Babies unwittingly absorb toxic bisphenol the most

April 6th, 2010 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 6 (IANS) Many synthetic and packaging materials contain the hormonally active substance bisphenol A. Consequently, the substance can find its way into the food chain and the human organism. And babies who are fed with polycarbonate bottles are especially at risk.
A new study from ETH Zurich showing just who is exposed and to what extent reveals that babies and infants absorb the most Bisphenol A (BPA). Babies fed using PC (polycarbonate) bottles are the worst affected, on average taking in 0.8 micrograms of BPA per kg of body weight via bottles.

BPA is the key element in polycarbonate synthetics and epoxy resins — about three million tonnes being produced annually worldwide.

Many plastic everyday objects, medical equipment, baby bottles and food packaging are made of PC synthetic materials, whilst epoxy resins are used to coat food and drink cans and seal drinking water pipelines.

Besides air, water and dental fillings, BPA therefore also finds its way into the organism as a result of the food coming into contact with the packaging materials or plastic containers.

BPA is a hormonally active substance that acts like the natural hormone estrogen and as an anti-androgen. Even small amounts of the substance can thus affect sexual development, especially for male foetuses and babies.

Based on toxicological studies, the European Food Safety Authority has established a limit for the acceptable daily intake of BPA: currently 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.

“However, the limit doesn’t include the studies on the hormonal impact of bisphenol A, which are often difficult to interpret,” says Natalie von Götz, a scientist from the Institute of Chemistry and Bioengineering, Germany.

This amount is well below the statutory minimum. “But the latest studies on rats have shown that even low doses can have a harmful impact on the development of the animals,” says von Götz, according to a Institute of Chemistry release.

For Götz, an important aspect is that nutrition studies should not only pay attention to what people eat, but also how the food is packed.

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