The chemical Bisphenol A used in plastic containers and drinks cans has been shown for the first time to affect the functioning of the intestines, according to a French study published Monday.
National Institute of Agronomic Research researchers in Toulouse found the digestive tract of rats react negatively to even low doses of the chemical also called BPA, theProceedings of the National Academy Sciences journal reported.
Their research, also conducted on human intestine cells, found that the chemical lowered the permeability of the intestines and the immune system's response to digestive inflammation, it said. BPA is used in the production of polycarbonated plastics and epoxy resins found in baby bottles, plastic containers, the lining of cans used for food and beverages, and in dental sealants.
Over 130 studies over the past decade have linked even low levels of BPA, which can leach from plastics, to serious health problems, breast cancer, obesity and the early onset of puberty, among other disorders.