Almost 90% of teenagers have gender-bending chemicals from plastic in their bodies, according to a study.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in plastic containers and water bottles, on the inside of food cans and in till receipts.
The chemical, used since the 1960s to make certain types of plastic, mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen, and has been linked to low sperm counts and infertility in men, as well as breast and prostate cancer.
A study by the University of Exeter, whose researchers tested urine samples from 94 teenagers, found 86% had traces of BPA in their body. Experts fear it is all but impossible to avoid the chemical, given the widespread use of plastic packaging for food.
The study’s co-author, Professor Lorna Harries said: “Most people are exposed to BPA on a daily basis. In this study, our student researchers have discovered that, given current labelling laws, it is difficult to avoid exposure by altering our diet. In an ideal world, we would have a choice over what we put into our bodies. At the present time, since it is difficult to identify which foods and packaging contain BPA, it is not possible to make that choice.”
The European Chemicals Agency last year reclassified BPA as a substance of “very high concern” because of its “probable serious effects” on human health.
Used to harden plastics, it has been linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as declining male fertility.
The main way people are exposed to it is through plastic packaging, whose chemicals leach into food.
As well as giving urine samples, the teenagers filled out food diaries. Even when they were told to avoid BPA in their diet for a week, there was no measurable fall of it in their bodies.
- Daily Mail