There have been big chances in the way our foods, beverages and water containers are made in recent years. Consumers are increasingly demanding for the use of plastic products for these containers that should be free from the chemical called bisphenol-A or BPA, which has been found to cause hormone disruption.
However, according to latest study from Germany, BPA is not the only harmful chemical that’s found in to be leeching from these plastic containers into our foods and beverages. There are in fact thousands of such other chemicals. These include the endocrine-disrupting chemical or EDC called di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate (DEHF). It is startling that it is entirely unregulated. The authorities don’t care anything about its harmful effects.
The German Study
This study was conducted at the Goethe University Frankfurt by Martin Wagner and Jorg Oehlmann. They were supported by another team of scientists from the German Federal Institute of Hydrology. They came to these conclusions after having tested 18 separate samples of bottled water products. They were looking for the presence of EDCs in them.
These researchers used sophisticated arrangement of high-resolution mass spectrometry and bioassay work. What is startling is that they were able to identify more than 24,520 separate chemicals in the tested water.
The biggest concerning chemical found by these researchers was DEHF. What is DEHF?
It is a plasticizer chemical used for increasing the flexibility of plastic bottles. Reports show that DEHF has been found to bet the clearest and most regular chemical in the tested water to cause anti-estrogenic activity. They found over 24,000 various likely damaging chemicals. But DEHF was found to be the only potential EDC that could induce this specific kind of activity. This was recorded to be a major concern in the observation.
According to the published abstract on the study, the following findings were recorded:
Out of 18 tested, 13 bottled water products have been found to show “significant” anti-estrogenic activity. 16 out of these samples showed that it inhibited the androgen receptors in the body by a staggering 90%. The remaining 24,520 traces of chemicals were also found to show antagonistic activity. This indicates that those other chemicals are also harmful to the hormonal system in the body.
The safety of the material has been proven to be in question after thousands of these chemicals used in make plastic have been found to cause endocrine disruption.
These researchers made another startling and mysterious discovery!
They came to the conclusion that DEHF is not the only chemical that was causing this big damage to endocrine system. This is because they couldn’t identify it to be particularly anti-androgenic. Now what this means is that the scientists believe that there is another chemical or a combination of chemicals that is getting leached into bottled water. They believe that this chemical/chemical combination is interfering with the chemical signaling system of our body, and thus causing hormone production and usage.
The researchers claim that they were able to confirm DEHF’s presence and biological activity with the help of authentic standards. The same was the case with additional isomers of dioctyl maleate and fumarate. They said that because DEHF is not anti-androgenic but anti-estrogenic, there is some other EDCs (which is not yet identified), and is contributing to the antagonistic effects from bottled water.
This means that additional research will be required to find these mysterious chemicals which are getting leeched from plastic and entering our food and water.
It is only unfortunate that none of the government agencies responsible for the job will do this crucial research. These include the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a number of other agencies. It will have to be the independent science world to do this.
Bruce Blumberg of University of California said in Chemistry World that this work by the German researchers is a great effort in identifying endocrine disruptors found in packaged materials. The analysis will play a crucial role in how we understand the chemicals which we get regularly exposed to. He added that the study will also help us with understanding the chemicals that are potentially endocrine disruptors.
The full abstract of this research can be found here: http://www.plosone.org.
As a conscious consumer you should start by avoiding any plastic container. You should rather stick to the use of steel or glass containers.