Twenty years ago, scientists realized that a common chemical in plastic named BPA (bisphenol A) leached out of plastics and caused reproductive problems in exposed animals. This resulted in the removal of BPA from many plastics used in bottles, cups, and other items. However, a recent study shows that BPA-free alternatives also cause chromosome damage to eggs and sperm.
The BPA analog used in the current study, and in BPA-free plastics is known as BPS. The reproductive problems caused by BPS in mice, and thought to be happening in humans, will be carried over to future generations because of the effects on the sperm and egg. If it were possible to eliminate bisphenol contaminants completely, the effects would still persist for three generations.
How could this happen?
Under current chemical regulations, it is easier and more cost effective to replace a chemical of concern with structural analogs rather than determine the attributes that make it toxic. BPA-free plastics contain multiple structural analogs of BPA, with BPS being one of the most popular.
How can I product my family?
According to the researchers of this study, BPA-free or not,
“Plastic products that show physical signs of damage or aging cannot be considered safe.”
Any plastic products that you are currently using that shows damage or aging should be discarded immediately; by using these items, there is a large chance you could be at risk for reproductive problems.
Also, try to move beyond plastic – other natural materials are usually readily available. I recently bought a fork and spoon made from coconut shell that I carry around in my bag. When I eat out, I don’t have any reason to use plastic utensils.
The best way to prevent exposure to contaminants in plastic, is by practicing a zero-waste lifestyle. There are lots of resources on YouTube of other people making the same journey, and sharing their successes and challenges.
[via Science Daily]