Researchers at two U.S. universities gave rhesus monkeys low doses of BPA, about the proportional equivalent of what humans typically consume by eating canned and other packaged foods.
What they found, according to a paper on the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was that the pregnant rhesus monkeys, whose reproductive systems are very similar to humans’, was alarming. The industrial chemical interrupted the monkeys’ reproductive systems, “causing chromosome damage, miscarriages and birth defects,” according the Washington State University website [via Mother Jones magazine].
The paper came out of a joint study between WSU and the University of California — Davis.
Extra alarming was that the researchers found similar problems in the ovaries of the offspring of the tested monkeys. In turn, that increases the likelihood for birth defects of that monkey’s offspring, the grandchild of the originally tested female rhesus.
As Mother Jones writer Philpott calls it, “a three-for-one hit.”
Efforts to curb the use of BPA have been effective in recent years as outspoken activists questioned the safety of BPA in everyday products, especially those aimed at kids. Manufacturers caved to consumer pressure and voluntarily changed the packaging of their foods, despite industry and chemical lobbyist assurances that BPA is totally safe.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration, an agency some accuse of themselves caving to manufacturers’ lobbyists, banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. But, as Philpott points out, the ban came after the manufacturers already started making their products without it.
Other studies have found that BPA is present in the urine of a vast majority of kids and adults in the U.S. There’s not question that we’re all exposed. The question is whether that exposure is detrimental to our health and, as with this study of rhesus monkeys, the answer appears to be “yes.”