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Negative effects of plastic's additive blocked by nutrient supplements

emonstrates that this single substance had a system-wide effect, said Dana Dolinoy, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Randy Jirtle, Ph.D., senior member of the research team. A comparison between the large yellow mice and the normal brown mice showed identical genetic makeup, yet strikingly different appearances.

Just as importantly, when pregnant mothers were also given folic acid or genistein, the epigenetic influence of BPA was counteracted, she added.

BPA is a synthetic estrogen first synthesized in the 1890s and is used in the manufacturing process from such everyday products as plastic water bottles, food containers and baby bottles. While laboratory studies have uncovered possible health concerns in animals, there has been considerable debate in the United States and Europe about what levels are considered safe for human consumption. Attempts have been made in Canada, California, Maryland and Minnesota to ban its use.

Jirtle, one of the leaders of epigenetics research, said that it is difficult at this point to determine what the levels of maternal BPA in humans would equal those that caused epigenetic changes seen in the mice. The levels of BPA used in the current experiments were five times lower than that considered harmful for mice, showing that even a low exposure was able to cause noticeable effects in the offspring.

Since BPA can be detected at some level in almost all humans, the current findings could hold the promise of reducing disease susceptibility by using nutritional approaches, Jirtle said. The ability of some agents to counteract the epigenetic effects of a toxin, in this case BPA, with maternal supplements has the potential to protect present and future generations.

Genistein, which is readily available in health food stores, is an active ingredient in soy. It is possible, Jirtle said, that the reason Asians have much lower rates of obesity and certain cancers is that their diet
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Contact: Richard Merritt
Merri006@mc.duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
30-Jul-2007


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