Even very low levels of a chemical found in plastic containers and tin cans boosts risks for prostate abnormalities in mice, and may do so in humans as well, researchers report.
They say fetal blood levels of bisphenol A “far below” thresholds deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are associated with malformations in the prostates of developing mice — malformations that could predispose these mice to cancer as adults.
“We’ve got to be concerned about exposure to this amount of bisphenol A, an amount that’s actually below the EPA level. In fact, if you have a baby today, your baby is going to have more bisphenol A than levels used in this study,” said senior researcher Fred vom Saal, a professor of biology at the University of Missouri.
In addition to helping lead this study, vom Saal presented data earlier this year to a special legislative committee in California that was considering the passage of a state bill banning bisphenol A in all products used by children aged 3 and under, such as baby bottles and plastic toys. The committee has since passed the bill, which is slated for a vote in the state’s Legislature, he said.
According to vom Saal, bisphenol A is used to form a type of long-chain chemical used in great quantities by the plastics industry and in tin cans over the past 30 or 40 years.