Ingredients in plastic test tubes can block some biological reactions while testing the efficacy of drugs, and thereby lead researchers to bogus conclusions, according to a new study.
University of Alberta researcher Andrew Holt says that water alone can leach such chemicals out of plastic tubes.
He has revealed that the his team noticed the effect while testing experimental drugs that could potentially treat Parkinson's disease.
According to him, his team's work supports anecdotal evidence from various studies that plastics seem to affect some experiments.
"People are clearly aware that plastics can cause problems. Quite remarkably, nobody appears to have done what we were forced to do," New Scientist magazine quoted him as saying.
He believes that a lot of data in the public domain may be skewed in some way, though he hasn't yet identified papers with erroneous data or conclusions.
"The end result is that researchers are wasting massive amounts of time and massive amounts of money," he said.
Simonetta Sipione, who is also at the University of Alberta, though was not involved in the study, said that the problem might even extend to sterile plastic containers that were used to grow cells.
She said that leaching from plastics might have caused the mysterious death of cultured brain cells in her lab, while studying Huntington's disease.
An article on the current study has been published in the journal Science.