Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, is an endocrine disruptor found in linings of bottles and cash register receipts that has been linked to a number of diseases and neurological disorders.
In 2012, the FDA ruled that manufactures could no longer use the chemical in baby products but could still use it in other products.
In the new study, researchers tested the effects of BPS on zebra fish which have 80 percent of the same genes as humans and are a model organism used for studying human brain development.
The researchers found that BPS causes abnormal growth of neurons in animal embryos which are similar results to those found with BPA.
They also found that BPS had a greater effect on male hormones and leads to increased hyperactivity.
However, one of the most interesting findings was that low doses could be more harmful than larger doses.
"I was actually very surprised at our results. This was a very, very, very low dose, so I didn't think using a dose this low could have any effect," said Debra Kurrasch, from the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine and the lead researcher of the study.
"A lot of the alternative chemicals have not been adequately tested because they don't have to be," said Kurrasch added. "A compound is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration until proven otherwise."
"I think this is a very important paper that gives evidence that compounds like BPA and BPS have very detectable effects at low dosages on developing vertebrates," said George Bittner, a professor of neurobiology and pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin.
However, according to the American Chemical Council (ACC), the relavance of the zebra fish study is questionable.
"The authors claim the results are directlly relevant to humans, in particular to women during the second trimester of pregnancy," said Steven Hentges of the ACC's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group.
"In contrast, humans are exposed to only trace levels of BPA through the diet, and it is well known that humans efficiently convert BPA to a substance with no known biological activity and quickly eliminate it from the body. Although the authors attribute great significance to their results, it would not be scientifically appropriate to draw any conclusions about human health based on this limited experiment," Hentges added.
The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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