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Most plastic products, from sippy cups to food wraps, can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen, according to a study in Environmental Health Perspectives.
The study found these chemicals even in products that didn't contain BPA, a compound in certain plastics that's been widely criticized because it mimics estrogen.
Many plastic products are now marketed as BPA-free, and manufacturers have begun substituting other chemicals whose effects aren't as well known.
But it's still unclear whether people are being harmed by BPA or any other so-called estrogenic chemicals in plastics. Most studies of health effects have been done in mice and rats.
The new study doesn't look at health risks. It simply asks whether common plastic products release estrogen-like chemicals other than BPA.
The testing showed that more than 70 percent of the products released chemicals that acted like estrogen. And that was before they exposed the stuff to real-world conditions: simulated sunlight, dishwashing and microwaving, Bittner says.