The synthetic sex hormone/industrial chemical, bisphenol A, or BPA, may be more harmful than scientists previously thought.
In previous tests, researchers administered BPA to rats in single doses, but that did not mirror the way human beings are exposed to the chemical. In light of this realization, scientists at the University of Missouri began administering BPA to lab mice throughout the day.
The MU study is in its beginning phases, but scientists have already established that the method of continuous exposure results in higher concentrations of BPA in mice than when they are exposed to a single dose - even though the continuous exposure is administered in smaller doses.
Scientists believe this method of exposure will result in more accurate results and reveal how "chronic and continuous" exposure to BPA exposure affects humans.
Cheryl Rosenfeld, associate professor in biomedical sciences and Bond Life Sciences investigator, is the lead author of the study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. She told the MU News Bureau that, "People are primarily and unknowingly exposed to BPA through the diet because of the various plastic and paper containers used to store our food are formulated with BPA."
Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., of Yale University, who studies uterine development and endocrine disruption, revealed at a press conference that, "BPA looks like estrogen. The chemical stimulates uterine growth and animal studies have revealed other estrogen-like effects. Mice that were exposed to BPA as fetuses developed abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, and vagina."
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Rosenfeld explains, "We know that the active form of BPA binds to our steroid receptors, meaning it can affect estrogen, thyroid and testosterone function. It might also cause genetic mutations. Thus, this chemical can hinder our ability to reproduce and possibly cause behavioral abnormalities that we are just beginning to understand."