Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Endocrine disruptors: Babies absorb the most bisphenol A

Date:
April 6, 2010
Source:
ETH Zurich
Summary:
The hormonally active substance bisphenol A is contained in many synthetic and packaging materials. As a result, the substance can find its way into the food chain and the human organism. Just who is exposed and to what extent is shown in a new study: babies who are fed with polycarbonate bottles are especially at risk.

Not all baby bottles are safe. Babies absorb a lot of bisphenol A when fed from certain bottles.
Credit: iStockphoto/Spring Saldana

The hormonally active substance bisphenol A is contained in many synthetic and packaging materials. As a result, the substance can find its way into the food chain and the human organism. Just who is exposed and to what extent is shown in a new study from ETH Zurich: babies who are fed with polycarbonate bottles are especially at risk.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the key element in polycarbonate synthetics and epoxy resins -- about three million tons being produced annually all over the world. Many plastic everyday objects, medical equipment, baby bottles and food packaging are made of PC synthetic materials, whilst epoxy resins are used to coat food and drink cans and seal drinking water pipelines. Apart from via air, water and dental fillings, BPA therefore also finds its way into the organism as a result of the food coming into contact with the packaging materials or plastic containers.

Harmful even in small doses

BPA is a hormonally active substance that acts like the natural hormone estrogen and as an anti-androgen. Even small amounts of the substance can thus affect sexual development, especially for male fetuses and babies. Based on toxicological studies, the European Food Safety Authority has established a limit for the acceptable daily intake of BPA: currently 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. "However, the limit doesn't include the studies on the hormonal impact of bisphenol A, which are often difficult to interpret," says Natalie von Götz, a scientist from the Institute of Chemistry and Bioengineering.

Von Götz is the first author of a recent publication, in which various exposure studies on BPA were linked to exposure analyses. The aim was to calculate representative average values for the daily dose of BPA per kilogram of body weight for nine age groups in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The research team from Konrad Hungerbühler's Safety and Environmental Technology Group began by determining the individual doses that are absorbed by a particular product. This involved measuring the concentration of BPA in various foods and other relevant sources. This was multiplied by the amount absorbed by the person, which the researchers worked out from previous nutrition studies. Finally, the product was divided by the consumer's body weight. The authors then totted up the individual doses of the 17 sources examined to obtain the average daily intake for the respective age groups.

Bottle-fed babies especially vulnerable

The study revealed that babies and infants absorb the most BPA. Babies fed using PC bottles are the worst affected, on average taking in 0.8 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight via bottles. This amount is well below the statutory minimum. "But the latest studies on rats have shown that even low doses can have a harmful impact on the development of the animals," says von Götz. The exposure declines with age, although the study also shows that it depends on the kind of diet or lifestyle: people who live on a lot of canned food, warm up their meals in PC containers in the microwave or have just had a new epoxy resin-based filling are exposed to a comparatively higher dosage of BPA. The difference with the latest studies is that they were the first to examine how much the single sources contribute to the total exposure in relation to each other, stresses von Götz. However, the study also revealed where there is still a need for research. For instance, BPA is found in canned food in different amounts. Whether this is due to the type of can or the processing remains unclear. Von Götz thus calls for the industry to share its knowledge and for more research to be carried out on the subject. After all, according to the scientist we need to reduce the amount of the substance released into food. However, the synthetic materials cannot be dispensed with altogether as they also carry considerable advantages, the coating of the cans protecting the cans as well as the food from corrosion, for example.

For von Götz, an important aspect is that nutrition studies should not only pay attention to what people eat, but also how the food is packed. More research might be necessary on the chain of custody as it is often unclear as to how substances like BPA ultimately get into the food.

Bisphenol: experts disagree on harmfulness

Like phthalates, Bisphenol A is an essential component in many synthetic materials. The fact that there is still a considerable need for research on these chemicals not only shows that the way in which they are absorbed is often unknown, but also that some scientists warn against such substances whilst others do not perceive any adverse effects for the human organism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ETH Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Von Götz N et al. Bisphenol A: How the Most Relevant Exposure Sources Contribute to Total Consumer Exposure. Risk Analysis, (2010), 30, 473-487 DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2009.01345.x

Cite This Page:

ETH Zurich. "Endocrine disruptors: Babies absorb the most bisphenol A." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405105958.htm>.
ETH Zurich. (2010, April 6). Endocrine disruptors: Babies absorb the most bisphenol A. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405105958.htm
ETH Zurich. "Endocrine disruptors: Babies absorb the most bisphenol A." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405105958.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) — Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins