human fetuses.
Vom Saal said that the very low-level exposure to BPA they delivered once a day to the rhesus monkeys is far less than the BPA levels humans are exposed to each day, which reflects multiple exposures.
He said that their findings suggest that traditional toxicological studies likely underestimate actual human exposure and show, unequivocally, that biologically active BPA passes from the mother to the fetus.
Vom Saal added that their latest study shows that BPA causes damage to developing systems of monkey fetuses, and this is of great concern for human fetuses.
The study was published in Reproductive Toxicology.
(Posted on 01-03-2014)