Several canned foods, baby bottles, drinking containers and other household plastics are known to contain the toxic chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) and many companies put a BPA-free label on the consumer products to alleviate concerns surrounding toxic materials.
However, manufacturers replacing BPA with a Bisphenol S (BPS) label, does not mean that these products are non-toxic and safer.
Researchers at the University of Calgary, Canada, have conducted a study which reveals that both BPA and BPS can cause alterations in the brain development, which leads to hyperactivity in zebrafish.
For the purpose of the study, Deborah M. Kurrasch, PhD, researcher in the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine and co-author of the study, along with colleagues Cassandra Kinch and Hamid Habibi exposed embryos of zebrafish (which share 80 percent of human genes) to concentrations of the toxic BPA and BPS chemicals. The levels were similar to those found at the Oldman and Bow rivers in Alberta.
Through this process, the exposure to BPS and BPA changed the time of neuron formation in the zebrafish's brains
"I was actually very surprised at our results. This was a very, very, very low dose, so I didn't think using a dose this low could have any effect," says Kurrasch.
The researchers observed that the neuron development in the zebrafish showed an increase of 180 percent, when compared to those that were not exposed to the chemicals.
The study suggests that pregnant women should be careful of BPA and BPS exposure during the prenatal period as the brain development of the baby maybe affected.
"Finding the mechanism linking low doses of BPA to adverse brain development and hyperactivity is almost like finding a smoking gun," says Habibi.
The researchers urge that bisphenols should be removed from consumer goods for good. However, the FDA has asserted that the use of BPA in beverage containers and cans is safe.
Per experts, the best way to avoid exposure is avoiding contact with household plastics. However, since this is next to impossible in our day-to-day lives, it is best to opt for alternatives or sanitize hands after exposure.
Some safe alternatives for use in our daily lives are ceramic crockery, stainless steel bottles, glass blender, natural rubber gloves, handkerchief, stainless steel ice-cube tray, cast iron cookware, products made from wool/cotton or biodegradable fibers, recycled toilet paper and bar soap. Try to avoid deli containers, non-stick cookware, food wraps, plastic bags, tissue paper/toilet paper, canned drinks and food.
The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).