By now, we’ve all learned of bisphenol A’s endocrine-disrupting potential and know to look for the “BPA-free” label when buying water bottles and other plastic items. That may not be enough. A study published this week in Environmental Health Perspectives has found that all plastics—not just those that contain BPA—can release estrogen-mimicking chemicals, NPR reports.
Of more than 450 plastic products designed to come in contact with food from stores--including baby bottles, deli packaging and flexible bags—more than 70 percent released chemicals that act like estrogen, says University of Texas biology professor George Bittner, one of the study's authors. The researchers focused on BPA-free baby bottles and water bottles, Bittner says, "and all of them released chemicals having estrogenic activity." Some BPA-free products had even more activity than products known to contain BPA.
"Regulatory agencies need to study the effect of chemicals leaching out of plastic," Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group, says. Until then, she advises people to avoid putting baby bottles and other plastic products in dishwashers or microwaves. "We've long cautioned consumers to avoid extreme heat and cooling for plastics, to discard scratched and worn plastics and we feel like this [study] validates one of our many concerns," she told NPR.
Concerned? Check out Dr. Linda White’s excellent overview, Plastics: What’s Dangerous, What’s Not? and Jeffrey Hollender and Alexandra Zissu’s Safety Concerns About Plastic Food Storage Containers. With a little effort, you can minimize the plastic in your home and in your life. It’s not our future.
Even BPA-free plastics can leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals.