Low-Dose BPA Proves Harmful to Primates—A Model for Effects in Humans

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BPA is one of the most highly covered toxins by the press, and for good reason. It is one of the most widely found toxins in everyday household items such as metal food and beverage cans, plastic bottles and containers, cash register receipts, and even dental fillings. A recent primate study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has found that low-dose exposure to BPA alters development of infants in utero.

“Previous studies in rodents have demonstrated that maternal exposure to very low doses of BPA can significantly alter fetal development, resulting in a variety of adverse outcomes in the fetus,” noted the researchers. “Our study is one of the first to show this also happens in primates.” Why study primates? Because they closely mimic human physiology and so study results can be extrapolated to humans more accurately. What this tells us is that the case against BPA just got stronger.

The researchers found significant damage to mammary glands, ovaries, brain, uterus, lung, and heart tissues of primate infants even before birth when compared to those infants not exposed to BPA. “Our findings suggest that traditional toxicological studies likely underestimate actual human exposure and show, unequivocally, that biologically active BPA passes from the mother to the fetus,” they state.

The United States has been slow to regulate BPA, although consumers have been asking for it to be removed from certain products. BPA-free plastic products can be found, but we still have a long way to go. In the meantime, when you buy canned foods and plastic containers, purchase the BPA-free versions when possible. And if you want to be proactive, ask the stores you shop at to use BPA-free thermal receipt paper. Change like this usually begins with consumers.