Food packaging with Bisphenol A damages the brain

by Medindia Content Team on  December 3, 2005 at 7:11 PM Diet & Nutrition News
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Food packaging with Bisphenol A damages the brain
A University of Cincinnati (UC) research team comprising Scott Belcher, PhD, did a study that Bisphenol A shows negative effect in brain tissue 'at surprisingly low doses.'
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Worded by Dr. Belcher, 'These new studies are also the first to show that oestrogen's rapid signalling mechanisms are active in the developing and maturing brain in regions not thought to be involved with sexual differences or reproductive functions,'

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'BPA molecules are linked into polymers used to create polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins that are widely used in many products,' said Dr. Belcher. 'While plastics are typically thought of as being stable, scientists have known for many years that the chemical linkage between BPA molecules was unstable, and that BPA leaches into food or beverages in contact with the plastics."

In the absence of oestrogen, Dr. Belcher said, BPA alone was found to mimic the actions of oestrogen in developing neurons, and very low doses of BPA completely inhibited the activity of oestrogen. Because oestrogen normally increases the growth and regulates viability of developing neurons, he said, these results support the idea that BPA may harm developing brain cells.

'From other studies it's clear that these low concentrations are in line with human foetal exposures, and at levels one might even see in the water supply,' said Dr. Belcher.

Oestrogen's actions on these neurons appear to be a double-edged sword,' he said. "During certain periods of development oestrogen can kill specific subsets of neurons, but at a later developmental stage it actually appears to increase their viability.' Disruption of either of these actions of oestrogen could be considered potentially harmful, he added.

'We have now shown that environmental estrogens like BPA appear to alter, in a very complicated fashion, the normal way oestrogen communicates with immature nerve cells,' Dr. Belcher explained. 'The developmental effects that we studied are known to be important for brain development and also for normal function of the adult brain,' he said.

In his words, 'What remains unclear is how inappropriate hormone signalling, or blocking the normal signaling at a critical time during development, will influence later life.'

This study will warn people against the potential danger of food containers and help ingenerating awareness.

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