Just when we thought it was safe to drink and eat out of plastic again along comes a new study stamping a big question mark on anything plastic. And we’re not talking bisphenol A. This Environmental Health Perspectives study looked at chemical leaching in BPA-free plastic and alarmingly discovered that the majority of commercial plastic leaches chemicals with estrogenic effects. Yikes!
Furthermore, the researchers found that wear and tear (washing, sunlight, etc.) increased chemical leaching and that in some cases BPA-free plastic had more chemicals with estrogenic effects than those with BPA.
The researchers looked at 450 plastic items that come into contact with food—from plastic baggies to sippy cups purchased from stores including Walmart and Whole Foods and found that about 70 percent released estrogen-mimicking chemicals.
If more research corroborates this, ubiquitous plastic could come under fire like never before.
As a mother and consumer this news has me questioning everything plastic—items in my kitchen, goods on grocery store shelves. Retailers—as this news disseminates, prepare for consumer questions and concerns similar to mine.
But keep in mind the research didn’t look at specific chemicals, that some question one of the scientists personal interests, George Bittner is a biology professor a the University of Austin but also owns CertiChem, the company that did the testing.
Bottom line: The test results are very alarming and certainly a cause for concern but keep in mind that research about estrogenic effects has been done largely in lab animals, not humans. More rigorous testing needs to be done on chemicals in plastic and the effects on humans those chemicals could have. The natural products industry should task itself with supporting and demanding further research.