BPA-free plastic cups may not be safe?

Your “BPA free” plastic product may not be any safer than the product it replaced. New study analyzed the affect of a common BPA alternative on zebra fish embryos. The study joins a small but growing group of similar studies alerting us about “BPA free” alternatives. Results seem frightening. After decades of animal research linked BPA Bisphenol A, a recognized endocrine disruptor, to problems with brain and reproductive development, early puberty and a rise in breast and prostate cancer, many factories stopped using the chemical to harden plastics, replacing it with “BPA free” alternatives. The common substitute is BPS Bisphenol S.

Study exposed zebrafish to low levels of both BPA and BPS, and looked at the affect of the chemicals on genes and brain cells that control reproduction. Zebrafish have frequently been used to study the affect of plastic additives because their transparent embryos let scientists to see and monitor cell growth. Research showed that low levels of BPS had similar effect on the embryo as BPA. In the presence of either BPA or BPS, embryonic development has been accelerated and BPA caused premature birth.

The study also found both BPA and BPS influenced the thyroid hormone system. Because of thyroid hormone’s important influence on brain development throughout gestation, this study holds important implications for general embryonic and fetal development, as well as in humans. In 2012, the FDA prohibited the use of BPA in all baby bottles, sippy cups and baby formula packaging because the manufacturers had dropped BPA in favor of safer alternatives. The agency says it is continuing in depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about BPA in conjunction with the National Toxicology Program. The new review stated by the FDA looked at more than 300 studies published between November 2009, and July 2013.

The Breast Cancer Fund recommends that buyers who want to limit possible pollutants in BPA, BPS and other alternatives use glass, stainless steel and food safe ceramic containers for food and water storage. They stress that it is not safe to microwave in plastic.