Amid rising evidence that additives designed to improve plastics also disrupt sex hormones, researchers in the United States have said a new Rutgers laboratory trial has also found that the impact of plastic itself can result in increasing obesity and declining fertility challenges.
Findings of the new study are published in the ‘Particle and Fibre Toxicology’. Previous studies focused on chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA) that make plastics stiffer or more flexible. These findings spurred ongoing efforts to find safer plastic additives.
The two main sex hormones — estrogen and testosterone — have wideranging effects in the body. Produced primarily by the ovaries (estrogen) and testes (testosterone), these hormones affect not just sexual function but also the bones, brain, and blood vessels.
The Rutgers study showed that microscale and nanoscale particles (MNPs) of polyamide, a common plastic better known as nylon, produced endocrinedisrupting effects when inhaled by female lab rats in concentrations experienced by humans.
“Previous research has focused almost exclusively on chemical additives,” said Phoebe Stapleton, assistant professor at the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and senior author of the study.”