Humans exposed to more infertility, cancer chemicals than thought – Study
Humans are exposed to far more hormone-disrupting chemicals than previously thought, according to a new study.
Patricia Hunt, the researcher at Washington State University who first discovered that BPA, a dangerous toxin in plastics, can cause cancer and other diseases and disorders, has now developed a more accurate method of measuring it.
In a new study, Dr Hunt reveals the new tool shows the ‘safe’ limit of BPA stipulated by the US Food and Drug Administration is flawed.
In fact, it is 44 times higher than what Dr Hunt considers safe. She said “This study raises serious concerns about whether we have been careful enough about the safety of this chemical,” Dr Hunt, a corresponding author on the paper, said.
“What it comes down to is that the conclusions federal agencies have come to about how to regulate BPA may have been based on inaccurate measurements,” she added.
The amount of BPA the FDA considers acceptable varies based on the product. Broadly, it claims that the chemicals are ‘safe’ and that people are exposed to such low doses of them that they’re not considered toxic.
However, in 2012, it amended its regulations and banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.
Methodology used by the FDA to establish what is or isn’t ‘safe’ has been subject to scrutiny from a number of scientists. Dr Hunt has led that charge.
She discovered the way that the BPAs – sometimes referred to as ‘gender-bending chemicals – interfered with the production of sperm, eggs, and male and female chromosomes.
Dr Hunt has long acknowledged that measuring humans’ exposure to BPAs is difficult – but argues that, that is all the more reason to err on the side of caution.
So, in her latest work, she developed a new way to test just how much BPA people are exposed to and internalizing.
According to Dr Hunt and her colleagues, most studies attempting to measure the amount of BPA in human urine have done so by putting BPA metabolites – compounds generated as the chemicals pass through the body – into a snail-based enzyme solution that is supposed to turn the compounds back to BPA itself.