Yes! You heard it right.
A recent study on mice shows that BPA alternatives affect the pregnancy in mice.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the production of plastic but has oestrogenic activity. Therefore, BPA substitutes, such as fluorene-9-bisphenol (BHPF), have been introduced for the production of so-called ‘BPA-free’ plastics. BHPF is released from commercial ‘BPA-free’ plastic bottles into drinking water and has anti-oestrogenic effects in mice. BHPF has anti-oestrogenic activity in vitro and, in an uterotrophic assay in mice, induces low uterine weight, atrophic endometria and causes adverse pregnancy outcomes, even at doses lower than those of BPA for which no observed adverse effects have been reported. Female mice given water containing BHPF released from plastic bottles, have detectable levels of BHPF in serum, low uterine weights and show decreased expressions of oestrogen-responsive genes. In a recent study, BHPF was found in the plasma of 7/100 individuals, who regularly drink water from plastic bottles.
In recent years, BPA was shown to have oestrogenic activity, linking BPA to endocrine diseases and to an increased incidence of endocrine-related cancers. Because materials synthesized with BPA were widely used in packing materials for food and beverages, and BPA can be released into food from such, many countries have restricted or banned the use of BPA in materials or containers that come in contact with food, especially baby bottles for milk or water. This ban has led to the introduction of BPA substitutes by the plastics industry.
One such BPA substitute is fluorene-9-bisphenol, also known as 9,9-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-fluorene (BHPF). BHPF is used in the synthesis of polyester polymers such as PC, epoxy resins, polyesters etc. BHPF is also used in materials or containers that come into contact with food—including milk bottles, children’s bottles and sippy cups.
Anti-oestrogenic activity of BHPF
Over the past decades, studies have focused on the oestrogenicity of BPA substitutes and related compounds, attributing exposure to such compounds with endocrine-related diseases, such as the loss of gender characteristics, precocious puberty, low semen quality and obesity.
Because oestrogens play a critical role in maintaining the development of female reproductive organs and the course of pregnancy, anti-oestrogenic effects are physiologically important. Such chemicals have adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, low birth weight and fetal death, has increased in many countries over the last decades.
Subchronic and reproductive toxicity of BHPF in mice
Research study demonstrated that BHPF was strongly anti-oestrogenic. Subchronic and reproductive toxicity tests using CD-1 mice showed that BHPF could reduce uterine weights and induce atrophic endometria (non-cancerous change) in females, reduce pregnancy-related weight gain and cause embryonic absorption and fetal death during pregnancy, and reduce the birth weights of pups.
Effects of low doses of BHPF relevant to human exposure
In prepubertal female mice given water containing BHPF at concentrations relevant to human exposure, low uterine weights and decreased expressions of oestrogen-responsive genes were observed. BHPF was detected in the serum of mice given cooled boiled water containing higher levels of BHPF released from plastic bottles. These results hint at the potential health risks of BHPF, suggesting that it may not be safe for the use in materials that come into contact with food. but many of these programs do not screen compounds for anti-oestrogenic activity.
The study suggests that anti-oestrogenic pollutants, such as BHPF, as well as their adverse effects on human health, warrant further study.
It is specially more harmful for babies who are consuming milk and water from plastic feeding bottles as BPHF will affect the development of ovaries. Hence, there is a need to shift to a safer option for baby feeding bottles.