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Wrong Number: Plastic ingredient spurs chromosomal defects

The primary chemical in some plastics causes female mice to produce eggs with abnormal numbers of chromosomes, according to a new study. In people, the condition–called aneuploidy–is the leading cause of miscarriages and several forms of mental retardation including Down's syndrome.

The new finding could shed light on the causes of aneuploidy, but it also raises questions about the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), the prime ingredient of the polycarbonate plastics that make up products ranging from baby bottles (http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc99/9_4_99/food.htm) to tooth-protecting sealants (SN: 11/22/97,

p. 324: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc97/11_22_97/fob1.htm).

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