Today, scientists gave us even more ammunition to use in the fight against bisephenol A (BPA) — the synthetic estrogen present in many plastics and packaged foods. Ever since low levels of BPA were shown to be toxic to mice in 1997, the chemical has been steadily in the news as researchers around the world keep unlocking the many ways that it leaches into our foods. From today’s press release:
The French National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) found BPA caused a negative reaction in the intestine of rats – even at low doses. The report was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences and focused on the digestive tract as the first organ the chemical comes into contact with after being consumed.
INRA said its team orally administered doses of BPA to the rats that were equivalent to about 10 times less than the daily amount considered safe for humans. The Toulouse-based body’s research was also carried out on human intestine cells and revealed the chemical lowered the permeability of the intestines and the immune system’s response to digestive inflammation. They also found that newborn rats exposed to BPA in the uterus and during feeding have a higher risk of developing severe intestinal inflammation in adulthood.
“These findings illustrate the intestine’s great sensitivity to Bisphenol A and open new research paths for characterising and evaluating the effects of endocrine disruptors from food,” said a statement from the researchers.
It added: “They may also contribute to risk assessment and the determination of new acceptable exposure thresholds for these molecules.”
In the past, we’ve primarily been concerned about BPA from a hormonal point of view. The regular presence of synthetic estrogen in our food supply can have many negative effects on fertility, normal human growth, cancerous growth, and more. Yet now we can add one more element to our growing list of wrongs: it harms our guts. (And you all remember how I feel about our guts, right?)
How to avoid BPA exposure:
- Because of the ubiquitous presence of BPA in the linings of canned foods, you should limit your consumption of industrialized canned goods (particularly if you’re pregnant or nursing).
- Avoid polycarbonate plastics, particularly those labeled as plastic #7 and #3. Don’t eat or drink out of these containers; don’t store foods in these containers; and don’t heat foods in these containers. As an alternative, use glass, stainless steel, or ceramic containers NOT lined with plastics.
(picture by seaotter22)