(NaturalNews) The Endocrine Society has issued an official statement expressing concern over the health effects of the common industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA).
BPA is widely used to make plastics products hard and transparent, such as in water or baby bottles, and is also used to line cans of food or infant formula. Research has shown that the chemical can leach from these materials into food, however, and a number of tests have found high levels of BPA in the bodies of both adults and children.
This is an issue of particular concern because BPA is a known endocrine disruptor, disrupting the operation of vertebrate hormonal systems.
Although the FDA insists that BPA is safe, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences issued a report last year expressing concern over the chemical's effects on the development of the brain and prostate gland.
In new research presented to the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, scientists found that BPA can induce an uneven heart beat in female mice
"These effects are specific on the female heart. The male heart does not respond in this way and we understand why," researcher Scott Belcher said.
BPA mimics the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen in the body.
Another study found that BPA can induce changes at the genetic level by binding to DNA and changing its function.
"We exposed some mice to bisphenol A and then we looked at their offspring," researcher Hugh Taylor said. "We found that even when a they had a brief exposure during pregnancy ... mice exposed to these chemicals as a fetus carried these changes throughout their lives."
A third study raised concerns that BPA exposure may be even more widespread than previously believed. Researcher Frederick Vom Saal and colleagues from the University of Missouri found that monkeys are able to quickly clear BPA from their bodies, suggesting that humans with high blood levels are being repeatedly exposed to the chemical.
"We are really concerned that there is a very large amount of bisphenol A that must be coming from [unknown] sources," Vom Saal said.