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Plastics chemicals BPA, BPS linked to altered brain development

Bisphenol S

(NaturalNews) Many plastic product manufacturers are starting to put "BPA-free" labels on their products. The plastic industry is slowly moving away from BPA, removing it from baby bottles and plastic food storage containers. This is progress, especially since BPA has been shown to worsen obesity, cancer and behavioral problems.

However, as manufacturers move away from BPA and assure consumers that their plastics are safe, they ultimately replace it with something just as sinister -- BPS. BPS is like a cousin to BPA. It's also an endocrine disrupter and is linked to some of the same health problems as BPA. In fact, BPS might be worse than BPA.

In zebra fish, BPS has been linked to alteration in brain cell development. Additionally, this new study finds that BPS causes hyperactive behavior. (The brains of zebra fish develop similarly to humans and are a perfect testing ground for the effects of chemicals like BPA and BPS.)

BPS changes timing of neuron development in the hypothalamus

In a new study out of the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, scientists exposed zebrafish to various doses of BPA and BPS. The doses were nearly equivalent to the concentrations measured in Alberta's Oldman River, a waterway near two urban areas. Both BPA and BPS raped neuron development in the brains of the zebrafish, altering the timing and rate at which new neurons develop. The most affected region of the brain was the hypothalamus, which regulates hunger, mood, hormones, body temperature and heart rate. It appears that the scientists are getting to the root of the chemicals' hormone disruption. The chemicals are altering the neurons responsible for regulating hormone production.

The fish embryos that were exposed to BPA experienced an explosion of new brain cell growth compared to controls. The scientists measured a 180 percent increase. Fish embryos exposed to BPS were affected even more. Scientists confirmed a 240 percent increase. This shows that BPS plastics might be worse than BPA plastics, interfering with brain development at a much faster rate.

The scientists concluded that the fish were generating too many neurons at once, adversely affecting the crucial functions in the hypothalamus. They also found that the influx of neurons up front caused periods of slow neuron growth later on. These abnormal fluxes disrupt the formation of connections in neural circuitry. This elicits adverse behaviors in the fish and could very well explain adverse and erratic behaviors in children. Perhaps these discoveries may help explain bipolar and schizophrenic behaviors. They could be the result of abnormal neuron growth in the hypothalamus caused by these plasticizers.

Plastics manufacturers should start making plastic products that are totally "bisphenol-free"

The researchers wrote that BPA-free products are no safer and often contain BPS which is also an endocrine disrupter. Their work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They said they "support the removal of all bisphenols from consumer merchandise."

They pointed out that the zebrafish used in the study were at the same developmental period as the second trimester of babies in the uterus. This might mean that BPA and BPS exposure could affect the brain development of a baby before they are even born. Exposure to these chemicals in the womb could help explain why certain developmental problems occur in childhood. This might not be limited to just behavior but may account for other malfunctions in the hypothalamus regarding proper hormone production, weight gain and more.

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