Researchers in France have released a study showing that Bisphenol A (BPA), the known endocrine disruptor, can cause inner ear deformities in vertebrates that can affect hearing and balance. Previous research has shown that BPA acts as a hormonal disruptor and has the ability to cause sexual dysfunction in adults, brain abnormalities in fetuses, reproduction abnormalities, early puberty in current levels, and can lead to cancer — breast and prostate. This latest study adds another health risk to the already growing list of problems that have been scientifically linked to BPA — which can be found in products like water bottles, baby bottles and canned goods. The chemical has already been declared toxic in Canada and has been banned there and in the EU in baby bottles.

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Photo by Pouzin Olivier

BPA is a compound used in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins (hard, durable plastics) and has been proven to be an endocrine disruptor — meaning it mimics hormones in the body leading to hormone imbalances and potential health concerns — it was first discovered to be estrogenic in the 1930’s. In this latest study a team headed by Vincent Laudet of the Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle in Lyon, France in conjunction with research teams from Inserm, the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle and The French National Institute for Agricultural Research studied the effects of increasing amounts of BPA on developing Zebrafish eggs and Xenopus — a type of frog — tadpoles. In both studies it was shown that the increase in BPA caused an increase in abnormalities in the otoliths, small inner ear workings that control balance and hearing functions.

The researchers started with levels of BPA in the Zebrafish and Xenopus tanks of 1 mg/L and through the study increased the levels to 20 mg/L. It was found that all Zebrafish developed abnormalities when the levels were over 15 mg/L. Most BPA research to date has been done on hormonal disruptions, and this study shows that Bisphenol A could have larger affeccts outside of what is already known. With previous studies showing that all humans are exposed to BPA on a daily basis and in many cases have levels above what is considered safe, studies like this could help push legislation to further ban BPA in consumer products.

Via Science Daily

Lead Image by Bradbury J: Small Fish, Big Science