The basis for our estimation of the negative health impact from exposure to bisphenol-A has, up until this point, been based on the assumption that its effects in humans would be the same as those found in studies on rats. As we can see by this new research, this could not be farther from the truth!
Published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the study, titled “A new chapter in the bisphenol A story: bisphenol S and bisphenol F are not safe alternatives to this compound,” established that the popular plastic chemical BPA, used in thousands of consumer products, is far more destructive to the hormonal systems of the developing human male fetus than had been previously thought.
Are BPA-Free Bottles Just as Bad?
Researchers in this study also looked at the alternative chemicals used in “BPA Free” containers and products called bisphenol S and F and found that they too are far worse than we had once thought.
As awareness of the hazards of BPA gain momentum, more people are switching to BPA-free products, and so industries are increasingly substituting Bisphenol-A with Bisphenol-S and Bisphenol-F. The “BPA-Free” label on many products is false assurance to many customers that what they’re buying is safe, because the toxicity of these alternatives are talked about less, studied less, and overall not as well known.
As reported by Scientific American:
Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. And once it enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA. A 2013 study by Cheryl Watson at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that even picomolar concentrations (less than one part per trillion) of BPS can disrupt a cell’s normal functioning, which could potentially lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, asthma, birth defects or even cancer.
Additional studies on BPS indicate that it can cause heart arrhythmias in rats, and hyperactivity and abnormal neuron growth in fish. A study conducted in 2012 found that BPS mimics estrogen as effectively as BPA. Considering the fact that estrogen is a hormone of stress that can cause altered behavioral and sexual development in animals, this is of grave concern to us all.
The New Study Show BPA’s Effect is Different on Humans vs Rats
In order to accurately emulate conditions naturally observed within living organisms, as opposed to just cells isolated from the organism, researchers took mouse, rat, and human fetal testis tissue samples and employing a pioneering approach that they have termed an ‘organotypic culture’ system.
The study’s dreadful findings were are follows:
“With the use of a culture system that we developed, we previously showed that 10 nmol/L BPA reduces basal testosterone secretion of human fetal testis explants and that the susceptibility to BPA is at least 100-fold lower in rat and mouse fetal testes.”
To state these findings in different words, one could say that the ability of Bisphenol-A to suppress testosterone secretion from the human fetal testis is at least 100 times more powerful than previously thought.
This is because, the studies upon which we have gathered our evidence of harm from Bisphenol-A have been conducted on rats, which, as the findings report above, are at least 100 times less susceptible to these particular effects of the chemical. The basis for our estimation of the negative health impact from exposure to bisphenol-A has, up until this point, been based on the assumption that its effects in humans would be the same as those found in studies on rats. As we can see by this new research, this could not be farther from the truth!
Lower Doses are More Toxic than Higher Doses??
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a LOWER dose of BPA has more damaging effects on hormonal, reproductive, and the growth and spread of cancer than a higher one.
An article from BreastCancerFund.org states about Bisphenol-A:
In one study, low-dose exposures had the most profound effect on rat mammary glands during the period just prior to the animals’ reaching reproductive maturity, while higher doses had more delayed effects, altering gene expression in mammary tissues from mature adults (Moral, 2008). In a study of chronic exposure of adult mice to different concentrations of BPA, only low doses decreased the latency of tumor appearance and increased the number of mammary tumors as well as their rate of metastasis.
This counter-intuitive concept can be difficult to grasp at first. Allow me to break it down to simplify this phenomenon as much as possible, so you can better comprehend what might be happening when a smaller dose of a substance does more damage than a larger one. In the case of BPA, where a larger dose might be so toxic that it induces cell death, a smaller one will keep the cell alive, yet be toxic enough to induce changes within that cell that encourage growth and spread of cancer.
With this unexpected low-dose/higher-damage discovery, the conventional assumption that a higher concentration of environmental toxins within the human body will have a greater negative impact has expired, and it’s in our interest to re-think what we consider ‘safe’ levels of exposure. Governments often set standards of ‘acceptable’ levels of exposure to many existing environmental toxins, and we now know that they are very likely wrong in many, if not most of their safety recommendations, because harm induced by toxins is complex and unpredictable.
Researchers who conducted the study concluded:
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely studied typical endocrine-disrupting chemical, and one of the major new issues is the safe replacement of this commonly used compound. Bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF) are already or are planned to be used as BPA alternatives. With the use of a culture system that we developed (fetal testis assay [FeTA]), we previously showed that 10 nmol/L BPA reduces basal testosterone secretion of human fetal testis explants and that the susceptibility to BPA is at least 100-fold lower in rat and mouse fetal testes. Here, we show that addition of LH in the FeTA system considerably enhances BPA minimum effective concentration in mouse and human but not in rat fetal testes. Then, using the FeTA system without LH (the experimental conditions in which mouse and human fetal testes are most sensitive to BPA), we found that, as for BPA, 10 nmol/L BPS or BPF is sufficient to decrease basal testosterone secretion by human fetal testes with often nonmonotonic dose-response curves. In fetal mouse testes, the dose-response curves were mostly monotonic and the minimum effective concentrations were 1,000 nmol/L for BPA and BPF and 100 nmol/L for BPS. Finally, 10,000 nmol/L BPA, BPS, or BPF reduced Insl3 expression in cultured mouse fetal testes. This is the first report describing BPS and BPF adverse effects on a physiologic function in humans and rodents.
In light of this new research, and with 3.4 millions of tons of Bisphenol-containing products produced annually, everything from children’s toys, to toothbrushes, to coating the inside of food and beverage cans, it’s time to ban bisphenol-containing products from the market.
The best chance we have to avoid the devastating effects of bisphenols (of all types, including “BPA-Free” plastics, which contain the equally harmful Bisphenol-S and Bisphenol-F), is by avoiding products that contain them. This requires a thorough investigation into a myriad of products used commonly in every day living. The time where we drink and eat from plastic containers is coming to an end, perhaps now it is time to start using glass or stainless steel instead of plastic.