Written by Alex Crees
A new study has found ‘compelling’ evidence that the plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA) may negatively impact women’s reproductive systems and cause chromosome damage, birth defects and miscarriages.
Researchers from Washington State University and the University of California, Davis, found that rhesus monkeys exposed to BPA in utero suffered serious reproductive abnormalities that increased their risk of giving birth to offspring with Down syndrome or other birth defects – or even having a miscarriage.
Prior studies done in worms and rodents have shown similar effects, but because rhesus monkeys have the most human-like reproductive system, this study “hits much closer to home,” Dr. Patricia Hunt, a geneticist and professor of molecular biosciences at Washington State University, told FoxNews.com.
BPA is a low-grade estrogen that until recently was found in certain plastic bottles—typically marked with the number ‘7’ inside a recycling symbol. It is still found in the linings of aluminum cans and heat-activated cash register receipts.
A 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found BPA exposure is “nearly ubiquitous” in the U.S. population, with 92.6 percent of people over the age of 6 having detectable levels of BPA in their urine.
The chemical has also been associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer and neurological disorders. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently banned BPA from sippy cups and baby bottles, it did not extend the ban to other products.
This latest WSU study found when pregnant monkeys were given either a single daily dose of BPA or low-level continuous doses – meant to mimic exposure levels in humans – it led to changes in the cells that would become eggs in the developing fetus.
Therefore, once the offspring were ready to reproduce themselves, the egg cells were not able to divide properly, meaning the fertilized egg had the wrong number of chromosomes. This can cause various birth defects, including Down syndrome, and can even lead to miscarriage.