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Plastics ingredient disrupts fetal-egg development

A common estrogen-mimicking chemical can damage eggs while an animal is still in the womb, researchers report.

Bisphenol A is found in polycarbonate plastics—those used to make baby bottles and hard-shell water bottles—and in the lining of food cans. The chemical also turns up in human tissues at concentrations of several parts per billion.

Earlier research had linked bisphenol A to reproductive problems in male and female mice. In 2003, molecular geneticist Patricia A. Hunt of Washington State University in Pullman and her colleagues exposed female mice to doses of the chemical typical of environmental concentrations. This increased the likelihood that eggs would have abnormal numbers of chromosomes (SN: 4/5/03, p. 213: Available to subscribers at Wrong Number: Plastic ingredient spurs chromosomal defects).

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