Babies are being exposed to "totally unacceptable concentrations"
Bisphenol A and its substitute chemicals—pervasive in food and beverage containers, canned goods and store receipts—are showing up in mothers' wombs at "unexpectedly high levels," according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Market expands, leaving children at highest risk<p>BPA still made up the highest concentrations detected in the new research. Despite thousands of studies that highlight its health effects, the global BPA market continues to increase at about 3 percent per year and is projected to top <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-bisphenol-a-market-report-2018-analysis-2013-2017--forecasts-2018-2023-300757673.html" target="_blank">seven million tons</a> by the end of 2023.</p><p>"They are still expanding BPA into every imaginable product," said Collins. "BPA should not be produced. Period."</p><p>Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that the chemical poses no harm at levels to which people are exposed.</p><p>In November 2019, <a href="https://www.ehn.org/is-bpa-dangerous-for-health-2641153205.html" target="_blank">EHN published a year-long investigation of the FDA's handling of BPA science</a>. It found that U.S. regulators have stacked the deck against findings from independent scientists that BPA, as well as many BPA substitutes, can harm people at very low doses. </p><p>Cheryl Rosenfeld, a biologist at the University of Missouri, published a study of mice in February that found both BPA and BPS exposure lowered serotonin production in the placenta, the primary source of the critical neurotransmitter for developing offspring. The effect could have "dramatic consequences" on brain development, Rosenfeld told EHN.</p><p>The bisphenol concentrations that the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/9/4642" target="_blank">researchers</a> found in the placenta and cord blood are both troubling, she said, as impacts may come through the placenta or by directly affecting the brain itself. "Yes, it can cross the placenta and that's important because it tells you that whatever mom is exposed to can reach the developing fetus," said Rosenfeld. "But we're even seeing effects before it gets there."</p><p>Still, not all bisphenols necessarily behave the same way. For example, BPAF crossed the placenta more readily than other bisphenols highlighted in the new study. "We can't assume that what we know about BPA will translate to the other bisphenols," said Hunt.</p>
Searching for a safe replacement<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg4MDczOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5ODM0NTQ3N30.r0iqy5e1X4_WCTZsV3srdy9vbWvmen2FmalVdXJJk7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="76581" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3aa73247b405e0840eab915aa608c398" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="BPA replacements" />
Valspar cans. (Credit Lynne Peeples)<p>One newly developed bisphenol might prove a welcome change from its chemical cousins. Valspar, recently acquired by Sherwin-Williams, has created a <a href="https://www.ehn.org/bpa-substitutions-solutions-2641150667.html" target="_blank">replacement for food and beverage can linings historically made with BPA</a>.</p><p>Rather than just slightly tweaking the chemical structure of BPA, they assessed safety alongside functionality throughout the process. They enlisted academic scientists to test the compound, tetramethyl bisphenol F (TMBPF), for a range of endocrine disruptive activities. "The evidence is very encouraging," said Collins. </p><p>"Endocrine disruptors are having a dreadful impact on civilization," he added. "We need to give Valspar its due. But we also need to know more."</p>