September 05, 2008

life in general: dangerous chemicals in plastic bottles & containers

I present below yet another finding on hazardous-to-health chemicals widely allowed in plastic bottles and containers. This latest study has been done by Canada-based University of Guelph.

Such research and findings emanate mainly from universities in European countries and Canada where the powerful lobbies of chemical and petrochemical
companies are not able to penetrate fully enough to kill such research.

In India, the universities' managements (including the chemical department of the so-called great IITs of India) do have have an iota of courage to even initiate such a study. This is mainly because of the massive, sophisticated hooliganism by chemical and petrochemcial companies in India that includes few large corporate groups who are able to kill all initiatives by governments and government bodies to scrutinise their manufacturing process and final products. A case in point is the government-owned National Chemical Laboratory that shamelessly and openly plugs for the chemical and petrochemical companies.

Anyway, here is the News Release statement by the University of Guelph:

BPA Impairs Synapses Formation in Brain, New Study Finds
September 03, 2008 - News Release

The controversial chemical Bisphenol A commonly found in hard plastic food and drink containers may impair the brain's ability to learn and remember, according to a groundbreaking study conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph and Yale University. The U of G research has been covered by media outlets across the world, including the Globe and Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Canadian Press, Washington Post, Times of India, Global television and CTV.

The study reveals that continuous low doses of Bisphenol A (BPA) hinders the formation of synapses in the brain, which allow neurons to communicate with one another and are critical to the way we 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 one of the most widely used chemicals in the world."

BPA is used in plastic water bottles and some baby bottles, dental prostheses and sealants, and in the lining inside of food cans. It has been proven that this chemical can leach from these products and be absorbed through human consumption. Although previous research has been done on the harmful effects of BPA, MacLusky's study, set to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 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. Results showed that even at this low dose, BPA turns off increases in synapses density in the brain normally induced by estrogen, said MacLusky.

"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. When we have BPA in our systems, it seriously impairs this process."

Although further research is needed, these results support the possibility that BPA may be involved in human neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, depression and schizophrenia, which all feature aberrant synapse formation and are also sensitive to sex hormone levels, he said.
This study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Contact Prof. Neil MacLusky
Department of Biomedical Science 519-824-4120, Ext. 54700
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/

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