Canadian Plastics

Bisphenol A can affect brain function: study

A new study by research teams at the University of Guelph in Ontario and Yale University has found that continuous ...

September 8, 2008   Canadian Plastics

A new study by research teams at the University of Guelph in Ontario and Yale University has found that continuous low doses of Bisphenol A (BPA) may hinder the formation of synapses in the brain. The synapses allow neurons to communicate with one another, and are critical to how human beings interpret and remember experiences.

“It dramatically impairs the formation of synapses in the regions of the brain important to learning,” said biomedical sciences professor Neil MacLusky. “These findings are worrisome because BPA is the most widely used chemical in the world.”

As previously reported, BPA is used in the production of polycarbonate (PC) water bottles, baby bottles and dental prostheses.

Although several studies have been conducted about the safety of BPA, MacLusky claims that his study is the first to “mimic continuous environmental exposure levels.” Using the dose level declared safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for daily consumption by humans, the researchers exposed African green monkeys living on the Island of St. Kitts to BPA for a month.

According to the study, BPA turned off increases in synapses density in the brain normally induced by estrogen.

“Estrogen is more than just a female reproductive hormone. It enhances the rate at which some types of synapses are formed and is vital in maintaining normal neuronal structure in regions of the brain that control learning, memory and mood state,” argued MacLusky. “When we have BPA in our systems, it seriously impairs this process.”

MacLusky concluded that BPA may be involved with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression and schizophrenia, but further research is needed into those possibilities. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

BPA has recently come under fire as a “toxic” chemical, and the Canadian government recently took steps to limit the use of the chemical in baby bottles. However, industry has maintained that BPA represents little to no risk to human health, pointing to the significant body of scientific research that backs up this claim.


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