(NaturalNews) BPA-free labels make a product look clean and healthy, but these products could potentially harbor similar plasticizer chemicals that also disrupt hormones and the endocrine system of the human body.
The US Food and Drug Administration attempted to keep the public safe in 2012 by banning the sale of BPA-containing baby bottles. The regulation, although well intended, did not account for other similarly dangerous plasticizers. This creates an illusion of safety, especially when parents reach for BPA-free bottles, blindly trusting their purity. Of course, avoiding bisphenol A is important, especially since the plasticizer chemical has been documented in several studies to mimic estrogen and harm brain and reproductive development in fetuses, infants and children. But one cannot automatically trust a BPA-free product to be safe across the board. In fact, new research suggests that BPA's common replacement, bisphenol S (BPS), is just as harmful, capable of disrupting hormones all the same.
The emergence of bisphenol S
A 2013 study at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that BPS is just as disruptive to human cells as BPA. By altering cellular functions, BPS can potentially cause metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity to show up. Statistics show that 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. Like BPA, BPS is used as a starting material during the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics. During the chemical reaction, some of the BPS is left behind unused. The remainder leaches into the contents of the product. The human ingests the BPA or BPS that has made its way into the food or drink. BPS was thought of as less harmful, since it was more resistant to leaching, but over time it doesn't matter. BPS is capable of disrupting cellular processes at picomolar concentrations (or less than one part per trillion).
"[Manufacturers] put 'BPA-free' on the label, which is true. The thing they neglected to tell you is that what they've substituted for BPA has not been tested for the same kinds of problems that BPA has been shown to cause. That's a little bit sneaky," said Cheryl Watson, who confirmed the damages at picomolar concentrations at the University of Texas.
It's possible that BPS is even more dangerous than BPA. In an in vivo study from the University of Calgary, lead scientist Deborah Kurrasch investigated BPS effects on zebrafish and embryo development. When the fish were given concentrations of BPS normally found in rivers, their neuron growth expanded rapidly. BPA caused the zebrafish to expand neuron growth by 170 percent, and BPS caused a 240 percent spike in neuron growth. The researchers attributed this growth to hyperactivity.
Remarkably, brain development in zebrafish is similar to humans. In the study, a dose one thousand time lower than what's recommended for humans elicited hyperactivity in the zebrafish. Kurrasch said, "Part of the problem with endocrine disruptors is they usually have a U-shaped dose response profile. At very low doses they have activity and then as you increase the dose it drops in activity. Then at higher doses it has activity again."
BPS causes heart arrhythmia
At the University of Cincinnati, both BPA and BPS were linked to heart arrhythmia. Associate professor Hong-Sheng Wang tested nearly 50 rats and introduced them to BPA and BPS at a dose that resembles average exposure levels in humans. His results were astounding. BPS blocked an estrogen receptor in female rats, disrupting their calcium channels. This caused the rats' hearts to race. Interestingly, disrupted calcium channels in humans often causes heart arrhythmia too.
Are these plasticizers at the root of heart irregularities and blocked nutrient absorption in humans?