Bisphenol, a chemical found in plastics, is not good and a worrying study has just been reported on. SOS Jersey, a group I’m a member of, has been anti-single-use plastics and microbeads, for some time. I’m keen to help devise and promote initiatives for Jersey to reduce its reliance on plastics and to see an end to it damaging our coastline organisms.
I’ve also banged on for many years about the xeno-oestrogens in our environment; these are human-made chemicals which mimic the hormone oestrogen and cause hormone disruption in our bodies.
One of these xeno-oestrogens that pops up in the news from time to time is bisphenol (BPA); this has many effects, including a possibility that sperm production is adversely affected.
A worrying study has just been reported on. The usual advice to avoid bisphenol is to not drink water from single-use plastic bottles, to not microwave or boil food that has plastic around it, to avoid tinned food (especially tomatoes), and not to buy foods wrapped in plastic (both processed and fresh).
The study from Exeter University looked at 94 17-19-year-olds’ levels of bisphenol in their urine before they changed their habits and after a week of following the usual advice on avoiding the chemical. (Bisphenol enters the body easily, but also leaves after a week, or so the plastics industry says. I have my doubts, as it can be stored in fat – the body’s way of neutralising a bad chemical).
The worrying thing was that the expected decrease in levels of bisphenol did not happen! This suggests that even unwrapped foods are somehow contaminated by bispheol along the way. Or is it our drinking water? I am sure we need more studies on this, and soon, especially as toxicology professor Tamara Galloway, who co-led the study, said there was ‘growing evidence’ exposure to the chemical may be associated with poorer health.
In Jersey, I am appalled by the amount of plastics in our shops – even around fresh food. One reason given is that the food (eg, cucumbers) lasts longer when wrapped in plastic, thereby extending shelf life – can there not be a shift in the way we stock and purchase things?
How we can decrease plastics in our lives really needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency. At the moment, it is really quite difficult to avoid plastics as Islander Sheena Brockie found out in her year-long experiment.
Plastics campaigns locally: