BPA Also Harms Dental Enamel
As if the news about the common plastics ingredient, BPA, couldn’t get any worse, new research presented recently at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society shows that the chemical even damages children’s teeth.
Add this side effect to the growing list of ill effects from BPA. Found in all manner of consumer goods—including plastics, water bottles, food-can liners, and even cash-register receipts—BPA is a supposedly “safe” plasticizer that helps makes plastics pliable and soft. The ability to have pliable rubber duckies is rapidly losing its charm. At what point will someone in authority take notice and take steps to eliminate this alarming toxin from our lives? We the people can vote with our pocketbooks, of course. And thanks to consumer pressure, some manufacturers have indeed begun marketing “BPA-free” alternatives to certain products.
But the chemical is still virtually everywhere. And it persists for a distressingly long time in the environment. Studies suggest it’s circulating in the bloodstreams of a vast majority of Americans, for example.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor. It mimics estrogens. That’s particularly alarming, because the estrogens are among the most powerful hormones in the human body. And while we associate estrogen with women, due to its important roles in reproductive health and sexual maturation, males and females alike have estrogen in their bodies. More importantly, we all have receptors for these hormones on virtually all of our cells.
All of which means that BPA and other endocrine disruptors like it have multiple opportunities to cause problems in any number of sensitive tissues and organs in the body. Existing and emerging research continue to mount, showing that these chemicals are having all kinds of long-term, unintended, negative consequences.
The Endocrine Society is a professional organization for doctors involved in the branch of medicine most intimately involved in this very issue. No wonder, then, that their annual meeting, held in March this year, is yielding numerous alarming reports about the dangers of BPA and other endocrine disruptors.
The latest has to do with BPA’s effects on tooth development in young rats. The rodents are proxies for human subjects. While the animal studies do not prove that humans react exactly the same way to these chemicals, they are strongly suggestive, because many of the systems involved are common among all mammals, including humans.
"Our study shows, for the first time, that BPA affects dental cells, and subsequently enamel synthesis, using similar target molecules as those present in other organs," said Sylvie Babajko, PhD, a researcher at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris. This occurred after rat babies were exposed to BPA immediately after birth and continuing for 30 days. Exposure levels were similar to those commonly experienced by humans on a daily basis.
The effect is so reliable, Babajko suggests that the presence of damaged, discolored molars (a condition called molar incisor hypomineralization (MIH)), may be taken as a sign of early childhood exposure to BPA. “Human enamel defects may be used as an early marker of exposure to BPA and similar-acting endocrine disruptors,” Babajko said.
Newswise website. Articles page. Accessed Mar. 9, 2015 from: http://www.newswise.com/articles/bpa-harms-dental-enamel-in-young-animals-mimicking-human-tooth-defect