Most BPA-Free Products Found to Leach Chemicals Having Significant Estrogenic Activity (EA)
Environmental Health Perspectives Publishes Research Finding Pervasive Leaching of Chemicals with EA from Plastic Products That Can Be Averted
MARCH 2, 2011 – (Austin, TX) – Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a peer-reviewed journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, today published a major scientific article from researchers at PlastiPure, CertiChem, and Georgetown University, focused on quantifying and addressing the potential health issue of estrogenic activity (EA) in plastic products. The results of this study indicate that the large majority of commercially available BPA-free plastic materials and products readily leach chemicals having EA. Leaching increases when products are subjected to common-use stresses such as dishwashing, microwaving and sunlight.
There is currently great scientific concern about the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Chemicals with EA are believed to constitute the largest group of EDCs and have been linked to adverse health effects such as birth defects, reproductive cancers, and behavioral and learning disorders. While the estrogenic chemical BPA is widely known by the public, it is less well known that thousands of other chemicals are suspected to have EA. The EHP paper is groundbreaking in its quantification of levels of EA across multiple BPA-free materials and consumer plastic products, which until PlastiPure’s research have been suspected, but largely unmeasured.
“Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of base material, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA-free,” said Mike Usey, CEO of PlastiPure. “In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than BPA-containing products.”
In this study, all types of plastic materials often tested positive for leaching of chemicals having EA, including those manufactured from polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Bio-resins, such as several polylactic acid (PLA) resins and products, also showed easily detectable EA. In addition, materials specifically targeted and used as replacements for BPA-containing polycarbonate (PC), such as polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) and polyethersulfone (PES), often leached chemicals having EA levels equivalent to or above those found leaching from BPA-containing PC.
The issue of chemicals with EA leaching from plastics is made worse by methods used to process or decorate plastics with a large variety of additives, colorants, processing aids, and inks. Data from the EHP paper show that all categories of plastic products tested positive for EA, including baby bottles, water bottles, rigid food packaging, bags, deli containers and flexible wrap. In total, 92 percent of individual plastic product samples tested positive for EA even when not exposed to common-use stresses.
Plastics have many ecological advantages—they are light weight and recyclable, and have low energy consumption for manufacture and transport—and they enable innovations that improve life for most people. Plastics should and will continue to be used widely, but should also immediately be made safer with technologies PlastiPure has developed and licensed for formulating, processing and certifying plastics to be EA-Free. Plastic products made using PlastiPure-Safe™ EA-Free technologies can be made for equivalent costs compared to conventional products that leach chemicals with EA.
“Our research and patents provide methods to quickly design, manufacture and certify safe plastic materials for applications in a wide range of industries including food and beverage, infant feeding, personal care, cosmetics, medical supply, pharmaceutical, toys, animal feed, and more,” said Usey.