BPA-free plastic was supposedly created to help protect the health of consumers, but new research revealed that it may not be safer than normal plastic products after all.
There have been previous studies confirming that danger still prevails in BPA-free plastic, but this latest one may make consumers think twice about plastic products in general, BPA-free or not.
BPA-Free Plastic: Still Dangerous
Twenty years ago, researchers accidentally discovered that bisphenol A, or BPA, an ingredient in making plastics, was harmful to health. BPA leaked out of plastic cages where female mice lived, leading to a sudden spike in chromosomally abnormal eggs.
The same team, much like the first discovery, published another report in the Current Biology journal focus on the alternative ingredients that replaced BPA in plastics. Apparently, these ingredients are still as dangerous as BPA.
"This paper reports a strange déjà vu experience in our laboratory," said Washington State University's Patricia Hunt.
The team again noticed changes in the data concerning their mice, which was traced to contamination from damaged cages. Hunt and her colleagues determined that the mice were being exposed to BPA replacements, which caused problems in the production of egg and sperm cells.
Further analysis showed that the BPA replacements, including the common alternative named BPS, produced very similar chromosomal abnormalities compared to what were seen in studies on BPA several years in the past.
The findings suggest that BPA-free plastic products, including water bottles and other types of containers, may not be safer than their counterparts with BPA.
How To Protect Yourself From Plastic Health Hazards
The prevalence of plastic products in daily life might mean that people will not be able to escape exposure, even if agencies such as the FDA implemented new rules or restrictions against plastic. In addition, BPA lingers in the environment, so it may take decades before the presence of similar chemicals dissipate.
For protection against the harmful chemicals found in plastic products, Hunt recommended for people to "think about plastics differently." Instead of viewing plastic products as things that last for long periods, they should be considered as disposable products.
Plastics should not be placed in dishwashers or microwaves, as doing so may damage them and cause BPA and its alternatives to leak. Plastic products that look old or have suffered numerous scratches should be thrown away. Families should also try to transition away from plastic containers into ones that are made of glass or steel.