BPA Alters Chromosomes, Study Finds

By Amir Khan on September 26, 2012 1:11 PM EDT

BPA
BPA is commonly found in plastic water bottles (Photo: Creative Commons)

The controversial chemical bisphenol-A has been reported to have a great deal of health effects, but according to a new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it may be able to alter your chromosomes as well. Researchers exposed pregnant monkeys to the chemical, and found that it interfered with the animal's reproductive system.

When the monkeys were exposed to the chemical in the early stages of the egg's development, researchers found that the eggs did not divide properly, leading to altered chromosomes. When continuously exposed, the fetus was not properly packed in follicles, which is necessary for the fetus to develop properly.

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"That's not good because it looks to us like you're just throwing away a huge number of the eggs that a female would have," Patricia Hunt, study author and a geneticist at Washington State University, said in university news release. "It raises concerns about whether or not she's going to have a really short reproductive lifespan."

Plastics manufacturers use BPA to harden plastics, but the chemical mimics estrogen in the human body, first reported in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Studies have linked the chemical to a host of health issues such as cancerreproductive problemsheart disease and neurological issues, though so far FDA officials consider BPA to be safe.

BPA is found in everything from water bottles and the liners of food cans to sunglasses and CD cases. When these objects are washed, heated or stressed, the chemical can leach out and potentially cause health problems.

People become exposed to BPA from eating or drinking anything that's been stored in containers that use BPA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found BPA-laced urine in 93 percent of residents tested between 2003 and 2004.

This study adds to the growing list of concern about the long term effects of BPA exposure, researchers said.

"The concern is exposure to this chemical that we're all exposed to could increase the risk of miscarriages and the risk of babies born with birth defects like Down syndrome," Hunt said.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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