Things are changing. Widespread consumer demand for plastic products that are free of the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) has precipitated some significant positive changes in the way that food, beverage and water containers are manufactured. That’s the good news.
But a new study out of Germany has found that thousands of other potentially harmful chemicals are still leaching from plastic products into food and beverages, including an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) known as di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate, or DEHF, that is completely unregulated.
Martin Wagner and colleague, Jorg Oehlmann, from the Goethe University Frankfurt, learned this after conducting tests on 18 different bottled water products to look for the presence of EDCs. The team identified some 24,520 different chemicals present in the tested water.
But the biggest concern, and what appears to be the foundation of the study’s findings, was DEHF, a plasticizer chemical that is used to make plastic bottles more flexible. According to reports, DEHF was clearly identified in the tested water as the most consistent and obvious culprit causing anti-estrogenic activity. Despite trace amounts of more than 24,000 other potentially damaging chemicals, DEHF stood out as the only possible EDC capable of inducing this particular observed activity, a highly concerning observation.
The study’s published abstract explains that 13 of the 18 bottled water products tested exhibited “significant” anti-estrogenic activity, while 16 of the 18 samples were found to inhibit the body’s androgen receptors by an astounding 90 percent. Additionally, the other 24,520 chemical traces besides DEHF were also identified as exhibiting antagonistic activity, which means that they, too, are detrimental to the body’s hormonal system.
The Mystery Nasty.
Apparently DEHF is not alone in causing significant damage to the endocrine system. The team was unable to identify this chemical as being specifically anti-androgenic. This suggests that there is some other chemical, or chemical combination, being leached into bottled water that is interfering with the body’s chemical signaling system, which is, of course, responsible for hormone production and use within the body.“We confirmed the identity and biological activity of DEHF and additional isomers of dioctyl fumarate and maleate using authentic standards,” report the researchers. “Since DEHF is anti-estrogenic but not anti-androgenic we conclude that additional, yet unidentified EDCs must contribute to the antagonistic effect of bottled water.”
So while these specific findings concerning DEHF are groundbreaking, the overall conclusion to be drawn from this research is that far more study is needed to determine the types of chemicals that are being leeched from plastic into our food and water, not to mention the extent of this leeching. And since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the rest of the three-letter government agencies will surely never get around to conducting this important research, independent science will simply have to take up the charge.
You can read the full study abstract here:
I can clearly remember when polycarbonate water bottles were the best bottle to buy. It wasn’t so long ago! And now we are seeing results coming in on the effects.
PA in mothers’ urine linked to low birth weights in China
It appears that a pregnant woman’s exposure to BPA can increase the risk of delivering babies with low birth weights,
During the course of the Chinese study from 2012 to 2014, 452 mother-infant pairs were selected from Wuhan, the most populous city in Central China.
Urine samples were collected from the mothers at delivery and measured for bisphenol-A . Using birth weight data obtained from medical records, the researchers then evaluated the relationship between urinary BPA levels and low birth weight.
They found that mothers of newborns with lower birth weights had significantly higher BPA levels in their urine than the control mothers, according to the study published this month in Environment International.
They also found that the relationship between low birth weight and higher BPA levels was stronger among the female babies, suggesting female babies might be more susceptible to BPA than males.
The study was the first of its kind in China, and it certainly adds to growing evidence that fetal exposure to BPA might cause developmental problems.
BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that can act like estrogen in the body. Human and animal studies have linked the chemical to reproductive, behavioral and endocrine effects.
Even the most diligent mothers-to-be may find it challenging to avoid contact with BPA. It is ubiquitous—used to make polycarbonate plastics and commonly found in food and drink packaging, and in thermal cash register receipts.
The study doesn’t prove BPA caused the low birth weights. Low birth weight can happen for a number of different reasons.
Bu… it is concerning as babies with low birth weights may be more at risk for other health problems, such as increased susceptibility to disease and infection, or longer-term problems such as learning disabilities or delayed motor and social development.
And it isn’t the first study to link prenatal BPA exposure to impaired development. In 2013, findings from a Dutch study suggest that BPA exposure at levels commonly found in people may slow fetal growth.
In addition, a 2014 study linked high BPA levels in the placenta to lower birth weights.
As you are probably aware, we have a no-BPA policy at alkaway. We are in the front line, delivering water bottles and filters that are using every day, year in, year out. That’s why we spent the money on the most stringent testing in the world for the UltraStream; the EU safety certification tests. To our knowledge we are the ONLY water ionizer in the world to have this certification. Given that you may be spending thousands on a water ionizer, I strongly recommend that you ask for independent test proof of the product’s BPA status.