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New research strengthens link between hormone disrupting bisphenol A and diabetes

New research, published today in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrinology, finds that exposure of mice to the widely-used hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy may raise a mother’s susceptibility to weight gain and diabetes later in life. As the press release for the study states:

Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in a variety of consumer products, including plastic bottles, food cans and cash register receipts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that more than 96 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies.

BPA is a known endocrine disruptor – a chemical that mimics, blocks or interferes with the body’s hormones. As of last year, nearly 100 epidemiological studies had been published that found an association between BPA and human health effects, including reproductive and metabolic disorders, according to the introductory guide to endocrine-disrupting chemicals published by the Endocrine Society and IPEN.

“Our results suggest that pregnancy represents a new window of susceptibility for mothers exposed to BPA,” said one of the study’s authors, Angel Nadal, PhD, of Miguel Hernández University in Elche, Spain. “Low-dose BPA exposure during this period can raise the risks of developing diabetes later in life.”…

“A number of studies have found that BPA can harm glucose metabolism in offspring exposed in utero, but this is among the first studies to focus on how the endocrine disruptor affects mothers,” said one of the study’s authors, Paloma Alonso-Magdalena, PhD. “Our data suggest exposure can have long-term effects for the mother, including a predisposition to being overweight, or developing metabolic syndrome or diabetes.”

Gwynne Lyons, Policy Director of CHEM Trust, said:

“This study shows that some hormone disrupting chemicals can threaten not only to de-rail the functioning of our sex hormones but also hormones such as insulin which is vital for regulating glucose.

This makes it increasingly likely that hormone disrupting chemicals play an important role in the rapid increase in diabetes and obesity.

Unfortunately, strong lobbying from the chemical and pesticide industries has meant that the EU is back-pedalling on moves to get these substances under tight control.

We are all exposed to BPA via food can linings and via till receipts, and given all the worrying research that has been published, it is high time that at least this chemical was quickly replaced with safer alternatives.”

The EU is currently deciding whether to accept a French government request to ban the use of BPA in thermal paper.

The European Food Safety Agency have recently published a report on the safety of BPA, and CHEM Trust and others have challenged the methodology of this report, and the way in which it was communicated – we’ve just received a letter from the European Commission’s Health department DG Santé on the latter issue. For the latest information on bisphenol A in our blog, click here.

The EU is also currently working on a much-delayed process to establish criteria to define hormone disrupting chemicals.

CHEM Trust published a report on the links between hormone disrupting chemicals & obesity & diabetes in 2012.