In a new study published online on June 13, 2013 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Endocrine Disruptors, researchers from the University of Texas, U.S. found chlorinated bisphenol A (BPA) to inhibit membrane-initiated signaling pathways (Viñas et al. 2013). Viñas and colleagues investigated what effect BPA that has interacted with chlorinated drinking water would have on cell signaling. Using cell-culture experiments, they found polychlorinated BPA and BPA that had undergone sulfonation and glucuronodation, metabolism processes used by the body to more easily excrete BPA, to deactivate two key membrane signaling enzymes. The effect could be observed at very low concentrations.

Cheryl Watson, researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch and co-author of the study, commented on the online science news website Science Daily that these kinases are major control centers and inactivating them may “mess up cell signaling”. The researchers were interested in the effects of chlorinated BPA, because BPA from plastics is ubiquitous in the environment and contaminates drinking water at its source. As drinking water is chlorinated to remove bacteria, BPA becomes also chlorinated before being consumed.

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Viñas, R. et al. (2013). “Rapid estrogenic signaling activities of the modified (chlorinated, sulfonated and glucuronidated) endocrine disruptor bisphenol A.Endocrine Disruptors 1:1 (published online July 13, 2013).