NIH News Advisory
National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences

Thursday, Feb. 27, 1997

NIEHS Contact
(919) 541-1402

A Common Chemical Shows Estrogen-Like Action

Bisphenol A, a chemical used in some plastic products, shows estrogen-like activity in mice and can pass from pregnant mice to their offspring, the males of which have enlarged prostates as adults, University of Missouri-Columbia scientists report in the current Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Whether bisphenol A leaches from the plastics to an extent that might pose a risk to humans is in dispute. Additional research is planned.

The UM-C scientists said the chemical's estrogen-like effect "appears at much lower doses than previously thought" and "lies within the range of current human exposure."

The researchers -- Susan C. Nagel, Frederick S. vom Saal, Kristina A. Thayer, Minati G. Dhar, Mike Boechler and Wade V. Welshons -- reported that they introduced bisphenol A in pregnant mice at a time when the prostate is developing in the fetus and that subsequently the male offsprings' prostates were found to be enlarged at adulthood.

To obtain a fax of the article, call Tom Hawkins at 919/542-1402. The senior author, Dr. Welshons, can be reached at 573/882-3347.