Bisphenol A: Plastic in my drink?

Bisphenol A - a lot lately in the media because of its potential effects on health and environment - is the main component in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic, 'hard' plastic. There is a market directly involved in about 1.7 billion per year indirectly and many tens of billions per year (packaging, CDs, computers ...). According to government and industry there is insufficient evidence that this product is harmful, according to pressure groups, there are indeed strong evidence that bisphenol A effects on health.

Although polycarbonates are more expensive than most other plastics, they are particularly attractive: they break very difficult, they have a high melting temperature and can be produced in many colors. Normally inert and bound bisphenol A found in polycarbonate or epoxy resins, but it turns out (over time) also can "leak" from these compounds. Important in the controversy surrounding the product are the applications where it comes into contact with food or drink: packaging (reusable polycarbonate bottles and cups, the layer on the inside of canned, frozen meals, recycled paper, feeding bottles ...). Some of these applications is also heated polycarbonate (feeding bottles, microwave meals), creating the risk of "leakage" of bisphenol A increases.

The structural formula of bisphenol A (above) and 17beta-estradiol (below) are very similar. Our body can not distinguish. This gives the properties of a bisphenol A estrogen.

Bisphenol A in figures

Production: 2 million tons per year
65% for polycarbonate plastic
25% for epoxy resins
10% other products such as flame retardants
Found in automotive parts, in space, as a stabilizer in PVC, in mobile phones, cans, dental fillings, computers, CDs ...
Low dose

The problem with bisphenol A is that it is a product with estrogenic effect. In other words, it mimics the action of the female reproductive hormone 17beta-estradiol after. In most studies to date involving adverse effects of bisphenol A were shown, (very) high doses used. Effects of low doses of bisphenol A are only a few times and are also often proved highly controversial.
The debate on bisphenol A began in earnest in 1997 when effects were found in mice at low doses. Although this study was showered with criticism (only 7 animals were analyzed and the results could not be repeated), this was the occasion for a whole series of investigations.

About the effects of bisphenol A is now a body of literature available through both in vitro (in test tubes) and in vivo (in animals), numerous studies of effects of bisphenol A found. Described in vivo effects at low doses bisphenol A, are never repeated in different labs, so the effects we found in a particular lab, could not be replicated by another laboratory. In fact, only one study in the same laboratory could be repeated with the same results as a result. This shows immediately why so much controversy surrounding bisphenol A is. The industry is likely to say that there is insufficient evidence that bisphenol A is harmful at low doses, pressure groups are then more likely to take that result to conclude that Bisphenol A is a very dangerous product, as soon as possible banished to be out certain applications.

Of course the question remains why some effects found at low doses and not others. Perhaps part of the explanation in a WWF study on passive smoking. This showed that writers unconnected with the tobacco industry to have 88 times more to the conclusion that passive smoking is harmful or researchers who have in one way or another with the tobacco industry to do ... Maybe the same applies to bisphenol A and its some researchers 'biased' and more likely to see effects at low doses or even no effects. It is therefore important to clearly demonstrate what the tires of the researchers with industry / pressure groups / public ...
Estrogenic effect

What you have now mostly "worried" to make. Following effects of bisphenol A are described below teelbalgewicht and modified sperm, altered behavior, weight gain, decreased sperm production, increased aggression, prostate growth, effects on fertility in rats and mice .... How these results to extrapolate to humans, it is often unclear.

Scientists suspect that adults are now fairly insensitive to the effects of bisphenol A bisphenol A in part because relatively quickly removed from the body. Fetuses and children would be much more sensitive to bisphenol A.
How the placenta as a barrier to bisphenol A. When a pregnant woman is exposed to bisphenol A will soon disappear from her body, but not before one of them has in the developing fetus gets.
Also from fetal bisphenol A will be removed, but when exposure occurs during just a very sensitive stage of development, the consequences would be greater than one based on research in adult animals would estimate. One problem is that they almost never a possible causal relationship between abnormalities in the fetus and bisphenol A will find just as fast as bisphenol A from the mother is removed and probably little or no effects on maternal causes. Exposure and effects can not easily be linked together. Developing children and fetuses are most susceptible to effects of products containing hormone-disrupting effects.

The new polycarbonate plastic little or no leaks bisphenol A.
When heated and sterilized (frozen meal, papfles) would, in ancient sculpture, but the case.
Photo: Philippe Somers
Getting in touch

Exposure to bisphenol A can in several ways: through medical treatment, filling cavities in teeth, through food, drink