(NaturalNews) In the first direct evidence that bisphenol A (BPA) can be harmful primates, the chemical was observed to produce neurological problems in monkeys, in a study conducted by researchers from Yale School of Medicine and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Our findings suggest that exposure to low-dose BPA may have widespread effects on brain structure and function," the researchers wrote.
BPA is widely used to make polycarbonate plastics such as those in the baby bottles, water bottles and compact discs resistant to shattering, and is an ingredient in the resins used to line food cans. The chemical has been shown to leach into food or water, however, and a number of studies, mostly on rodents, have linked it to disruptions of the hormonal and nervous systems.
In the current study, researchers exposed monkeys to BPA levels that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled safe for humans.
"Our goal was to more closely mimic the slow and continuous conditions under which humans would normally be exposed to BPA," researcher Csaba Leranth said.
The monkeys went on to develop mood disorders and irregular brain function.
The National Institutes of Health's National Toxicology Program recently reaffirmed its findings that current research supports concerns over BPA's effects on the developing brains and endocrine systems of infants and children. The National Toxicology Program has no ability to regulate the chemical, however, and can only make recommendations to the EPA and FDA.
The FDA continues to classify BPA as safe, basing its ruling only on the findings of two industry-funded studies.
"Unfortunately the regulatory agency charged with protecting the public health continues to rely on industry-based research to arrive at its conclusions, rather than examining the totality of scientific evidence," said Rep. John D. Dingell, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the FDA's treatment of the BPA issue.