Estrogen activity detected in most plastics tested, including BPA-free materials, new research from PlastiPure, CertiChem and Georgetown University finds; BPA-free 'viewed as marketing, not a health issue,' PlastiPure executive says

LOS ANGELES , July 3, 2012 () –

Health concerns about Bisphenol A have brought about various alternatives, but even the BPA-free options continue to show estrogen activity, according to researchers, reported Packaging Digest on July 1.

A recent study that sought to quantify and address the potential health issue of estrogen activity in plastic products indicates that nearly all of the plastic products tested leached chemicals that had detectable estrogen activity, including those advertized as BPA-free.

The study, done by researchers at PlastiPure Inc., CertiChem Inc. and Georgetown University, found that the leaching increases when the products are stressed by microwaving, dishwashing and exposure to sunlight, Packaging Digest reported.

The concept that BPA alternatives could be a health risk has been surfacing more in the media and other informational outlets, such as the website of certified B corporation Care2, which announced “New BPA Substitute May Be Equally Dangerous.”

Some BPA-free products are just as “estrogenic,” said Stuart Yaniger, VP of research and product development at PlastiPure, which works with companies to develop estrogen-activity-free materials, compounds, colorants and processing aids, as well as its own certified estrogen-activity-free products, reported Packaging Digest.

In some cases one harmful element has been replaced by another rather than fixing “the entire problem,” he said. “In one sense, BPA-free is viewed as marketing, not a health issue,” said Yaniger.

The development of BPA alternatives continues, with companies such as agricultural processing giant Archer Daniels Midland Inc., coatings manufacturer Valspar Corp., and Seattle Polymer LLC continuing to make strides, Packaging Digest reported.

Despite the substantial research being done, a “readily-available alternative” to BPA for all types of metal food and beverage packaging now in use has not yet been discovered, said John Rost, PhD, chairman of North American Metal Packaging Alliance Inc.

To cover the variety of food and beverages now packed in cans would have to take into account more than 1,700 different specific performance and safety characteristics, he said, reported Packaging Digest.

Many food and beverage companies appear to be in no rush to find BPA alternatives although some have started to remove BPA from their food packaging.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided not to ban BPA in a decision earlier this year, it remains supportive of research into the safety of BPA, said an agency spokesperson, Packaging Digest reported.

The primary source of this article is Packaging Digest, Oak Book, Illinois, on July 1, 2012.

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