The detection of endocrine disrupting chemicals leaching from reusable plastic water bottles.
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Endocrine disruption is a particular form of toxicity, where natural and/or endogenous compounds, known as “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals”, cause adverse health effects by resulting in disruption to the endogenous hormone system in mammals, including humans, particularly in foetal and infant stages . It is generally agreed that much of this exposure to humans is through the consumption of food and beverages that are stored in plastic packaging. Bisphenol A (BPA) has been identified as an endocrine disruptor that is widely used in the production of polycarbonate plastic. Numerous scientific studies have established that BPA has the potential to leach from plastic products which are in direct contact with food or beverages and as such the main route of exposure of humans to BPA is through ingestion. BPA has been shown to interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system causing disruption and as a result having a direct effect on reproductive and thyroid function and blocking testosterone production. The leaching of chemicals, such as BPA, increases when these plastics are exposed to common, every-day stresses. Concerns over the safety of BPA and the legal restrictions which have been implemented on BPA containing plastics and their uses, have given rise to many manufacturers seeking substitutes for BPA resulting in an alternative polycarbonate backbone which can be labelled as “BPA-Free” and as such are perceived to be safer . Currently, there is little information available as to whether these alternative polycarbonate plastics are free from possessing oestrogenic activity or if they have the potential to release compounds that may cause endocrine disruption.
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