How plastics cause autism, diabetes, cancer, birth defects


Recent studies have associated the rise in autism, diabetes, cancer and birth defects to increase in the use of plastics in making everyday containers, toys and baby teethers or pacifiers.

A new study warned that the most popular teething rings contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, which are banned from use in products for children.

However, no studies have ever tested plastic teethers for the presence of toxins commonly found in plastic that have been linked to increased risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity.

Now a study by the American Chemical Society warns that 100 percent of pacifiers tested contained Bisphenol A (BPA), Bisphenol S (BPS) or Bisephenol F (BPF) – so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Most also contained parabens, and antimicrobials such as triclosan and triclocarban.

So-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are found in thousands of everyday products, ranging from plastic and metal food containers to detergents, flame retardants, toys and cosmetics. This term covers a number of chemicals. One is called PBDEs, which are commonly found in flame-retardants. Bisphenol A in polycarbonate plastic is used for hard reusable bottles and food containers. Phthalates are used for disposable water bottles. The invisible chemical cause neurological and behavioral disorders like autism and ADHD. They also affect IQ.

And they manipulate hormones in a way that can cause cancer, diabetes, male infertility, and endometriosis.

The researchers tested 59 solid, gel-filled or water-filled teethers purchased online in the United States (U.S.) for 26 potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Although most of the products were labeled BPA-free or non-toxic, all of them contained BPA. And they manipulate hormones in a way that can cause cancer, diabetes, male infertility, and endometriosis. The report comes amid a growing swell of studies is warning of the prevalence of these toxins.

Meanwhile, neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are on the rise, but its underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.

Noriko Osumi, Kaichi Yoshizaki and colleagues at Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Medicine collaborated with Shigeru Wakana and Tamio Furuse at RIKEN Bio-Resource Center, and Tucci Valter at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, to conduct comprehensive behavioral analyses on how paternal aging influences the behavior of offspring that inherit a genetic risk (a mutation in Pax6 gene).

In the experiments, in order to minimize the physical influence of the father, the male mouse was isolated and in vitro fertilization was used to impregnate the female. The researchers found that the offspring of young fathers exhibited impaired vocal communication, while the offspring of older fathers exhibited hyperlocomotion. The results are significant for both animal researchers and the public. For researchers working on animal models, it shows that the age of male mice can influence the behavior of the offspring, so this should be a consideration when they are used to mate. For the public, the research shows that paternal aging may exacerbate genetic risks – this could explain why there is a rapid rise in the ratio of children with ASD or ADHD, due to men having children later in life. This paper was published online in PLoS ONE.

Indeed, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the middle of an investigation into bisphenol A (or, BPA) – found in many American plastic water bottles – to assess how to regulate it.

The study also showed that the compounds leached out of the products’ surfaces into water.

credit: NAN

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