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Bad Plastic

February 21, 2010

Polycarbonate plastics that contain a chemical called bisphenol A can disrupt normal reproductive development in both rodents and humans.


Putting the heat on plastics…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

There’s been a lot of press lately about the safety of polycarbonate plastics that contain a compound called Bisphenol A. It’s in water bottles, food containers and other consumer products that bear the recycling symbol #7. Neuroendocrinologist Heather Patisaul of North Carolina State University says bisphenol A exposure disrupts reproductive development in both rats and humans.

HEATHER PATISAUL (North Carolina State University):
What happens with our rats is they go through puberty too early, and this mirrors what we’re seeing in girls in the US, where the age of puberty is getting lower.

Patisaul says many children eat from plastic dishes and utensils, which increases their exposure to bisphenol A. #7 plastics leech the compound when heated, and the best way to decrease exposure is to keep these products away from the sun and out of the microwave. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.