Plastics Additives and Human Health: A Case Study of Bisphenol A (BPA)
Plastics are useful and versatile materials that bring many societal benefits, but concern has been raised about the potential of additive substances, including chemicals classified to be of concern to human health, to migrate from packaging and enter the human body. Human biomonitoring of global populations has identified exposure to a range of plastic additives, detectable in some cases in the majority of people. Whilst the concentrations involved are frequently within regulatory guidelines for tolerable daily exposure limits, the potential nonetheless exists for chronic, low dose and mixture effects. In this chapter, plastics additives in common use are identified and some of the factors that influence their migration out of plastics are discussed. Using the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) as a case study, the routes of exposure and potential for interventions to reduce exposure are discussed. Mechanisms of toxicity, including the possibility for effects mediated by changes in gene expression or epigenetic changes are illustrated using the estrogen related receptor α (ESRRA) as an example.