A chemical used in plastic products labelled BPA-free could be as damaging to reproductive health as the chemical it replaces, suggests a new study.
The study by University of California – Los Angeles scientists was published in PLOS Genetica. It found the chemical Bisphenol S, often used as a BPA (Bisphenol A) substitute, to damage women’s eggs at lower levels than the chemical it often replaces.
BPA mimics oestrogen and can act on the endocrine system. BPS has been suspected of also interfering with things such as reproductive health. The UCLA study was carried out on roundworms, with the same reproductive processes disrupted in the worms also found in humans.
“This study clearly illustrates the issue with the ‘whack-a-mole’ approach to chemical replacement in consumer products,” said Assistant Professor Patrick Allard of UCLA.
BPA is the subject of a voluntary phase-out in Australia.
Used in polycarbonate plastics and found in products including receipts, plastic bottles and epoxy glues, BPS had been found in earlier studies to be harmful to lab animals. Scientific American notes that these tests have shown potential abnormal neuronal growth in zebra fish and heart arrhythmia in rats.