We’ve all heard the BPA, found virtually everywhere in plastics, cans, and other polymers, is bad for us. Now, according to an article on ScienceDaily.com a study performed by Daniel Weber of UW-Milwaukee has shown that even exposure to small concentrations as an embryo has big effects on later adult life.
The test Weber performed was a simple learning test in which he condition adult fish to turn left in a T-shaped maze. After learning to turn left, he then reversed the direction and attempted to condition them to turn right. The adult fish that were no exposed to BPA as embryos took only about 7-10 trials before they learned to turn left. The adult fish that were exposed to concentrations of BPA as embryos, however, took 2-3 times as many trials to learn to turn right instead of left, and those that were exposed to the highest concentrations of BPA as embryos were never able to turn left in the first place.
In addition to the learning disabilities evident in adulthood as a result of BPA exposure, there was also an observed immediate effect of hyperactivity upon hatching.
It is obvious then, that these effects are connected. Hyperactivity makes it difficult to learn, as is seen in children with ADHD, and even though the exposure only occurred in the embryonic stage, the wiring in the brain was permanently effected and the learning and memory impairments are evident in adulthood.
I think this study is a breakthrough that will only lead to further knowledge about the effects of BPA and other man-made environmental toxins. With so many children being born with behavioral and learning disabilities, especially hyperactivity disorders, these findings cannot be ignored. I have been avoiding BPA for years by using stainless steel bottles and mugs, but it is everywhere in our environment now and is, sadly, unavoidable. I hope that this and further studies will lead to the permanent banning of BPA and other known dangerous chemicals found in plastics, so we can stop condemning and increasing number of our children to a life of learning and behavioral issues.
Source article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120404101812.htm
Due to many comments expressing confusion about BPA, I thought I would provide a little background information. BPA, or bisphenol A, is an organic compound that is used to make many different plastics, polycarbonates and resins that we encounter in our daily lives. I have posted a picture of the structure of BPA below for reference. Basically, BPA has been used in the commercial production of plastics since 1957, and approximately 8 billion pounds of BPA is used yearly. You encounter BPA numerous times a day, in your shatter-proof, polycarbonate nalgene water bottle, in baby bottle, sports equipment, household electronics, eyeglasses, and on and on. However, it has been discovered that BPA is an endocrine disruptor, and can mimic estrogen. This can lead to negative health effects, especially when exposure occurs during early developmental stages. BPA exposure, which is virtually unavoidable (in a recent study, 96% of pregnant women were found to have BPA in their bodies), has been linked to not only neurological and developmental issues, but also to obesity, thyroid function, and cancer. The most common way the BPA enters our bodies is through ingestions. When materials containing BPA are washed, heated, or stressed in some way, the chemical leeches into our food. Considering BPA is in almost all food packaging, containers, and bottles, it is leeching into all of our food, daily. According to a story by TIME magazine, "if you don't have BPA in your body, you are not living in the modern world."
Posted by Laura Moro (2)