BPA-Free Containers Release BPA-Like Chemicals, Study Says

Consumers who thought it was safe to use plastic containers advertised as being free of the potentially dangerous chemical known as BPA may have to think again. According to a new study, even BPA-free containers release chemicals that, like BPA, mimic estrogen and disrupt normal biological processes.

The authors of the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, said almost all of the commercially available plastic products they examined leached chemicals with “estrogenic activity,” or EA. “In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than BPA-containing product,” they wrote.

BPA, or bisphenol A, is used in hard plastics and in the linings of food and beverage cans. The precise effects of small amounts of estrogen-like chemicals on the human body are still unknown since researchers have tested them only on mice and lab rats. But amid concerns over BPA, plastics manufacturers have rushed to change their formulations.

The new study suggests those efforts have not been as successful as hoped. Of the 450 plastic items that the researchers purchased from stores including Walmart and Whole Foods, 70 percent released estrogen-mimicking chemicals. When the items were subjected to real-world stresses such as sunlight,  dishwashing and microwaving, the number jumped to 95 percent.

The study says plastics could be reformulated, without great expense, to avoid the problem.

Now, a website that monitors the food industry, reports that “Some scientists are questioning the reliability of the study, as wine and some vegetables can also act like estrogen.” One of the study’s authors — George Bittner, a professor at the University of Texas — is the founder of a company that makes plastics certified free of estrogenic activity.

But Sonya Lunder of the Environmental Working Group, a public health advocacy organization, welcomed the study. “We’ve long cautioned consumers to avoid extreme heat and cooling for plastics, to discard scratched and worn plastics and we feel like this validates one of our many concerns,” she said.

Some scientists, including a number on White House advisory panels, have linked BPA to cancer, liver disease and child obesity, among other maladies. But other researchers have come away with opposite findings — even in supposedly identical experiments.

Related Posts:
95% of U.S. Dollars Contain BPA, Researchers Say
Amid Ambiguous Science, Battles Rage Over BPA Safety

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2 comments to “BPA-Free Containers Release BPA-Like Chemicals, Study Says”

  1. Micro-Nuked Food Nixes Nutrition | In Balance Living

    […] it cooks faster than conventional cooking.  Of bigger concern is making sure that you use only BPA-free containers when microwaving.  BPA has been linked to all kinds of nasty and life-threatening health issues.  […]


    Can you tell me which numbers found on the bottoms of plastic containers represent are used for containers that are bpa free and which are not?

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