"SAN FRANCISCO -- Chemists have been showing for years that bisphenol A, an estrogen-mimicking building block of polycarbonate plastics and food-can coatings, can leach into food and drinks. But other materials contain BPA -- and leach it -- such as certain resins used in nautical paint. And Katsuhiko Saido suspects those paints explain the high concentrations of BPA that his team has just found in beach sand and coastal seawater around the world.
Saido, a chemist at Nihon University’s College of Pharmacy, in Chiba, Japan, reported his findings here, March 23, at the American Chemical Society’s spring national meeting.
At the last ACS national meeting, Saido showed that Styrofoam and related polystyrene-based materials can degrade in seawater and taint the coastal environment with styrene, a toxic building block of the foams. When he announced his styrene findings last September, reporters asked him: What about BPA? Does this potentially toxic breakdown product of the widely used plastics also show up at the beach?"
Janet Raloff reports for Science News March 23, 2010.